Archive for the ‘Global Citizen’ 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.

Walkers broke my heart…twice

Friday, March 16th, 2012

Twice in the last two weeks AMC’s The Walking Dead has broken my heart.

For those of you who are fans of the show but have not seen the latest episodes, I urge you to stop here and return once you’ve caught up. If you have no idea to what I could possibly be referring, I suggest you walk away and come back in a few weeks when The Walking Dead frenzy has turned all fandom into cryo-walkers, stuck in purgatory awaiting the third season, and I return to my normal political and current events fare.

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Dale had me at hello. I have always felt a kinship with Dale in that he sees the world, even a messed up conflict-ravaged one, the same way I do. Rick admitted early in episode 11 that the Randall decision needed to be made because people were scared. When Dale stood in front of the main survivors’ group, begging them to stand against fear, rage and hurt, and somehow find it within themselves to see the bigger picture—the risk they were all taking; the ‘humanicide’ they were prepared to perpetrate upon themselves—I positively howled through the entire scene.

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Team Grimes…protecting family

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Their love for each other is matched only by their drive to survive. While both Lori and Carl lack the survival, weapons and hunting training of those around them, they remain locked in a fierce battle against the zombiepocalypse to protect that which matters most—the human family.

Who are Lori and Carl Grimes? They are characters from The Walking Dead—a series of graphic novels by Robert Kirkman turned into one of the world’s hottest cable television shows by AMC and an insanely talented production crew. They have created cast of characters I have expressed a great deal of love for:

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Team Greene…for the faithful

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

They are hardy, wholesome folk. Hershel and Maggie Greene can keep a farm running, ride any steed in true cowboy style and wrangle zombies when the need calls for it. Their faith in God sustains them, but their isolation leaves them susceptible to grand—and potentially deadly—illusions about the realities of the world they live in.

Who are Hershel and Maggie Greene? They are characters from The Walking Dead—a series of graphic novels by Robert Kirkman turned into one of the world’s hottest cable television shows by AMC and an insanely talented production crew. They have created cast of characters I have expressed a great deal of love for:

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Team Carol …saving hearts and minds

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

She has seen the worst of human nature. She has survived heartache, chronic abuse and the spiritual cost of living a life dominated by fear—and that was before the zombipocalypse hit. After all the horror Carol Peletier remains capable not only of love, but of taking emotional risks to express that affection. Carol is a survivor in so many ways that have nothing to do with putting a dent into a zombie’s skull.

Who is Carol Peletier? She is a character from The Walking Dead—a series of graphic novels by Robert Kirkman turned into one of the world’s hottest cable television shows by AMC and an insanely talented production crew. They have created cast of characters I have expressed a great deal of love for:

If you aren’t watching the show you should be. From the moment the show begins viewers are taken on the undead ride of a lifetime, watching a cast of beleaguered humans fight not only to survive, but to retain that which makes us most human.

Carol—played with stunningly intricate nuances by Melissa McBride—is the main survivor group’s mother figure. She, more than any of the other females, is able to consistently put aside her own hurts and doubts, to reach out and nurture those around her. In this regard Carol represents the best in human nature, a truly pure spirit we should all be so lucky to have in our lives.

[***WARNING: Spoilers ahead***]

From the get-go viewers could look at Carol and say, “This is a woman who has seen hell.” The way that Melissa McBride handles such a delicate character is brilliant—the little subtleties during her interactions around any man that told more about the extent of the abuse the character suffered than the one instance of on-screen abuse at the hands of her husband Ed in season one were chilling.

But it was also apparent right away she was a survivor. Whether for herself or the child she loves, Carol would find a way to persevere. And Carol’s true beauty was that her strength of spirit was there all along. We just couldn’t quite see it clearly behind the thick veil of abuse.
Carol is the epitome if motherhood on the show. She’s always there for the children. Teaches them in makeshift class rooms. Heck, she’ll even do a stranger’s laundry. She shows appreciation by taking care of others. No one forces Carol to do laundry. Unlike Andrea, who very much wants to throw off the restrictions she feels her gender ties her down with.

