December 05 – Volume 6, #12
My epiphany, or at least my most recent one, came as I sat in an airport in Rome waiting to board a plane for the ten hour flight back to sweet-home Chicago.
As has often been the case, hip-hop provided the soundtrack during my last moments of freedom before returning to the plantation in America. As I people watched to Slum Village’s “Conant Gardens,” I saw the influences of hip-hop all around me. A white boy from Luxembourg with dreds heading for gate 13. The teenager from Singapore with baggy blue jeans and a Fat Albert t-shirt. The American student abroad with the black, green and yellow wristband.
“It’s just the fan-tac
My crew comin’ with tracks you relax-ta
My rhyme is universal like elastic, uh
I hope you feel me like you feel ya pastuh (pastor)”
Being born in the United States, I knew the nuances and intricacies of the black English which gave me an even more heightened appreciation of Slum Village’s unique cadences that were more artistic even than what they were saying.
High off the dopeness, I closed my eyes and was taken back to around the time the album was released. I recalled it filling my lungs like oxygen as there was such a void in the music at the time, everybody just doing the same shit.
And as I exhaled for the last time before holding my breath for three more years, I wallowed in a moment of self-pity with the realization that it had been a while since anything inspired life as much as that album did at the time.
Since I first popped Slum Village in my headphones in the summer of 2000 before boarding the train on Jackson & State, a lot has happened. My small world, and the larger one around me, has changed quite a bit. Bush hadn’t stolen one election yet, to say nothing of two of ‘em. The skies of Babylon were Yankee blue as The World Trade Center stood firm and erect. 30 seemed to be a distant milepost far down the road of life, as opposed to a constant rest haven.
The world has been turned upside-down so much so fast that, at times, the invincible Kareem Muhammad has actually felt off balance for a few seconds. Our social environments have a huge impact on shaping our identity, and in many ways I no longer recognized mine. Living in America like James Brown didn’t give me much to hope for, and by the time Bush was giving his second acceptance speech I was prepared to wave the white flag to the white sheets and try my luck some place else.
Cuba. Ghana. South Africa. France. Venezuela. Belize. Grenada. I wasn’t fully sure.
I’m a realist, mind you. I knew full well that wherever I went, I would not find Camelot. No country is without problems, and hate it or love it, there’s no denying I’ve been a well-trained slave and have a lot of American in me. My habit of impatiently honking the horn behind some slow, old lady might not go over so well in other societies that are not always on the go like America. Despite the capitalistic, hypocritical exploitive nature of college sports, I might get the itch to see how the Tar Heels are faring against Duke in early February. Some late nights I might wonder to myself, “is going without wings from Harold’s and Leon’s with extra mild sauce really worth the revolution?”
But I felt that I had to get away from this motherfucker. Contemporary America seems no place for a conscious black man, or too much of anyone with even a remote sense of justice. But increasingly, it seems that justice is not a priority to a vast majority of American citizens who have been zapped into a near-permanent trance of hedonistic self-indulgence. I’ve often heard that when you are in Rome, you do as the Romans do. But I couldn’t live without hating myself if I allowed myself to fully succumb to the strange customs of this land that I have called home for near 500 years.
None of my experiences from my week in Rome did anything to change my mind about eventually having to seek solitude in a land that was even more foreign than my native one. Racism was created in Europe so I will not import false notions that this savage virus was dormant in Italy. But there were reminders all around that American white supremacy was a unique strain.
I browsed freely through stores with my knapsack without being followed and trailed like an escaped fugitive. No one talked down to me, akin to a small child – not in English anyway. To the best of my knowledge, no women went grasping for their mace at the very sight of me. As has frequently been my experience when venturing outside of America, I felt for the first time in ages that my inherent humanity was respected on some level, even if I had the cursed misfortune of being born black.
But as I sat there in the Fiumicino Airport listening to Slum Village I decided, right then and there, that I could not leave America. Not until my business was done there at least. Despite how the leadership of this country has abandoned the masses, and how the masses have co-opted in their own oppression, the people of America deserve justice. This is particularly true of black people in America who have never experienced this on even the most basic level for any 24-hour period since our arrival.
