Author Archives: iLL

About iLL

There is no reason to worry...I am iLL! RapperTurnedScholar Blog www.illholiday.tumblr.com

What do I do with this revolution…?

Do I bottle it up & try to turn the page?
Do I write a rap & burn the stage?
How much does it cost to earn my cage?
They call me beast, cause they can’t discern my rage! Continue reading

Posted in Africa, Community, Race Related, Social Justice | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Turnings

Turnings

Casey Bridgeford

Ten years in, and a very windy road to look back on…I made the decision to return to school. It felt like a big gamble at the time. What if I wasn’t able to succeed in the class? How was I gonna pay for it? Where would I find the time between working full time and raising a family? How would others perceive me once it was obvious that I didn’t have a degree?

These questions plagued my mind, but didn’t deter me. Without answers, I looked for answers to more important questions, like: What if I made some life-changing contacts? What if I got a job making a livable wage? What if I could use a degree plus experience to do work I was really interested in? What if I could get my family off of food stamps? What if we finally had money to buy nice things outside of tax refund season? What if I became an expert at something? What if new doors of opportunity are opened up? What if…

Out of all the questions I had, I never wondered about “what if I get straight As?” What if community college landed me on the local news? What if I apply and get accepted to an Ivy League school? What if my whole family is featured on the from page of the Philadelphia newspaper and I get to do my first TED talk? I never wondered, what if I get a job at Wharton and a contract with Microsoft?

I never wondered about being scheduled to travel to Africa’s biggest music festival with a class full of some of the world’s smartest people. I never wondered how my future identity would be shaped by the things I learned about South African, Japanese, Nigerian, Zimbabwean, Ghanaian, Central American, and American history.

I never realized that I needed this experience to really see the world. Not like the television portrays the world, but really see it. I now am seeing the pressure that the “model minority” mindset places on Asian Americans. I understand the pressure of the Nigerian young adult that has to have the painful conversation with their parents that they wont be enrolling into med school, but would rather study sociology. I now understand that the gnawing feeling that I was missing out on something; was real. I have been missing out on the real world, and school is introducing me to it.

My turning started with a big decision and continues with an even bigger journey. This upcoming trip to Grahamstown is just one of the many milestones of of my life’s journey, but learning about the country, history, and context of one of Africa’s youngest democracies; is bound to make this milestone one of the most important of my life’s story.

Posted in #ivy2ivy, Africa, Spiritual | Leave a comment

Open Letter to Africans: Africa must claim its lost children

I am not suggesting that there will be an African exodus in my lifetime (though I would wholeheartedly support one). However, I am implying that each of us has a duty to understand the real trauma that our people are facing because of the tremendous brain drain that our continent is facing. Continue reading

Posted in Africa, Community, Politics, Race Related, Social Justice | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Poverty Island: The vacation of a lifetime…or not!

I remember being poor… Continue reading

Posted in Community, Social Justice | 1 Comment

iLL Brief: One semester in…

www.illholiday.com- So, what does iLL do when he goes back to school? Last year, I left my safety zone! I left home, quit my job, gave up Facebook, left friends and my old neighborhood. I had no idea what lied ahead. I had no idea that I would end up moving 3 times in 6 months, become the mentee of a top exec at the largest software company in the world,  experience the pressure that led 2 classmates to commit suicide this year, rock my first college house show, drop way below a 4.0 gpa, visit the Council on Foreign Relations, meet an US Ambassador for a briefing at United Nations, and deliver my first TED talk.

Ups…Downs…And all around…All the highs and lows gave my psyche whiplash from the sharp turns of this ride. However, I am on this ride to get the prize! I needs that degree! This new year has given me a new outlook. I don’t have it all figured out, but I do have one thing figured out… This will be the making of me!

 

Check out a few things that made this year special for me.

This selection of shots and photo’s don’t tell the whole story of ‘When iLL went to school.” To keep up on what I am seeing and how I am doing, stay tuned to the following social media sites:
www.illholiday.com (HERE)
www.illholiday.tumblr.com
Instagram: @illholiday
Twitter: @classofrap

Posted in #ivy2ivy, Videos | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lord, please make my path straight!

