Ospreyshire Origins: About A Benjamin II: Montgomery

benjaminmontgomery01

Lyrics:

Born into chains and auction blocks
I was under the eyes of the Davis family
I vowed not to be chattel and kept myself learned
Those steamboats in the South enraptured me
Yet they could only do so much
One bad turn and a famine or shortage can occur
No need to steer people wrong and I would figure the right angles for this problem

Enter the propeller! (X4)

My design made these steamboats faster, more efficient, and had better navigation
Shame how my patent was denied (X4)

My former captors including the president of the South tried and failed to credit themselves for what I made
I dreamed of more despite my heartbreak

Isaiah, the rest is up to you.


On Wednesday, I gave a crash course on my Art Theft tracks, but today we’re going to focus on my About A Benjamin series on Dear Innovare. Part II involves the inventor Benjamin Montgomery. His biggest claim as an inventor is creating the steam-powered propeller. Sure, we don’t hear about that propeller that much in 2020, but this was an archetype for controlling boats. Back in his day, he was in the South, so you had all these steamboats around, but they didn’t have any control as they do now when it comes to aquatic transportation. These boats would ship medicine, food, clothes, and other important things. One wrong move, and people will lose major business at best…or die from sickness or famine at worst. Montgomery grew up as a slave, but he was able to make this propeller which causes the boats to actually steer and maneuver in different ways. However, when he made the propeller, it was around the time when black people legally couldn’t patent anything and white people would steal the patents and get all the credit.

This is part of American history, warts and all!

Montgomery’s captors and patent thieves were the Davis family which also involved Jefferson Davis. Yes, the same person who was the president of the freaking Confederacy tried to steal his invention! I’m sick of this thievery and this notion that black people can’t invent anything which sadly people still think about that fallacy even today. Show them this fact and call it a day.

The image of Benjamin Montgomery is from Black Inventor Online Museum.

Ospreyshire Origins: About a Benjamin I -Banneker-

Lyrics:

Hours upon hours were spent reverse engineering and solving boring math problems given to me to kill time
I didn’t want to kill it
I wanted to keep it watch after watch
I took them apart and reconstructed them at will
I wanted something bigger, so I stretched my hands
Every minute and hour of my life
These faces grew as did my ambitions
The majority of this country were confounded that someone they oppressed made something
America, I am the grandfather of your clocks
You can count on that.


How did I not know about this man when I was younger? If that isn’t evidence how much schools don’t tell you, then I don’t know what is. Benjamin Banneker built the first working clock in America and it worked for decades. Banneker was an innovator in watchmaking, irrigation, education, and even astronomy in his time. Anyone who thinks black people can’t do anything constructive or innovative seriously needs their head examined for real. I can’t stand how certain inventors and creators never get appreciated especially in this country.

The image of Benjamin Banneker is from Afrikhepri.

Representation Matters Pt. IV: That One Time When I Felt Inspired By an Indie Pro Wrestling Show Of All Things (Yes, Really.)

Here’s one of the most out of left field posts I’ve ever done regardless of my Representation Matters series. Feel free to check out my older posts with parts 1, 2, and 3.

This post might give some people whiplash if they know anything about me. I wouldn’t blame you if you raised an eyebrow. I’m actually going to talk about pro wrestling on this blog. Yes, even I’m shocked, too. Think about it, I, Curtis AKA Ospreyshire…an avant-garde spoken word artist/musician, film critic of random obscure international films/anime/documentaries, DIY author who writes deconstructive fiction, geography nerd, African history/culture enthusiast, and someone who likes a good amount of art that could be considered “highbrow” actually has an interest in the indie pro wrestling scene even if I don’t consider myself super knowledgeable about it. Before I get to the core of this article, let me clarify a few things.

1. I know it’s a pre-scripted and predetermined form of entertainment.
2. People have no right calling it “fake” when they watch reality shows let alone movies or other TV programs. Besides, even real sports events have had moments of being rigged/fixed like boxing and MMA at times.
3. It’s stage combat and one could make a case pro wrestlers are actors who do their own stunts with no chance to re-edit the videos if you really think about it.
4. I’m not a fan of WWE especially currently, and I’ll get into that later in this post.
5. Yes, I know there can be stupid stuff in pro wrestling which causes me to facepalm, but don’t act like your interests are lacking in idiocy at times.
6. I also have a small affinity for some real sports outside of this field, thank you very much.

