My Heritage Confessional Pt. I

I didn’t feel judged at first since I grew up in a multiethnic area. My neighborhood had people of all races represented and everyone got along. No one had an issue with an interracial married couple moving in with my sister and I during my childhood. Having parents of differing ethnic stock was normal to me and I didn’t think that much about it. Sure, I was darker than my dad and lighter than my mom, but I didn’t had any issues with it when it came to my family.

During this time, I read a ton of books, yet I also watched a lot of TV shows (balances it out, right?). I didn’t think too much about the heroes at my young age. I wanted to see the coolest and unique characters. Maybe in hindsight, I should’ve paid more attention like how it was a bad idea for Zach to be the Black Ranger or even how Trini was the Yellow Ranger way back when. I collected action figures of various superheroes of different ethnic groups, but to be honest…most of the heroes were Caucasian that got attention for the toy marketers and whatnot. I know they’re inanimate objects, but maybe Bishop, Sunfire, and Warpath felt like tokens and I didn’t realize it (can’t you tell I was big into X-Men?). Deep in my mind though, I wondered why not many heroes looked like me. I certainly didn’t see that many superheroes who did and certainly not Disney protagonists.

I was fortunate not to deal with as much racism (that I know of) during my elementary school years. Sure, I had my own issues growing up, but nothing too severe as far as bigotry was concerned. With that being said, they slowly became more obvious as I was in my teenage years. Life wasn’t as innocent as I thought even with the history they did teach me in school. When my family moved to a majority-white suburb because of my dad’s job, that’s when it became more apparent as I didn’t see that many Black let alone other POC groups with the exception of a few people of Asian or Indian descent living there. People didn’t believe my mom and dad were married to each other. There were some neighbors who only saw my dad and said to him “At least you’re not part of a Black family moving in”. I didn’t know about that conversation until years later and it broke my heart that anyone would say that. I’m glad my dad called them out on their bigotry and we didn’t associate with them during our time in this town.

Besides that history, there was some dualism in the perception of me existing. There were people who were curious about my heritage which I wasn’t offended by them asking as long as they didn’t say “What are you?” or “Are you American?”. I’ve been mistaken for Indian, Arab, Polynesian, and Native American before (Side note: I’ve had two people directly from India ask if I was Indian and two people of MENA descent [Egyptian and Iranian respectively] wonder if I was a Middle-Easterner). There were people who didn’t have an issue with having both African and European ancestry which is awesome. Unfortunately, there were others who did low-key digs at my ethnic background or considered me worthless. I certainly had enough melanin to not look Caucasian which made me a racial bullying target for some white people and there have been been a couple of Black people who assumed I thought I was better than them because of my mixed heritage while also claiming that I didn’t know anything about being a victim of racism. Those assumptions made me so furious even though I kept quiet since I was bullied into silence back then. Even now, my self-esteem is low enough that I don’t believe I’m better than anyone and I could do an entire post listing all the times others said or did racist crap around me or to me.

I wasn’t the most cognizant of some of these factors when I was far younger, but I certainly got my wakeup call ages ago. Granted, I’m still learning and I can’t stand being put under a microscope by so many people including those that should know better. It’s due to all these jerks that I sadly have to prove my humanity or competence to anyone and everyone.

Some positive things despite the insanity of the world: African travel vlogs, traditional Burundian drumming, and Hikaru no Go song covers

 

I know things are still very intense in this world. I’m not ignoring them at all. This is just a slight change of pace. I had some rough emotional moments earlier this week, but I’m better now. It’s been amazing by getting some encouragement from offline and online friends recently. Here are some things that I thought were fascinating recently.

 


I’ve been getting into Miss Trudy’s videos a lot over the past few weeks. Miss Trudy is a Kenyan YouTuber who makes travel videos mainly of different African countries. I checked out some of her videos on Sierra Leone and Liberia among other countries and I was astounded by the beauty of those nations. That’s the Africa they NEVER show you especially in the West. Here’s one of her videos where she’s in Freetown (the capital and largest city). Also, did you know Freetown was actually created by freed African slaves from America, the Caribbean, England, and Canada? I thought that was very fascinating.

Burundi has been one country I didn’t pay too much attention to, but I have to thank Miss Trudy as well as Dr. Y. for exposing me to more things about that country. One cultural tradition in that country is their drum corps. These drummers carry on a legacy dating back centuries when Burundi was a kingdom. The drummers would play for the king and they had their own unique rhythms. This was wonderful and I even picked up the live album of the Drummers of Burundi on Bandcamp where they played at Real World Records which is owned by Peter Gabriel.

I got back into the anime and manga series Hikaru no Go this year. It was one of my favorite series during my high school years, and after rediscovering it, HNG still holds up. Seriously, if you think all anime is nothing but martial arts ultraviolence, collectable monsters, or hentai, then please rethink your priorities. I found a cover of the 2nd opening theme “I’ll Be the One” by HAL that was performed by this Thai singer named MindaRyn. I thought she did a great job at singing this song. This was almost as good as the original in my opinion.

