29 January 2014

Habla Ifa, On NonViolence: Avonte Oquendo and Oshun's East River Speak - Part IV

*originally posted by Jadele McPherson, a writer, performer and activist whom I'm proud to call my sister. Reposted with permission and slight edits by myself

Part IV: Oquendo in Da River Lord: Oshun, Mori Yeye O, Medicine, Mirror and Healer

Oshun is sweet yet she is terrifying, the rivers waters are often murky and hide exotic creatures altered by human toxic wastes and other mutations our collective lifestyles cause, poisoning the very natural entities that sustain us. Like grandma used to say "So smart to be so stupid". I cry for Avonte Oquendo today and the countless others who have been washed away limb by limb, piece by piece unaccounted for, and I praise and lift up his family in this time for not allowing him to go unnoticed. I hope we can stand to look at this broken mirror of our education system to be accountable in letting our institutions deteriorate to this level. 

Most of all I hope the swiftness of her waves do not stop us in dreaming of a better world, of a better place for those we are creating when we go away from this crazy violent mess of America. I hope we do not curl in our comfort of suburban homes and well off communities that are "safe" and find the ways to exist in multiple spaces. As we gain access to the forbidden fruits that we keep close pace with the strife of the ghettos even for those who did not grow up there, it is okay to be middle class and grow up with the privileges still denied to so many black children - but to ignore one another because "I did the work," and "you did not" is just no longer acceptable.

How can we create alumni associations that do not mirror those of whites, only commemorating holidays and reunions; how do we create orgs that look like we do, though after we leave elite spaces for the professional world we are riddled with tests our white peers do not have to pass? Can we play Earth, Wind and Fire and James Brown at our college reunions to stir our most creative talents that required us to be better than all the whites that we had to pretend we were equal with in those walls of elistist education some 50+ years after Brown v. Board of Ed? How do we agitate to promote the legacy of non-violence in a world of stop and frisk, Trayvon Martin and Avonte Oquendo? A world in where if you are young and black your life is shot down at 19 or run down to the river in fear and terror when you supposed to be taking notes from a Smartboard. How do we clear the chaos with enough anger to fuel us to bind together, but not too much that it consumes us and drives us crazy? How do we love one another unconditionally to the point where it changes our lives and our lifestyles, where others children are our children and white children do hold the hands of black children, where all of Gods children are bound by Let Freedom Ring to continue drowning out the racists of Alabama and Mississippi Godd@!% How do we remix that message with the innovation we've carried from rumba to hip-hop to dare to care enough for one another that we don't care if we lose $250 of pay because we are worth more? Yes. I have more than a dream.

Ay Sea Santisimo, I have a vision, a divine glimpse of an exercise room and no fences around my school's courtyard, with courses on the connections between West African to Hip-Hop Dance and Afro-Latino history is taught trilingually with all students passing their classes. Where not just white Waldorf children are greeted with a "Hi, welcome today Johnny" but where instead of metal detectors, hot cafe con leche y pastelitos de guyaba y queso are warm and ready for my 2nd and 3rd period class as students barge through the doors practically breaking them down to learn, to seek truth, to seek faith to love we educators as much as they love their own beautiful golden brown to milk chocolate and black pearl complexions. A dream of telling the history of our peoples survival, where every hand shoots up when I ask "How long did the Transatlantic Slave Trade last?" and "What was the last country that abolished slavery?" And we eat lunch in our solar powered, organic food growing, rooftop garden and grocery store, where all owners are black folks and Dominican folks and Boricua, Nigerian, Panamanian, Honduran babies, beautiful children of light, well nourished and listos pa la batalla, understanding how we are one despite our nuances and differences, I have a vision that I know will not fail me, it did not fail my bis bis abuela when I walked through the gates of many buildings that I was never supposed to step foot in from Harvard to Broadway theaters, and yet here I am, well fed and a little overweight, bright and brilliant in love and truth, machete en la mano just like the maroons who birthed me. 

I am the Dream, and I dare you to try and prove me wrong, my truth sings free 200 years from now and I know how to swoop down and see it all in pure spirit from the secrets running through this blood while the rest of y'all stuck in boxes 6 feet under. Can't nobody oppress me enough to own my spirit and so for freedom I'm patient, yeah, patiently I'll wait. And I thank my students for being the ones to break this news to me, you all give me so much hope.

