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!

So I’ve been on a jazz kick recently…Here’s Stanley Clarke.


I used to listen to some jazz when I was a kid mainly because my mom would usually have the jazz station on (RIP WNUA 95.5) whenever she would drive me somewhere. I had a long hiatus of sorts during my teens as I listened to a bunch of indie rock, metal, J-pop and punk during my teens and early college years. My tastes have certainly changed since then as I’ve been getting into avant-garde stuff, African music, funk and back into jazz.

I’ve been listening to the classics and more modern stuff with composers, bands, and organ trios of all things.

Wow was I not aware of Stanley Clarke back then?

I randomly looked for bass solos on YouTube and found this video of this legendary bass player just tearing it up with an upright bass. This blew my mind and I listened to some of his discography and his superband SMV with Marcus Miller and Victor Wooten.

It’s been awesome getting into jazz again. Maybe I can improve as a musician to play some of that kind of music.

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.

Lisa Cabrera tells like it is: A More Diverse America Is Safer Too

[WARNING: Video contains strong language]

I was checking out this news commentary from YouTuber Lisa Cabrera and I just had to share it on my blog. This destroys so many lies in the mainstream media. When New York’s police department didn’t police the black communities as much, crime actually went DOWN!

But wait, mainstream media says black and brown communities do all the crime and need to be locked up or gunned down, right?

WRONG!

This is awesome news and it proves me right how so many of these unjust cases involve escalated situations, fabricated stories, false accusations, and trying to feed into the prison-industrial complex. How is it that most nonwhite prisoners are there for nonviolent offenses like drug possession (assuming if they did it)? This only proves how unjust the American justice system is and how it’s color coded. Would they profile and brutalize the Caucasian communities especially if they’re in affluent areas? I don’t think so. Lisa also brought up great parallels with Black Wall Street and Rosewood with how they were wealthy black neighborhoods that had negligible crime at best.

Seriously, screw bigotry. I want there to be equal justice.

Video courtesy of Lisa Cabrera.

“Accept responsibility for what happened.” My thoughts on a D. L. Hughley video.

I haven’t paid attention to D. L. Hughley since The Hughleys show back in the day. I knew he did some TV work long after that, but I wasn’t familiar with his current show. He made commentary about a New Hampshire politician named Werner Horn who said that “Owning slaves doesn’t make you a racist.”

Let that sentence sink in. This wasn’t a politician from 1819, but from 2019. This Horn ignoramus doubles down by saying that race had nothing to do with slavery, but for business and taking care of one’s family. DO I EVEN NEED TO EXPLAIN HOW STUPID AND FALLACIOUS IT IS?

There are people who are defending the indefensible which greatly disturbs me. If it wasn’t about race, then why did they enslave other White people in America? No, the Transatlantic slave trade was a money maker for so many companies and everyone knows it. No, the White people who did work in the fields (mainly the Irish at the time) weren’t slaves, they were indentured servants which isn’t the same thing, so don’t bring up that false equivalency.

What disturbs me even more is that more people aren’t calling out that Werner Horn devil for his racist and denial-loaded comment. D. L. Hughley brings up great points about that issue in this video.

I had to get this off my chest after discovering this clip.

This video is used under fair use laws and is property of D. L. Hughley and TV One.

The saddest PSA I’ve ever seen in my life.

I’ve heard about this video that’s been making the rounds. I would like to give a shout-out to Jill Dennison for her post on this and related subjects.

Sandy Hook Promised dropped this video which is very timely and relevant since school started not too long ago. I won’t spoil what happens in the video, but let’s say it starts like a normal back-to-school supplies commercial before the content gets EXTREMELY deconstructive and inverted which would be an understatement. I remember seeing that Evan video last year, and this tops that video by far. This is the reality of America where kids have to deal with lockdown drills and by getting bulletproof backpacks or transparent backpacks for school.

Do you see students in Canada, Japan, or even Ethiopia having to worry about this in their day-to-day school lives?

I’m glad this video has been getting lots of attention as it is a mirror on our society in America. I hope the politicians on both political sides of the spectrum see this and do something about these atrocities.

Isn’t it a shame that these politicians would rather have their own children or grandchildren slaughtered than to curb mass shootings?

Korisa’s Significant List Trailer

Some of you may have remembered me mentioning my friend Korisa a while ago. Yesterday, she started a YouTube channel where she’s doing a project called The Significant List. It’s a really cool idea and I want you to hear it from her in this video. I’m stoked that this project is going to be a reality. Also, I did the ukulele music at the end of the video. Seriously, please check out Korisa Madayag’s work.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXg4DuBIS7DeNU-4dVWomQA

https://vimeo.com/kmad