Besides all of that, I’ve been having some thoughts about what to post, but I’m debating about having it here or on my other blogs involving different topics.

Hope you all are doing well today.

Music Spotlight: Fight the Power 2020


I have my issues with BET, but I thought this was a great tribute regardless. One of my friends showed me this video which was for this year’s BET Awards. Public Enemy made a new version of “Fight the Power”. This song came out 31 years ago and it’s still relevant. They came back with Nas, Rapsody, Black Thought from The Roots, Jahi, YG, and Keedron Bryant. This was very necessary and relevant given the times. It’s a shame how nothing’s changed since that song came out or even the movie Do the Right Thing. I was even surprised to hear references to the Haitian Revolution, Breonna Taylor namedropped twice, Seneca Village (FKA Senegal Village) in Central Park being an all-Black community a long time ago or Juneteenth in a mainstream channel. There were great lyrics and one particular highlight was Rapsody (in my opinion, had the vest verse and a shoo-in for guest verse of the year) saying “You love Black Panther, but not Fred Hampton.” WOW! I thought I would share this updated version of this classic rap song with you.

One by one, more companies are pulling ads from Facebook

It all started with North Face removing ads from Zuckerberg’s brainchild and it’s snowballing pretty hard. In case you’re wondering why North Face, REI, Upwork, and several other companies are following suit to pull ads is because of FB’s double standards with treating hate groups compared to anti-racist posts.

I distinctly remember a story a few years ago where a Black woman did a simple #SupportBlackBusinesses hashtag which is quite innocent. However, her account got suspended for a week or two after posting that on her status. Conversely, there have been multiple white supremacy groups functioning on the site and they rarely ever get punished. So many companies are seeing the clear hypocrisy and decided to cash out as to not be a part of anything bigoted (I’m being generous here, but I do appreciate them seeing some kind of morality in this case). So apparently, Facebook can lose over $70 billion this month? WOW! Just, wow. It’s also a good thing I haven’t been on Facebook in years as it started getting toxic even when I left. I couldn’t imagine how bad it’s been since then.

Maybe this will get Zuckerberg to finally stop coddling hate groups? We’ll see…

Big Wavy Deconstructs Privilege and Racism

I just saw this impactful video done by British indie pro wrestler “Big Wavy” Roy Johnson. In less than a minute, he really breaks it down on how privilege works without even saying a word and just letting a recording to emphasize this point. You can even do this real time by holding all your fingers up and seeing how many of them are still up at the end of the video. Major props, Big Wavy!

Also, he’s the main person responsible for Wrestling Resurgence’s Everything Patterned show which was their Black History Month project last October (that’s when the UK celebrates BHM as opposed to America celebrating in America). That show surprisingly inspired me so much with not just the matches, but the positive representation going on. What does that say when a small British indie federation did something more racially progressive in the context of pro wrestling than anything in America? Let that sink in. Recently, the proceeds of the Everything Patterned video ($3.23 to rent or $6.46 to buy) will go to BLM in solidarity with those against the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and many more. Here’s a link to that show.

Also, here’s the match between Roy Johnson and Rampage Brown if you’re interested.

Zancunian Crisp Butty

It’s been a long time since I did some kind of food post even though it’s not a cooking blog. I’ve been trying to do some more cooking to step my culinary game up as well as to keep me sane during this anxious time to say the least.

I recently saw a documentary about Manchester’a music scene as well as learning slang from that Northern English city. Apparently a butty is a type of sandwich. After doing some research, I discovered a thing called a crisp (potato chip for Americans and Canadians) butty that has chips in the sandwich. I wanted to put my own spin by cooking an egg and using some Zanzibar spices. Because of this, I combined the word “Zanzibar” with “Mancunian” (term for someone or something from Manchester) to come up with the name. I used buttered toast for the bun and served it with pickles as well as potato salad.

I certainly come up with unique takes on recipes.

Some videos that got my attention somewhat recently

I’ve been doing my best to check out a few things when I have some downtime especially after multiple long days at work. I have to stay sane even with the state of the world and the negative news or opinions pop up.

Benjamin Clementine’s music:

If you follow my Iridium Eye blog, you might recognize this name from my last Top 7. He’s a recent musical discovery who just astounded me with his talent, musicality, and has a very unique voice. I know I’m a sucker for experimental music and avant-garde stuff, so Benjamin Clementine’s music really moved me. Here’s the video for his song “London”.

Social Isolation Match Pt. II: Chuck Mambo Vs. Eddie Dennis

I’m liking how this is becoming a thing with the guys in Escaping the Midcard. Some of you may have seen the first video with Chuck Mambo and TK Cooper, but this one involves the former taking on Welsh wrestler Eddie Dennis in this hilarious match. This stuff is hilarious and they take it over the top with guitars, cats, and weed whackers. The editing was superb and they looked like they had so much fun having a “wrestling match” despite being in their homes in England and Wales.

