December 26, 2013

Village Tip: Expanding Your Black-Owned Business via Government Grants

Often small business owners seek to grow their business through government grants. Unfortunately, government grants are rarely available to business owners. However, if you are willing to look for them ... then the first place to start is locally. State and local governments are a viable source for providing money to area small businesses. Check out, which lists organizations by state and by industry.

Also, some organizations, like ACCION USA, offer micro-lending and development courses, as well as guidance to small business owners. These organizations provide small loans with considerate repayment terms to those unable to access traditional financing. An additional benefit is that you are linked into the network of other small businesses involved in the program.

Another helpful government agency is the Minority Business Development Agency. There you will find information on both loans and grants.

December 25, 2013

Obama's Address: 'The President and First Lady Wish Everyone a Happy Holiday Season'

In this week’s address, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

The 'Electronic Village' joins in welcoming each of you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

December 22, 2013

Are Black People Becoming 21st Century Digital Slaves?

by Phillip Jackson
The Black Star Project

If you are not able to code and if you are not computer literate, you are pretty much a 21st century digital slave. If you don't have access to and are using the internet for personal growth and development, you are pretty much a 21st century digital slave. If you are not encouraging your schools to teach coding and computer literacy to your children, and if you are not allowing your children to learn, read and write code, you are promising your children 21st century digital slavery.

Phillip Jackson
If your children are playing video games, rather than creating video games, they too, will be consigned to 21st century digital slavery. If you are not learning coding yourself, you have relegated yourself to the old way of being educated and the old way of existing. You have made yourself obsolete. You have volunteered to be a 21st century digital slave!

It is time for all people, but especially Black people, to run away from digital slavery to digital freedom and digital excellence! The most widely spoken language in world in the near future is not going to be English, Chinese, Hindi, Swahili or Spanish-it is going to be a language of computer coding. People in every country will speak this language. 90% of all new jobs in the world will require employees to speak this language. You will not be able to live (well) anywhere in the world without this language.

The Black Star Project will offer introductory classes to coding and computer literacy during the holidays. Effective education can no longer occur just between 8:30 am and 2:30 pm, Monday through Friday, for 200 school days a year. Learning has become too important to leave to schools! Learning must be driven by parents, families and communities, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year!

Learning is no longer a local activity, but a global imperative. Just as some slaves became accustomed to chattel slavery, some people are becoming accustomed to the new 21st century digital slavery. The only way to break these bonds that rob people of dignity and freedom are with "new learning".

December 20, 2013

Old School Friday * The Emotions

Do any of y'all remember The Emotions? I remember them as being three Nubian sisters with powerful voices and lyrics that seemed to hit home more often than not. One of the first songs I remember from this is Don't Ask My Neighbors

My favorite song by The Emotions was on the radio back in 1976. If you listen to the full song you will hear a message that brothers today need to hear more than they needed it back then. Don't you agree?

Finally, it is Christmas time. In fact, the reason that I created this blog post was to highlight this next song -- sometimes it hits home more than I like. Have you ever wondered what the lonely do for Christmas?

December 17, 2013

GOP Infighting Makes for 'A Very 2016 Holiday' (VIDEO)

The Democrats like it when the light shines on the internal strife within the Republican Party. That is the reason that they created the following video highlighting infighting among Republican presidential hopeful. The video features GOP Sens. Rand Paul (KY) and Marco Rubio (FL), Rep. Paul Ryan (WI), Govs. Scott Walker (WI) and Chris Christie (NJ) and former Gov. Jeb Bush (FL) all trading barbs with each other during interviews and public appearances.

Who do you think will by the 2016 Republican presidential candidate? I know it will be hard to follow the past two GOP standard-bearers (John McCain and Mitt Romney) ... but, someone has to do it!

December 15, 2013

Sunday Inspiration: 'The Christmas Scale'

It's hard to believe that the greatest message the world will ever hear is contained in one simple scale.

This blog will continue to seek out Sunday Inspirations, a meme inspired by Sojourner's Place. Sunday Inspirations is just one way to help get us through the week ahead, the trials we may face, and yes, to say 'Thank You Jesus' and testify! I invite you to participate in this weekly meme as your contribution might serve as an inspiration to someone in need.

December 6, 2013

Oregon Officers Justified in Taser Deaths of Walter McKelvey and Gregory Price

A Douglas County grand jury has found that police officers in two separate incidents were justified in using taser guns against unarmed men -- both of whom died when their paths crossed with police.

