Archive for the ‘A Leader for the Times’ Category

Blindsided…the IronE autobiography revealed

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

When IronE Singleton, a man most of you would recognize either as Alton in The Blind Side or as T-Dog from The Walking Dead, asked me to co-write his autobiography I was happy to jump in and help the man I knew—someone I called friend and thought I understood so well.

But then the writing process took me on a journey I didn’t quite anticipate.

From broken down Atlanta neighborhoods to the University of Georgia, from wildly uncomfortable interviews with family members who have embraced the thug life to heart breaking recollections of those who have passed, I learned the whole truth about a remarkable man. He should’ve been a statistic. Instead, despite his horrible early mistakes, he put his faith in God and found a way to rise above. He became an accomplished father, actor and man.

In many ways I think that through this project, with the Singleton family’s openness and love throughout, IronE was ultimately more help to my spirit than I was to his writing.

I’m very excited to announce that IronE’s autobiography …

Blindsided by the Walking Dead:

From surviving the streets to slaying the geeks

Is now available for pre-order!!

You can pick up a copy by clicking on the link above.

Here’s a little bit of what you’ll find inside its’ pages:

On the streets of Atlanta, the fight to survive is a daily battle.

From the drug-infested corners of one of the city’s worst housing projects, to alleyways filled with ravenous zombies– Blindsided by the Walking Dead examines one man’s battle to overcome the violence, drugs, and crime of the ‘hood; starting with a young IronE Singleton determined to succeed despite an abusive mother, an absent father, and the temptations of instant gratification inherent with the thug life.

Football and Faith in God become IronE’s allies in his quest to escape and help him reach for the lights of the University of Georgia’s football field and theater stages.

After years of struggle–failed businesses, small roles, and an ill-fated trip to Los Angeles–IronE snags his major breakthrough role, playing the kind of drug-dealing, gun-toting thug he would have become on the streets, in The Blind Side.

When he is cast as T-Dog on AMC’s international mega-hit “The Walking Dead”, IronE examines through art what humanity is about and what it means to truly survive against all odds. Alongside cast mates Michael Rooker, Norman Reedus, Jeffrey DeMunn, and Andrew Lincoln, IronE fought, gagged, and sweat his way into the hearts and minds of millions around the world.

Challenging China

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

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I’ve been a bit silent here as the news of the first week of a new year washed over me in a literal flood. From the tragedy in Arizona and the floods in Australia, to the referendum in Sudan and political assassination in Pakistan.

Each and every one of those stories worth a blog post (or three) on their own.

But this morning as I did my daily news search one story jumped out at me — an interview/profile of Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng – and I just had to comment.

It wasn’t his tale of official intimidation and abuse that grabbed my attention. Sadly, beatings and electric shocks to the genitalia in custody are hardly enough to surprise regular China watchers anymore. Nor was it the fact that this individual – known for defending the defenseless – has been repeatedly placed under detention….again, hardly surprising in the criticism-phobic corridors of power in Beijing.

No, what got me was that this interview was conducted by The Associated Press eight months ago in the condition that it not be released unless Gao was able to secure asylum in another country OR he disappeared again. As it turns out the interview took place during a brief period of time that was Gao’s only taste of freedom in the last two years.  

This story comes just days after Chinese authorities made it plainly clear that they no longer feel the need to sit through human rights lectures from Western officials. Apparently Beijing feels it has enough economic and soft power on the international stage to begin flexing muscle in this arena despite an abysmal record. And, of course, this comes just a few short weeks after the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo – or rather, to an empty chair representing Liu.

The truth is that “Western officials” haven’t the political will, the moral authority or the legal grounds to really challenge Beijing significantly. But that doesn’t mean any individual, group or country should stop trying ….

Beijing needs our markets as much as we need their products (and investments) and there is little doubt politicians could do more to place public pressure on China and keep the spotlight fixed on Beijing’s record. As China continues to edge out from the protectionism of yesteryear and becomes more comfortable with the worldwide engagement and interconnectedness of the new global reality, Beijing will loosen the reigns…in the meantime we all have an obligation to continue to speak for individuals like Gao and Liu as long as Beijing views them as a threat.

Are your eyes open?

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

A lot has been written about the relatively lukewarm response to the monsoon flooding in Pakistan that uprooted over 20 million people and destroyed the lives of millions of families: Pakistan suffers from a reputation deficit, the disaster didn’t unfold rapidly like Haiti’s earthquake, and/or donors are just tapped out after the string of massive natural disasters over the last decade.

And sure, every single one of those reasons/excuses/arguments reflects a portion of the truth.

But behind all the handwringing and suppositions lies the most important truth of all:

Millions of mothers and fathers continue to ache every second of every day

because they cannot feed, clothe or house their children;

they cannot protect their families from the ravages of exposure and disease.

 

That is the truth that Salman Ahmad, lead singer of the rock band Junoon and one of Pakistan’s most effective – and dedicated – global ambassadors, wants us all to remember.  

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Hope Restored in Burma

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

 

The Lady is free!!

 

Who is The Lady, you ask? And why should you care?

 Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung Sang Suu Kyi – who spent 15 of the last 21 years under house arrest while the country’s ruling military junta systematically worked to break the spirit of not only Suu Kyi’s as an indivudual, but of the Burmese people collectively. Today the junta ended her isolation and The Lady emerged to greet supporters who have endured abuse and harassment for supporting her cause.

Suu Kyi was placed under arrest when her political party won elections in 1990. A powerful clique of military men seized power, tossed the election results, changed the country’s name, sealed the borders and began a standoff with Suu Kyi that appears to have ended today.

And the truth is she could have left. She could have walked away. The junta gave her the chance (though it would have resulted in her exile). But she refused. Refused because she believed in something bigger than herself.

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The Real World Champions

Monday, June 21st, 2010

The battle lines are drawn. Tension is running high. Passion is only slightly behind. The world is abuzz with the vuvuzela. We are on the verge of the first knock-outs of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

As football (soccer) fans around the world gear up to roar their chosen sides onto victory, there is one team people around the world should all be rooting for:

Stand Up United

 

This side, put together by the world’s largest grassroots human rights organization Amnesty International, features a roster of true heroes – individuals who see wrong in the world around them and choose to stand up and act.

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The master of his fate …

Friday, June 4th, 2010

Nelson Mandela is my hero.

Oh now, I know, I know …. I should qualify that before anyone goes off in a tizzy.

If I applied a magnifying glass to every aspect of his personal and political life I’m sure I would discover plenty of chink’s in my hero’s armor. Did he keep every promise? Did he make no mistakes at all? Did he sometimes compromise when he should have stood firm? Did he endorse violence? Support dictators and strongmen? Is he really the picture perfect specimen most would like to believe? Is South Africa now the best run, most prosperous country in the world because of his leadership?

(For the record? No. No. Yes. Yes. Yes. No. No.)

Let’s be honest here. If we discounted every potential hero on the basis of mistakes or personal indiscretions, I doubt even Ghandi would make the cut.

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A leader for the times: Maldives President Nasheed

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

You have to give Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed gold stars for perseverance and creativity. At a time when our planet is in desperate need of creative leaders willing to “think outside the box” to address a host of critical common threats to the human family, Nasheed stands out as a man unwilling to give up in the face of indifference.

Nasheed took 11 of his cabinet ministers out to a coral reef near one of the Maldives islands for the world’s first underwater cabinet meeting last week. Decked out in scuba gear and seated around a horseshoe table amidst the coral, the officials passed around an “SOS” agreement calling for carbon gas emission cuts.

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