May 31, 2007

Diversity in the IT Workplace Sucks

I have been active with BDPA for many years. BDPA is an association made up of IT professionals of African descent. As such I was disappointed to learn that the diversity within the IT industry over the last decade has not improved.

In fact, for most of us diversity statistics lag far behind the rest of the US workforce. African Americans represent only 6.5 percent of IT management and staff, as compared to 11 percent of all other industry management and staff professionals.

The percentage of African Americans in IT managerial and staff positions dropped nearly 26 percent over the past six and-a-half years, the percentage of whites increased by 2.3 percent, and employment within IT among Asians increased by more than 17 percent.

I took little comfort in the fact that whites are also under represented in the IT industry, with 75.2 percent of all IT employees being white while 82.1 percent of all other managers and staff professionals are white.

Asians currently hold 16.3 percent of IT jobs but only 4.6 percent of managerial positions in other professions.

Gina Billings is a friend and colleague. She is also the current National BDPA president. She believes that globalization, and the outsourcing of IT jobs, is to blame for the low percentage of African Americans in the IT industry. Billings argues that because many African Americans entered the industry later than their white counterparts, they were the first to get fired when jobs started moving oversees, and that negative experience has caused a ripple effect.

A study by Global Lead Management Consulting for the Information Technology Senior Management Forum indicates that many African Americans are now leaving the IT industry voluntarily. Of the survey respondents, all of which were employed African American IT professionals, 56 percent considered leaving their jobs in the previous 12 months. Nearly all of the respondents said they felt comfortable working with diverse peers, but fewer than half said they trusted their peers.
That is deep. It is rough to work in an environment where you don't trust your colleagues.

Anyhow, BDPA and ITSMF are coming together in a few weeks at a conference being held in Washington DC on August 15-18, 2007. I anticipate that this issue of poor employment results in the IT industry will be a topic of both formal and informal discussions. Perhaps I will see you there.

May 30, 2007

Village is 100 Posts Old

I just noticed that we passed the century mark in terms of posts here on the Electronic Village. Take a seat Barry Bonds ... the Villager is piling up the career numbers. We began this venture with our first post in mid-January ... and here we are a few months later with 100+ posts. We are still trying to get comfortable in the blogging world. Some of the highlights of the first 100 posts are as follows:
I have been asked to provide five reasons that I blog. I will respond to that request in the coming days. However, I can share that one of the rewards of blogging is when others share their village voice in the form of comments. I thought it would be interesting to close out this 100-post retrospective by listing the most popular posts over the first five months of our existence.

Jan/Feb 2007
Black History Quiz (2 village voices)


Mar 2007
30,000 Bloggers (17 village voices)
Police Arrest 7-Year Old Child (11)
5 Blogs That Make Me Think (10)


Apr 2007
Introduce Yourself (34 village voices)
Imus Fired, Is Hip-Hop Next? (26)
Roots, 30 Years Later... (25)


May 2007
Manic Monday: Red (36 village voices)
Wordless Wednesday (30)

I have no idea where the next 100 posts will take us. However, I pledge to be consistent in efforts to grow our Electronic Village community. I hope that you will regularly sit underneath our baobob tree and enjoy dialogue with other elders in our village. Let's share information, ideas and thoughts with one another in an effort to grow and improve!

Feel free to share your thoughts, comments or village voice about your experience over the past 100 posts here in the Electronic Village. What would you like to see added? deleted? improved?

May 29, 2007

Villager Challenges Tiger, Barack, Serena & Colin!

Tiger Woods, Barack Obama, Serena Williams, Colin Powell & Villager. What do we have in common? F-A-M-E!

Actually, there is a new contest called Blogging to Fame and I figure that I can beat Tiger, Barack, Serena and Colin! Mostly, because I don't think any of them are competing - yet. Besides I don't figure that any of 'em needs the cash prize (1 x $25,000, 3 x $10,000 and 5 x $5,000).

You can register and add yourself in it as well so I can return "fames" for you but please click these links to vote for my blog or me!

May 27, 2007

Saturday Morning Cartoons

I was at a cook-out over the past weekend and the discussion turned to some of the big summer movies that are coming out in the next few days. A brother at the cook-out mentioned that he couldn't wait to see the new Transformer movie. It dawned on me that I don't even know what a Transformer is. I missed that whole generation of cartoons. In fact, I'm convinced that today's young people don't know much about cartoons because Saturday mornings are full of youthful soap operas ... not good ol' fashioned cartoons.
I grew up when you would watch cartoons on Saturday morning. Felix the Cat. Popeye. Magilla the Gorilla. Mr. Magoo. Johnny Quest. Speed Racer.

