Music Spotlight: Sami Dan “Hayal”


I really don’t care what anyone says.  I like African music. Whether it’s the traditional stuff, experimental works, or Afropop, I enjoy it. Here’s one singer I’ve known for almost a year now. This is Sami Dan from Ethiopia. I first heard this song last year not long after the peace deal with his home country and Eritrea. Even though I rarely listen to pop music, this had a fun beat and it’s a fun love song of sorts. Amharic sounds great when sung.

Feel free to check out this song.

Why do you care so much about originality and rip-offs?

I’m sure there have been people thinking that question whenever they talk to me especially in this blogosphere. It certainly doesn’t help that I have a full-length concept album coming out in late December that involves innovators in numerous fields. Some of them were unfortunately plagiarized by more popular people and organizations which is quite unfortunate. I have certainly made an opinion post about it earlier this year if memory serves me correctly. Feel free to check that post whenever you can.

I don’t want to repeat too much about what I’ve said in previous posts or to namedrop certain examples especially certain film controversies you all should know about by now. Originality is something I cherish and I know people can really try to make something truly unique. I just shake my head when I hear people say that nothing’s original anymore. Those same people haven’t even tried in their lives. Even in my film review blog, I will even award an extra point or two for originality or at the very least something I’ve personally never seen before. It’s a virtue for me and that upcoming album Dear Innovare is an homage to several people.

Now, I have an issue with rip-offs which you may know. I don’t throw around that term flippantly unless I can back it up with facts and obvious similarities. What I may not have mentioned was that I’ve been made fun of for some of my tastes allegedly being clones. Back in college, I got into a band called La Dispute. They are an experimental hardcore band that incorporates spoken word vocals for most of their songs. They were one of the first bands I ever saw at a basement show in my life when some friends and I saw them, Touche Amore, Into It. Over It., Tension Generation, and Former Thieves in someone’s home in Chicago. It’s weird to think some of those bands would get signed to bigger labels. Anyways, there was a (now ex-) friend of mine who have me crap for liking them because he thought they were a rip-off of mewithoutYou. I liked both bands then, and I disagree with that. Yes, both bands incorporate spoken word elements, but musically, they don’t sound alike. Besides, mewithoutYou isn’t the first rock band to use spoken word elements. Just look at Envy who’ve been around years longer and did post-rock elements before Aaron Weiss and company would do so. Even listening to Gil Scott-Heron or more recently The Last Poets really opened the floodgates wide. I can’t picture mewithoutYou or even La Dispute fans getting into The Last Poets and would be too scared to do so if you know anything about their lyrical content. This infuriated me because I never got my official comeback against this person. One time on Facebook, he admitted to watching the Never Say Never documentary. Yes, I’m talking about the Justin Bieber one and he said he liked it. I verbally thrashed him online telling him he had no right to make fun of me for liking La Dispute if he was a Belieber. What shocked me was the lack of insulting towards him. If I said something like that, I’d be clowned for weeks! Why does he get a free pass?

Part of that lingering resentment still exists with me today. Do you know how many times I’ve been severely tempted to insult bloggers for what they like if I know if something is a rip-off or problematic? Doing that would be like an abstract revenge for being made fun of for liking La Dispute back in the day despite my musical tastes changing since then. It’s like I would be doing unto others what was done to me as I would dish out that verbal barrage. However, I’m not good at insulting people and I feel like I behave in a respectful manner even when I rant. The anger I feel more often than not is towards other bloggers, so it does put me in check that way. With that being said, if someone calls something a rip-off, yet gives a free pass to something that genuinely is, then I will call that person out. No, I don’t need to name examples as to when I would have that kind of talk with someone. I guess originality and striving to be original was an attempt to be taken seriously despite upholding that virtue or a way to prevent myself from being bullied. I’ve certainly been bullied and/or mistreated for far worse reasons, so don’t get me wrong. Toxicity breeds toxicity as I’ve thought about shaming people if they liked something that was a clone whether I declared it to be so or not.

As I’ve said before…liking things is really hard.

Do you (or should you) separate the artist from the art pt. II: What if the art IS part of the vices?

