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Big up to NYC for the support of our 3 night run at the world famous

Nuyorican Poets Cafe.  We had a blast.           



                                                  

       I would like to thank all of the wonderful people who came out last week to catch the two 
performances of IF HARLEM COULD TALK IT WOULD SCREAM.  A great turnout.  Special thanks to my Norman Thomas High School Alum for showing love both nights.   

        
FULL ENSEMBLE
               
JAZZ IS HIP HOP SCENE

NTHS Class of 84







                                                                     What a Great Cast

                                                        
               VIDEO CLIP OF JAZZ IS HIP HOP taken from the book " If Harlem could Talk"

                                
  



                                                



                                                  Available on kindle and Nook devices                                               

                                         CAN ANYBODY HEAR ME? Voices of youth

   (short stories, scenes, skits and monologues for middle        school  and high students)

Where will I be? What will I be doing?  Who am I?  Many times such small issues as inattentiveness, aggressiveness, and anger can be signs of larger issues which never are addressed.  Our young people have a lot to say about their lives but they often wonder can anybody hear them. In this collection you will hear the voices of some of those youth     Bullying, peer pressure, dating, social networking and others

                        REVOLUTION - taken from the book                    

                     Can Anybody Hear Me? voices of youth

          


          


Autobiography of a PITBULL
Hear the voice of Mark, the captain of 1S 201’s basketball teams.  He’s a natural leader.  Usually he makes great decisions on and off the court.   But when he encounters Troy his decisions don’t only affect him, they affect others

YELLOW TAPE


Hear the voice of Angela and Rebecca two high school seniors who take a walk home from school.  They soon discover that an obvious sign keeps their community in fear, holds no one accountable and one of them has the voice to make the difference.




video


MAN OF THE HOUSE
Hear the voice of EJ a 17 year old student trying to maneuver his way through family, school and relationship.   For him life is full of uncertainty.  After a tragic lost he soon discovers the thing he wasn’t ready to become – he already is. 

                    
                                                         I CAN"T SLEEP
Hear the voice of Rasheeda A+ student who enjoys her friends and family.  But lately she can't sleep.  Rasheeda finds it hard to focus especially because she's holding on to a terrible secret. (Watch I CAN"T SLEEP) A monologue for a middle school girl)


Watch I LOVE HIM (taken from the book Can Anybody Hear Me?
 a scene for high school boy and girl

video

Which is stronger love or fear?
For more information or to order contact jgill433


   Scroll below to read the short story Graduation Day taken from the book
Can Anybody Hear Me

                                                 GRADUATION DAY

We only just begun was the senior year motto for the   Ridgemont High school class of 2012.  The school’s band had just performed it to an audience of over 400 people.  Most were family members of the 2012 graduates.  Burgundy and gold cap and gowns could be spotted throughout the auditorium. Daquan laughed and hugged all of his fellow students as they jumped for joy when Principal Rodgers announced they were officially graduates. Saying   congratulations to his fellow students was the right thing to say but Daquan really didn’t know what to feel.  For him it was a day that seemed to take a lifetime to achieve.  He was 20 years old and just now graduating from High School. There was joy but still uncertainty because he wasn’t quite sure what he wanted to do with his future.
Trina his closest friend was focused on going to college.  Her plans were already set in stone.  Harold was going to apply for college as well. He liked math and his interest was engineering.  Lastly Jonathan was going to continue working for ABC travel.  His internship was going to turn into a full time job for him in six months.
So as Daquan hugged and laughed with his classmates there was a very clear understanding that he had no idea what he would be doing.  And it scared him.
Daquan didn’t feel he had the skills to go to the next level.  For years he had played around in school.  Not any one subject really appealed to him.  Math had too many formulas.  Reading didn’t excite him. He didn’t have the patience to stick around in school for a whole day.  The streets were more exciting.  Hanging out getting up late, those were the things he enjoyed. His grandmother raised him and his two younger brothers.  She encouraged him to go to school.  He tried to fulfill her wishes but every day he would get in trouble.