 

This journey had been the most tear jerking, terrifying, confusing journey I have ever taken. It has made me question things I was sure of like destiny, purpose of faith, identity, and whether I had the capacity to make a wise decision.

It is in the middle of this chaos that I say, Thank God for allowing me to stumble upon this path. I have had to use my faith daily, ask for help, seek guidance, study my surroundings, and trust that there is no thing on earth that could seperate me from His love.

The result of all of this has been a clearer view of how God takes a flawed man and works miracles through their life. My faith has been strengthed through Him showing me impossible situations, and the working the impossible before my very eyes. I am coming to the conclusion that God has been taking care of me in spite of some seriously flawed tendencies. That gives me more joy than I can express. I am so happy to be on this journey. O how amazing God is

Posted in #ivy2ivy, Spiritual | Leave a comment

Going Away Party: You’re Invited!!

www.illholiday.com #ivy2ivy

[twitter_follow username=”illholiday” language=”en”]

Order tickets via Eventbrite:
Eventbrite - Casey's Going Away Party
http://ivy2ivy-efbevent.eventbrite.com

Come Party With Casey One Last Time!
Free Admission + Free Food

For more information on Casey’s big move, visit www.gofundme/com/ivy-tech-to-ivy-league.

iLL Holiday Going Away Party

Also, check out this short blog article about how I got from community college to the Ivy League: http://www.illholiday.com/2013/06/14/ivy2ivy-5-things-i-did-to-get-into-the-ivy-league/

Posted in #ivy2ivy | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

#ivy2ivy: 5 things I did to get into the Ivy League

 Tried and true techniques for breezing through community college
written by: Casey Bridgeford

[twitter_follow username=”illholiday” language=”en”]

Casey Bridgeford Smile

1) Start fresh: My high school years were over a long time ago. Even though I wasn’t the best student in high school, I had another chance to do things right. Community college was my fresh start and it could be yours if you let it.

2) Study: In high school my grade point average was 2.8. No elite school is actively recruiting students with a below B average. If you want to increase your gpa, study 3hours for every class session you have. (if a class meets more than once, then allot 3 hours for each session)

3) Grab a friend: If you are struggling in a class, people say to talk to the instructor. This works. But if you grab a classmate, you may get more help on your schedule. I always made friends with peers to get through material with people who were learning material at the same pace I was. My grades are proof that this worked

4) Don’t give up: Nobody sails through community college unscathed by personal drama or academic fatigue. When your crisis comes, don’t give up! Pressing on makes you a better student. I faced fatigue, boredom, and a declining work ethic all at the same time. Even though I earned the first D of my college career during that semester, I finished my community college career with a cumulative grade point average of 3.6.

5) Take a break: I don’t mean an academic break. I’ve seen many peers take a semester off that eventually turns into a year and on some occasions, a decade, off. To stay refreshed, skip a study session every now and then to take a long walk, enjoy a movie, or go to a live show. If you never do what you want to do, you’ll begin to despise the schooling process. I always felt refreshed after

taking time to write a blog post.

Casey Bridgeford is covered by Ivy Tech Magazine

Casey Bridgeford is featured by Ivy Tech Magazine

Casey Bridgeford has launched a fundraising campaign to help defray some of the costs of his move during his studies at UPenn. To learn more, visit http://www.gofundme.com/Ivy-Tech-to-Ivy-League.

Posted in #ivy2ivy, Community | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Day 2 in Africa: So this is where I’m staying…


 

www.illholiday.com-

Anytime you beg friends, family, and co-workers to give you thousands of dollars to go meet your estranged family members in a foreign country over 7,000 miles away, things are bound to get interesting. As interesting as things were at the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos, they didn’t prepare me for where I would be staying.

