Tuesday, November 15, 2016

A White Guy Talks About Racism

Racism is not something fabricated by the media. It may have been exploited by the media but I witness first hand on a regular basis. It seems that since I'm a white male, other people in my demographic feel like it's ok to say racist and misogynistic things to me. But it's not ok. That's never ok.

The sentiment I am getting from some other white men is that they believe they are becoming minorities and will soon be at a disadvantage. To that I say, so be it. Hasn't the system been run by white men with money for long enough? Maybe we need a taste of our own medicine. Maybe we need to learn what it's like to be oppressed. Maybe we need to learn more about sacrificing what we have for others.

Here are some recent, real life, first hand examples of racism I have encountered:

1. A man told me, in reference to President Obama that, he "was surprised nobody shot that n****r."

2. A woman told me to contact -HER- "Mexican Boy" who was actually an older latino gentleman with grandchildren.

These are only a couple examples of recent interactions but this is a regular occurrence, there are many more. Other common things said or in regards to a) 'women being inferior and only exist for the satisfaction of their male superiors' b) people suggesting that we should annihilate the middle eastern countries (which is called genocide by the way), c) people referring to disabled people as 'retards' or suggesting that they are inbred, and d) referring to people in poverty as 'lazy' and 'freeloaders'.

I feel disgusting even typing these things. It's time for us middle class white men to let someone else take the wheel. It's time we stop standing in front of our oppressed brothers and sisters and start standing behind them to support them as they let their voice be heard. We have been in control long enough.


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Historic Downtown Shawnee and Boo on Bell!

     With all the festivals I attend I've experienced both the good and bad. The good side is that with all the walking my calf muscles are getting as strong as the Fedex delivery man. The bad news is that my caloric consumption has increased my waistline in direct proportion to the toning of my leg muscles.

     After nearly 10 years of performing I finally played a stage in my birthplace. I arrived at the Boo on Bell festival in Shawnee at about 11am and was welcomed by Julie Cody of Safe Events for Families (SEFF). SEFF is a non-profit that and has been around since 1998. Julie's husband John was running the stage and had a top notch setup. I was excited to see that the stage was just yards away from the historic and legendary Aldridge Hotel where my great-grandad sang with a barber shop quartet on the ground floor. Now, there I was a century later carrying on his musical legacy.

     I was scheduled to perform at noon and as I was setting up my gear I got to watch snips of the pet costume contest going on in front of the Hornbeck Theater. There were dogs dressed as cats, cats dressed as goats and goats dressed as… just kidding no one brought any goats.

     I started my set with some originals including a new one I wrote called “White Lines”. Since I try to suit my songs for whatever audience is at the event or venue I am performing at, I laced in some kid songs, classic country tunes, blues, classical guitar and bluegrass.

For the grand finale I brought out my never-failing, not-so-secret weapon- my three year old daughter. She introduced herself and sang ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ while dancing around in her own blue suede shoes. She then told two jokes before accompanying me for the last song with improvised ballet and bongos. She showed no sign of stage fright and only displayed the professional stage mannerisms of a tenured performer. Needless to say, she drew a bigger crowd than me. Proud of my little performer!

     After my set, I caught up with some old Shawnee friends and family and then grabbed some food truck grub. We had fried cajun catfish, caramel kettle corn and fresh squeezed lemonade. We did some trick or treating and scoped out all of the festivities Boo on Bell had to offer. They had the new and old Ghostbusters movies playing, a full carnival, candy everywhere, food trucks, dance parties and all kinds of little kids dressed up as the cutest and most curious little creatures that have ever walked Bell Street.

     Boo on Bell was a blast and the SEFF crew were some of the finest individuals I have met from my home town of Shawnee! If you haven't visited downtown Shawnee yet I strongly encourage you to do so-SEFF has some great things in store. Downtown Shawnee is shaping up to be one of the most fun, relaxing and family oriented places to hang out in Oklahoma. Go and get involved there!

To find out more about Safe Events For Families in Shawnee go to SEFFShawnee.org

For more information about Joel T. Mosman and The Oklahoma Uprising, music, blogs, videos and more check out OklahomaUprising.com and please follow me on social media @OklahomaUprising.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Spend a day at 50 Penn Place!

Well, everything has been great on our end and we hope you have been doing just as well! We appreciate all the support we have had so far from all of our friends and family.