Y.E.A.H. (Young, Educated, {of} African Heritage)
For Avonte and our youth, in love and solidarity

Thank you to my sister Jadele for allowing me to repost her words. It's a strong testament both to Avonte's life and to our spirit as a community of African heritage. Ashe. 

28 January 2014

Habla Ifa, On NonViolence: Avonte Oquendo and Oshun's East River Speak - Part III

*originally posted by Jadele McPherson, a writer, performer and activist whom I'm proud to call my sister. Reposted with permission and slight edits by myself

Part III: The Rotten Apple of Elitism: A Divided America

Accountability. Genuine, means we can start with ourselves first, then them later. We know they ain't gonna report what happened,  they aint gonna tell the truth, they don't give a godd*&m, but when we start to do the same, we in trouble. Those of us fighting the good fight that is, pro-humanity. We come in all shapes and sizes, all professions, all backgrounds all ways of life, and we do exist. We ain't dead yet. So as Eyiboge tells us "Mientras hay vidas, hay esperanza" (Nope, I aint translatin', google it you overeducated fools that I care deeply about).

Just as in Trayvon's case, every person of color is Avonte Oquendo. For those privileged enough, myself of course included, to have attended elite {read: white} institutions of higher education, we have more responsibility to those of us who did not make it, regardless of our profession, to every student of color in this nation. Despite our debt and our traumatic experiences, for which there is healing, if you have not stepped foot in a public school in a black and/or Latino neighborhood recently you are committing a grave crime, a grave error. We need all of you, your talents and your voices, your stories -- our children need your touch and your embraces, they need to know your name and how you survive through all of this craziness so that they too can hop in a dream. None of us are Yaled or Andover or Exetered or Nightengaled or Latin Schooled or Wesleyed or Williamsed or Oberlined or Smithed or Harvarded enough to escape this social service.

For every one of us who attended such places, 100 people from the 'hood could have gone in our places-- not all would have the community in place to actually graduate, but certainly the raw talent and intelligence. You see we, black and/or Latina/o people and progressive whites in Generation X or Y or Z, have bitten the poisoned apple of success and elitism. We are Social Darwinists and Capitalists to the core, vacationing in the Hamptons, drinking Scotch and relishing in our social circles of privilege without extending those opportunities even to others in our same graduation class. That's not my responsibility...is it? The vast majority of people of color graduate to uphold a dangerous system of tokenism in this country from law to politics, to President to Orchestras to media to education and the arts to finance. 

The rest of us who give a damn argue each other down without a care about this person's approach and this school of thought and this argument, don't tell me you practice holistic community in every step of your politics, radical folks. I have experienced our wrath and have been guilty by the same token. No idea is good enough for us, we circle ourselves in our ideas so much, we.forget.to.truly.act. And what's worst we chastise those who do not share our radical fire, isolating the multiplicity that is our community.

{Sidenote: And this modern day self-righteousness that I see among artists and "community activists" can be checked by action. Who outside of your fellow pillars of similar ideas have you affected, and what have you done? All the books in the world don't mean anything unless we can create action and community that has witnessed y/our continuous transformation and radical ideas put into projects, that work.} 

Well, we can't save everyone Jadele, we can't save the world. WHAT?! You mean to tell me the top 10% of black graduates of elite boarding schools and let's say top 100 colleges and universities in the nation, plus top graduating classes of HBCUs together, cannot radically transform our educational system in America, but sharecroppers could? We must have forgotten the blood shed for us to walk through those shiny black gates, or is it Sallie Mae who troubles us? We all have debt (well, some don't) and busy lives, we all have fears and dreams to work for every single day. No one is talking about what is impossible or unhealthy, we are talking about reality, what a summer volunteering at a public school for those of you who now make $100,000+ a year could do for a young person is as the commercial says = priceless. Speaking of advertising what about an effective media campaign about education equality for all my ad/marketing buffs, or is your dollar earned from the multi-million corporations you serve enough for you? Not enough time after work you say, give it 265 days of Happy Hours and see what you come up with? Jeez. I mean it comes down to time, focus and creativity with the resources at hand, our ancestors created more with much less, and now that we have the world at our fingertips, we're handicapped by brilliance and technology. Unreal.