My interests really are eclectic even if it seems random or partially contradictory, right? Hahahaha! 😛

My history with pro wrestling is a strange one. I wasn’t allowed to watch it when I was a child, and I grew up around the time when it was insanely popular with WCW and back when WWE was called WWF (The pandas would win against Vince McMahon in that lawsuit in the early 00s!). Some of the biggest names at the time were the NWO, Sting, Stone Cold Steve Austin, DX, and The Rock long before he became a Hollywood household name. I knew the names of a bunch of them, but I never watched it. Of course, I also grew up during the time when Macho Man Randy Savage was in those Slim Jim commercials, so these wrestlers were everywhere despite not seeing these TV shows or live events. I had friends and eventually coworkers who were knee deep in that interest and they would tell me about a bunch of things even to this day, so I had some knowledge even if it was secondhand. Some online reviewers I used to watch made some videos about this subject from time to time, so I had a tiny bit of familiarity early in my adulthood.

For those who follow Iridium Eye, some of you might remember me reviewing the documentary Eddie Dennis: A 5 Year Old’s Dream last year. It was part of my portfolio of atypical topics I’ve covered in documentary form on the blog like how I’ve also reviewed Paralympic fencers (Beatrice), the Asexual community ((A)sexual), or an experimental band who uses faith-based lyrics while wearing matching nurse/doctors outfits (Danielson: A Family Movie) just to name a few. Eddie Dennis is a Welsh wrestler who used to work as a math teacher at a boarding school (I’m not making this up). He quit his job to wrestle full-time and he eventually got a contract last year. It was an interesting watch even though it wasn’t my favorite film, but it opened up a rabbit hole into this immersion of the UK indie wrestling scene AKA BritWres over the past several months where I was exposed to multiple smaller feds and indie wrestlers. That’s how it got started. I was then exposed to the Nottingham-based promotion Wrestling Resurgence in my research. They do all their shows in art galleries and museums. One of the owners is also a university professor who has an immense background in avant-garde art, ballet, and theater. I can’t make any of this up to save my life. I saw some matches from that company and liked what I saw. The thing that REALLY caught my eye involved just two words…

Everything Patterned.

Everything Patterned Picture

This was a show curated by South Londoner wrestler “Big Wavy” Roy Johnson. Everything Patterned was a major event of it’s kind since it involved a majority black card featuring wrestlers from England, America, Jamaica, and Uganda. This was to commemorate Black History Month in the UK where it’s celebrated in October (How come they get more days than us in America who only celebrate it in February even when the UK has a smaller black population compared to the US?). It was considered a big marketing risk, but the event was sold out when it was hosted in Leicester. I bought a digital copy of the show from their Vimeo page (the link is above the poster image) and thought it was great by seeing this positive representation going on. The matches were fun. It was awesome seeing the Rhio/Blaze match and seeing two strong women who are talented athletes that don’t resort to ratchet behavior. The main event between Johnson and Rampage Brown (not featured since he was a last-minute replacement for the then-injured O.J.M.O.) was a great heavyweight match where it was two guys fighting and you can take them seriously. There wasn’t an ounce of buffoonery in the headlining match. The Omari/Warren Banks match was insane in athletic prowess and would put so many cruiserweights to shame. Both of them are roughly 6’4″ and can pull off moves that one would expect only shorter wrestlers to do. I know the bloggers who know about my taste in movies are going to notice this, and I’m going to say this right now. No! I surprisingly didn’t freak out when one of the tag team matches involved a team called The Lion Kings. Long story short: One of the members of the LKs actually thanked me for telling him about Kimba the White Lion or how bogus Disney was with the Hakuna Matata trademark when I emailed him and we had a great discussion about Africa. There were serious moments, some funny moments, and some good in-ring action. It was a breath of fresh air not seeing any racist stereotypes or shucking and jiving going on like multiple cases of mainstream wrestling. Vince McMahon wouldn’t have the balls to pull something like this off (Yeah, I said it!). I wish nothing but success to everyone involved. It would also be phenomenal if at least one of the wrestlers from the Everything Patterned show could start their own promotion/federation in the near future.