My 7-year old son didn't know who Dino was for chrissakes! NOTE: He was the pet dinosaur owned by Fred & Wilma Flintstones.
Anyhow, back to the Transformers. One of the kids at the cook-out went to his family's car and brought back a transformer doll or figurine or whatever it is called. When I saw it I realized that the Transformers people are simply Gigantor-on-steroids! I saw the Transformer and felt better when I realized that new school was simply a modern version of my ol' school!

C'mon ol' school villagers ... sing along with me!

Gi-GAN-tor, Gi-GAN-tor, Gi-GANNNN-tor.

Gigantor the space aged robot,
He is at your command.
Gigantor the space aged robot,
His power is in your hand.

Bigger than big, taller than tall,
Quicker than quick, stronger than strong.
Ready to fight for right, against wrong.
Gigantor, Gigantor, Gigantor.


Care to share your favorite Saturday cartoon memory?

May 26, 2007

BDPA Technology Conference

I have been a member of BDPA for almost 20 years. One of the highlights of the year is the annual BDPA Technology Conference. This year the conference takes place in Washington DC on August 15-18, 2007. I encourage anyone interested in the information technology industry to make an effort to attend all or part of this annual conference.

Here is a 30-second video describing what you can expect from the annual conference.




The Villager will be a presenter at the conference this year. I am executive director of the BDPA Education & Technology Foundation in the real world. My presentation will be on fundraising tips and techniques for non-profit leaders.

Anyhow, have you heard of BDPA before? Any questions about the conference that we can discuss here under the virtual baobob tree of the Electronic Village?

May 25, 2007

Katrina and Black Bloggers


The African American Political Pundit called out the Electronic Village and other Black bloggers as it relates to the Katrina tragedy. The pundit wrote,

"There are things that are going on in America that are an Assault on Black Sanity. Black bloggers need to stop Acting White regarding New Orleans. We need our AfroSpear Think Tank to address Katrina and make it part of our Black Agenda. The brothers and sisters of New Orleans need and deserve Black bloggers unfied help. Yes it's going to take the Field Negro, Jack and Jill Politics, The Free Slave, people from The Electronic Village, BygBaby, brothers and sisters from Cananda, Bronze Trinity, and so many other Black bloggers from around the AfroSphere to bring more attention to the plight of our people, who have been displaced, dislocated and disoriented by a system of local, state and federal governments who seem not to care."
There are a number of aspects of the Katrina tragedy worthy of discussion. For example, have you thought about the unique stories on the pioneering individuals and families who have chosen to exercise their self-granted "right to return" to their devastated homes and rebuild their lives following Hurricanes Katrina. Tavis Smiley went to New Orleans recently to visit with some of these courageous people who are central to the culture of the Big Easy. Tavis regularly has conversations about Hurricane Katrina on his show.

Another recent development in the story is the rising death rate. Hurricane Katrina's tragic aftermath lingered for at least a year after the storm abated, boosting New Orleans' death rate last year by 47% compared with two years before the levees broke.

Doctors say the dramatic surge in deaths comes as no surprise in a city of 250,000 mostly poor and middle-class people who lost seven of 22 hospitals and half of the city's hospital beds. More than 4,486 doctors were displaced from three New Orleans parishes, creating a shortage that still hampers many hospitals. The indigent suffered the brunt of the health toll from the 2005 storm. The Medical Center of Louisiana at New Orleans, two hospitals that made up the city's safety net for the uninsured, were severely damaged. Charity Hospital, oldest and best known of the two, remains closed.

"We can get hung up on the numbers, but the bottom line is that people are dying at a faster rate here post-Katrina," says Jullette Saussy, director of New Orleans EMS.

"The lack of primary care, of mental health care and of long waits in emergency rooms all have (worsened) people's normally controllable chronic diseases," she says. "Diabetes, respiratory disease and hypertension all are killers, especially when they're not dealt with."

From January to June 2006, they found on average 1,317 death notices a month, for a mortality rate of about 91 per 100,000 people. In 2002 and 2004, the average was 924 notices a month, for a death rate of 62 per 100,000, 47% fewer than after the storm.