How dare you leave us measly salaried PhD and artists with the burden of social change. Who exempted you from a life of service? See it is not just whites who perpetuate the myth of a post-racial society, it is a whole lot of us "people of color". We better get it right. Today's radical warriors are as diverse as King imagined them to be and we have to create that sophisticated multicultural, LGBTQ narrative while pursuing an apologetic black politic. Si, se puede.

27 January 2014

Habla Ifa, On NonViolence: Avonte Oquendo and Oshun's East River Speak - Part II

*originally posted by Jadele McPherson, a writer, performer and activist whom I'm proud to call my sister. Reposted with permission and slight edits by myself

Part II: Oct.4th Orunmila's Day: Oquendo's Run 

Chills ran through me as I saw the footage, sure lil' Avonte was autistic, but those of us who work at the pulse of education and social justice, those of us who work with young people know that run, especially we of African descent. Ohh-keen-dooo, a young Latino brother, a young black man taking flight. Oquendo is the embodiment of our Latino and Afro-Latino, African-American crossroads in America. Running from dogs, running from the po-lice, running for freedom, running, running, can't stop, running away, can't keep running awayyyyyyy.

We don't have to be there, we don't need the exact details we watch the same story over and over on the news and in our lives. Inside every black and Latino person in America, those conscious Southeast Asian sisters and brothers sometimes "mistaken" for "us" black folks, multi-generation Middle Eastern, and other communities of color that now know y'all ain't gonna have the luck of the Irish or Italians to "assimilate" into whiteness in a generation or two (although you try, real hard), except for some of you (we come back to that when dealing w/ elitism among POCs and our increasing lack of responsibility to one another) --ALL of us awake here in Amerikkka have that meter of historical embodied fright. That brother was running for his LIFE.

October 4th is a high holiday for practitioners of regla ocha, it is the day for recognizing priests of Ifa, our most comprehensive divination system which warns us about national disasters to illnesses. It guides us through life's most treasured and tragic moments. That Oquendo ran to the river, we will never truly know, but we do know Ifa and Oshun's magical pact. It is said these divine energies ward away death and the negativity of the most potent kind. What set Oquendo to move with a quickness could have been anything from sharp words from a tired administrator to a shocking noise. What we do know, is that students are not safe in our schools. Those of us who work daily in our public schools know in our core that 99% of those students are not physically or mentally safe.

To think about non-violence just a week after a student bought a gun to one of the school's I work in affirmed my life's work and dedication to youth, as exhausting as it truly is. I asked my students to ponder Dr. King's non-violence legacy today and was met with "Yeah Miss that ain't possible." Expecting this, since I've been in this game for a minute from the Chi to the South Bronx, we checkered our way through possible actions we could take against the DOE to transform our entire school into one that mirrors the safe space we have been building with one another. One that elevates us for our class period out of the building, with everything from hip-hop to son bearing our backdrops to the street pedagogy we infuse into our lessons. Our classes are always about life and death, not just to catch up in credits and graduation rates but to mirror the reality that my young people confront daily. And they are sad, depressed, drained, lethargic, sick, hopeless and apathetic from existing in a system that hates them and tells them through its disorganization everyday that they are not worthy of a decent education.

It is this institution that infuriates me the most in America, the audacity of a system to so blatantly privilege some over others, after our social justice organizing for integration in the 1950s, this is what we are met with. And some want to reach back the hands of time, but brothers and sisters that is not possible, we never have to despair so much that we idealize legalized segregation enforced by the daily terror against blacks that has always been America. We can dare to dream of a multicultural school system that provides great education AND pays school administrators and teachers more than a lawyer. We can dream in what seems impossible, and not put all of our stock in Andovers and Browns because as my father rose up in Kemper Auditorium at Phillips Andover to say to a fundraising panel in 2009 "We ... were brought here ... in chains". 

King and the Little Rock 9 and all of our peoples them who attended public schools in America give us the right to dream this dream.

We must not feel pressured by the false promise of success. For every dollar we continue giving to multi-million endowments, we drive Avonte Oquendo through the doors of a school that does not want him or any of us there. We drive us into the drowning of the river, where peace and silence comfort our soul in death after the panic.