Here are the videos that promoted the event as well as highlighting different perspectives of representation among other important factors in the context of wrestling.

Roy Johnson:

The O. J. M. O.:

Chakara:

Darius Lockhart:

Sugar Dunkerton [Context: Kofi Kingston was still holding the WWE World Championship at the time it was filmed]:

I found their insights to be quite fascinating and I legitimately never thought about those things in that realm of athletic entertainment. Sugar Dunkerton’s video about Kofi really hit it home when it came to why representation matters with that Ghanaian wrestler being the first (fully) black WWE World Champion. I’m not counting The Rock since he always hypes up is Samoan lineage constantly and only talks about his black side when he does a movie with Kevin Hart, but I digress (and this is coming from a guy who also would be considered biracial!). I know this is an unrelated video, but Dunkerton also made an awesome video with such brutal truth to it. If you’re black, then you will DEFINITELY relate to this video. If you’re not, then consider this a moment of learning and I’m not just talking about how the word “urban” can be a dog whistle term that’s offensive.

Suge D, you kept it so real. This also transitions into my point about how there’s racist crap that still goes on to this day in wrestling. Exhibit A: ACH FKA Jordan Myles. ACH is a black wrestler who made his career in the indies and eventually got signed to NXT (WWE’s developmental system kind of like a AAA minor league feeder promotion to make a sports comparison). He went under the name Jordan Myles and eventually got this T-shirt with his now former WWE moniker in 2019. Weeks after Everything Patterned, this T-shirt would prove Resurgence’s supporters and the wrestlers involved right in realizing why a show like this was needed…

View image on Twitter

DO YOU SEE WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?!?

That t-shirt just SCREAMS minstrel show imagery! The fact that they pitched this to a black wrestler by masquerading it in a white and gray design before publishing it in black is maddening. This is the same crap that got Gucci and Prada in trouble in recent years when they tried that with the racist blackface sweater and sambo figurines respectively. ACH blasted them on Twitter and eventually quit working for the WWE. I know that company knows better. While some could argue that ACH could’ve handled the situation better, he had every right to put the WWE on blast for doing such a stupid and bigoted stunt. I applaud him for standing up for himself even when that company shifted the blame onto him for the whole thing. It’s bigotry like this that made me sigh in relief that I never spent a penny on their product. Besides, I don’t even like Raw or Smackdown. I’m not even watching NXT or even NXT UK (Sorry, Eddie) because of this garbage. I’ll save whatever fun money I have on promotions treat their roster with dignity regardless of color/creed/gender/etc. and for various indie wrestlers.

Sorry that this was a strange post given what I usually talk about or the things I create. I wanted to let you know how I was unexpectedly inspired by a UK wrestling show of all things. I actually bought some merch from some of the people in Everything Patterned and not only that, but I even got into fitness far more often as an indirect result. My December goals in exercising have been working so far and I already feel healthier. If you would have asked me years ago that I would make a post like this anywhere on the net, then I would’ve called you insane.

With all that being said, I thought it was amazing seeing someone like me being taken seriously in this field. I’m getting healthier, I’m slowly gaining self-esteem, and my sense of well-being has improved so far. So what if some people would insult me because of this recent interest? This was something inspiring in ways I didn’t even imagine.

Thank you, Wrestling Resurgence and everyone involved with Everything Patterned.

I hope you liked my journey explaining the different facets of my Representation Matters series on the Ospreyshire blog. Thank you for reading this and my other posts on the subject.

All images and videos are of “fair use”.

The Everything Patterned videos are courtesy of Wrestling Resurgence’s YouTube page.

SUGE. Number 3. is property of Sugar Dunkerton’s YouTube page.

The photo of Roy Johnson is from Twitter and is property of Wrestling Resurgence.

The Everything Patterned poster is from Vimeo and is property of Wrestling Resurgence.