As you may have heard by now we are performing on Saturday September 24th at 10pm at Belle Isle Restaurant and Brewery, 50 Penn Place, 1900 NW Expressway, OKC. There will be a reasonable $5 cover charge.

I'm ecstatic to perform here for the first time in a long time. I used to go and hangout there quite a bit when I lived in OKC. They have great beer and amazing food. I've also seen some phenomenal bands perform there including Mike Hosty and a few others.

If you have never been to Belle Isle Restaurant and Brewery don't worry.  It's probably one of the easiest places to find in OKC. If you go to Penn Square Mall and look directly across Northwest Expressway to the south you will see a big tower. That tower is 50 Penn Place: Home of Belle Isle Restaurant and Brewery, Full Circle Bookstore, Belle Isle Art Gallery, Route 66 Boutique,  KJ103, 101.9 The Twister and 94.7 The Brew.

Belle Isle Restaurant and Brewery has two different parts. A restaurant downstairs and a brew pub upstairs.

The restaurant has everything you need. Premium quality pizza, pasta, burgers, sandwiches and even Tex-Mex! The restaurant hours are 11am- 10pm Monday thru Saturday.

Upstairs is the brewery where you'll find craft beer, bar games, sports on the big screen, a full bar and LIVE MUSIC including yours truly OKLAHOMA UPRISING

Here is my suggested itinerary for Saturday the 24th:
  • Head to Full Circle Book Store to hang out on their patio with coffee and your favorite book.
  • For lunch head to the Belle Isle Urban Market for a honey-pepper BLT and a 'Dixie Duck' root beer.
  • After lunch you can check out the top notch art at 50 Penn Place Gallery or check out some local and American made products at Route 66. Maybe after that head upstairs possibly get a tour of one of the many radio stations headquartered there. If not just peak in the windows!
  • 3:30pm to 6:30pm is happy hour at Belle Isle Brewery so go in and grab a handcrafted Frozen Finger IPA on the cheap. Catch the game on the big screen the head downstairs for a Sausage & Mushroom Margherita Burger for dinner.
  • After a hearty meal you can relax by the fountain and get ready for Oklahoma Uprising LIVE at Belle Isle Brewery! You can party to your hearts delight and then go home and GO TO BED because you just had quite a day!

Looking forward to seeing you folks and getting to hang out with my favorite people! Hope to see you there and don't forget about our other shows coming up...

October 2nd- Guthrie Escape Art and Wine Festival @2pm

October 22nd- Boo! On Bell Shawnee @ 12pm

October 23rd- Sauced Fest at Paseo @ 5pm

Oklahoma  Uprising: Oklahoma Music. Oklahoma Community. Oklahoma Spirit.

For music, videos, merchandise, show schedule, news and blogs join the Oklahoma Uprising at OklahomaUprising.com!

-Joel T.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

When a Congressmen Assured Me Things Were Not As Bad As I Thought

By: Joel T. Mosman
May 5th, 2016

     Had a nice visit at the Oklahoma State Capitol yesterday. Played my music up, down and all over that place. Met a lot of great folks, saw some old friends and great art of all varieties, even sat in a Representative’s office and had a chat.  I was there to talk about the importance of art in education but that opened up a big can of worms over state budget, energy revenue and economic downturn. I was surprised to learn his opinion on those things. 
     Our political process is a complex beast. It doesn't always work the way it was intended. Our leaders spend a lot of time navigating the system and (in the best scenarios) serving their constituents. But that's not always the case.

     Sometimes our leaders can get so caught up in the government ‘grind’ and lose focus on how their constituents are being affected. Your representative might not realize how teacher shortages, high living expenses, a less than effective judicial system or a failing economy is affecting you or your family.

     This is what I learned when a certain congressman told me from behind his desk that essentially ‘things aren't as bad as people think, the media can sometimes blow things out of proportion’.

     This is when I reminded him that the problems I was expressing to him weren't just something I had seen on TV while I was scarfing down a big fat chicken leg. I said that, in fact, “struggling teachers, layoffs, furloughs, low pay and poor education funding are all issues that affect me, my family and my friends at a high degree.” I also informed him that we were too busy working overtime to pay our bills to be able to do fiscal research and conceive reform strategies. I told him “that's YOUR job and it's what we trust you to do.”