This was a topic I wanted to revisit again, but I want to cover a certain aspect of it. If you don’t know about my thoughts on whether artists and art should be separated, then you can check out that previous post here.

Now let’s get to the subject at hand.

Some of you already know that I have a very hard time separating the art from the artist especially if they do really bad things. It was interesting seeing people respectfully disagreeing with me for most of my comments. This brings up a question for you: What if the art IS part of the vices? Would you still separate the two from each other?

How could the art be involved in an author’s misdeeds or sins? Here are a few ways that could happen.

I guess one way would be the artist incorporating their deeds in their work or making a message that’s antithetical to their actions. It would be like if some creator had some villains murdering people, yet the author murders someone. That would be far harsher in hindsight. Or maybe they have a message against wars, but they end up howling for blood against another country. Those would be some examples on how that could be the case.

Another case would be if the work is plagiarized. Okay, some of you have seen this coming. Don’t worry, I won’t mention the obvious examples of cinematic plundering done by Disney, Christopher Nolan, or Suzanne Collins since you should already know those examples. I’ll use different examples. Look at Led Zeppelin. They made a career ripping off blues and folk songs. Eventually they got sued and were forced to give royalties and writing credits to most of the songs they stole from. I also pray that Spirit wins that appeal and sues Zeppelin’s pants off for them stealing “Taurus” to make “Stairway to Heaven”. I hate how that band gets a free pass for thievery. If any older person (or at the very least a classic rock purist) says that newer music just rips things off, show them the songs that band stole from to shut them up. Anyways, I need to get back on topic. Art theft gets tricky because those bad things are in their stolen creations. You could even go to those rock artists ripping off Black blues and original rock artists (**cough** Elvis **cough**) without paying dues to who they stole from. You have patents stolen like how Edison totally ripped off Nikola Tesla, Lewis Howard Latimer (there would be no efficient light bulbs had it not have been for his carbon filament!), and Granville T. Woods to name a few for his technological empire. At least Woods sued Edison twice and WON when he proved he made those patents instead of that overrated thief of an inventor. I have no respect for people who steal other people’s creative works. It’s lazy, intellectually insulting, and it shows how they are lesser beings because they stole from someone else. I can’t separate the art from the artist if it’s stolen.

What I wonder is why horrible people get free rides for their creations while others are obscured or demonized? How is it that an originator get crapped on for daring to sue the person or people who stole from them? For those who separate the art from the artists, what would cause you to stop or rather at what point can you not forgive the artist? Hey, I’m just staying in the question lane here.

Feel free to leave your comments on this matter.

Music Spotlight: “The Love You Save (May Be Your Own)” by Joe Tex

Recently, I’ve been having a kick of listening to classic R&B, soul, and blues. There were so many artists that I have ignored after listening to so much music that was released when I was alive. After researching music plagiarism and how so many forms of Black music were stolen and appropriated without credit (contrary to semi-popular belief, I’m not just talking about “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” or the documentary The Lion’s Share). I underestimated how bad it was in America, but that’s a story for another time.

This is a ballad from the singer Joe Tex which dates back to 1966 called “The Love You Save (May Be Your Own)”. I had never heard of Joe Tex or his music until just a few weeks ago, and this was the first song I heard from him. I stumbled across it when I researched how rock, blues, soul, and R&B were stolen en masse and this song was mentioned. This sound is haunting with the waltz time, orchestration, and Tex’s mournful vocals. The part of the song that really hit me hard was the second verse. Here are the lyrics that stood out to me:

“I’ve been pushed around
I’ve been lost and found
I’ve been given til sundown
To get out of town
I’ve been taken outside
And I’ve been brutalized
And I’ve had to always be the one to smile and apologize”

WOW! Those are tremendous words and it shows how so many musicians in multiple genres are such sheltered cowards while also being extremely relatable even though this came out decades before I was born. The sundown line is brutal since he’s clearly talking about sundown towns. Those were towns where Black people had to leave before night lest they be slaughtered by the white population during the Jim Crow era. The line that really hit me in the feels was the last one in that quote. I have a bad habit of apologizing too much and there were times where I was coerced to do so even when I didn’t do anything wrong. I HATE being treated like the bad guy when others are exalted for worse things! A song like that could ONLY be written by someone like him, but even I could relate to those lyrics even if it’s not entirely for the exact same reasons. How did I not know about Joe Tex or his music until now?