The findings, released by the Douglas County District Attorney's office, involve a March 3 incident in which Douglas County Sheriff's deputies used a Taser on Walter Ray McKelvey, 26, and a June 22 incident in which Roseburg Police officers used a Taser on Gregory Allen Price, 56.

Read the rest of the OregonLive article.

This blog will continue to track taser-related killings that occur in America from time to time. However, we are unable to maintain the daily vigil on this issue that we once kept. Please feel free to let us know if you have any taser-related news that you think we should share in the future.

December 3, 2013

Good News Tuesday: 'Uncle Omar' Obama Can Remain in United States

Earlier this year we learned that President Barack Obama's 69-year old uncle ... Onyango Obama ... might get deported back to Kenya after living in the United States for over 50 years. Today, we learn that Kenyan-born 'Uncle Omar', who ignored a deportation order more than two decades ago, was granted permission to stay in the U.S.

Judge Leonard Shapiro made the decision after Onyango Obama, 69, testified that he had lived in the U.S. for 50 years, been a hard worker, paid income tax and been arrested only once.
Asked about his family in the U.S., he said, "I do have a nephew." Asked to name the nephew, he said, "Barack Obama, he's the president of the United States."
Shapiro cited a law that entitles immigrants who are "out of status" to become permanent residents if they arrived in the U.S. before 1972, maintained continuous residence and are of good moral character.

Read the full article.

December 2, 2013

Spoken Word: 'The System' - Prentice Powell

Prentice Powell is a powerful poet as demonstrated by the following video-clip in which he challenges the Black community with a dark view of the way we are raising the current generation of young people.

What did you think?

December 1, 2013

Sunday Inspirations: Kirk Franklin

I'm working hard to get the spirit of this song into my being. I'm tired of being held down and I'm ready to stand up and fight for my miracle. I invite all villagers to enjoy the vibe from this Kirk Franklin song!

Anyone else out here ready to make the declaration -- 'This Is It!'.

Perhaps it's time for a true 'Revolution' in our lives ... our community ... and out nation. What say u?

November 29, 2013

Old School Friday - 'Lady' (The Whispers)

Your life is blessed if you have a woman in your life to whom these lyrics are meaningful. Some of us have loved and lost ... and I'm convinced that this better than to have never loved at all. Enjoy the magical music of The Whispers!

November 28, 2013

Obama's Weekly Address: 'Wishing the American People a Happy Thanksgiving'

In his weekly address, President Obama gave thanks to all the men and women defending our freedom and acknowledged their sacrifice might mean they can’t spend the holidays with their families. The President also recognized that as Americans, we gather together this Thanksgiving to lift up those who need a helping hand, letting us move forward as a country and lead us to a brighter tomorrow.

The Electronic Village joins President Obama in wishing all 'villagers' a blessed and happy Thanksgiving. Take a moment today to ponder all the reasons that we have to be thankful!

Thanksgiving From the Native American's Point of View

November 25, 2013

OURstory: William DeHart Hubbard (1903-1976)

I wonder how many folks that live in the greater Cincinnati area know about William DeHart Hubbard? Hubbard was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on November 25, 1903. As a student at Douglass School, Stowe School, and Walnut Hills High School, Hubbard was known as the fastest kid in school. He also knew that academics were as important as athletics. As such he earned a four-year scholastic average of 90 (out of 100) in his high school years.

Hubbard left Ohio to attend the University of Michigan (1922-1927) where he won six straight AAU long jump titles, two AAU triple jump titles, and two NCAA long jump titles. He also tied the world records for the 60- and 100-yard dashes. In 1927, he set a new world record for the long jump with a leap of 25 feet 10.85 inches.

At the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris, Hubbard became the first Black athlete to win an Olympic gold medal in an individual event, when he won the long jump with a leap of 24 feet 5 inches. The actual gold medal that he won was on display at the America I AM: An African American Imprint exhibit at the Cincinnati Museum Center on June 19, 2010 thru January 2, 2011.

Hubbard represented the USA in other Olympic events. He participated in the triple jump, but did not win a medal in that event. Hubbard also participated in the long jump at the 1928 Olympic Games, but did not earn a medal.