Because we no longer know who is caring for our children and we live in a nation where most national tragedies involve youth and/or our schools, across race and class (as we are seeing more and more from Virginia Tech to Newtown) it lets us know violence against our youth is no longer just a "black folks problem" due to the "unfortunate" realities of the "inner-city". Todays schools keep attesting to the SICKNESS that is America that we allow to penetrate our crumbling institutions falling under the excuse that there's always evil in the world. It's really simple where we can start to effect change before politics and policies, we must look within.

We have become too preoccupied with busy work to stop to care for one another, there's no time to give a stranger a hug much less a loved one; we schedule everything to keep in time with the beast and our human sentiment which requires no words to tell when another is hurting is becoming duller and more sterile. Because education issues in "underprivileged communities" are for THOSE people to deal with and are not my worry because they don't have anything to do with MY field/life/reality. Ha. The myth of the individual strikes again.

No matter how conscious, all of us living in America are guilty of the above, we ain't saints and don't need to be, but doing the wrong thing is just too contagious. And I think to focus all on the ills of system and oppressive forces is sometimes misleading in that it becomes just as draining as fighting them, because we despair easily and create theories about how we can react to their wrongdoings. This enables us to continually erase our full power over ourselves and our communities no matter how skewed the fight, we can never lose, the power is always in we, the people. But you can't get there focusing on no we, them, us, they, can't, too powerful, ya dig. 

We's done forgotten how to get back to da' WE. Ya heard?! 2014, {Es}'cuchen bien.

I fear I may have integrated my people into a burning house - Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Part 1 | Part 2Part 3 | Part 4 

23 January 2014

Habla Ifa, On NonViolence: Avonte Oquendo and Oshun's East River Speak - Part I

*originally posted by Jadele McPherson, a writer, performer and activist whom I'm proud to call my sister. Reposted with permission and slight edits by myself

Part I: Moyuba. Invocation.

Chills come over me when I hear the news. They are pulling him out of the river, limb by limb. Indeed, it is Avonte Oquendo. Ibae bayen tonu. Despair and grief never rocked my 20 to 30 something peers so much, in the thralls of beginning our own families and burying relatives young in their cause and others whose transitions leave us in awe of their breadth of work. Eyiogbe a divination sign in Ifa/regla ocha (aka SanterĂ­a) "speaks" of elders and people of great position transitioning to pure spirit; we lived this energy in the year 2011 as well, though this year the sign comes to us with Olokun and Yemaya as the reigning "deities" or orishas of the year. This sign of the year is divined by Ifa priests in Cuba and the U.S. and gives warnings, precautions and advice for initiates and followers of Regla de Ocha to observe throughout the year. 

Olokun Yemaya representing the oceans down into their depths a metaphor for searching for understanding in the mysteries etched into this planet.

This news, of finally finding Avonte Oquendo's fate today 1/21/14, the young 14 year old who went missing from his school on October 4th 2013, whose remains began to surface yesterday after a young photographer saw a left arm bubble to the top of New York's East River waters-- like many other tragedies are difficult for many to understand, and like many times I've written to share a Lukumi lens which helps us to open possibilities that are hard to read upon our eye's first glance. The Earth and God always speak to us through mystery and in life we know we are not here to make sense of everything we experience. From atheism to "mono"theism to indigenous practices we find reasoning, yet as science and intellectual rigor drive our fast paced technological world we are becoming societies no one's God will want to claim.

To receive the news after nationally honoring Martin Luther King's legacy seems no small coincidence to me as we collectively ponder the legacy of non-violence and social movements, many have asked "How far have we come?" "Does non-violence play a role in our lives today?" These questions are there yes, but ones I don't spend much time racking my head with. We are after all living legacies, blood relatives of those who created those changes and by nature's accord represent legacy and progress in our mere existence.

Today we segregate ourselves, by great luxury and privilege granted by the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements that empower all people of color, by those who engage in social justice work and those who do not. And I have felt this is silly for much of my 20s when long after graduation fellow classmates of color took paths in finance or law or business or "unrelated fields" to the academic and artistic paths that have become synonymous with activist work. As if. There is a choice now, while no other black generation had a choice, sure how radical or what your politics were were choices, but that things must change not for a few of us, was simply put on the table. How quickly things change.

