This is why hip-hop icons like LL Cool J tweet positive quotes – by Aberjhani

LL Cool J on cover of March 2013 ESSENCE Magazine         

                    March 2013 cover of ESSENCE Magazine featuring actor and rapper LL Cool J.

“What I’m sowing today, I be reaping tomorrow So here’s some joyful bars, to replace your sorrow.” –LL Cool J (from Old School New School)

It was very difficult not to laugh when reading Robbie Ettelson’s satirical rant, “Being Positive is for Chumps,” in last week’s online Acclaim Magazine, against celebrity rappers for their inspiration-oriented tweets. In fact, I’ll admit it. Even though the sarcastic tirade was based in large part on a quote from The River of Winged Dreams, the subtitle of the piece almost sent me rolling on the floor:


“If Robbie of Unkut comes across one more inspirational tweet from a rapper he’s going to vomit rainbows.”


At the same time, I smiled at the realization that the quotes which apparently have threatened to turn Robbie’s tummy inside out were often, for the rappers who shared them, not just quotes at all. They were testimonials to what it meant to battle the demons that nearly derailed their own lives and which did destroy the lives of some of their peers, relatives, lovers, neighbors, and friends.

Gold and Rainbows

Specifically, Ettelson pointed out in his comical piece tweets from MC Lyte (who is fond of the hashtag #unstoppable), Russell Simmons, and LL Cool J (who is on the March 2013 cover of ESSENCE Magazine). While acknowledging LL Cool J as “the greatest rapper of all time,” he found that title inconsistent with this tweet:

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This is why hip-hop icons like LL Cool J tweet positive quotes – National African-American Art |


The Astonishing Beauty of Art that Begets Art – by Aberjhani

“You were born a child of light’s wonderful secret– you return to the beauty you have always been.” Quotation from the poem “Holiday Letter for a Poet Gone to War” published in the book Visions of a Skylark Dressed in Black by Aberjhani. (Image from Bright Skylark Literary Productions)

One of the greater joys of my endeavors as an author and poet has been an occasional opportunity to compose poems, essays, and articles to supplement the vibrant works of visual artists with my own literary constructions.

That was the case in 2011 when providing panel text for paintings featured in the extremely gifted artist Michele Wood’s I See the Rhythm of Gospel exhibition. Previously, I had been blessed with a similar honor when composing ekphrastic poems for the art of Luther E. Vann in ELEMENTAL The Power of Illuminated Love. And I’ve written any number of essays reviewing the works or chronicling the lives of other contemporary artists such as Allen Fireall (who currently, heartbreakingly, is challenged by the need for a heart transplant), Jerome Meadows, Phil Starks, and Amiri Geuka Farris.

The year 2012 saw this scenario change in some unexpected ways. In recent months, various readers and inspired techno angels have shared with me a variation on the creative process of me producing words to complement the visual brilliance of fellow creators. Demonstrating Zinta Aistar’s observation (in her review of ELEMENTAL) that “art begets art,” they have employed quotations from my works to lend verbal articulation to specific images–– and vice versa. Their application of these quotes seemed a natural development following the increased popularity of social media sites like Pinterest, Twitter, and Tumblr.

It was an astonishing thing––at first––to experience. The reason was not because I had been unaware these inventive mergers were in progress (although in fact I did not know at the time). It was because the end results so often successfully expanded the original conceptions without excluding the original intent. Others provided fresh interpretations that generated new insights into my own work. How often does that happen for a dedicated pen-pusher who refuses to give up his inkwell and yellow legal pads no matter how awesome the latest generation of notebook tablets may be?

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The Astonishing Beauty of Art that Begets Art – Bright Skylark Literary Productions.

By Aberjhani: As Egypt Howls and History Tweets

Egyptian citizens protest social and political conditions in Egypt. (photo by Getty Images)

The quote “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” is a well-known one attributed to the British historian Lord Acton (nineteenth century). What is rarely discussed after someone quotes these words are the different ways that power can and does corrupt.

The assumption is that too much power diminishes an individual’s capacity or inclination to render “good works” on behalf of others. At the same time, it increases his or her capacity or inclination to generate malice in the world.