The Jordan Myles T-shirt is from Bleacher Report and property of the WWE.

The College Cheating Saga Continues! American and UK-based college/university students pay Kenyans to write their essays. (or, If entitled racist jerks insist Africans have low IQs, then why are they paying them to write essays for them?)

I found out about this story and all I can say is WOW! JUST, WOW!

In addition to the drama going on with Lori Laughlin and company in court with all of this college cheating going on, apparently there was a trend of college students in America and the United Kingdom at large where students have been caught paying Kenyans dirt cheap to write their papers for them. It’s not just undergrads, even graduate and PhD level students have gotten these Kenyans to write full-on theses and dissertations. Apparently, there are essay factories down in that country where these writers work twelve hour shifts while getting paid slave wages to write papers for the Americans and the UK. The latter has a brutal sense of irony when you consider that Kenya was a former British colony. Just saying.

You see, I went to a four year private university to get my Bachelor’s Degree. I got in on my own merits and did everything I could while working two campus jobs and I still graduated on time. I’ll let you in on a little secret during my tenure there. There were students who would fake their way in classes like reading only Cliff Notes or online summaries in the English/Literature courses I took without reading the full books, admitting to cheating in tests in classes I didn’t take with them, and those same people graduated while some are making more money than me. Well pardon me for being an honest student. I’m sorry to have a little thing called integrity to not steal, cheat, or plagiarize compared to those who claimed to have higher IQs than me.

So if I want to expose myself to plagiarized works involving Africa, I can either read some of these paid essays or watch The Lion King. SHOTS FIRED!!!

Seriously, shame on all of those students for plagiarizing their works and shame on that essay factory owner for being a part of this scandal. You wonder why I hate it when people steal and copy from others without crediting people? I bet you money these plagiarists are from far far richer families than mine (okay, I’ve been middle-class for a good portion of my life), and got away with it for years now, and have well-paying careers. Inexcusable! If honesty, integrity, and hard work were merited as much as the media lies to us, then I’d be a millionaire by now.

The video is property of African Diaspora News Channel. That’s more credit than these thieving douchebags will ever give for these paid-for essays.

Could Teresa Klein AKA Cornerstore Caroline get charged?

So there are some interesting questions that are being raised about this irksome situation.

For those of you not in the know, recently, there was this devil named Teresa Klein who was in a corner store in Brooklyn who claimed that a 9-year-old Black boy sexually assaulted her even though she lied about it. There was even video evidence from said store which shows the boy’s backpack brushing against her by accident. She flipped out, took her outrage on a child and his mother who was there. Also, Teresa decided to do some sexual poses at the store presumably to mock that family at the child’s expense before calling the cops on a CHILD! There was some smartphone footage of her arguing with the family and some passersby who were angry at her and she gets called Cornerstore Caroline as a way to continuing the trend of Caucasian people calling the cops on Black people for stupid reasons (see: Barbecue Becky, Permit Patty, et all.). On the same footage, Cornerstore Caroline claimed she was a police officer even though she’s not.

The videos went viral and these Brooklyn residents are rightfully upset at the situation. Had this not have been recorded, this could’ve been a modern-day Emmett Till situation given the history of wild and false accusations like this one. If the DA decides not to charge her with abusing 911, racial profiling, slander, or even doing lewd acts in front of a minor (why would she be worried about a 9-year-old touching her non-existent behind? Just saying.), one felonious thing she did while being caught on camera is lying about being a police officer! That alone should get her jail time and she was found dead to rights in making this false claim. I hope the people of Brooklyn pressure the DA to do the right thing. We can’t have individuals lying about being sexually abused let alone feeling threatened just because a Black person just happened to be in their vicinity. When they call the police, they’re implying that they want to see those people dead or at least locked up and people should be aware of that. This can’t go on and those heinous people need to be punished for threatening and traumatizing the community. Come on, if a Black person or any ethnic minority were to do the same thing to a White child by making up a story to call the cops on them, the caller would be in jail right now and laws would be passed to prevent anything like that from happening again. Cornerstore Caroline can’t get away with this form of child abuse via false claims to 911.

Video courtesy of The Advise Show.