My driver safely navigated through the streets of Lagos to deliver me to Lekki (Lekki Lagos Nigeria Peninsula is a developing suburb considered a prime real estate location). This trip was a 4-hour feat. That’s right it took four hours to travel to where I would be staying. Along the way we experienced a great cross-section of the diversity that is Lagos.

A man selling watches caught my driver’s eye.  His time pieces were stored away in pockets that had pockets. The street vendor walked alongside us displaying his watches while we crawled through traffic. His best pieces must have been tucked deep because he always had a better watch to show for each one that was rejected. About a half a mile and a dozen watches later we hit a wall [not literally]. My driver needed to make a decision and couldn’t chose between three different pieces. So, the plan was to get off  the exit that was about a half mile up the road. The only thing that seemed like a catch was- traffic picked up and that meant we would leave the vendor in our dust. Much to my surprise he ran all the way to where we parked off of the exit, and was there as soon as we looked around for him. I knew that if my driver wasn’t going to buy a watch, I had to give something to the hardest working watch salesman I had ever seen.

After the excitement over the newly purchased timepiece calmed down, we were now getting hungry. That was not a problem either. Along with mattresses, tires, cabinet sets, magazines, dresses, travel kits, and windshield wipers, there were several food items to be bought while in motion on Lagos roadways. Given my apprehension to eat any of the sliced fruit or unpackaged food, we settled on plantain chips. The chips did exactly what they were designed to do. The kept me from taking a bite out of my driver’s right arm.

Soon, we were in the area where I would be staying. Some of the houses were huge, while others were literally shacks. It was interesting to see such wealth and poverty cohabiting literally feet from each other. One thing was sure, security was a major consideration. Each major estate was only visible above the 8-10 foot wall that guarded it from the outer world. I remembered seeing houses that were guarded like this, once before. The only houses that I had witness using this much security were the ones in Beverly Hills.

2012-10-17 14.06.44

We pulled up to the house about 7 or 8 and I yelled to the driver, “Yo Holmes! Smell ya Later”.

2012-10-17 14.06.06

No, seriously, it was like I had pulled right into a Bel-Air Estate. The one thing that would divert from that comparison, that I noticed right off the bat, was a distinct smell. It wasn’t ganja or anything crazy. It was actually something pretty good. I am at a loss of words for what fragrance it was but it was definitely African. I had smelled this smell at the poetry spots in the US. It was like a black soap/Nag Chompa/shea butter/non-european smell. I wish I could explain it better. Whatever the ingredients, it was both welcoming and fresh!

The maid opened the door and ushered me upstairs to greet the owners of the home, the Desalu Family. I quickly learned that I had family in Nigeria that I didn’t even know about. The owners of the home are not related to me by blood, and yet they treated me as their long lost son. Therefore, they literally turned me into the Fresh Prince from our first conversation. This was the home that they toiled hard to build and I was enjoying the fruits of their labor with maids, drivers, cooks and all!

2012-10-16 18.57.39

2012-10-16 18.57.57

When entering the presence of Mr. and Mrs. Desalu, the maid did a curtsey gesture. I first thought that this was done because she was a domestic servant and that it was expected of her. I later saw all people who were younger than the Desalu’s greeted them the same way, no matter their position or profession.  That’s when it became evident to me that Africans have a very deliberate way that they pay respect to their elders. The respect that the maids showed to the Desalu family was indicative of their way of life. I liked that.

Another thing that I liked, was the fact that I had my own wing of the house. The suite where I was staying was fully equipped with a frig, microwave, sitting room, bedroom, and bathroom. The walls were adorned with beautiful art and I had they key to the suite. This was dope!

Every morning breakfast was delivered to me on a tray with linen’s and freshly squeezed orange juice. The only time it didn’t arrive, were days when we had to leave the house early.

2012-10-17 11.49.05

[And yes, they do have Aunt Jemima in Nigeria]

2012-10-17 11.49.23

2012-10-17 11.49.40

Outside of my suite was the rest of the beautiful estate, which included: a living room, two sitting rooms, dining area, several bathrooms and bedrooms, an Olympic sized swimming pool, and a back yard with a view of the ocean. You could tell that ‘living’ had gone on in this home, good living.