I encourage villagers to share their thoughts on the Katrina tragedy. What do you see going on to re-open New Orleans? The recovery is slow and many New Orleans people and places have yet to come back after Katrina. What aspects of the recovery would you like to see discussed here under our baobob tree?

May 24, 2007

More Website Traffic with ThinkBigSites.com

I run a small business incubator in Cincinnati, Ohio (USA), in addition to serving as one of the elders of the Electronic Village blog. As such, I am always looking for recommendations to share with my clients that can help propel them into higher and higher profits. I invite my incubator clients and those of you here in the village to check out a website optimization firm called ThinkBigSites.com.

Unfortunately, few of my small business clients operate a blog. I think that blogs can be a powerful component of our search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. Blog Marketing is all about visibility -- making the right people aware of the right product at the right time. Marketing is about customers and getting our message to them. Blog marketing can increase exposure, generate buzz, and create a global message to which individual customers can respond. The effect is powerful viral marketing with blogs linking to other blogs. The real value is things that you don't expect. Blogs create more opportunities, and more challenges.

What industries does Blog Marketing work on? Really any market where Internet marketing strategies are important. The major ones are E-commerce, Finance, Mortgage Lending, and Real Estate internet marketing. Blog marketing works across all markets.

ThinkBigSites.com has developed a unique blog marketing and inbound linking strategy that helps customers in terms of branding and search engine rankings. Bottomline? This company can drive more website traffic to your company.

How does a blog work for SEO? A blog has regularly updated content that is keyword rich. These regular posts are broadcast to the Blogosphere via RSS as soon as you post. Quality blogs attract a large number of incoming links to your website content. I have only been blogging since January 13, 2007. By no means am I an expert. It is clear to me that companies willing to work with small business owners can truly help level the playing field when it comes to our marketing efforts on the Internet or in the Blogosphere.

I would be interested in hearing from villagers that are finding ways to incorporate their blogging efforts into the growth of their business. Do you see blogging as purely recreational? Or do you think it is something that can create or increase profits for you?

May 19, 2007

Why is Genarlow Wilson in Prison?

Genarlow Wilson sits in prison despite being a good son, a good athlete, high-school homecoming king and high school student with a 3.2 GPA. He never had any criminal trouble. On the day he was to sit for the SAT, at seventeen years old, his life changed forever. A number of the kids at the party, including Genarlow were arrested. In Douglas County he was accused of inappropriate sexual acts at a News Year’s Eve party. Turns out that there was a videotape of the party showing quite a bit of consensual sex taking place.

The other kids involved made plea deals with the prosecution in exchange for lesser prison time. In all, six kids with previous criminal records, except for Genarlow, went to jail. A jury acquitted Genarlow of the allegation of Rape but convicted him of Aggravated Child Molestation for a voluntary act of oral sex with another teenager. He was 17, and she was 15.

Along with the label "child molester" which will require him throughout his life to be on a sexual offender registry, Genarlow received a sentence of eleven years — a mandatory 10 years in prison and 1 year on probation. Two odd factoids for your consideration:

  1. On July 1st, the new Romeo and Juliet law went into effect in Georgia for any other teen that engages in consensual sexual acts. That change in the law means that no teen prosecuted for consensual oral sex could receive more than a 12 months sentence or be required to register as a sex offender. Genarlow has been incarcerated since February 25, 2005. Had this law been in effect when Genarlow Wilson was arrested he would not now be in jail.
  2. Georgia imposes a lesser penalty on full blown intercourse between minors than for oral sex between minors. If Genarlow had gone ahead and went all the way, he would have only been facing a year in jail.
Yesterday, there were some remarkable developments in the case. Genarlow Wilson was finally freed by a judge. The ridiculous sentencing was overturned after the state of Georgia had already wasted two years of this young man's life. It seemed that the nightmare was over and this young black brother could finally get on with his life.

Yet moments later Georgia District Attorney Thurbert Baker (aka, Uncle Tom or house negro) faxed the celebrating family of young Mr. Wilson that he was appealing the verdict.

As Monroe County Superior Court Judge Thomas Wilson stated in his decision to free Genarlow Wilson, "If this court or any court cannot recognize the injustice of what has occurred here, then our court system has lost sight of the goal our judicial system has always strived to accomplish....If any case fits into the definitive limits of a miscarriage of justice, surely this case does."

It is long past time for this farce to end.

