Secretary Arne Duncan and comedian Stephen Colbert, both of whose job I would do so much better at, but I'll stick to teaching anyways

How I Might Have Intro’d The Bammy Awards

Jose Vilson Jose 1 Comment

There’s been lots of talk about this past Saturday’s Bammy Awards. I’ve written a bunch on diversity at the Bammys and even the executive producer left a comment here after our feisty discussion. However, I’ve kept mute during and after the Bammy Awards, letting others report out. As with any awards show, there were lots of bright spots and dim spots, almost all of them from people who actually attended. …

Jay-Z Smoking, Possibly a Cuban

Short Notes: Y’All Gone Learn Today [Open Letter]

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Last week, I wrote an open letter to educators in general, but specifically education activists, vested parties, and anyone interested in the workings of this circle. While the letter was met with plenty of praise, it had a few detractors, primarily from those who misunderstood the intent of the letter. After a close reading and re-reading, I stand by the original letter, but shortly thereafter, I wrote a shorter version …

How To Move In A Room Full of Vultures [On Jay-Z, Sabrina Stevens and Child Advocacy]

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I do this for my culture To let them know what a n***a look like when a n***a in a Roadster Show them how to move in a room full of vultures Industry is shady, it needs to be taken over Label owners hate me, I’m raising the status quo up … – Jay-Z, “Izzo (H.O.V.A) When Sabrina Stevens first sent me this video, I cursed in two languages. First, …

AP: Jay-Z Signs Math Educator Jovan Miles to Roc Nation

Jose Vilson Jose 1 Comment

Somewhere in the future … For the casual music fans, it’s easy to see why one might get confused looking at the initial Roc Nation artists. Jay-Z. J-Cole. Jay Electronica. The trifecta of J’s (and Willow Smith) have had their share of success either from the underground circuit to the international stage (in varying degrees). Yet, none of them have what the latest “J” has: the attention of classrooms for …

Short Notes: Romney Flips The Big Bird

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A few notes: Here are a few reasons why we should save PBS. Like you need any more. [Explore] Do we still expect our favorite writers to be nice people? Or as complex as their writing? Case in point: David Foster Wallace. [New York Times] Harlem schools are seeing a high turnover rate. Beth Fertig explores. [Schoolbook] Christina Lewis Halpern notices the shift between Jay-Z the entertainer and Jay-Z the …

Short Notes: “If This Is A Problem, Get The F**k Out Of The Classroom”

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A few notes: Michael Doyle: “If you want to teach children, you have to know them. If this is a problem, get the f**k out of the classroom.” [Science teacher] Elianne Ramos (of LATISM fame) is nominated for Yahoo!’s “Women Who Shine.” Go vote. [Yahoo!] Big Daddy Kane joins Jay-Z at the Barclays Center. As I said, “Amazeballs.” [Rap Radar] Kids in a NYC public school were stuck watching Shrek …

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No Church In The Wild

Jose Vilson Jose 1 Comment

Last week, Kanye West and Jay-Z premiered their video for “No Church In The Wild,” their incendiary song about rebellion in the forms of ideas and laws. Watching the video, one gets remnants of the protests happening from Wall Street and Portland to Italy and China. Activists once again get a morsel of thought from The Throne, vividly depicting open anarchy versus totalitarian rule. Just one problem: there were no …

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I Went Through Hell, So I’m Expecting Heaven [On Speaking Up Again]

Jose Vilson Jose 1 Comment

Colleague Carrie Kamm commented on my last post with this: “Something prompted this blog post from you. I am sure these thoughts and ideas have dwelled within you, but I’d love to know what you observed, heard, or felt that made you need to write this post this week. For me, reading Lisa Delpit’s latest book has brought many of these same sentiments to the surface for me in a …

Jay-Z's "Decoded"

Such Dummies, or Why I Didn’t Have To Decode Jay-Z Like Y’all Did

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I finally got around to reading Jay-Z’s Decoded after reading Kevin Nealon’s voyage towards fatherhood in Yes, You’re Pregnant, But What About Me? Rather than examining the contrasts of my literary interests, I prefer we discuss the last month of controversy I may or may not have sparked on the Interwebs with certain pieces I’ve written about the former (here, here, and here). Let me be clear: I usually don’t …

Educate So Hard, Michael Bloomberg Wanna Fine Me [Education Week]

Jose Vilson Guest Posts, Mr. Vilson

Excerpt: As in any other subculture, rap aficionados argue about which rapper has produced the most impressive output. Jay-Z has cited Nas, The Notorious B.I.G., and 2Pac as “greats”—and his career is often compared with theirs. The Notorious B.I.G. and 2Pac met untimely deaths in 1997, so comparisons are limited. But Nas’ “Illmatic” is considered one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time. Few hip-hop fans believe any of …