Peace of mind is important to me, and I don’t like the feeling of banging my head against a wall like I feel when I’m constantly fighting white supremacy in this country. But I could not rest easy if my people are suffering and I am not in the midst of the struggle to end their -to end our misery. So as I took off aboard Air Italia I dug my heels in the dirt and braced myself for the fight ahead.
This is not to say that all my motives behind cementing my fate with those of my comrades in the States is totally altruistic. My proclamation was not reached without some self-interest, a fact that will probably be of little shock to those who know and love me best.
In leaving America, I could still download music and buys CD’s that are pumped out from the hip-hop underground. But without being here, without being in the belly of the beast, I would lose much of the context that made that shit sound so damn sweet as I sat there in Rome. And even for of all America’s shit, I wasn’t ready to give that up.
So allow me my small indulgence if you will. As I see it, the choice to remain here and fight; as opposed to executing an exit strategy, will likely mean that my soul will never be truly at peace as things will get much worse in America before they get better. But come what may, I’m ready to knuckle up and battle these leeches and vipers that feast on the lifeblood and ignorance of the masses.
Refocused, re-energized and recommitted, these pages will continue to bring the ruckus to all your motherfuckers in the 06. No degree of corruption, deception or bitch-nigga cowardom will escape my pen’s blade. This is not a fight that will be taken on passively by this gladiator.
Hip-hop had worked its magic again. Just as the devil was making me drift into the abyss of private self-interest, hip-hop helped navigate me home, back to familiar shores.
Peace and God bless,
November 05 – Volume 6, #11
“It’s time we give her all her roses while she can smell ‘em” – C.L. Smooth from Pete Rock 2:17
I made love under the moon in Jamaica as the ocean waves provided the soundtrack. I saw the rains down in Africa. I have gone to Yankee Stadium. I have seen Tribe in concert several times. I was there at the Big Dipper when my homie Corey Huddleston won the tournament with a shot from half court at the buzzer.
But despite all these notable checks on my to-do list, one of my life’s biggest regrets was missing the Million Man March on October 16, 1995. The architect of the event, Minister Louis Farrakhan was the motivating force behind one of the more magnificent displays of the potential that lies with black folks. And though the national spokesperson for the Nation of Islam is frequently maligned for the absence of monumental structural change in the years since, there have been more gains from that event than the media would lead us to believe.
If nothing else I know that it had a tremendous impact on me personally. It was hugely instrumental in the creation of Illanoyze and the vision we have tried to share with you in the past eight years. That black mass that swarmed the Mall in Washington, D.C. on October 16, 1995 was an undeniable symbolic manifestation of what was possible with black people working together to try and improve our collective condition. So we wanted to try and play our part.
It will be many of these present critics of Louis Farrakhan who will sing the loudest praises after the Minister exits the physical life. As black folks, as people, we have a tendency to celebrate our heroes and cultural giants after they have left us physically. But it is time that we give people like Farrakhan his due before we lose him to the universe.
Many of the guiding lights of our generation have left us much too early. Luther Vandross, Ron Brown, Harold Washington, Khalid Muhammad, Big L, Reggie Lewis, Robin Harris.
In these last days it is even more essential for us to toast the true geniuses and pioneers and legends who remain in our midst. Black folks must celebrate them and their achievements while they are still here with us, rather than lament that we didn’t absorb their spirit into our pores more while they were here.