I hope you enjoy the song.

Fandom As Idolatry

Cel-created characters and comic strips have become gods
To those begging for heroes in their psychological wanting
Living vicariously through fiction
When it caters to those who look like them (the most)
Schisms erupt between various incorporated sects
There is no reformation in those attempts
Theme songs become worship anthems
Movie quotes become scriptures
Cons become congregations
Regardless if the followers believed in an Elohim or not
The irony is strong for different reasons
Even when it comes to real people, they become deified
Not realizing they would soon prove to be quite mortal in some time
Who knows? Maybe what I’m saying is blasphemous.

Music Spotlight: “Nyina W’abeza” by Intayoberana


I recently discovered this music/dance troupe not long after I reviewed the movie Munyurangabo. I decided to research some things about Rwanda after the fact like how the capital Kigali is one of the cleanest cities on the planet and what their music scene is like. This was really cool how it incorporated traditional rhythms alongside modern instrumentation while they sing in Kinyarwanda. The melodies were so sweet and very authentic. It’s been a while since I promoted other musicians, but this is one song I’ve been listening to recently. Check out Intayoberana!

Pathos Formula Wave is on Bandcamp tomorrow!

What is the Pathos Formula Wave, you may ask?

This is an EP that will be on Bandcamp. Unlike most of my other recordings, this only uses vocals and acousmatics only with no instruments there. Also, all the tracks are based on the nonet poetic structure. I will also proclaim that this has some of the angriest poems I’ve ever written. Even though the content isn’t as intense as “They Dreamed of Devastation and Deceit (Circle of Lies)”, there’s a lot of rage that went into the lyrics. One of the songs I have might as well be acousmatic hardcore with me screaming the whole way through.

I hope you check it out tomorrow!

How I Learned to Utterly Despise that Expensive Ripoff, Overrated, and Bigoted Movie Called The Lion King (And the Existence of Kimba the White Lion Isn’t the Only Reason)

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[Warning: This post contains a very contrary opinion to most people and will contain controversial content. Read at your own peril]

I’m sure some of you are probably sick of me at this point bashing this Disney movie if you’ve read earlier posts on this blog or saw certain reviews on Iridium Eye. I’m not sorry for what I’m about to say on here. This frustration has been building up for the past couple of weeks and it’s something I need to vent about on this blog of all things regardless if people agree with this post or not.

[sigh] Here we go.

For starters, I didn’t always hate The Lion King. If anything, it used to be one of my favorite Disney movies when I was a kid. This is going to partially give away my age, but I saw that movie during it’s first theatrical run when I was very little. I even saw the stage adaptation in Chicago at the Cadillac Theatre when I was a bit older. One of my favorite soundtracks back then was the “Rhythm of the Pride Lands” which was the companion soundtrack and it was also the first time the song “He Lives In You” was used. Not Lion King II or the Broadway version. I saw the original VHS tape probably a hundred times during my childhood. I used to know the words to most of the songs way back when. However, I stopped paying attention to Disney during my teenage years because I was really into anime. Okay, I still like Japanese animation, but I was nowhere near as much of an otaku as I was when I was in high school.

