What You Should Remember on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

May 18, 2024 — Jt Spratley

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is best known for the tagline snippet of his "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963, Selma to Montgomery march in 1965 (including the Edmund Pettus Bridge), and Martin Luther King Jr. Day, observed on the third Monday of January annually. There are a few things we should remember about MLK Jr., especially when people and organizations white-wash his life's work as if the United States of America has come closer to true equality, not just for the proletariat, but especially for Black Americans.

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Black-Owned Businesses in Sierra Vista, Arizona

May 18, 2024 — Jt Spratley

Sierra Vista is a small city in Cochise County, Arizona (AZ), less than an hour north from the Mexico border. Its best known as the city immediately east from the home of Army intelligence, Fort Huachuca. Sierra Vista, AZ, has the essentials but is isolated from other cities. Tucson is approximately 90 minutes north-west while Phoenix is another two hours further. The Black American presence is nearly nonexistent. However, there are some niche rally-points worth checking out for any pro-Black residents, travelers, and Army Advanced Initial Training (AIT) soldiers.

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How to Support the BIG3 Basketball League

May 12, 2024 — Jt Spratley

The BIG3 basketball league, under the leadership of CEO Ice Cube, is a fresh change from the flops, senseless foul calls, and rumors of scripted wins in the National Basketball Association (NBA) league. The 3-on-3 basketball league, with their "FIREBALL3" rule set, is fast-paced, and they play defense. For those serious about supporting the first modern Black-owned sports league in the USA, here are some ideas on how to do it.

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Free Open-Source Video Production Software

April 26, 2024 — Jt Spratley

You don't need expensive video editing software to create content on YouTube, Twitch, etc. There are free applications for every PC operating system (OS) - Windows, macOS, Linux, and BSD - for recording, streaming, and editing video content. Below I'll share some popular free open-source software (FOSS) for video production.

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Free Open-Source Music Production Software

April 26, 2024 — Jt Spratley
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Want to make music but lack the funding to purchase music production software and hardware? There are free applications for every PC operating system (OS) - Windows, macOS, Linux, and BSD - for creating, recording, mixing, and mastering music. Below I'll share my favorite free open-source software (FOSS) for music production, most I've discussed before, just not in a dedicated listacle.

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2 Memorable Black-Owned Businesses in Memphis, Tennessee

April 26, 2024 — Jt Spratley

Before visiting Memphis, Tennessee (TN), the first thing that came to mind when I thought of the city was the 2005 Hustle & Flow movie. Now, there are two Black-owned businesses in Memphis that come to mind.

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When is National Black-Owned Business Month? Every Month

April 25, 2024 — Jt Spratley

August is National Black Owned Business Month. Regardless, we (Black Americans) should "observe" Black-owned business month every month by supporting them every chance we get. We shouldn't wait until Black history month in February and African-American Music Appreciation Month in June, to learn and share Black history.

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How to Apply for IBM SkillsBuild Parker Dewey Micro-Internships

March 18, 2024 — Jt Spratley

Historically Black College and University (HBCU) students wanting extra income and shorter projects to quickly acquire work experience should check out Parker Dewey micro-internships. College students who participate in IBM SkillsBuild program and understand the importance in the IBM HBCU Cybersecurity Initiative can apply for micro-internships related to those SkillsBuild courses.

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Best Mid-Top Basketball Shoes from Black-Owned Businesses

March 14, 2024 — Jt Spratley

What are the best mid-top basketball shoes in 2024? Years ago, I would've answered much differently: something under $100 with soles that doesn't wear out too fast from outdoors play, and available in-store for testing at Foot Locker or Finish Line. Post-COVID price hikes, mixed with my pro-Blackness, I'm focused on the best Black-owned basketball shoe businesses. Below are the best Black-owned mid-top basketball shoe businesses.

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Does Joint Knowledge Online (JKO) Give Promotion Points to Army Soldiers?

March 14, 2024 — Jt Spratley

Does Joint Knowledge Online (JKO) give promotion points to Army soldiers? Yes, for many valuable self-paced courses regardless of your military occupational specialty (MOS), or additional duties. Here's a short guide on how JKO courses can enhance your promotion point worksheet (PPW) and skills as a Soldier.

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Group Economics Versus Reparations?

March 01, 2024 — Jt Spratley

On March 1st, 2024, Yvette Carnell of the American Descendants of Slaves (ADOS) organization wrote a Twitter threaded response to a video encouraging Black American group economics, or "PowerNomics" per Dr. Claud Anderson. She stated that political work was being underestimated and is far more important for Blacks to acquire true equality in the United States. Many within the same thread argued that focusing on supporting Black-owned businesses is an attempt to avoid politics. I disagree with both, slightly. Readers new to my blog likely don't know that I focus heavily on highlighting Black-owned businesses. That's my bias upfront. I'll amend both arguments, being as unbiased as possible.