Just like in college, now most radical commentary and discourse seems to focus on calling out instances of white supremacy and of the establishment oppressing those of African descent and the institutional mess that is America. We focus too much on oppressors today. We give them so much energy it consumes the best of us and we do not study our indigenous incantations or herbal remedies that can refuel an entire village if performed correctly. Those engaged with regla ocha and African religious practices are incredibly segregated and many of us waste our rituals and secrets battling online about ritual protocol and bashing each others reputations. Those actually engaged in social justice work have somehow become a minority in our community, and yet others who work to dismantle institutional "-isms" that negatively affect communities of color are then too tired to throw a tambor and simply don't have enough time to help every person who may have read their book or know who they are. 

The reality is that we are drained and we are too few. Many warriors and thinkers of the previous generations are going home, so sick and tired, but not without hope and their magic they've left to incite us all, while others of us fill our bodies with toxic foods and air, when to think about food justice and exercise just seems like another "task" rather than a practical, holistic approach to life. I, myself, often wonder, 'how in the hell will I have time for myself in such a worldhow will I find balance in a system that perpetuates exhaustion in us all?' Running a theater arts collective, writing, producing community projects and developing as a healer and artist take up most of my spare time but nonetheless I often get texts from loved friends letting me know I am selfish or from those seeking spiritual help in regla de ocha frustrated at my rescheduling or others upset because I have missed their shows. It ain't easy being a 2014 professional-daughter-lover-friend-healer-revolutionary-artist-black-woman. Ay Dios amparame.

Time and time again I have had to say Maferefun Eggun, Maferefun Obatalá. Prayer is strong but if it were not for the secrets of our indigenous Yoruba knowledge fostered through this Afro-Cuban system of healing, I would either be brainwashed or so sick and bitter I can't even ponder that path. Then I have the nerve to be an akpon, a ritual singer who's job is to clean others bullcrap with my voice and incantations, such a beautiful path yet met with resistance at every turn. I have handled the adversity with grace by the light of the lives of my ancestors, they are stronger than most living people I encounter, and for that I am very grateful. After all, I've made my choice. Holistic spiritual self is the only armor I can fathom for this life, and while money comes and goes and I don't have a single career path, I forge magical in-between spaces. Ahi na' ma.

But how can we move through the grey together? How do we provide holistic living to our people in such demanding times and how do we keep motivating one another to carry the torch to create a more just society as each previous generation has done whole-heartledly and selflessly? Si se puede.

We need classes in basic spiritual baths free of charge, and organic produce in our schools and work places, we need live music on our lunch breaks and rooftop garden breaks to disrupt 12-14 hour days. We need 6 weeks of vacation minimum per year, and free quality university education, we need free health and exercise clinics alongside rehab and detox ones in the 'hood; we need poetry, dance, song and required racial equality courses at every level of our educational and professional lives - and yoga and reiki for our bodies and spirits, and of course being the Afrodescendants we are, a good tambor on the weekends to lift us in our purpose.

And we need our schools to stop being graveyards and pre-incarceration training grounds.

Part II will be posted Monday at 10 a.m. PST

19 January 2014


After seeing Her, I'm really impressed by Spike Jonze's ability to craft a screenplay. By the end of the film the idea of Joaquin Phoenix's Theodore falling in love with his operating system, Samantha (played by Scarlett Johannssen who is phenomenal in this vocal role) doesn't seem too far-fetched. In fact, Jonze's near future seems like the next step in our technological future. What was disturbing about the near future (besides the incredibly high crotch pants that all the men were sporting) was the complete lack of people of color in Spike Jonze's universe. And I wasn't the only one to notice.

Other than one close up on a Black breakdancer, there were virtually no people of color in this universe. Chris Pratt's character dates an Asian woman. She was the only PoC with lines. Everyone else was near invisible. At one point during a child's birthday party scene, there were some children of color running around the lawn but there were no adults of color to go with them. So I guess in Spike Jonze's future, people of color are breeding children for white couples to raise.

I'm sure the screenplay didn't read: "Ext. DAY: Theodore walks down street full of white people." but considering that Jonze also directed the film, I find it curious that a sea of white people in "future" downtown L.A. didn't look a bit off to him. Overall, the film accurately captures, the ups and downs of a relationship. The honeymoon phase, the growing together and the growing apart but if our near future is devoid of color, I think we have a lot more to worry about than falling in love with our computers.