Fighting, causing trouble, cutting class made him infamous and popular at the same time.  He would drop out for a month or two.  Come back and leave again.  His grandmother began to stop arguing with him.  She had more immediate issues to deal with.  One of his brothers had begun to flourish in the art of trumpet playing.  His horn playing was being noticed by other schools.  He was even asked to perform on some albums.  His other brother was doing well academically.  His grades were high in all areas.  He offered to help Daquan with school but Daquan never had time.  So his grandmother decided to stop arguing and focused her attention on the other brothers.  Years went by.  Daquan was seventeen and he wouldn’t be graduating.  He didn’t care.  The next year he did the same thing as before.  In school, out of school, cut class, fight, popular and infamous all at the same time.  At about this time Mr. Marshall the school’s art teacher saw that Daquan had a gift.  He had drawn a picture of a young man sitting on a bench and off in the distance was a image of the world.  Mr. Marshall was so moved by this picture he asked Daquan to paint a mural of it for the school.  For 2 months Daquan worked on it.  He purchased dozens of spray paint, measured the distance of each wall, focused on colors and detail.  It was the first time in his life that he had devoted 2 months to any one thing little did Daquan know that he was applying lessons from school while creating his art; Budgeting, math, and discipline.   The mural was a huge success and even got coverage in the local newspaper.  But as time went on Daquan went back to his old ways.  Another year went by and he would not be graduating.  The school tried its best.  He was in various special education programs.  He had numerous tutors but Daquan showed no interest.  Eventually they, just like his grandmother, began to pay little attention.  And now when Daquan showed up in class he would be marked just for attendance and little else. So as Daquan participated in the graduation ceremonies his smile hid the one thing that he only realized and that was he hadn’t put the work in.   He decided he would look for work.  Oftentimes he would window shop looking at the new sneakers which always seemed to come out.  There was a footlocker in his area and they were hiring.  Daquan filled out his application and in box which stated if he was a high school graduate he marked yes. 
Daquan made sure to bring his high school diploma to his interview.  It went well, but when he showed the store manager the piece of paper, he could see a hesitation in the manager’s face.  After a long pause, he was told his degree was not an official degree.  The store manager had to be wrong.  Daquan had graduated, he was officially out of school at least that’s what he thought.  He applied for several more jobs and the result was always the same. Finally he went back to his high school and spoke to his guidance counselor.  She informed him he had participated in the closing ceremonies and had received a certificate, but it was not an official high school diploma.  It was called an IEP (individualized Education Program) degree.  It looked exactly like a diploma but this degree wasn’t based on a student’s knowledge to pass high school classes or regents but on attendance.  Daquan had only passed a third of his high school classes during this term. In a real sense he had aged out of school.  Which means that the school could not allow him to stay in pass the age of 20.  Therefore, he was awarded an IEP degree.   But IEP’s were not recognized as official degrees to many places of employment.  Not only was it hard for him to find work with this degree it was not accepted by college.   This deeply bothered Daquan and he went into a deep depression.  He felt hopeless and afraid.  Unlike his friends his future seemed far away. He regretted that he hadn’t applied himself when he was in school.  Today matters he kept saying to himself, “Today matters.”  One day Daquan saw that there was a program which could help you receive your GED and place you in college immediately.  Daquan promised himself that he would get his GED and would go to college.  For the next 3 months he studied hard.  He saved up his bus fare and made sure to attend all of his classes.  He read books, solved math problems.  He felt this was his last chance.  At times he wanted to quit but he remembered the time when he had focused for 2 months on drawing the school mural and he knew he could do 4 months of learning.  On December 17th, Daquan received his results.  He had passed and was now the official owner of a GED.   Unspeakable joy went through his body.  This was better than attending high school graduation.  This was something he had worked for.    Daquan attended college majoring in business.  He now works at Foot Locker but not as a sales person but a regional manager.  


                                 



                                                 Zora Neale Hurston is back in Harlem


 Antonia Badon as Zora Neale Hurston

 At one time there were more African Americans per/square mile in Harlem than in any other place on Earth, but that was long ago.  Now Harlem is
 like any other urban center in America.                    

Therein, lies the problem. IT"S NOT!!! Unbeknownst to many Harlemites, they walk on the same streets of cultural icons.  Names like Langston, Billie, Marcus, Duke, W.E.B., and Malcolm. And that's only a few. 

There was one who had a love for Harlem possibly like no other -- that was the greatZora Neale Hurston, writer, activist, biographer.  She was the first black woman to attend and graduate from Barnard College.  She is most famous for her wit, style, and uncompromising viewpoints on art, and history of African Americans.


Well Zora returns to Harlem, walking through it's famous streets.  This past Saturday she visited the Dark Tower,where A’Lelia Walker, daughter of Madam Cj walker is holding one of her lavish parties --( 108-110 West 136th Street) now known as Countee Cullen Library.  Then she whizzed by The NIGERATI MANOR,(267 w. 136th st) birthplace of "FIRE." The avant garde magazine written by Langston Hughes, Bruce Nugent, Wallace Thurman, Aaron Douglas and herself. 

monospace;">She stopped at The National Urban League,(202-206 West 136th Street), to chat with Charles Spurgeon Johnson editor of “Opportunity” Magazine.  She said," while she was studying at Howard University Johnson encouraged her to come to Harlem."

She paid respect to  "THE HOBBY HORSE", (205 w. 136th street.) This was the small bookstore that all the Harlem writers hung out at.
Zora walked with an heir of elegance, and did a Harlem strut which was symbolic, of attainment, celebration and pride.
Watch Zora in Zora's Harlem History Moments.  Presented on youtube.