Carol sees suffering and reaches out, even at the risk of getting slapped for it. No other character on the show could have told Daryl what he so desperately needed to hear out loud—that while he may not have the education, experience or training of men like Rick and Shane, he is every bit as good as they are. While others like Dale may have seen or felt instinctually that Daryl needed this to help further the evolution he is experiencing, it was Carol that had the right combination of courage and empathy to deliver.

And then…there was Sophia.

Sophia was the light in Carol’s darkness. A child that, no matter what, brought joy and love into her life when an abusive husband sought to rob her of her dignity. In the aftermath of Sophia’s disappearance we saw both Carol’s finest and weakest moments.

Anyone who knows the pain of losing a child was physically shaking during Carol’s interaction with Daryl in the horse stable. What kind of strength does it take to tell someone that the search is over? To admit that you have to let go of your only child? Good grief, just writing that gives me goosebumps. Nothing, absolutely nothing, in this world compares to losing a child…the pain is physical, a paralyzing terror. And yet, somehow Carol has the strength of spirit to embrace a mother’s worst nightmare in an attempt to save the life of another.

My one big issue with the Sophia situation was that Carol took a back seat in the search for her child. Intellectually I understand this might have been the result of years of abuse and being pushed to the background until you yourself believe you have no contribution to make, and again McBride’s portrayal was brilliant. But everything in my core bucked against it, and I found myself itching to drive down to Georgia and start searching for a fictional character myself. That could have been difficult to explain later on….

But the real question now is—can Carol continue to survive?

We saw the battle Andrea fought after losing her sister Amy. Andrea and Carol have different kinds of strength, and Andrea appears to have found a way to pull through. Carol has now lost her source of joy, her anchor. Will that be it….the event that finally breaks her beautiful spirit?

With special thanks to R.C. Murphy

Team Merle, Team T-Dog… a tag team

Saturday, January 7th, 2012

They are the oddest couple I know. One is a strung out, racist, redneck with a really bad attitude and cojones only a fool would dare challenge. The other is a black man built like a Mack truck who displays good intentions and guts, but harbors doubts about his place in a zombie-infested society. When they meet sparks, …or rather blood and spit, certainly fly. It’s a feast for the eyes and the spirit…for both Merle Dixon and Theodore Douglas, better known as T-Dog, are grappling with issues of race, survival and what it means to honestly show your true colors.

Who are Merle Dixon and Theodore Douglas? They are characters from The Walking Dead—a series of graphic novels by Robert Kirkman turned into one of the world’s hottest cable television shows by AMC and an insanely talented production crew. They have created cast of characters I have a great deal of love for:

If you aren’t watching the show you should be. From the moment the show begins viewers are taken on the undead ride of a lifetime, watching a cast of beleaguered humans fight not only to survive, but to retain that which makes us most human.

These two characters represent the opposite ends of the spectrum in a battle that has raged since the beginning of recorded history. Are we, the human family, truly one? Or, are we divided by race, religion, ethnicity and/or politics? Are we a global family? Or, is it us against them? Neither man is evil. Both are, at least partially, products of their environments. And both men have valuable lessons to teach us about what it means to be human.

[***WARNING: Spoilers ahead***]

Everyone loves Merle. Wait, scratch that. Everyone loves Michael Rooker, a singular actor who can take the most vile character and leave viewers salivating for more. But it isn’t just Rooker. Merle is able to do what most of us cannot—to be true to who he is and speak his mind no matter how unpopular his feelings might be. Putting aside, briefly, that Merle is a danger to pretty much anyone he encounters including his own family members, there is a sort of freedom there that few human beings have the guts to display.  T-Dog certainly doesn’t have that kind of courage—it is only when ravaged by fever that he is able to give voice to the dark thoughts he harbors within about race and the fate of the black man. While he may later express disgust with the bile that spewed forth from a fevered mind, he cannot really deny that those were—at least, in part—his true feelings…and given the state of pre-zombiepocalypse society, not entirely unjustified.

T-Dog, played by IronE Singleton, is the main survivor group’s conscience personified. After Merle’s disgusting display on the roof, it is T-Dog who steps forward to take on the responsibility for Merle’s fate even though he, above all the others, would have the most reason to turn and walk away. He took the responsibility for dropping the key and delivers a message few want to hear—that the blood is on their hands, and no matter how repugnant Merle may be his fate will weigh on their spirits. By securing the door with a chain and padlock even as he fled the rooftop scene, T-Dog recognized that his anger towards Merle was human, but that the outcome was untenable.