In 1927, Hubbard was hired by the Cincinnati Recreation Commission, for which he worked until 1941. In 1942, he moved to Cleveland, where he became the Racial Relations Advisor for the Federal Housing Authority. He retired from this position in 1969.

William DeHart Hubbard was voted into the National Track Hall of Fame in 1957. He died in Cleveland on June 23, 1976.

Most of us know about Carl Lewis or Flo-Jo. Perhaps we should take a moment to honor the first African American gold medalist ... William DeHart Hubbard ... next time we think about the Olympics!

November 12, 2013

Spoken Word: 'Why I Hate School But Love Education' - Suli Breaks

I suspect that many of our young people agree with the images and words expressed by Suli Breaks in this spoken word poem. Listen to his message and let me know what you think?

I think that I was most surprised by how much this British student understood American culture and our American icons. Did you enjoy his flow?

November 6, 2013

Electronic Village Milestone: 3,000 Blog Posts

We began the Electronic Village blogging journey on January 13, 2007. Who knew that we would still be around over six years later! We have 3,000 blog posts over the course of that time. The main reason for our longevity is the fact that a blog doesn't cost me anything but time ... and I've managed to blog about things in the African American community that interest me.

The landscape for bloggers has changed quite a bit in the past six years. The growth of video-blogging, Facebook pages and Twitter have provided ol' school bloggers with other venues to share their personal quirks, insights and interests. I'm not sure if I'll still be doing this for another six years or 3,000 blog posts ... but here are some of my observations about the Electronic Village.

Sometimes it is difficult to keep up this blog. Part of my problem may be that I'm operating two other blogs, BDPA in the News and BDPA Foundation. For some reason I began to track taser torture in America a few years ago. I bit off more than I could chew with that as those types of deaths just continued to grow. I've been less vigilant about maintaining that effort in recent months and it makes me sad.

I've met and interacted with some great bloggers over the course of these 3,000 blog posts. For a little while I tracked the Top Black Blogs ... I was also active with a group of Black blogging activists known as the AfroSpear ... and I was a presenter and supporter of the annual Blogging While Brown Conferences.

Coming up with original content has been impossible for me over the course of these 3,000 blog posts. I often rely on weekly memes like 'Sunday Inspirations' or 'Manic Monday' or 'Good News Tuesday' or 'Wordless Wednesday' or 'Old School Friday' or the 'Weekly Address' issued by the president every Saturday. I admire bloggers like the Field Negro who create original content night-after-night ... that brother remains my blogging hero!

I'll keep the Electronic Village going for awhile longer. I began this journey in 1994 with a 2400 dial-up modem that connected my Electronic Village BBS to the world ... I suspect there will be an Electronic Village for many more years to come on Facebook, Twitter and who knows where else as technology moves forward. As long as it is still fun and interesting for me ... I'll keep doing it.

Villagers, you honor me by taking time from your day to read our blog. As long as there is at least one or two of you out there ... I'll be here!

November 5, 2013

Spoken Word: 'Niggers Niggas & Niggaz' (Julian Curry)

I noticed that a Miami Dolphins' football player left the team ... and another one lost his career ... at least partially over voice and text messages in which the use of the N-Word was prominent. Here is how poet Julian Curry discussed the N-Word in his Def Poetry opportunity many moons ago:

The prevalence of the ugly word among Blacks in America may be in decline ... but the word's ugliness needs to be continuously examined so that we can eventually eliminate the N-word entirely from the vocabulary.

November 4, 2013

Spoken Word: 'On the Day that Barack Obama is Elected President' - Javon Johnson

Today is the anniversary of the first time that America elected a Black man to become President of the United States. It was a truly uplifting day for all of America ... especially for people of African descent in America! Here is one very creative vision of how things will be in America on the day that Barack Obama is elected president as shared by poet Javon Johnson.

What do you remember most about November 4, 2008 (the day that Barack Obama was elected president)?

November 3, 2013

Seven-Year Old Child Thinks His KKK Halloween Costume Was 'Cool'

Racism is a taught behavior. The sad thing is that it is still being taught in America. Case in point? A young 7-year old child wore the white sheets and hooded mask of the Ku Klux Klan as he went trick or treating on Halloween night in Craigsville, Virginia. The young child thinks it was "cool" to wear the uniform of a racist terrorist group. You can listen to the child and his mother in the following news report:

What do you think? We all understood that “the problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color-line" ... but, does it have to be the problem of the 21st century as well?