So in addition to giving heartbeat props to Minister Farrakhan. I want to give shouts to Denzel Washington for honing his craft and capitalizing as much as possible from his talents while always representing us with dignity and complexity. Michael Jordan. Maya Angelou and Sonia Sanchez. My mama and my daddy. My aunt Aiasha. Haki Madhibuthi. Larry Johnson, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Muhammad Ali.Chuck D. Dr. Dre for having universal relevancy in every ghetto in America for almost 20 years. Fidel Castro for standing up to America for almost 50. Jamiroquai, The Brand New Heavies, Earth Wind and Fire. The Isley Brothers. Spike Lee. Questlove. Outkast. The Native Tongues for creating the bridge. Aretha Franklin. Mary J. Blige for her empathy. CROE. Max Roach. Ron Carter. Savion Glover. Vinia Mohica for dope ass hooks. Andriana Evans, Dave Chapelle, my man T.J. Crawford and Emmitt Smith. George Lopez. Jim Brown. Barack Obama and Aaron Patterson. Amiri Baraka. Assata Shakur. Nelson Mandela and John Leguizamo. Dead Prez for bringing that X-Clan type shit back. X-Clan, Roy Ayers. Crazy Legs. Kool Herc. Afrika Bambaataa. DJ Grand Wizard Theodore. Sam Greenlee. Chris Rock. Earl Graves, Aaron McGruder, DJ Premier, my grandmother. Sonny Rollins, Common Sense, Mos Def, MF Doom. James Brown, Serena and Venus Williams, Kysha and Groundwerks, Toure Muhammad, Stevie Wonder. Isaac Hayes. Melvin Van Peebles. Chinua Achebe. Quincy Jones. Richard Pryor.
Thank you, and the many that I neglected to mention here, for all your brilliant and positive contributions to the experiences and collective uplift of black people specifically, and all of humanity in a more general sense.
Peace and God bless.
October 05 – Volume 6, #10
“The American Way”
“New world water make the tide rise high
Come inland and make ya house go bye
Fools done upset the Old Man River
Made him carry slave ships and fed him dead nigga
Now his belly full and he about to flood somethin’
So I’ma throw a rope that ain’t tied to nothing
Tell ya crew use the H2 in wise amounts
It’s the new world water, and every drop counts
You can laugh and take it as a joke if you wanna
But it don’t rain for four weeks some summers
And it’s about to get real wild in the half
You’ll be buying Evian just to take a fuckin bath” –Mos Def 1:9-
“A God of peace and love, not mass hysteria
I don’t want a God that blesses America
I could never really vote for the devil.
Let me take you to a higher level” –KRS-1:15-
“Every day’s the 14th” –Outkast 5:2-
“The delegates of the Fifth Pan-African Congress believe in peace. How could it be otherwise when for centuries the African peoples have been victims of violence and slavery. Yet if the Western world is still determined to rule mankind by force, then Africans, as a last resort, may have to appeal to force in the effort to achieve freedom, even if force destroys them and the world.” –Pan-African Congress, 1945-
Well you ain’t gotta take my word for it. Go read your local newspaper. Or put your ear to the street. Look at your idiot box, even Fox News can’t front on it. Though they’ve attempted to relentlessly.
But there’s no denying the lingering effects of race and class in the United States. Once again, in dramatic, Hollywood-like fashion for all the world to see was the drastic disparity that is morning in America. But sadly, this was no movie.
Entire coastal communities disappeared in Mississippi, Florida and Alabama. The city of New Orleans; like a modern day Atlantis, lay almost completely under water while the poorest of the poor were left to fend for themselves like a pack of wolves. Once more, the government had shown these people where they stood in case they had forgotten.
As it has been since our forced arrival to these shores, the niggers were no priority to the power elite in America. Protect the property of course by all means, but the people are on their own.
And that’s what you are to America black folks: niggers. Not even refugees, but niggers. Make no mistake about it.
It is a tragedy of epic proportions that hundreds of people had to lose their lives, with many more on the way after disease from polluted water fully sinks in. But despite this terror of biblical proportions, the brothas and sistas who lost their lives in New Orleans may go down as the first casualties of the revolution that will ultimately bring us into the Age of Aquarius.
The billions in charity that is streaming in from across the country is wonderful, and I hope it continues. But Americans of all shades can ensure that these people did not die in vain if they are willing to put this nation’s leadership’s feet to the fire and force this country to address the systematic oppression and domestic terrorism that would allow for this to happen in the wealthiest, most powerful and so-called most civilized nation in the world.