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Nothing but a Candle from Black-Owned Businesses

February 27, 2024 — Jt Spratley

Nothing but a candle...but from what Black-owned businesses? Here are a few recommendations on Black-owned candle businesses.

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Black-Owned Basketball Shoe Business Ethics the Brand

February 03, 2024 — Jt Spratley

I forgot how I found Black-owned basketball shoe company Ethics The Brand, but I remember quickly buying a pair of lgONEs, their mid-top basketball shoes. After having a pair for almost a year, here's my review on the Ethics lgONE basketball shoes.

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The Challenges with Being Pro-Black

February 02, 2024 — Jt Spratley

Being a pro-Black Black man in the USA causes a surge in the negativity one receives in every aspect. A confident Black man who is unapologetically for his people is considered a threat by many. Anti-black racists, misandrists, sambos, and I have to mention the performative pro-Black gatekeepers, all amplify the microaggressions and overt hate toward pro-Blacks. Below are a few things pro-Blacks should keep in mind, using conscious hip-hop/rap music.

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5 Cybersecurity Issues to Watch in 2024

January 28, 2024 — Jt Spratley

Between the IBM HBCU Ambassador program, cybersecurity specialists active on social media, and personal research, there are a few cybersecurity issues discussed enough that we need to keep a closer watch on daily.

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Is it Enough to Be Pro-Reparations for Black Americans?

December 21, 2023 — Jt Spratley

I remember going pro-Black during the peak of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and starting to support Black-owned businesses like D'IYANU. Then I started learning about the reparations for Black Americans movement. Today, many, which definitely is synonymous with "not all," Blacks are joining pro-Black and reparationist spaces to hear about reparations initiatives. It is a good incentive for African Americans new to efforts centered around rebuilding Black communities. That should only be a starting point.

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Saw X Was Great, Until the End

December 13, 2023 — Jt Spratley

I've been a fan of Liongate's Saw franchise for years, not because of the gore, but because of the stories behind the traps which influence victims' decisions. I know, many people have a hard time getting past the red room-esque murder scenes. Each Saw movie, including Chris Rock's "Spiral," has at least one sociopolitical theme that was prominent around the time of its release, though. Saw X, whether intentional or not, had some tropes that bother me. Spoilers ahead.

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Boycott Stuff Made Using Prison Labor, Support Black-Owned

December 02, 2023 — Jt Spratley

Colorado Correctional Industries (CCI), Prison Rehabilitative Industries and Diversified Enterprises (PRIDE), and UNICOR (most notably) are just a few of the companies which specialize in providing prisoner-made products, at least according to reports by University of California, Berkeley, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), and Prison Inside. It may not sound important if you're apolitical, but we Black Americans should care more about how the brands we support spend and make money.

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Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence But Not For You

November 02, 2023 — Jt Spratley

In 2023, the Biden-Harris administration quietly released an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Bill of Rights and executive order on securing AI. Both are quite long reads. Although I share my thoughts on them below, I recommend reading both if you're interested in the topic.

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Late Review of VP Kamala Harris Hampton University Interview

October 24, 2023 — Jt Spratley

On September 14, 2023, I watched US Vice President (VPOTUS) Kamala Harris during the first stop in her national "Fight for Our Freedoms College Tour": Hampton University (HU). Hampton U is one of three Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in Virginia, and three hours away from her alma mater, Howard University. The conversation was moderated by Terrence J from the classic 106 & Park show. I was not a fan of what I heard in the 42 minute video.

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Why I Stopped Endorsing RallyPoint

October 24, 2023 — Jt Spratley

In 2016, I wrote about why United States military veterans should use the RallyPoint forum and best practices for usage. By that point, I'd been a member for a few years already. I'd ignored the gradual increase of trolling, even when the Hillary versus Trump nonsense peaked with dozens, if not hundreds, of posts against each of them daily. I slowly trail-blazed a community with posts about cybersecurity, Linux, and free open-source software (FOSS). In time, those familiar names I'd regularly see in my IT forum posts disappeared from the platform because of inconsistencies and favoritism from moderators, the platform's refusal to clamp down against trolling and non-military related topics, immaturity from users, and likely boredom.

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Things We Misunderstand as a Society

October 24, 2023 — Jt Spratley

A short, random list of things I think we misunderstand as Americans today.

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Why I Stopped Endorsing the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF)

October 24, 2023 — Jt Spratley

For years I recommended US military veterans seeking free entrepreneurship training or certification testing to check out Onward to Opportunity (O2O) by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF). I'm Syracuse University (SU) alum. IVMF is on SU campus. It's a rarely discussed benefit that can help vets of all ages. Then I attended an entrepreneurship program.