It was also around this time when I first heard about Kimba the White Lion. I heard that The Lion King ripped it off, but I thought it was shallow with just the main characters. Flash forward to my adult life when I saw a Cracked article involving childhood icons you didn’t know were shameless rip-offs, and the memories came back again. This piqued my interest, did more research and started to rent the DVDs on Netflix after Kimba stopped airing on Hulu (Disney is a partial owner of that site, so I don’t know if it was because of them or not). While it has it’s issues and has aged animation since it was made in the 60s, I enjoyed that anime for it’s usage of subject matter, originality, and seeing how much Disney stole from it. If you don’t believe me, check out this link. I couldn’t believe the scenes of Caesar (AKA Original Mufasa) consoling Kimba from the beyond in the night sky. I couldn’t believe the scene where the villainess Belladonna tried to kill Kimba by pushing him off a cliff. I couldn’t believe one of the major villains (Claw) just happened to be a scarred lion usurper with a black mane, dark fur, and had hyena henchmen with him. Every character not named Timon and Pumbaa in that movie is a copy of someone from Tezuka’s manga/anime series. Seriously, shame on Disney for stealing from this classic anime and for trying to block the Jungle Emperor Leo ’97 movie from North America. Trust me, you won’t be looking at The Lion King the same way again once you see the obvious similarities. I can’t see how any sane person could watch Kimba and not think that no one from Disney saw this. Why does The Lion King get a free pass in plagiarism when other media like Yuki Yuna is a Hero gets lambasted for having similarities to Madoka? You know if the situation was reversed, then all you Lion King fans would scream bloody murder that your favorite movie got plagiarized by a foreign (majority non-White) country if Kimba came afterwards. It would be amazing if Disney admitting to stealing from Tezuka’s creation, paid royalties to them, or got epic backlash for their thievery, but I know that will never happen because wishes never come true.

This segues into my next point. I wasn’t aware of this as a child, but growing up, I realized how racist the implications were with the hyenas. Have you not listened to how they talk? They straight up talk in stereotypical African-American Ebonics (Shenzi) and an exaggerated Mexican accent (Banzai). What ticks me off is when Disney fans don’t call their depiction racist or handwave it because you have Black cast members voicing some of the heroic lions namely James Earl Jones playing Mufasa. No, just because you have Black people playing both sides of the good/evil paradigm, it doesn’t make it bigotry-free. It’s the equivalent of a racist claiming they have a Black best friend or family members to prove they aren’t racist. That or saying slave owners can’t be racist because they have Black people around them. Let’s not forget Disney has a history with using animal characters as POC proxies with racist undertones. Look at the crows in Dumbo and the lead one’s name was JIM! You know, like the same laws in America that involved having enforced segregation, lynchings, or it being legal for White people to rape African-Americans? There’s also Siamese cats talking in broken English in Lady and the Tramp, Aristocats, and even an episode of Chip & Dale: Rescue Rangers for crying out loud. You could even throw in Tito from Oliver & Company as a slap against the Latino community. Coincidentally enough, Cheech Marin would voice both Tito and Banzai in his voice acting career. Is this why so many Americans falsely assume that Black people let alone other ethnic groups act like the hyenas all the time? If you think so, then you need your head examined and we should question if you’re a bigot.

Extending onto that point is how the hyenas were treated with the Elephant Graveyard. Besides the name being a blatant carbon copy of the place in Kimba where the animals had to rescue Roger Ranger in one of the later episodes, I found the place to be disturbing, but not for the same reasons as it was portrayed in the movie. As an adult, I had this realization that this punishment against those animals involved isolating the hyenas in a barren wasteland and they’re forced to starve. It hit me when I researched lesser-known aspects of history: Mufasa was committing genocide against them and I was sickened by it. Scar did bad things, but his big brother is not much better if you really think about it; he’s just applauded for his actions. If you think I’m being crazy, then maybe you should read up on the Congolese Genocide under King Leopold II or the Namibian Genocide by Germany’s 2nd Reich. The former had a body count of 10 MILLION Congolese and Leopold never got punished for it. If you take away the hand chopping, guns, and mass rape, then it would be the same thing. The latter had a concentration camp called Shark Island where the Germans starved out the Herero and Nama tribes and there was a valley of bones left behind. By the way, one of the perpetrators was General Franz Ritter von Epp who would eventually employ Adolf Hitler and Hitler said he was influenced by this general. LET THAT SINK IN! It’s as if the animators were aroused by putting anti-Black racism with that act as they believe melanated people don’t belong in their circle of life. Come on, if those hyenas talked in Yiddish accents instead of stereotypical Black and Latino accents, then the ADL would’ve thrashed Mickey Mouse in a heartbeat and everybody knows this. But because it’s happening to the bad guys and because they talk in a racially-coded way, it’s somehow justified in the animators’ and fans’ eyes. No, that’s protagonist centered morality on Mufasa’s part (saying nothing how that punishment contradicts his circle of life speech), and it’s propaganda in a form of G-rated White Supremacy. In my adulthood, I’ve seriously pondered if White people actually saw me as one of those hyenas in the past before. I’ve been discriminated against, so I wouldn’t put it past them. It’s hard to watch that knowing about the genocides against Black people, the 1994 crime bill which overloaded the prison-industrial complex (while being soft on Caucasian offenders, let’s be honest), Apartheid South Africa, and gentrification to name a few things to punish them. Do you enjoy Black people or any other POC group getting punished or afflicted at all costs and is The Lion King your film of choice of vicariously having that joy in a supposedly “innocent” way? Are you more offended by me pointing out the racist implications of this Disney movie than the millions of dead bodies from those aforementioned genocides let alone other atrocities?