I encourage all villagers to contact Georgia Governor Sonny Purdue and demand that Thurbert Baker's decision to appeal be overturned. Click here to send him a message. When the form asks what is your message choose "other" (the last category) and then type in the box below it "Genarlow Wilson."
For additional information, contact Genarlow’s attorney:


The Bernstein Firm
BJ Bernstein
621 North Avenue, NE, Building E
Atlanta, Georgia 30308
phone: 404-522-1200
fax: 404-810-9092


The Electronic Village came late to this process. Others in the Afrosphere have blogged on this issue before including: Skeptical Brotha, Jack and Jill Politics, Oliver Willis, and Francis Holland.

Well Villagers --> what say u?

May 18, 2007

Letter to Hip Hop by Bridget Grey


Gina over at What About Our Daughters blog shared this Letter to Hip Hop by Bridget Grey. Sis. Grey hits the nail on the head. I encourage all villagers to invest five minutes to check out her words.





Villagers, what did you think of the sister's message?

May 17, 2007

Price of Sugar Includes Slavery

Drumbeats from Femigog for pointing out how slavery is part of the process in creating the sugar that we use in our morning cereal or coffee. Check out trailer for indie film on the quasi-slavery of Haitian citizens to create sugar in the Dominican Republic.




Villagers, what say u?

May 16, 2007

23-Year Old Blackman Flies Around the World

Villagers, you may recall that we posted a message in late March 2007 about a 23-year old Black man that was flying around the world in a single engine plane. Barrington Irving will set two world records when he returns to Miami later this month --> he will become the first African American and the youngest person ever to fly solo around the globe.

He recently passed the halfway mark when he landed his single-engine aircraft in Calcutta, India, seven weeks after taking off from Miami on March 23rd where 3000 schoolchildren, well-wishers, local officials, and press gathered for the takeoff. In his Lancair Columbia 400, the veritable Ferrari of small aircraft, Irving is traversing four continents, clocking more than 130 hours of flight time on a "World Flight Adventure" that includes stops in the Azores, Spain, Greece, Egypt, Dubai, India, Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan before returning him to the U.S. via Alaska.

Born in Kingston, Jamaica and raised in inner-city Miami, Irving's purpose in making the flight is to inspire inner-city and minority youth, and other youth throughout the nation, to consider pursuing careers in aviation and aerospace. He named his plane "Inspiration," he said, "...because that's what I want my historic venture to be for young people. They can look at me and realize that if I can achieve my dream, they can too."

Irving himself was inspired when, at age 15, he met Jamaican airline pilot Captain Gary Robinson, who asked him what he was doing with his life. The next day, Robinson took him on a tour of the cockpit of the United Airlines Boeing 777 he flew and the young man was hooked - he wanted to become a pilot.

He began by washing planes and working odd jobs to pay for flying lessons, turned down college football scholarships and enrolled in a local community college to study aeronautics. He was awarded a joint Air Force/Florida Memorial University Flight Awareness Scholarship and transferred to the university, where he excelled in academics and flight training courses. By age 19, he had earned his Private Pilot and Flight Instructor licenses and his Commercial and Instrument Ratings.

Irving is scheduled to fly from Japan to Alaska on May 21st, the 80th anniversary of Charles Lindbergh's takeoff from New York on his successful effort to become the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

The young pilot is following in the tradition of Lindbergh, his heroes the Tuskegee Airmen, and his mentors Erik Lindbergh (grandson of Charles Lindbergh), Steve Fossett, and Dick Rutan, who support his efforts to inspire youth as he joins the ranks of record-setting aviators.

"I wish I had a chance to bring every child tracking the flight on my adventure, but I will be carrying all their hearts with me in the plane," Irving said when he left Miami. "This is what fuels me-having youth believe in what I can do, so they can also begin to believe in themselves."

Villagers, this is an inspiring story. I encourage you to pass along information about this historic event to others!

May 14, 2007

Manic Monday: Green

The RED, BLACK and GREEN Flag was unveiled to the world by the Honorable Marcus Garvey and the members of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League at it's first international convention on August 13, 1920. The UNIA-ACL knew that Africans at home and abroad needed their own flag as other flags around the world could not represent the collective of African people.

The use of Red, Black and Green as colors symbolizing African nationhood was first adopted by the UNIA-ACL as part of the 1920 Declaration of Rights as the official colors of the African race. The question of a flag for the race was not as trivial as might have appeared on the surface, for in the United States especially, the lack of an African symbol of nationhood seems to have been cause for crude derision on the part of whites and a source of sensitivity on the part of people of African descent.