Actress Antonia Badon performed Zora Returns to Harlem at
                            the Schomburg Center a birthday celebration of life and times
                                               of Zora Neale Hurston.
I've walked these streets of Harlem for many years, but I had no idea how close to greatness I was.
There will be Zora sightings throughout Harlem for black history month.  Sunday Literary talk --
  chatting with harlemmites about harlem's rich and storied history.    Uptown never looked so good 

                                       
                                                               James Gillard


          




 

EXCERPT FROM HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS
taken from IF HARLEM COULD TALK...




But his wife looked back from behind him,
And she became a pillar of salt
Genesis 19:26:

November 21,

The 7:10 had just pulled into New York's Penn Station. It was rush hour the busiest time of the day. Darcy peered out the window and watched the young, old, businessmen, lovers, students and workers scurry along the platform, most hurrying home due to the short week, and Thanksgiving was right around the corner.  Darcy pulled his carrying bag from the top of the train rack effortlessly. He was traveling light.  His stay was for three days.  Thursday he would be back home digging into the huge spread Tanya had prepared.   She had to be the hardest working, most considerate woman in North Carolina,   But at this very moment New York was calling. He glided through the train doors, and strode past the herds of people. He exited the station at the 35th street exit hoping he could avoid the crowds and catch a taxi unfortunately the City streets threw him a curve with hordes of shoppers and vendors milling around 8 th avenue.  A robust older Spanish man, had set up a table with name brand perfumes and colognes, 
“Got that Armani, Polo, Calvin Klein, whatever occasion I got the scent. 10 dollars people you can’t beat that.”  A little further up the block another crowd had formed.  Three young brothers, dressed in sweat suits and baggy shirts moved their bodies to the beat of Soul Sonic Forces, “planet Rock.”  They popped, intertwined and showcased an assortment of flips and break dance moves that drove the crowd crazy.  Darcy could feel his body jerk to the beat of Bambatta’s classic hit.  He realized that’s what was fresh about the city -- any place could be your playground.  He dropped 10 dollars in the boy’s hat and thought about his next move. It had been 4 years since he was back in the city and nothing had changed. .  A young black woman walked by wearing tight fitting jeans and carrying Macy bags. She watched his every move.  He stood just over 6ft with a boxer’s build, wide shoulders and a face that revealed a neatly lined goatee and striking bald head. He was sure to catch admiring eyes.  The added weight only made him feel good about himself. He could feel the tautness of his muscles through his blue wind-breaker-- those early morning workouts were starting to pay off.  Who would’ve known that only four years earlier this same man was being stepped on as he slept on the sidewalk.  The young lady gave a glance which acknowledged her interest. Joshua thought for a second about something his uncle always used to tell him, “money and a fine ass woman will always throw a man off his shit.”  It doesn't matter how righteous he is.” Joshua decided to pass on the opportunity. After all, he was a married man and only home for the holidays, why complicate things.

Darcy looked at the spacious master suite at the Marriott Marquis.  The room was adorned in gold and red tapestry, a couch, full length bed and 32 inch TV. The C.A.A.W (Conference of African American Writers) had spared no expenses for their 25th annual convention.  Darcy was honored to be the featured speaker of this year’s convention.  He opened his duffel back pulling out the convention invite.  The past few years he had declined to attend always citing family issues, but in all reality Darcy was scared.  Crowds seemed to bring unnecessary attention, and he was constantly ashamed about had he had handled success in previous years there were too many questions about his addiction and state of mind.  2001 marked a new time, one for self discovery.  His writings now garnered him fame not only in African American circles but in white and Latino markets.  He took time to reflect on this unashamedly.  After all he only started writing because, “he needed to eat”.  At least that’s what he liked to say.   A humble beginning with the publication of a few short stories and then in 1995 his landmark essay for Essence.  "INNER VOICES OF A DROWNING MAN." Title alone got him six more writing gigs.  Some said he possessed the gift. of writing stories that questioned society's values,  He soon followed that up with his searing expose titled, “BROWN VERSUS BOARD OF ED,  A CHILDREN”S STORY,” Ebony cited it as the clearest indictment on urban America’s failing school system which had ever been written.  Then the book deals came in.  He was the new “hot shot writer,” on the scene.
His first book Writer’s Block quickly moved up Time’s Best Sellers List, ending the year at no.18.  Huge numbers for a relative unknown. He was rising, but just as quickly came the fall.  A child was on the way, and Darcy was concerned about being a one hit wonder.  He realized years later that he had put too much pressure on himself, and his insecurity provided an opening for cocaine.   Just the thought of it sent chills through his body....