After the initial shock of the thought of staying with Affluent Africans, I began to see the real value that their home represented. It was a home that entertained guests, raised children into adulthood, housed relatives, and covered this family. It was anything but the empty mausoleums that we often see celebrities use to shield themselves from society. It was a real home of a real family that is doing really good in Africa.

2012-10-16 18.55.00

2012-10-16 18.55.12

2012-10-16 18.55.27

2012-10-16 18.55.42

2012-10-16 18.56.02

2012-10-16 18.56.31

2012-10-16 18.56.17

2012-10-16 18.56.21

2012-10-16 18.56.57

2012-10-16 18.57.08

2012-10-16 18.57.19

2012-10-16 18.58.13

2012-10-16 19.16.23

2012-10-16 19.16.41 2012-10-16 19.17.22

2012-10-16 19.17.34

2012-10-16 19.17.51

2012-10-16 19.18.26

2012-10-16 19.19.21    2012-10-17 11.50.46

2012-10-17 14.05.31

2012-10-17 14.06.44

2012-10-17 14.07.00

As you can see, I was involved in a lot of maxing and relaxing during my trip to Nigeria. Check back to hear more about the places I went, people I saw, and the things I did during my time in the Motherland!   


 

Click HERE to learn about my first day in Lagos, Nigeria.

Posted in Africa, Community | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Back from the MothaLand: The play by play of my journey to seek acceptance on the African Continent///Day 1:The Airport


 

www.illholiday.com

Many Americans go to 3rd world countries with a singular mission, service. For many, this includes building schools, providing drinking water, medical support or even spreading the gospel… While service is always in season, I was not one of those with that mindset. My mission was very specific and I wouldn’t even need my cape for it. Two weeks ago, I was headed to Africa to meet my family.

With financial backing of donors from around the globe, I embarked on a trip that would be full of triumphant success and tragic heartbreak. 10 days in Africa’s most populous city was an unbelievable experience for a person who wondered if he would ever experience life outside of public housing.

I stepped off the plane into a hectic airport that was crawling with what America would call “minorities”. Almost everyone in the whole place was black. The flight attendants rushing to catch outbound flights were black. The concession stands were black-owned and operated.  Black pilots strolled past pulling small small black bags. I was anticipating seeing alot of black, and that’s what I got…all except the line I was in- passing through customs. This line was filled with all the world’s nationalities that weren’t black. If there were “US” and “Them” surveys to complete, I would have clearly had to complete the “Them” survey. to  I seemed to to be part of the small group of people entering Nigeria that day that was black, but wasn’t African.  

While trying to make this a Kodak moment, I quickly learned a lesson. Taking pictures at the wrong time could get me into some big trouble. Immediately after snapping a shot of my first sight in Nigeria, I was approached by two angry guards that wore a look that spoke very clearly. Their facial expression said, “Don’t you know we have back rooms we can take you to and practice interrogation techniques! Keep taking pictures if you want to disappear!” I don’t really know what was coming out of their mouth; but angry is universal, and they were angry!

I began to wonder what lied beyond the airport doors. What would happen once I officially set foot on African dirt? Would I stand out? Would I blend in? Could I shed the “minority” title that strangled my psyche for 30 years? Or, would everyone just snicker and make jokes about the American who was wearing three hats? I pretty much made sure that the depth of Africa’s first impression of me would be “Is wearing three hats a style that is celebrated in America?” Seeing that I am a hat man, I had to give Africa the same first impression that people in cities across the US have of me… I have no problem looking silly to keep my hats from getting smashed.

Once in the car, I began snapping photos again. The only problem, I forgot to ask if it was a good time to resume. One could begin to think that I was intent on ‘not’ being welcomed into Africa. In just a half an hour I had managed to piss off airport security, stick out like a sore thumb wearing several ‘funny looking’ hats at once, and now…Now, I clearly offended a gentleman who was minding his own business until… I began shooting pictures of his airport business.