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Pacemakers, Medical Devices, and Cyberbiosecurity

September 28, 2023 — Jt Spratley

Pacemakers are one of the most commonly used medical embedded systems in homes today. With the strides in wireless networking, pacemakers have evolved into mobile electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG) machines, tracking patients' cardio activity remotely to assist doctors with heart health treatments [1]. These now networked embedded systems are unfortunately developed without serious effort given to cybersecurity. There have been many incidents within the past decade highlighting such vulnerabilities and their potentially fatal effects.

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Black-Owned Supplement Businesses

August 27, 2023 — Jt Spratley

I rarely write about supplements. My best posts regarding the topic are about weight management and overcoming fitness plateaus, and years old. These Black-owned supplement businesses can help you build muscle, reach a healthier weight, and improve general health.

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How to Convert PDF Files on Linux

August 19, 2023 — Jt Spratley

Linux users have various light-weight, terminal applications for editing portable document format (PDF) files. You need to be somewhat comfortable with the Linux command-line interface (CLI), or be careful when copying commands to ensure you're doing what you want. I'll start with the two graphical user interface (GUI) apps with PDF editing features.

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Music Production Lessons 2023

August 16, 2023 — Jt Spratley

I read a lot about American music history from Dr. Claud Anderson's magnum opus "Powernomics" and book series. Most within this Black music history listacle come from "Black Labor White Wealth" and "Dirty Little Secrets."

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Selling Black-Owned Businesses to White-Owned Corporations

August 14, 2023 — Jt Spratley

I'll make this short. I hope that black business owners selling their companies to larger, white-owned corporations does not become a trend. I believe that we need to keep that money in our communities. However, I do understand that many founders sell their business to a larger company to make change elsewhere.

If a Black-owned business is sold outside of the Black community, I prefer that it be publicly announced, unlike Greenwood bank allegedly did. Remove the business from any Black chamber of commerce listings. Remove "Black-owned" from all parts of the brand's online presence. And I'll find a new Black-owned business to support.

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Native Black Americans' Relationships with Other Groups

August 14, 2023 — Jt Spratley

A short, random post about Blacks' relationships with many, which means "not all," Whites, Mexicans, Jews, Asians, Africans, gays, and other Blacks. At no point in this post, unless specifically mentioned, do I mean all or 100% of anyone.

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Norfolk State University (NSU) IBM Partnership

August 10, 2023 — Jt Spratley

In September 2022, Norfolk State University (NSU) released a news post announcing the IBM NSU cybersecurity partnership. This is part of Biden-Harris' White House initiative to allot more resources and professional development opportunities to students within Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), specifically related to information technology (IT). Four months later, I was entrusted with the role as IBM NSU student ambassador. I've since completed many free IBM courses and released content in an effort to bring more HBCU students' attention to these resources. Course topics include cybersecurity, artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, IBM products, and more.

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5 Black Inventors to Know

August 10, 2023 — Jt Spratley

Have you ever wondered what amazing things we have today because of the innovation of Black Americans? Are you curious about entrepreneurship but need some motivation? These short biographies might spark something.

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HBCU Music Playlist (2023)-50th Hip-Hop Anniversary

August 10, 2023 — Jt Spratley

A sister said she needed a list of songs to learn before the school year starts. I recommended KRS-One and Boogie Down Productions' blog listacles on Hip-Hop pioneers to know. But after finishing my Historically Black College and University (HBCU) student address, I rethought my response. Why not make a HBCU music playlist of songs I think every HBCU student today should know?

Some art speaks for itself and should be first experienced without external interference. Below I'll add context to some tracks that deserve a solid call-to-action (CTA) or more notoriety.

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Black Conscious Music is Getting More Respect, Less Mainstream Attention

August 08, 2023 — Jt Spratley

I recently watched a YouTube video titled "Something weird is happening in hip-hop." I don't care enough to rewatch it to challenge my initial thoughts. All I remember was the author boasting about experimentation in music production and a comparison to the punk genre. I primarily want to explain my opinion to the clickbait-ish "Hip Hop is Dying" thumbnail message. TL/DR: many Black hip-hop/rap artists are returning to the roots - Black culture.

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10 HBCU-Focused Platforms to Follow

August 08, 2023 — Jt Spratley

After having the nerve to write an unofficial address to students attending historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), I used that momentum to consolidate a HBCU music playlist. Below are some social media platforms to keep HBCU students in the know about college news, specifically HBCU culture.

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Genealogy Research Resources for Black Americans' Reparations

August 06, 2023 — Jt Spratley

Black folks serious about reparations need to ensure your family tree is squared away, traced at least back to slavery. Below are some (mostly free) online databases for researching ancestors.

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