White derision over this deficiency was summed up in a popular American song, 'Every Race Has a Flag But the 'Coon.'" A 1912 report appearing in the Africa Times and Orient Review (for which Marcus Garvey worked) documented the far-reaching consequences of this song. In 1921 he declared, "Show me the race or the nation without a flag, and I will show you a race of people without any pride. Aye! In song and mimicry they have said, "Every race has a flag but the coon." How true! Aye! But that was said of us four years ago. They can't say it now...."

The race catechism Garveyites used explained the significance of the red, black, and green as for the "color of the blood which men must shed for their redemption and liberty", black for "the color of the noble and distinguished race to which we belong," and green for "the luxuriant vegetation of our Motherland."

A flag must represent the standard by which it's people live. Thus, the Universal African Flag, the 52nd Article of the Declaration of Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World was ratified in convention.

There has been a great deal of talk and controversy over the origin, creation and use of the Red, Black and Green. There was no Red, Black and Green Flag prior to the coming of the Honorable Marcus Garvey and the founding of the UNIA. Today there are many African nations that have adopted the colors Red, Black and Green after the great Marcus Garvey and his program of African Redemption.

On this manic Monday, villagers are reminded about the importance of Ourstory!


May 12, 2007

Blogging to Fame

The Village drums are beating. This is a call-to-action for all 'villagers'!

I didn't realize until a few moments ago how close I am to being one of the winners in the Blogging to Fame contest.

It turns out that the top four blogs (e.g., Electronic Villager) and the top five bloggers (e.g., Villager) will win some nifty prizes. I would like to make an effort to get into the winner's circle.

The Electronic Village is currently in 6th place ... only five (5) votes out of the prize money that comes for finishing in the top four.

The Villager is currently in 7th place ... only eight (8) votes out of the prize money that comes for finishing in the top five.

Here is what we need you to do ... if you have time or inclination I need you to take a moment to make two (2) votes. One would be for my blog. The other would be for me as a blogger.
  1. Click here to fame-vote the Villager (Wayne) - One of the benefits of making this fame-vote is that you get to see a non-rhino photo of me! I'll have my real photo in that spot for the next week or so. I'll change it back to the rhino-avatar by the end of the month. Anyhow, did you click and vote yet?
  2. Click here to fame-vote the Electronic Village. If you think that the first few months of our blog have been worthy ... we would love to have your vote in this contest!
Thank you in advance for your consideration ... and thanx again to those of you that have already voted for me in both places already! Please let me know in the comments section below how I can return the favor!

May 10, 2007

Fatherhood & Inspiring Americans

There are some blogging events coming up that I wanted to share with villagers. One of them is brought to you by Rosemarie (Miscellaneous Matters). She is calling for everyone to post a poem, message or letter about your greatest memory of your father or fatherhood. The timing is right and I hope that many villagers will consider participation in this effort.

Kyra Hicks (Black Threads) is part of the growing Afrosphere. She points out to villagers that the Smithsonian is looking for Inspiring Americans - and your vote counts! Here's your chance to share your thoughts with the Smithsonian, nominate your favorite historical or contemporary villager, your teacher, your mentor, or any person who motivated you to do better!

Villagers, are you aware of other events on the upcoming calendar that we should share while we are sitting around the Electronic Village baobob tree?

May 9, 2007

Villager is back!


The Villager is a'ight! I've been offline for a number of reasons. Sometimes my 2-inch rhino thick skin takes tremendous torpedo shots. The past couple of weeks have been rough for a number of reasons and it became difficult to keep my blog current. I appreciate the messages that I received from a number of villagers. It amazes me how close the Internet can bring us to people that we've never actually met in the 'real world'. In any case, I'm back. My hope is to get back on schedule with daily updates (at a minimum) to the Electronic Village.

There are so many issues impacting on us that need to be addressed in the coming days and weeks. AfroSpear is growing stronger and I hope to be a part of its continued development. Barack Obama is still running to become the most powerful brother on earth. Barry Bonds is getting closer to 755. My three children are getting closer to summer vacation. Despite the struggles that each of us experiences ... Life is Good!