“Roses are Red” by The Mac Band ft. The McCampbell Brothers

While I would be too young to know about this song, I admit to being a sucker for new jack swing R&B. Hey, I’m from the 90s, so I definitely remember hearing some of that stuff when I was little. Yes, I do admit that the chorus is based on one of the cheesiest rhymes, but dang it, these guys just sell that emotion. It feels romantic and not sleazy like a ton of modern music. I was even pleasantly surprised to see some class with how everyone was dressed in the video despite the dated videography and awkward dancing at points. I’m not sure if this song is still a guilty pleasure or bordering on me liking this unironically. Oh, wait. Things have been contradictory so far by putting an avant-garde singer and a social distancing wrestling match in the same article. Who am I to judge?

Stevie Wonder Isolated Vocals

I know this song and I’m sure most of you have heard “Sir Duke” at some point in your lives. One day, my mom of all people messaged me this video. Hearing the isolated vocals just blew my mind. This was done in one take which I didn’t realize. I’m starting to appreciate older music more often. Remember when singers actually recorded their vocals without the “safety net” of Auto-Tune? Pepperidge Farm remembers! Am I part of the last generation of people who actually remembers popular music being made without that technology? Wow, I must be getting old…

The Lion King Lie:

Special thanks to Scott from Mechanical Anime Reviews for showing me this video. I don’t want to repeat myself given my tendency to bash this Disney movie for ripping off that 60s anime or the problematic cultural appropriation and bigoted crap associated with Mickey Mouse’s “creation” (I used that term loosely), but there were things I didn’t even know about or realize like some of the quotes from Disney’s side of things which only fuels my anger towards them. Also, I feel stupid for not realizing the similarities between Gargoyle G. Warthog’s “ashamed” dialogue and part of Pumbaa’s lyrics to “Hakuna Matata”. Definitely interesting even though there is some Disney bias there. However, I was pleasantly surprised that even Lion King fans in a bunch of the comments are FINALLY admitting that this movie literally wouldn’t exist without Kimba. That would’ve never happened years ago.

Hope you’re doing alright.

An international collaboration in the works

Stay tuned, everyone.

Despite being thousands of miles away from some other creative types, I managed to get a little help from some musical friends. The internet has been very helpful in that regard.

So many creative types have been doing artistic things during lockdown. I managed to write in Camp NaNoWriMo and I get to use my Ospreyshire skills under this condition, too.

You’ll find out soon enough. :3

All of my books are 99 cents! #StayAtHomeSale

If you’re interested in getting some good reads for only 99 cents while supporting indie authors, then feel free to check out my Stay at Home Sale!

C. M. B. Bell's Writing Universe

https://books2read.com/ap/8pBOGR/C-M-B-Bell

I hope everyone is doing their best to be safe and healthy in these scary times. I know people who’ve been doing some reading as they stay indoors.

Hopefully, I can add to your ebook collections.

Every single one of my books for sale are now 99 CENTS!

Besides the Hollanduscosm series and my other cell phone novels, I have every novelette, novella, and even full-length novels for just one cent short of a dollar! How many authors are willing to do that?

I’ve got several books in sci-fi, fantasy, drama, comedy, or whatever your fancy. I have one shot stories and two different series (Hollanduscosm and Revezia), if you’re interested.

The link from above can take you to my bibliography and you can buy them at Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and other online stores.

Happy reading, everyone!

-C. M. B. Bell

View original post

Some things that made me smile a bit very recently

I’ve been feeling anxious and sometimes depressed over the past few days, but there have been some little things to make me a bit better. This isn’t some major post, but just some things that I found to be interesting.

Snarky Puppy:

I heard of this band when I binge watched/listened some Tiny Desk Concerts while doing some online work. They are certainly talented and I’ve been checking out more of their music recently. Fans of jazz, funk, jam bands or just instrumental music in general should definitely check them out. I’m also going to reference a certain meme…Snarky Puppy isn’t a real puppy. Bonus points if you know that reference.

Cameo:

Some of you know I’ve been on a bit of a funk trip recently. I’ve known about Cameo for a long time even though they were big before I was born. Yes, I only knew them for “Word Up” for the longest time, but I realized that they have so many other good songs or how some R&B and rap songs that came out during my childhood sampled their music. Listening to this song did spark a memory because the “strawberry, raspberry…” line was sampled in Mariah Carey’s song “Loverboy” back in the early 00s. However, I prefer the original version of  “Candy”.

TK Cooper Vs. Chuck Mambo in a social distancing pro wrestling match:

The indie pro wrestling scene has been hurting due to the virus, so some of them are doing funny and creative things with their talents. Exhibit A: The Social Distancing Match. Samoan-New Zealander wrestler TK Cooper and British wrestler Chuck Mambo have a YouTube show and tag team called Escaping the Midcard. Since they can’t be in an arena let alone be less than 6 feet apart, they choreographed a match in their respective homes by themselves and edited the footage to make it look like they’re hitting each other. The results are hilarious! Also, Eddie Dennis makes a cameo. It’s not meant to be serious, but I’m sure people might find it to be at least a little bit funny.

I hope you’re doing okay, everyone!