#AI3Forever

Now that the Sixers are officially retiring Allen Iverson’s number, I’m able to really sit back and take a look at the effect that he had on this city. There was NOTHING like being a Philadelphian during the AI days. I still remember how we lost it when the Sixers won the ‘01 Eastern Conference Finals. You would’ve thought they’d won the championship. Running down Broad Street with my cousin and going crazy. I’d never had so much pride in my city. 

Allen Iverson was an electrifying player and, regardless of his personal struggles, the definition of a great athlete. He may not have the accolades of other legends, but NO one is more deserving of a retired number or has more heart than A.I.

A.I. will always be Philly.

A.I. will always be that dude.

 

Drake’s Building a Recording Studio at a Philadelphia High School; I’m Not Impressed

drake-hosts-concert-after-party-0112.8.13: When the story came out last week that Drake was building a recording studio at North Philadelphia’s Strawberry Mansion High School I was confused. Headlines blaring, “Drake Gives Back to Needy Philly School” and “Drake In Good Guy Mode” didn’t exactly tickle my fancy the way it did for everyone else across the web and I thought, “well, I guess I’ll just leave it where it is.” However, as a Philly girl and hip-hop lover the story is just too close to home to simply “leave.”

I’ve never been an advocate for telling rich people what to do with their money, because frankly.. that’s why they’re rich; because they make their own financial decisions. The problem with Drake’s donation though is less about the intent and more about the outcome of what it represents.

As a product of the Philadelphia Public School system myself, I know firsthand how desperate the need is for funding and overall improvement in every aspect of the dozens of schools within the district and it’s only gotten worse in the past 5 years since I graduated.

Philly schools are consistently ranked worst in the nation and Strawberry Mansion is by far one of the worst. In March 2013, ABC News profiled the school exposing how incredibly dangerous it really was and revealing that it was at the top of the list to close at the end of the year because of over 300 million dollars in budget cuts; A school without hope they’d deemed it, that had just as many security guards as teachers.

Drake, who’d also seen the ABC segment, said that witnessing it he  felt connected to the school and wanted to do something that gave them hope, but it seems that the lack of a record studio is the least of their worries. Currently the school has a less than 40 percent proficiency rate in both math (38%) and reading (11%) and a 33% graduation rate. In a situation like this one it should be clear that music isn’t the answer when poverty and violence are everywhere and educational value is at an all time low.

In a Forbes article about Drake’s donation the writer said,

“Areas like Strawberry Mansion? They may not have textbooks or sufficient staff or updated classrooms. But now, they do have a football team, a principal committed to sticking around – and thanks to Drake, a recording studio on the way.”

That quote essentially sums up the entire problem. A recording studio doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of this school’s issues. What good is a record studio if these kids can’t read? How could they ever be genuinely successful in the music industry if they can’t even pass a freshman math class?

 

How Kanye, Jay Z and AXS Ruined My Morning

When Jay Z and Kanye announced their individual tours this past Friday, most sane people thought, “Ah, now I’ve got to decide which side of the Throne is more important… ”

Fortunately for me, I’m not all that sane.

In my mind, those words read competition, albeit PR stunt, but competition nonetheless.

Competition between Jay and Kanye, but importantly competition between mysel and crazy fans like me to get good seats (and of course at both shows).

On Monday I decided that I just couldn’t wait until Friday to get tickets, so I went on the presale struggle: signing up for email that I’ll never use, searching Twitter and downloading apps that’ll probably get deleted by the week’s end just to get that password.

When I realized that Jay Z and Kanye’s presales were on different dates I thought, “Wow! They really care enough not to send me crazy getting tickets at the same time!”

Well, I spoke too damn soon. Yesterday was LONG to say the least. A four hour night class, followed by two homework assignments and the typical grad struggle problems. Needless to say, I didn’t go to sleep until 4am. But I’m diligent, so I got up at 9 to prep for “Yeezus” day and at 9:55, I was ready.

Too bad AXS wasn’t ready. As soon as I logged on to my fresh new AXS app, a blaring headline came up, “YEEZUS TOUR PRESALE RESCHEDULED, 9/12 at 10am PDT.”

Now, being the pseudo conspiracy theorist that I am my mind immediately went to the fact that not only am I up with four hours of sleep (and no class today), but now both presales are happening at the EXACT SAME TIME. This is pure devil’s (and insane public relations department) work. What’s a Throne fan to do?

Writer. Photographer. World traveler. Hip Hop enthusiast. Cultural critic. Starbucks fiend.