May 8, 2007

Afrosphere is Growing

It is an exciting time for Black bloggers. The Young Black Professional Guide implemented a new project, rsspect.org, to increase the networking and exposure of blogs that feature content related to Black culture. The concept of rsspect.org is very simple. It is a neat little web application that acts as a headline feed reader for a variety of blogs surrounding the African American experience. The stated goal of the project is to gain visibility for these blogs and empower readers to enjoy our network of opinions.
Another evolutionary effort is the growth of The AfroSpear nation. This is a group of bloggers of African descent who strive to develop and promote issues that impact on the lives of our people. An AfroSpear online community came into existence this week. There are a number of concurrent initiatives in this project and I'm sure that you will learn more about this effort in the coming weeks. You can find a list of AfroSpear blogs over in the left-hand navigation bar of the Electronic Village. I encourage you to check out some of the outstanding blogs that make up the AfroSphere nation!

Finally, for those African American professionals that are visiting our village today ... you are encouraged to become part of the LinkedIn Network. My guide to the LinkedIn Network is Vincent Wright. He is the founder of the LinkedInAfricanAmericans online community. I strongly encourage any villager that operates in Corporate America or owns his/her own business to create a profile on the LinkedIn Network. Check out my LinkedIn profile if you have time or inclination.

Please let us know if you are aware of other initiatives that support the growth & development of the Black blog experience. Also, I would love to hear comments from any of you that are currently part of the rsspect.org, AfroSpear or LinkedIn Network!

May 6, 2007

LeBron & Darfur Genocide


LeBron James is only 22-years old. That is a fact that we should keep in mind over the coming weeks as he is in the NBA spotlight. However, when you publically proclaim that you have a desire to become the "first" billionaire athlete, then you come under more scrutiny. Michael Jordan made a conscious effort to be apolitcal in his career. Money ruled with Michael Jordan. He once said, "Republicans buy gym shoes too" when asked why he wouldn't endorse a Democratic candidate.

LeBron James seems to be using the Jordan playbook. His actions appear to say, "Chinese people buy gym shoes too". Using that twisted logic it is unfortunate that there aren't many hardwood floors in Darfur. Maybe if Nike had more market share with the Darfur children and families that are being ripped apart we might have more heroic stance taken by LeBron.

The Christian Science Monitor recently reported that LeBron refused to be a witness against Darfur genocide. The Cleveland Cavaliers' Ira Newble recently wrote an open letter criticizing China's role in the Darfur genocide, urging fellow basketball players to pressure China to change its policy ahead of the 2008 Summer Olympics. "China cannot be a legitimate host to the premier international event in the sporting world -- the Summer Olympic Games -- while it remains complicit in the terrible suffering and destruction that continues to this day," the letter stated.

Only two of Newble's teammates refused to sign onto his letter: Damon Jones and LeBron James. James, one of the NBA's most recognizable faces, is a perennial all-star and was named a tri-captain of the 2006 USA World Championship Team.

In a Christian Science Monitor op-ed yesterday, New York University history professor Jonathan Zimmerman explained, "James said he didn't have enough information about the issue to take a stand. Mr. Jones wouldn't comment." But he also noted, "Jones has an endorsement contract with an up-and-coming Chinese shoe and apparel company. James has a $90 million deal with Nike, which has huge business interests in China."

China is Sudan's largest trading partner. Brookings Institution scholar Roberta Cohen wrote, "Were China to use even a small part of its leverage to call Sudan to account, it would go a long way toward saving lives in Sudan."

In July 2005, the Center for American Progress Action Fund teamed up with the Genocide Intervention Fund to call citizens to "be a witness" of the genocide and ask major television networks to report on the massacre. James now appears in Nike advertisements calling others to be a witness ... of his basketball stardom. Perhaps King James should read Luke 12:48 (...to whom much is given, much is expected...).
What do you think villagers? Is it unfair to expect more of atheletes in the spotlight than we expect of ourselves? Do we want our athletic heroes to have a conscience ... or just entertain us with their skills and commercials?

May 5, 2007

History In Action Toys

Drumbeats came to us from Kyra Hicks about a young inventor who is creating African American action figures.

Sterling Ashby is an inventor who gave up his corporate career as both an engineer and lawyer to follow his entrepreneurial dreams when he researched and created History In Action Toys. He wants children to see themselves reflected in the faces of our toys and have fun imagining the infinite opportunities life holds. By creating toys based on real-life American heroes, his goal is to inspire children to dream their own superhero adventures. After all, toys should be fun but Bro. Ashby believes they can even be inspiring.
Click here and here to see interviews of Sterling Ashby.

Villagers, Benjamin Banneker, Bessie Coleman and Matthew Henson are the first three toys to hit the market. I encourage you to consider a unique and different gift idea this year. Make sure that you tell him you learned about his company from the Electronic Village!