Let’s also talk about the depiction of Africa. There are no humans in it! Was there some extinction of Africans before the beginning of the story? Disney sucks at this fact and Tarzan is another example of this when that continent is shown without Black people. So people who look like me and darker shouldn’t be seen? Is this a wish fulfillment about depopulating Africa in animated form? Think about it. They wouldn’t try it with Europe or America. Even if they do have furry characters (don’t lie. furries love The Lion King and you all know this. Also, how come that movie doesn’t get called a furry film with all the anthropomorphic stuff in it?), they make them upright, clothed and human-like in attitude like Zootopia or DuckTales for example. Are they insinuating that Africa should just be one giant savanna or natural utopia without the humans who would live in that part of the world? If not, then they’ll show it as one big piece of poverty porn and/or a giant war zone. It’s as if the animals are treated with dignity if something happens to them than the humans who live there. Cecil the lion? I rest my case. Screw stereotypes. Those furries and their sick fantasies can go away.

Those are some of my main points that have angered me. Disney needs a moral overhaul. Was it enough to steal from a 60s Japanese anime and from millions of Swahili-speaking Africans by trademarking “Hakuna Matata”? I could go on about the plot holes such as the Nala incest theory, how much that movie ripped off Kimba, how heredity monarchy is not always a good thing, how that movie isn’t that deep/meaningful, or how The Lion King or it’s fanbase avoids being called furries when other movies get labeled as such, but I think you get the point. Even I’ve had enough from defenders of this movie franchise and for people trying to shame me not liking that film, let alone bullying me for my ethnic background or even what media I like. You’re only proving me right that way. It sickens me how there’s that remake coming out (it’s not live action, people. it’s just realistic looking CGI) and for people making fun of me for not liking it anymore. You all have no right to moralize to me especially with all the things that have happened in American history let alone what happened to the African diaspora. I’m not saying you’re automatically evil if you’re White since that would be very stupid of me to insinuate that of one’s skin color. Spare me from your attempts of putting words in my mouth or for strawmanning my arguments. What I am saying is that you shouldn’t take movies at face value and assume everything is innocent just because it’s family-friendly from a content standpoint. For one, I’ve become offended the more I’ve learned about history, part of my culture, and with storytelling techniques. I’m sick and tired of being a scapegoat because of the color of my skin and my heritage. I would never even imagine doing the things done to my ancestors to anyone regardless of race. Not everyone is going to like what I typed, nor am I begging people to like it.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to listen to real artists from the continent instead of that artificial crap from Hans Zimmer and Elton John.

All images and videos are property of their respective owners and used under US “Fair Use” laws.

The fan art is property of WhiteLionWarrior at DeviantArt.

Kimba is property of Kimba the White Lion and Tezuka Productions.

Simba is property of The Lion King and Disney.

Creativity is tough and other ailments

Been a while since I did an opinion piece that wasn’t reliant on news stories. Sure, I talked about fandom hypocrisy or how wanting originality makes me a bad guy to some people’s eyes, but I will talk about something else.