November 2, 2013

Obama's Weekly Address: 'Passing a Budget that Reflects our Priorities'

In this week's address, President Obama said that in order to keep growing the economy and creating good jobs, Washington must end its cycle of manufactured crises and self-inflicted wounds. It's time for both parties to work together to pass a budget that reflects our priorities -- making smart cuts in things we don't need and closing wasteful tax loopholes, while investing in areas that create opportunities for the middle class and our future generations.

I can't help but wonder how much farther along our nation would be if the Republican Party had decided to work with our 44th president when he was inaugurated back in January 2008 instead of their obstructionist tactics.

November 1, 2013

Charles G. Hicks (1962-2004)

My brother would have celebrated his 51st birthday today.  
 I was with him when he celebrated his 1st birthday back in 1963!

Charles was a remarkably talented musician. He played piano at church and at school. In fact, for many years his nickname was 'Schroeder'.

When I went off to college it was left to Charles to look after our two younger sisters, Kyra and Iyisa.

Charles was very close with our youngest sister Iyisa. They are both gone too soon.  This photo was taken in 1979 when Charles graduated from Los Angeles High School.

Here is Charles as a teenager back in 1982.

Charles went to community college for a year of so in Los Angeles before he listened to some sound advice from our maternal grandfather to take his education seriously. At that point he did some remarkable things to get admitted to Morehouse College. He was continuously on the Dean's List at Morehouse and he was a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity (to the dismay of my father and grandfather who were both Kappas!). My mom and dad were very proud to attend the Morehouse College graduation in 1984 where Charles received his Marketing degree.

He received his law degree from the University of Georgia in 1987. He had his own practice in the 1987-1990 timeframe. This photo down below was taken during that period in his private practice office.

Later on in his career he served as a magistrate judge for DeKalb County Magistrate Court (making him one of the few African Americans to be a third generation judge).

He was an officer in U.S. Navy, Judge Advocate General's Corp reserves (Lieutenant Commander -- active duty 1987-1991). He was promoted in 2000 to the rank of full Commander (O-5) in the Navy.

Charles loved his daughters. You could hear the fatherly love and pride whenever he talked about them. He is shown in this photo with Victoria (oldest daughter) in 1999.

Here he is his with Sydney (his youngest daughter) in 2000.

Charles was my 'best man' when I got married in 1993.

He left us unexpectedly in 2004.  I think he is looking down from heaven today with a smile as he sees the growing intelligence and beauty of his two daughters.

I miss my brother.
May he rest in peace.

If you had a relationship, family or friend, with Charles during his life ... then I invite you to share your remembrance on his guest book for posterity.

Happy Birthday Charles!

October 31, 2013

One Day Those Who Flaunt Their Racism Will Experience the Backlash of Karma

I'm not sure what it is about wearing 'Blackface' that white folks think is funny? It's never funny. It's like folks that compare politicians to Adolph Hitler ... it's never appropriate. So you can imagine my dismay when someone forwarded to me the following image from Twitter:

I wonder if their parents were chuckling when they came across this tweet? I wasn't. Well, I did smile when it dawned on me that these two idiots looked like the Oompa Loompas.

Anyhow, a few hours after seeing this tweet I was introduced to the spoken word poetry of Dominique Christina. The sister is powerful. She is a spoken word champion and one of her poems is entitled, 'Karma'.

I've decided that whenever I come across racists on the Internet I'm going to spend a few minutes listening to Dominque as she shares her insights on what 'Karma' is going to be at some point in the future for these racist fools.

'...If I could write this shyt in fire, I would write this shyt in fire!' Yeah, this ignorant and evil folks that try to degrade and denigrate with their race-based humor will one day learn what 'Karma' is all about.

October 29, 2013

7 Success Principles of Steve Jobs

Soulclap to Donald White for sharing these seven principles with us. I thought that our blog readers would enjoy these insights from the late Steve Jobs.

Principle One: Do what you love. Steve Jobs once told a group of employees, “People with passion can change the world for the better.” Jobs has followed his heart his entire life and that passion, he says, has made all the difference. It’s very difficult to come up with new, creative, and novel ideas unless you are passionate about moving society forward.

Principle Two: Put a dent in the universe. Passion fuels the rocket, but vision directs the rocket to its ultimate destination. In 1976, when Jobs and Steve Wozniak co-founded Apple, Jobs’ vision was to put a computer in the hands of everyday people. In 1979, Jobs saw an early and crude graphical user interface being demonstrated at the Xerox research facility in Palo Alto, California.