The one vs. the many. Merle and T-Dog, because of who they are as men, have polar opposite approaches to survival. Merle needs no one and sees the pansies, democrats and n*ggers as negatives rather than assets. T-Dog sees every individual as having a place on this earth with value to add to the group. In this regard Merle is hopelessly deluded. A man may be able to survive physically on his own, but the human spirit requires others to flourish.

Both Merle and T-Dog have strength of spirit, the strength of true survivors. If you pull away the layers of drugs, acerbic wit and short-sighted views of Merle, and the doubts about his place in the main survivor group as a whole in the case of T-Dog, both men have a strength to them. Seriously. How many people out there could do what Merle did on the roof, and in the kitchen with the iron? How many can continuously put aside fear and loneliness to act in the best interest of the group as a whole with no real sense of acrimony?

Which leads me to the rub. Is there a place for a man like Merle in a group of survivors for which he expresses little more than outright disdain? Should a man who consistently puts the group before himself feel like an outsider? And, ultimately, should the group survive long enough to begin a true rebuilding process, can they—the new human family—rise above the hurts of the past to chart a more humane future?

With special thanks to R.C. Murphy

Team Rick…on a mission

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Any good story is bound to have that one character who is one horse short of being an honest-to-goodness cowboy. I’m not talking about the “shoot ’em up” guys that do it because they have a gun fetish, but the guys that fight to uphold their morals. Morals they learned with a hand on their momma’s apron hem and had drilled into their heads by hard working fathers. Rick Grimes came into existence long after the Cowboy Era, yet he still fits the part. Heck, when he made his first appearance on television they even gave him an actual horse–well until it was eaten by a horde of hungry zombies.

Who is Rick Grimes? He is a character from The Walking Dead—a series of graphic novels by Robert Kirkman turned into one of the world’s hottest cable television shows by AMC and an insanely talented production crew. They have created cast of characters I have a great deal of love for:

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Team Andrea…on the hunt

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

Temperamental and rash, Andrea is determined to prove herself. But she remains prone to emotional outbursts that cloud better judgment, and result in foolish half-thought actions. That Andrea does have natural strength and the gumption to use it make her missteps all the more painful to watch. And often in the case of her fellow survivors, that pain is literal.

Who is Andrea? She is a character from The Walking Dead—a series of graphic novels by Robert Kirkman turned into one of the world’s hottest cable television shows by AMC and an insanely talented production crew. They have created cast of characters I have a great deal of love for:

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Team Dale…ever steady

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Everyone, whether fictional or flesh and blood, needs a person they can go to in times of emotional turmoil. That person holds up a mirror to reflect their true self. Without them, we are doomed to keep repeating mistakes, or worse, destroying who we really are by trying to pretend we’re someone different and going against our nature. Dale is that man. He speaks the truth, no matter how hard it is to hear.

Who is Dale? He is a character from The Walking Dead—a series of graphic novels by Robert Kirkman turned into one of the world’s hottest cable television shows by AMC and an insanely talented production crew. Like the tormented character of Shane Walsh, the squirrel-tossing badass Daryl Dixon and the honorable Glenn for all of whom I’ve already expressed great affection, Dale’s tireless battle to honor his fellow man has my unflinching support…and gratitude.

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Team Glenn …for those with honor

Sunday, December 11th, 2011

He sure has balls for a Chinaman. Oh wait…he’s Korean. Whatever. What he is, is the kind of person I’d like to have at my side when the worst happens. When the horde is gathering and the body parts are flying—no matter what emotions may be racing through his adrenaline-hyped body—he remains practical, strategic, capable…and caring.

Even though Glenn isn’t really real, his innate ability to simultaneously make me smile and feel completely safe makes this young man a keeper on my post-apocalyptic wish list of companions.

Who is Glenn? He is a character from The Walking Dead—a series of graphic novels by Robert Kirkman turned into one of the world’s hottest cable television shows by AMC and an insanely talented production crew. Like the tormented character of Shane Walsh and the squirrel-tossing badass Daryl Dixon for both of whom I’ve already expressed great affection, Glenn is a character who has won my heart.

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