After this picture, he came and tapped on the car window demanding to be paid for the pictures I took. That’s when I began to wonder if it was safer to take photos of the scenery instead of the people. I’m glad I had a good driver, and he got us out of there with the quickness. That was my first episode of “when being a dumb tourist gets real.”


As we made our way from the airport to where I would be staying, I began to think, “I hope it doesn’t get any worse than this”. Would it get worse? Would I make a better impression on the people related to me? And most importantly, where will I be staying for the next week and a half?

Check back to hear about “So this is where I’m staying“… To be continued!

 

 

Posted in Africa, Community | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Esperanza’s Story [Show review]


 

www.illholiday.com-

Submitted by Brandon Jackson.



Sometimes a story is only as good as the storyteller, and last Saturday Esperanza Spalding told a story of love, hope, and life during her second visit to the city of Indianapolis. Spalding performed at the Old National Theatre with her 10-piece Radio Music Society Band.  Spalding introduced each member of the band throughout the 2 hour long show as they each brought their own unique flavor to songs like “Black Gold” which backup singer Chris Turner sang out during the interlude. This song also consisted of a dialogue with Spalding as he sang “Was Travon Martin’s life so dispensable?”

Spalding allowed her feelings to take center stage as she played her bass and spoke to the audience while introducing songs like “Smile” in which she stated that, “If you’re not his queen, then he’s not your king,” making reference to how couples should treat each other in their relationships. Spalding also took out time to talk about the Innocence Project which was founded in 1992 to help prisoners prove their innocence through DNA testing. To date over 300 people in the United States have been exonerated by DNA testing because of the vigilance of lawyers who volunteer their service to the Innocence Project. Spalding signed posters, CDs, and t-shirts after her performance from which she donated all proceeds to the organization located in New York.

Spalding is not only a musician who uses her music to bring change, but she is also a musician who doesn’t mind getting to know you if only for a few moments, as she proved during her signing after the concert. To be in the presence of Esperanza Spalding and the Radio Music Society made you feel right as she spoke to the audience as if they were friends that she knew for years. One funny moment during the show was when someone’s phone rang as she started to introduce the next song, and she reached out her hand and stated “Is that for me?” During her rendition of Michael Jackson’s “I Can’t Help It,” she wasted no time upping the energy level as she played her bass with ease and captivated the audience as she danced as if she was the only one in the room. Something else that stood out during her set was the life size boom box that sat on stage as Spalding actually used the prop throughout the show and made reference to as she introduced her last piece entitled “Radio Song.” Spalding had the audience laughing as she talked about how a bad day could go by being stuck in traffic on your way to an interview, but somehow that day would turn out good because you found your favorite song on the radio. Aside from the feeling that Spalding seemed like your best friend or your fun-loving sister, you still could not ignore the fact that she is a musical genius and a true musical icon in the making.

Read more of Brandon’s writing on Esperanza, HERE. Get a FREE TEE for you and a Friend by guessing this Esperanza Spalding SONG.

 

Posted in New Music, Reviews, Shows | Leave a comment

Send Me Home to Nigeria!


 

www.illholiday.com-


When I was six years old, my mother revealed my father’s identity to me. Even though she had raised me without and help from him,  she spoke of him as one of the most genuine and noble men she had ever met. For the next 20 years, I was obsessed with connecting to the man whom I admired, but didn’t know. The truth is that, my father didn’t even know I existed until I was 27 years old. Thousands of prayers, Google searches and Nigerian news articles later, I found a living person with my father’s last name.

It showed up in the strangest of places. I found the last name, IGBOYI, on Facebook. The first Igboyi I found was my cousin. Afterwards, I met my little sister. Then I met the rest of my family. This marked a new era of my life. Now, I would be forever be connected to Africa, directly through my family.