He knew immediately that the technology would make computers appealing to “everyday people.” That technology eventually became The Macintosh, which changed everything about the way we interact with computers. Xerox scientists didn’t realize its potential because their “vision” was limited to making new copiers. Two people can see the exactly the same thing, but perceive it differently based on their vision.

Principle Three: Kick start your brain. Steve Jobs once said “Creativity is connecting things.” Connecting things means seeking inspiration from other industries. At various times, Jobs has found inspiration in a phone book, Zen meditation, visiting India, a food processor at Macy’s, or The Four Seasons hotel chain. Jobs doesn’t “steal” ideas as much as he uses ideas from other industries to inspire his own creativity.

Principle Four: Sell dreams, not products. To Steve Jobs, people who buy Apple products are not “consumers.” They are people with hopes, dreams and ambitions. He builds products to help people achieve their dreams. He once said, “some people think you’ve got to be crazy to buy a Mac, but in that craziness we see genius.” How do you see your customers? Help them unleash their inner genius and you’ll win over their hearts and minds.

Principle Five: Say no to 1,000 things. Steve Jobs once said, “I’m as proud of what we don’t do as I am of what we do.” He is committed to building products with simple, uncluttered design. And that commitment extends beyond products. From the design of the iPod to the iPad, from the packaging of Apple’s products, to the functionality of the Web site, in Apple’s world, innovation means eliminating the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.

Principle Six: Create insanely great experiences. The Apple store has become the world’s best retailer by introducing simple innovations any business can adopt to create deeper, more emotional connections with their customers. For example, there are no cashiers in an Apple store. There are experts, consultants, even geniuses, but no cashiers. Why? Because Apple is not in the business of moving boxes; they are in the business of enriching lives. Big difference.

Principle Seven: Master the message. Steve Jobs is the world’s greatest corporate storyteller, turning product launches into an art form. You can have the most innovative idea in the world, but if you can’t get people excited about it, it doesn’t matter.

September 28, 2013

Obama's Weekly Address: Averting a Government Shutdown and Expanding Access to Affordable Healthcare

In this week's address, President Obama says that on October 1, a big part of the Affordable Care Act will go live and give uninsured Americans the chance to buy the same quality, affordable health care as everyone else. It is also the day when some Republicans in Congress might shut down the government just because they don't like the law. The President urged Congress to both pass a budget by Monday and raise the nation's debt ceiling so that we can keep growing the economy.

I think that the Republican Party is out-of-control and I don't doubt that they will shut down the government because they don't have a clue how to govern. What do you think?

September 18, 2013

VIDEO: Review of 2013 BDPA Technology Conference

35th Annual BDPA Technology Conference was held in Washington DC on August 14-17, 2013. The event marked the largest gathering of IT professionals of color in the nation ... and also included over 50 major corporate sponsors. The 4-day event included an awards gala, career fair, corporate hospitality receptions, IT Showcase, live entertainment, plenary sessions,workshops and a youth technology camp. This video gives a glimpse of the people and activity from this annual conference!

BDPA exists to advance the careers of African Americans in the IT industry from the classroom to the boardroom. There are 46 local BDPA chapters located around the nation. Visit or call (301) 584-3135 to ask questions or discuss further.

Video Credit: Sharrarne Morton (Morton Media) and Steve McMillan (Cape Fear Productions).

September 17, 2013

Good News Tuesday: Carson Huey-You

Child prodigy, Carson Huey-You, just started his freshman year at Texas Christian University, and he is the youngest person ever to attend the private university in Fort Worth. Carson was in high school at the age of 5, he was reading chapter books at age 2 and could multiply and divide a year later.

Carson scored a 1770 on his SAT, was co-valedictorian of his high school senior class and speaks Mandarin Chinese.

Today Carson is 11 years old and taking a full college load, including physics, calculus, history and religion. His mother, Claretta, is attending classes with him.

Carson’s feet barely touched the ground when he played Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" on the piano during his admissions interview.

This blog will continue to seek out Good News stories about people of African descent and share them with you each Tuesday. We need to tell the positive and upbeat information about OURstory. We can't depend on others to do it for us. Please pass along any Good News story that comes your way. In the case of bloggers ... we want you to join our Good News parade every Tuesday.