BOOK ON SALE NOW. 
http://www.135thandinfinity.com/store/store.html

                                                            $12.00 incl shipping handling

   GREENPOWER 

          http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/green-power-now-available-in-black/x/2145650

Over the past few years African Americans have spent 900 billion to 1 trillion dollars.  Yet they still suffer from high rates of unemployment and poverty? Why is that
As a community, what has happened to our small businesses.  Why is it that in our communities we have more foreigner and non-American nationalities with business.  Where are we?  Greenpower the new Documentary will focus on our economical, political, cultural plight.   Speakers like Prof. James Smalls, Prof Leonard Jeffries, Booker T. Coleman and more will add insight as well as solutions.  This is a must see project.  Directed by James Gillard.  Get involved


Help Support this film/

A documentary shot in HD.  Great storytelling, Fact, solutions for our economic, social political condition.
click link to find out more.

  http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/green-power-now-available-in-black/x/2145650

Experience the books of 135th and Infinity Productions



Something to think about:
What’s the most important day of your life, yesterday, today or tomorrow


  

Excerpt | Jazz is Hip Hop | If Harlem Could Talk it would Scream!

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Excerpt   Jazz is Hip Hop

What I want to talk about is the new tenant that stays in Oscar’s apartment.  I mean old apartment.  He’s one of them uh, what you call them, uh rappers.  Call himself MC MANIFEST.  You know black people we got names for days, Pookie, Joo-Joo, Itch-Itch, Scratch-Scratch, But I ain’t never hear no name MC Manifest.  Said he gave himself that name cause “he wants to bring things into reality”.  I said what you going to bring into reality with your pants hanging down your drawers.   He just laughed and said, “pops you got jokes”.  He right I got jokes but I got a lot of sense too.  How can anybody take you serious when your pants all out your shirt and you got a scarf on your head with a hat over it.  I just don’t understand.  Now the other day I had to go on upstairs and talk to him.   That boy was blasting that old boom, boom music so loud I couldn’t even hear myself thinking or for that fact listen to my Coltrane.  See Friday night’s is a tradition for me to sit back and listen to my jazz.  I do a lot of my reminiscing. on that night.  I think of my old Harlem.  I remember when the Baby Grand was right there on 125th street & 8th Avenue.   You had to see it on a Thursday night.  “Whew” talk about seeing some foxes and the fellas were sharp as tacks too.  Small’s Paradise on 135th & Eight Avenue always had something good going on.  And Minton’s Playhouse was over there on 118th & St. Nicholaus Avenue.  .  That’s where I got my first taste of Jazz.  Just remembering those things keep me young. Kind of like my therapy.  But I don’t want to get to caught up in the past cause it’s the present that’s worrying me.  Now I tell the young man, “son, you’ve got to start being respectful of others.  That music is just too loud.”  He just keep bobbing his head up and down. “Pops, music ain’t loud it’s just the bass is thumping” Low, and behold that boy was telling the truth.  I looked right at his levels and it was on volume 3.  “Well why you got to have the bass so high then.  When Mingus played he just set the groundwork, he wasn’t try to overwhelm you with it.  He had room for all the other instruments to come in and share space.” Soon as I said that, he look at me like I had three heads,  “Pops, you got to have banging bass, it’s important for the jeeps.  Ump, Ump, Ump, Everybody only concerned with the stuff of life. “Son why you keep calling me pops, my name is Mr. Lankford,  “I keep calling you pops cause you keep calling me son.”  See that’s the other thing about this new generation they got an answer for everything.  “Well what you want me to call you then”
“Manifest”
“ I want to call you by the name your mother and father gave you” “What you mean my government name.”  Now you see, Muhammad Ali had a cause, and felt religiously obligated to change his name, but some of these folks got no obligation to no one but themselves.  So I said, “I don’t think your mother and father were thinking that when they named you.”  I could see I struck a nerve cause he turned around and screamed “ No, they wasn’t, but I know the history of this country.  I got knowledge of self.”   In my younger day I would’ve smacked the living mess out of him for saying something like that. All of us know the history of this country and if you black you know more than a little bit.  If not you a fool.  But respect is owed to your mother that birthed you and your father that named you.  I decided to let my better half take over and say nothing, but I could tell he knew that answer didn’t sit to right with me. “ My government name is Emanuel.  You can call me that.”
I thought that was nice, he’s going to let me call him by his real name.
“Your father know you call yourself Manifest”
“Nah, my dad returned back to the essence when I was small.”
“How bout your moms.”
“Around her it’s Emanuel, but she not hating on the name MANIFEST either.”
“You sure son”
“No doubt,” she said, “do what you got to do just make sure you can handle the consequences.”  Well I hope he can cause I wouldn’t be walking around with the name MANIFEST.  


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