Who do you want to see immortalized with an action figure?

May 4, 2007

TEDGlobal 2007: Africa on the Move

I have a colleague who created a list of 100 things that she wanted to do before she died. She had things like "paddle down the Amazon river" and "walk along the Great Wall in China" on her list. I never created such a list. However, if I did ... then today I would be adding "Attend a TEDGlobal Conference" to my list. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Since then its scope has become ever broader. Earlier this month, TEDGlobal 2007 was held in Arusha, Tanzania.

Having a conference in Alkebulan ... our motherland ... is invigorating in and of itself. Africa is a country at a crossroads. Its problems and challenges are well known. Less well known is that across the continent, change is afoot. Instead of relying only on development aid, Africans across the continent are beginning to take matters into their own hands. Ingenious solutions are being applied to tackle some of the toughest health and infrastructure problems. Brother Benin Mwangi regularly informs us that businesses are being launched that are capable of transforming the lives of millions. BDPA devotes an entire online community to Alkebulan. New communication technologies are allowing ideas and information to spread, enabling markets — and governments — to be more efficient. And the numbers suggest that incomes are starting to nudge up in some countries and real growth is on the way. A new Africa beckons.

I have posted recently about the genocide in Darfur. It is easy to find negative images of Africa dominating the news: famine and disease, conflict and corruption.

But Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the former Finance Minister of Nigeria, says there's a less-told story unfolding in many African nations: one of reform, economic growth and business opportunity. Cracking down on corruption -- and the perception of corruption -- will be the key to its success She tells how high-ranking Nigerian officials taking money illicitly have been jailed, and how citizens and prospective business partners are getting at least a partial picture now of where money flows.

I highly encourage 'villagers' to take some time to watch her comments as shared earlier this month with the TEDGlobal attendees.





I would be very interested in your take on Okonjo-Iweala's comments or the TEDGlobal conference. What say u?

May 3, 2007

I've Been Schmoozed!

The blogosphere is a wondrous creation in cyberspace. Imagine a pebble dropped in the center of a still lake ... ripples growing larger in concentric circles ... impacting on more and more parts of the lake ... until massive waves come crashing down on the shore. That is how the blogosphere is at times. I entered the Blogging to Fame contest in late May. One blogger becoming famous in that venue is Anna at Box1715. Anna also is a regular contributor to our Manic Monday meme. She is a remarkable woman who is taking some powerful and proactive steps to deal with numerous life challenges.

Anyhow, Anna presented me with a Schmooze Award!

This is what Anna had to say:
"Villager has an awesome blog that serves not only to educate but to involve his community members in many valuable discussions. While Villagers blog is aimed mainly at the African American culture, his community is very diverse and he fosters that diversity through his comments and interactions with those of us from differing cultures. He has posted many wonderful stories and it is always a pleasure to see what new ideas he is writing about."
Origin of the Schmooze: Mike at Ordinary Folk and his friend Danielle have created the new Power of Schmooze award. This is an award passed on to those who foster Blogging Community Involvement.

There are I have 4 bloggers I would like to share this with, as these are all wonderful individuals who take great care to foster the community spirit.

Danielle - Modern Musings
http://www.taureandevi.blogspot.com/

Danielle was one of the first bloggers that joined our Electronic Village community. She continues to be supportive in a number of ways. Danielle is a politically conscious woman, mother, wife, student, writer, poet, seeker and member of the global human society. Her blog facilitates grassroots "Intelligence Gathering" concerning prominent issues facing America and serve as an outlet for her random thoughts and inspirations. She brings together a wide variety of people into her blogging community. She introduced a number of the regular features that we employ here on the Electronic Village. In many ways, she is my blogging role model.

Kimberly & Frederic - Young Black Professional (YBP) Guide
http://ybpguide.com/

YBP Guide is a forum of multiple perspectives and advice to support the many challenges that young Black professionals face. I used to be a YBP [sigh!]. I'm more of an OG-BP at this stage of my life. However, I appreciate what Kimberly and Frederic have done with YBP Guide. Their blogging mission is to empower readers with the knowledge and inspiration to foster progression and productivity in the Black community. Kimberly and Frederic have taken the concept of Blogging Community Involvement to the next level with the creation of rsspect.org. This new project increased the networking and exposure of blogs that feature content related to Black culture.