When watching TV reports and reading Internet posts about Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s attempt to stand down protesters calling for his removal, the 82-year-old does not come across as someone whom power has enticed to consciously wreak havoc in the lives of people he claims to love and serve. Writing from this distance of many miles across the Atlantic Ocean, it seems more as if power has convinced him that he is doing the one most important thing he can do on behalf of his country by struggling to hold on to a position he has occupied for nearly 30 years. But from the images of people weeping, dying, and shouting in the streets of Cairo, Alexandria, Mansoura, and Aswan, it is clear that history is begging—and in many cases tweeting–– to differ.

Chaos or Revolution?
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As Egypt howls and history tweets – National African-American Art |

by Aberjhani
© January 2011

They Came from Cyberspace: Five Twitter Tweets

Birds kinda of a feather all twitter tweeting together. (image courtesy of Freefoto)

Birds kinda of a feather all twitter tweeting together. (image courtesy of Freefoto)

I was very much relieved recently when both Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and actor Johnny Depp admitted to hearing something go “Twitter-Twitter Tweet-Tweet,” like some Vulcan canary singing for its supper out in the depths of cyberspace, but didn’t have the faintest idea what it might be. Their public admission, I felt, placed me in very good company indeed.

“Twitter-Twitter Tweet-Tweet.” Say what?!

Belonging as I do to several progressive social networks, it was inevitable that someone should perch on one of my profiles and chirp about the wonders of Twitter. Many people were, I was told, using it as an extension of their daily texting. Some used it to network with business associates online; some to flirt; and some to avoid missing out on the latest hottest coolest techno trend that came fully equipped with celebrities of every make and model. I followed the link so kindly provided to one Tweeter’s page and then, um, well… In all honesty I just didn’t get it. I mean entire human minds reduced to a few grunts of 140 characters described as “Tweets!” How in the world was the author of a 400-page novel, an encyclopedia, four volumes of poetry, and reams of journalism supposed to reign in his pen with such cruel and unusual editorial punishment?

At least three months passed before I would even consider tweeting on Twitter again. And would you believe I did so because a storm drove hundreds of birds to seek shelter in my neighborhood trees where they chattered, chirped, and pooped all evening until I thought, Hmmm, could this possibly be a sign that I need to re-think my position on that one little blue Twitter-bird in particular? I decided to test the virtual waters–or should I say skies?–and, eventually, concluded that like most staples of modern techno-culture it is what one chooses, and is able, to make of it.

What I am trying to make of Twitter-Tweet culture is an opportunity to further enhance my connection with the global community and to explore creative ways of self expression within parameters established by a guiding force other than my own will. I also enjoy being educated on the different ways others utilize it; as, for instance, a public journal or electronic meeting room. Certainly the U.S. government’s recent request that Twitter postpone its scheduled routine maintenance in order to keep communication flowing between individuals trapped by the upheavals in Tehran and the rest of the world indicates that it, like YouTube and Google, has become one of the principle tools of citizen journalism and possibly democratic empowerment in our time.

So, in honor of Twitter-Tweeters across the globe, the following are five of my very own recent Tweet-Tweets which were employed in the flow of moments during which they made impressively clear sense. Outside of that specific cyber-zone, I’m not so sure what kind of sense they make. But I share them here as part of the world’s ongoing New Millennium enthusiasm for bridging divides, an enthusiasm that I consider one of the brighter lights on the shadowy horizon of humanity’s current historic endeavors.

Twitter-tweet 1) The green and golden winged bird of summer landed last Friday in my back yard. Drank sparkles from the fountain of my amused gaze.

Twitter-tweet 2) Watching on the news heads explode in Tehran when the TV screen cracks and blood gushes across the floor. Know it’s not real but how 2/b sure?

Twitter-tweet 3) Autographed a copy of ELEMENTAL for someone to send with luv to their once-upon-a-time. Thought that was beautiful of them.

Twitter-tweet 4) Poetry buzzes around my head neon bees spit honey-drops of moonlight and synonyms insist I accept the world for what it is even while giving all I can to make it better.

Twitter-tweet 5) The kind folks at Red Room featured my Dream Reachers blog at

by Aberjhani
author of The American Poet Who Went Home Again
and The Bridge of Silver Wings 2009

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