It has been 3 years since I first connected with my sister on Facebook. She has graduated from college, started a career, and found love. She is now preparing to marry the man of her dreams and I want to be there! Help me make it to Nigeria for my sisters wedding on October 15, 2012. This will be my chance to meet my father face to face as well as the Nigerian family that I have never known.

You can help me by visiting this link: http://www.gofundme.com/get-me-to-nigeria

 

—————–

Bio

Casey Bridgeford is an award-winning American hip hop artist and community activist. Professionally known as “iLL Holiday”; his music drives listeners to live healthy lifestyles. He runs a blog that is quickly becoming a medium for sharing new music, fashion and culture from around the globe.

 

Casey’s community work has allowed him to develop his city’s first and only city-wide peace tour. He currently works to develop young professionals who have an interest in working in the non-profit sector.

 

Learn more about Casey “iLL Holiday” Bridgeford at the following links:

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/caseybridgeford

Facebook: www.facebook.com/illigans

Posted in Community | Tagged , | Leave a comment

A Deep Introspection Into My Last Show [Video] + Blue Moon Sunday

Any artist that is faced with a crowd like this must first acknowledge that they will not, and can not measure up to the need of the crowd. They must call for backup. They must call on the giver of the gift. So that’s just what I did. Continue reading

Posted in iLL EXXXCLUSIVES, New Music, Reviews, Shows, Spiritual, Videos | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Black Radio- Yasiin Bey Lyric Video


 

http://www.illholiday.com

Pure hot jazz-hiphop-fusion-experimentation-mix…

YaWelcome!

Posted in New Music, Videos | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Yasiin Bey’s New Muhammed Ali Ad + Louis Vuitton

http://www.illholiday.com-

Round 1: DREAM

Stuart A. McIntyre is represented exclusively by Steam Films.

See more of his work here: http://vimeopro.com/steamfilms/stuart-a-mcintyre

Production House: Steam Films Executive Producers: Krista Marshall Director: Stuart A. McIntyre Producer: Paul Matthews Cinematographer: Kris Belchevski Camera Operators: Stuart Cameron, Claudio Manni, Luis Moreira Editing: Posterboy Edit Executive Producer: Michelle Lee Editor: Stephan Sora Colour: Alter Ego Executive Producer: Greg Edgar Colourist: Wade Odlum Online: Motor VFX Flame Artist: Daniel Kelly Music House: Apollo Studios Executive Producers: Benedicte Luneau, Koo Abuali, Phillipe-Auburt Messier, Yan Dal Santo Music: Mathieu Brault, Daenen Bramberger, Mike Wise Sound Design: Yan Dal Santo

Full Campaign Here: http://www.louisvuittonjourneys.com/thegreatest/ www.steamfilms.ca www.steamygoss.tumblr.com Facebook.com/Steamfilms Twitter.com/SteamFilms

Round 2: WORD

Full Campaign Here: http://www.louisvuittonjourneys.com/thegreatest/ www.steamfilms.ca www.steamygoss.tumblr.com
Facebook.com/Steamfilms
Twitter.com/SteamFilms

Posted in Art, New Music, Videos | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Africa is Worldwide!!!

I bet you never thought Mexico and Australia were two strong promoters of the Motherland. Continue reading

Posted in New Music | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sean Grant turns business success into a win for his country!

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin…” Zachariah 4:10 Continue reading

Posted in Community | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

iLLIGAN EXXXCLUSIVE: Young Africa brings its best to the US

“Americans are very condescending when speaking to Africans…” Continue reading

Posted in Community, Interviews, Race Related, Social Justice | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Tomorrow on iLL Holiday Dot Com

What was she doing in America? Continue reading

Posted in Community, Race Related | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

iLL Show ALERT: Dope Music [plus] Good Food [plus] Wierd People [minus] Anything played on the Radio = IMAF 2012

The Independent Music and Arts Festival [IMAF] Presents iLL Holiday and Luke Austin Daugherty! Continue reading

Posted in Community, iLL EXXXCLUSIVES, Shows, Videos | Leave a comment