16 January 2014

3 Reasons We Should've Known How the Golden Globes Were Going to Go Down

Despite years of evidence to the contrary, people of color went into this year's Golden Globes with excitement and hopeful hearts. This is the year of Black film after all, with movies like 12 Years A Slave receiving critical accolades and even The Best Man Holiday managed to come in second only to Thor 2 in theaters even with its "race themes". So imagine the collective outrage when we watched stellar performances by Lupita Nyong'o and Chiwetel Ejiofor go unrecognized. Or watching in dismay as Steve McQueen was overlooked for his direction and John Ridley for his writing. It was disheartening but luckily folks did not walk away with heavy hearts and the media has been forced to take note of the lack of diversity in both the films and the Hollywood Foreign Press. Still hindsight is 20/20 and there were signs about how this was going to go down:

1.  The best television nominees: Both Andy Samberg and Taylor Schilling were nominated for Golden Globes for their roles on Brooklyn Nine Nine and Orange is the New Black, respectively. This was a big deal as Brooklyn Nine Nine is a relatively new and unknown show and Orange is a Netflix original so it does not have a major network backing it. Furthermore, both shows feature ethnically diverse casts. So that was our first sign. Despite the fact that both shows have received praise for their largely PoC casts, none of those actors were nominated for supporting actor Golden Globes. Arguably, Orange's most memorable characters are Uzo Aduba's Crazy Eyes and Laverne Cox (a trans woman of color) as Sophia Burset. Yet only Schilling was nominated. Even creator Jenji Kohan has been outspoken about wanting Orange is the New Black to be about the Black and Latina women of the prison but knowing that the show would not sell to the industry without a White lead. 

2. Chiwetel & Idris being nominated: I was elated (elated!) to see that both Idris Elba and Chiwetel Ejiofor were both nominated for best actor in the film and television category. Having seen Mandela! and 12 Years A Slave as well as the actors' turns in Luther and Dancing on the Edge, I thought, "Yes! The Hollywood Foreign Press gets it." I figured Chiwetel would win for film and Idris for television because who could deny Idris' morally ambiguous John Luther (the HFPA and Emmys ate it up for years with Hugh Laurie as House) and Chiwetel was a revelation as Solomon Northup. All tied up, easy peasy. But of course they were never going to win. Either their performances would split the vote or they were thrown up there as symbols, either way it was a bone we too easily reached for. 

3. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association: The past year has been marked by some injection of diversity into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences so people have been looking to this year's Oscars and the Golden Globes to show those changes in both the selection and the recipients of these awards. But the HFPA is a much smaller pool. It's comprised of about 90 members and although a bit more diverse in its ranks, it's members are still largely from Europe and also male. Unlike American Hustle, there was nothing sexy about 12 Years' sex scene where Michael Fassbender rapes Lupita Nyong'o in a scene that feels never-ending. And there's something truly groundbreaking about Steve McQueen's decision as a director to never turn away from that brutality. 

At the end of the day, no one is saying that Golden Globes or Oscars or any awards should be given to people of color because they are minorities or because of some perverse affirmative action. What we are saying is that it is 2014 and the gatekeepers are still White and male. The oppurtunities go to those who are mainly White and/or male. And as Rowan Pope said this season on Scandal, we still have to work twice as hard to get half of what actors get. I know acting is subjective. I was moved by Michael B. Jordan's portrayal of Oscar Grant and Naomie Harris' Winnie Mandela as well as Adele Exarchopoulos in Blue is the Warmest Color and none of those actors were even nominated but it's more likely that Adele or Jennifer Lawrence will be at the Golden Globes next year (whether they are nominated or not) because they are what we think of when we think of Hollywood, beautiful, White starlets. And despite an audience that is clamoring for diversity and big numbers for television shows and films that are providing that, at the end of the day the industry is still lagging behind. As Alfre Woodard said, 
You know when we'll know things have changed? You know that brilliant, stunningly beautiful and poised Lupita Nyong'o? 12 Years A Slave is an incredible launch to a career. And this is her first thing. We will see if [as opposed to] another brilliant actress Jennifer Lawrence, we'll see the trajectory of [Lupita's] career path and what she's offered after that. Then we'll know whether things have changed or if Lupita is consigned to playing a second banana ensemble person for the next ten years. 
So far Alfre's words seem like an omen. The ball's in your court Hollywood.