As Ospreyshire, I haven’t been active in poetry or recording my spoken word projects as much as I would like. While I will record something which I can’t talk about what, it is rough for me as I’m so uninspired to come up with another EP or possibly a full-length album. I thought I would’ve done so much more, but work, other creative projects, and other life events took more priority in my life.

I’m not going to say it’s all bad creatively since I’ve been on a literary grind and I’m stoked to try Camp NaNoWriMo which I haven’t done in 2 years. I just released 6 books which I feel happy about.

Now let’s get to the bad news.

I’ve become so disillusioned with so many things. I won’t go into the more personal details of my life, but there are many things that cause me so much frustration. Some of the news stories I’ve talked about recently have angered me to know end. While I’m glad people are being exposed and some individuals are speaking out against it, I wonder if this could cause a domino effect for justice to reign. A different aspect involves people’s general apathy to the world around them. I don’t want to sound like an SJW, but I feel like so many people don’t care or secretly agree with the bad things happening around them just so they can stay secure. It’s also caused me to enjoy things less such as most movies and anime. No offense to my fellow bloggers who cover those topics since this isn’t about you, but it is hard for me to ignore tragedies or researching things I wasn’t taught back when I was in school. Look, I’m not a moral guardian or some perfect person. Let me get that straight. Maybe it’s a mix of getting older, more jaded, and becoming more aware of the world around me that’s causing me to fall away from certain things.

We’ll see what the future holds…

So I’m neat? I was nominated to get the Real Neat Blog Award!

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It has been quite a while since I was tagged in any posts of this kind, but I still appreciate it. I was nominated for the Real Neat Blog Award. The person responsible for nominating me is Scott from Mechanical Anime Reviews. Thank you very much, Scott!

The Rules:

1) Display the logo
2) Thank the blogger for the award
3) Answer the questions the one who has nominated you
4) Nominate 7-10 bloggers
5) Ask them 7 questions

Here are the questions I have to ask from Scott.

1. What is your favorite spaceship design from anywhere?

That’s a tough question. I guess some of the most unique spaceship designs would be the grappler ships from Outlaw Star. Say what you will about that anime, but I thought that was a creative concept of spaceships with robotic arms that can fight in close-combat.

2. What is your favorite comic book movie right now?

I’m not the best person to ask given my tendency to shy away from so many mainstream movies. The last comic book movie I saw was Black Panther last year. Wow, time really flies by.

3. Who is your least favorite anime character?

Most likely Kumiko from Debutante Detective Corps. She’s almost like protagonist centered morality incarnate. Anyone who tells me that Akiyuki Shinbo can do no wrong obviously hasn’t watched that crappy anime.

4. What is your favorite anime this season or if you don’t follow seasonal anime, what is one of your favorite anime?

I haven’t seen any new anime this year so far. Some of you anibloggers already know this about me, but my favorite anime series is Haibane Renmei.

5. How do you feel about Avatar: The Last Airbender?

I have only seen bits and pieces, so I don’t have much of an opinion on that matter.

6. If a wood chuck could chuck wood, what is your favorite fictional forests or woods in fiction?

That’s a clever question. Haha! I guess my favorite forests or woods in fiction would be something from Mushishi. I can’t think of too many at the moment, but some may come to me after this post.

7. What were you doing before you worked on this blogger award entry that I tagged you in?

Nothing too exciting, but I wrote and scheduled some reviews for my other blog Iridium Eye. I won’t say which ones, but they involve an Argentinean film, an obscure anime ONA, and a two-episode anime that got the remake treatment recently. You’ll see those reviews in March.

My nominations will be as follows:
1. Ameithyst
2. Xena
3. Dr. Y.
4. Lumi
5. Moyatori
6. Scottie
7.  Terrance A. Crow

Here are my questions for those who were nominated.

1. What three places on Earth would you like to visit that you’ve never been to before?
2. What is your favorite poem?
3. Who do you think is the most underrated musician or band in your opinion?
4. If you could enact one law in your home country, what would it be and why?
5. How do you feel about plagiarism controversies in regards to media (film, TV, art, literature, etc.)?
6. If you could have any superpower, what would it be and how would you use it?
7. How are you creative and in what way?