Bronze Trinity - Man I Need Something To Do
http://bronzetrinity.efx2.com/

Most volunteer organizations have a small nucleus of people that seem to do most of the work. Often in that small nucleus is a person that doesn't have a formal office or title ... however, based on her work she is viewed as a leader. I place Bronze Trinity in that category. She is one of the politically conscious Black bloggers working to create a movement known as the Afrosphere. Bronze Trinity saw the vision and implemented a remarkable Afrosphere newsletter that is a comprehensive portal for the Black blogger community. You can find a list of AfroSphere blogs over in the left-hand navigation bar of the Electronic Village. I encourage you to check out some of the outstanding blogs that make up the AfroSphere nation! More importantly I encourage you to pay homage to the young sister known as the Bronze Trinity. She embodies the statement, 'Lead by Example'.

Morgen - It's a Blog Eating Blog World
http://morgenfiles.blogspot.com/

I haven't interacted with Morgen very much. I'm not certain that we have alot in common. However, I appreciate the Blogging Community Involvement that Morgen engenders with his various memes such as Manic Monday or Wordless Wednesday. He was also a large influence on the peace movement with bloggers. Anyhow, it is through Morgen that I have met a remarkable variety of bloggers from all around the world. Morgen is like that pebble that drops in the lake. His blogging efforts result in large waves of diverse villagers coming to our online shores.

Well Villagers ... do you have any candidates for the Power of Schmooze Award based on your travels in cyberspace?

May 2, 2007

LeBron Rises; Kobe Falls


I was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. As such, I am a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers. I was a fan back in the days of Gail Goodrich, Mel Counts, Happy Hairston, Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West.

I lived in Detroit for eight years ... during the era when the Detroit Pistons were known as the 'Bad Boys'. Isaiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, Dennis Rodman, Bill Lambier and John Salley.

My best time as an NBA fan always occurred when Detroit beat the Bulls (Michael Jordan) or the Lakers beat the Celtics (Larry Bird). Lakers vs. Pistons in the NBA championship series was basketball heaven in my household.

I share that background so that you will understand that this week is turning out to be basketball hell in my household.

First, the face of the Lakers ... Kobe Bryant ... doesn't fade away into the off-season to quietly plan, plot and prepare for next year. Rather he sits down with every newspaper reporter or sports radio talk-show host to whine and cry about his current situation. Kobe is paid $17.7 million per year. He has a beautiful wife; children; living large in Los Angeles. He is the 2-time NBA scoring champion. And he is whining and crying to every news outlet that sticks a microphone in front of his face. Kobe makes it rough to be a Lakers' fan.

Second, the Detroit Pistons lose three games in a row to the Cleveland Cavs. As I type this post, the Pistons are now one game away from elimination in the playoffs. More notably, the Pistons have provided a stage for the unleashing of the brilliance of LeBron James. LeBron is a 22-year old basketball player for the Cavs. I just watched LeBron score the final 25 points of the game in a double-overtime win over the Pistons. 25 points in a row. And his team wins by two.

Methinks that this was the greatest single-game performance that I've ever seen in sports.

This was a rough week for the Villager. Both of my favorite teams --> Lakers and Pistons <-- both having a tough time. Of course, being a fan is rough for anyone. But, we always have hope. My hope is that the Pistons can win the next two games and advance to the NBA Finals. We'll know one way or another in the next week.

Final note to Kobe --> Stop whining and find a way to win games. Personally, I think that the supporting cast that Kobe with the Lakers is better than the supporting cast LeBron has in Cleveland. LeBron is finding ways to win games. Kobe is whining on the radio.

Any other sports fans in the village? Anyone else want to share stories about their favorite NBA team? Anyone else amazed by the evolution of LeBron James?

May 1, 2007

Kyra Hicks in the News

Many villagers know that I'm very proud of my sister. She is a powerful and positive spirit in our family.

One of her passions is documenting the history of African American quilters. In fact, she wrote a book called Black Threads. Her book and blog are considered valuable resources on the topic of African American quilting and quilters. I shared info on Kyra here in the Electronic Village before. My hope is that any of you with children have already checked out her second book, Martha Ann's Quilt for Queen Victoria.

We recently learned that Kyra is one of the few African American authors with a short story published by Amazon.com. Her story, The Liberian Flag Story & Love of Liberty Quilt can be dowloaded for $.49.

Anyhow, I see that a Florida poet, Geoffrey Philip, took the time to blog about my sister in a feature that he calls, 'Five Questions With Kyra Hicks'.

I just wanted to share the joy of our family with other villagers. Support her efforts if you have time or inclination!