     Before I stood up to leave his office I asked him for suggestions on what small part I could play to help reverse our crumbling economy. He said to focus on my family, pursue something that pays better than teaching and don't let the decisions they make at the State Capital affect my attitude.

     This is my answer to him: I believe my family should benefit from a healthy economy in order to contribute to our communities. I believe that teaching our school kids to become contributing members of society is more important than individual financial success. Lastly, I believe that the inherent purpose of our government is to ensure the security and welfare of the people; I'm sure you agree that when the lawmakers instill poor security and welfare policies an adverse effect on individual attitudes is not only justified but involuntary.

     This is why I encourage everyone to write a short message to your representative or senator to let them know how this economic downturn is affecting you or your family. They have a lot going on and can't always get a clear picture of what is happening in their respective districts. So, if we want change we have to let them know why we need it because some of them don't even think there's a problem.

     If you live in Oklahoma visit this website, enter your information and it will tell you who your legislators are and how to contact them.


Joel T. Mosman

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Problem with Oklahoma's Problems (And The Solution)

     The problem with problems is that there are too many problem presenters and not enough problem solvers. When I was 19 years old I was on an American Airlines 727 flight from Newark, NJ to Norfolk, VA and I got the best advice from a stranger that I have carried with me ever since. He told me “the best skill that you can develop is the ability to solve problems.”

     The older I get the more I realize how valuable that advice is. Everywhere I look are people talking about 'the problem' and few talking about 'the solution'.

     A few days ago I was at a town hall meeting at Guthrie High School where a few of us had gathered to discuss some changes we could make to cultivate the art and culture of our community. Pretty soon we were discussing the lack of problem solvers in our community.

     So, I have been thinking about ways to solve the problem of our problem solver shortage. There is an emerging culture that is built upon the philosophy of ‘each person for him/herself’ - the antithesis to the definition of ‘community.’ This philosophy is destroying our culture and communities.

     It seems as though people are feeling increasingly disconnected with their local and state leaders. The input of the consumer used to be a driving force to business management and now their opinions and concerns are just a drop in an ocean of bureaucracy. The citizens in the communities of Oklahoma feel powerless to make any measurable change in a behemoth economy controlled behind closed doors. But, nevertheless, that economy has significant control over much of the population. 

     So what happens when the individual is overwhelmed with powerlessness? They turn inward and began to worry only about themselves and their own families. This is a problem

     Now hang on, don't get me wrong. I'm on board with protecting and providing for our individual families. But when we focus only on our family unit and ‘to hell with everyone else’ we are not being good citizens. In fact, the ‘each person for him/herself’ philosophy is ruining our communities. 

     We have to pick someone up when they're down. We have to provide for those in need. We have to heal the emotionally afflicted. We have to be present to our neighbors and communities. We have to provide others with the intellectual resources they need to thrive socially. These are the things that strengthen our communities and secure our homes.

     When the people in your town are doing these things they're achieving greatness. Great communities foster great leaders. When we elect great leaders and send them to the State Capitol we have a greater chance of having accurate, authentic representation. Great neighbors=great communities=great states=great nation=great planet=great...well you get the picture.

     Conversely, when we neglect to take care of one another we have no community. Just acreages of people exploiting each other for personal gain. Selfish leaders in the State Capitol only worried about taking care of themselves. We all know what happens when our leaders are selfish- we are disconnected and left to fend for ourselves while the ones at the top exploit us.

     So, I have identified the problem now I should follow my own advice and propose a solution. My solution is this- WE HAVE TO GET UP!

     Get up and join a local group, church or other organization. Get up and introduce yourself to your legislators and let them know your concerns and how you think they should be addressed. Get up and get to know who is running for local, state and US office. Get up and elect the leaders who represent you the best. Get up and go to a town hall meeting, city council meeting or other community gathering. Get up and shop local and stimulate your local economy. Get up and sacrifice your time or money for someone else. Get up and make the changes that you want to see in our society. Get up and STOP COMPLAINING!

     Be a problem solver. It truly is one of the best skills you can have. Use your problem solving skills to work with others to tackle the problems in your community. When we only look out for ourselves and let everyone else do the same we are drawing boundaries that will ultimately weaken us as a neighbors, towns, states and a nation. 

     Be the change to want to see.

Joel T. Mosman