Bitch-nigga cowards and neo-nazi conservatives have cried that this is no time to point fingers.
The problem with America is that it’s never time to address the needs of the black people who built this country on their backs. There’s always time and resources for tanks, missiles and guns. But never time for our shit.
But know this, at some point America will have to face its sad, dark blemish of white supremacy. And quite simply, we can settle this like gentlemen or we can get into some gangsta shit.
The chaos in New Orleans demonstrated that America is nowhere near mentally able to deal with the latter. For all their historic bravado, the powers-that-be and their foot-soldier policemen displayed how utterly helpless they truly are in times of crisis. No fewer than 40 percent of the police force turned in their badges in New Orleans, while cats with guns of all varieties; ironically stolen from Wal-Mart, had those officers who remained constantly ducking down like the Boot Camp Click. Where’s Bruce Willis or Clint Eastwood when you need them?
Whites were shocked and frightened by this display, but those in the know have sensed something like this coming for some time. Beneath all the self-hate and apathy, there is a simmering rage in the black and brown slums of this nation. Whitey has been skillful in keeping us segregated and trapped inside our communities where this rage against the machine is often inflicted on our own kind.
But one day cats were going to realize who was truly responsible for their daily and generational suffering. With the advent of Katrina, this fury was let loose in a flurry of buckshots. And this was just an appetizer compared to what America would digest if this wave of anger touched down elsewhere.
America’s theory of trickle-down economics has produced a youth more brash, ruthless, and detached from so-called mainstream sensibilities than any ever found on the planet. Simply put, these young niggas often live as if they have nothing to lose. When that becomes fully true, no amount of domestic storm troopers will be enough to break the tide of unbridled rage that could be unleashed by blacks in the United States.
In New Orleans niggas demonstrated that they were sick of America ducking its responsibility for this international tragedy that brought race back into the national conscious for a few minutes.
Many have contended that this is no time to turn to the race card. But America clearly does not have any kind of moral standing to make a judgment on this position one way or the other.
And whether white folks believe that racism played a large role in the conditions in New Orleans doesn’t really matter, the people of New Orleans do believe that racism was a central factor in their plight and it will permanently scar them like a fraternity brand.
The long waits. The deaths of grandmothers and nieces in the trapped heat. The cesspool of waste, bacteria and; in some cases, alligators that carried dead bodies throughout the city.
Of course some poor whites were left behind as well, but there weren’t as many featured in news broadcasts because many white folks had the money and social networks to get away, although their China and family pets are lost to the shores.
And while George W. Bush is clearly the most incompetent leader in the history of nations, television, film or folklore, this goes much deeper than W.
Kanye West’s nationally televised adlib in which he proclaimed that “George W. Bush doesn’t care about black people” was a courageous statement, but also an obvious one to anyone with even a teaspoon of sense.
While he personally bears much, the accountability for this manifestation of systematic racism doesn’t end or begin with George W. Bush. The government was inept, but many closet racists and liberal cowards have allowed for the normalization of an atmosphere where this kind of neglect and irresponsibility could take place.
During times of institutionalized, chattel slavery only a very small portion of whites actually owned any slaves. However, the system could not have lasted as long as it did were it not for its unspoken sanctioning by the masses of the people.
In contemporary times, working-class white folks have supported candidates and policies that have sounded the death knell of the black poor…and ultimately for themselves.
These crackas have furthered the structural oppression of the poor with their tax cuts, their private schools, private police force, gated communities, and refusal to pay for universal health care. This benign neglect has provided structural inequality that has killed many more people than that bitch Katrina and the subsequent flood did.
Poor people aren’t as dumb as the media depicts them, they don’t have to be told someone’s foot has been on their neck. So when the lights went out for a little bit and anarchy prevailed, many in New Orleans saw it as time for a small measure of payback.
While the media and government robots called the acts in New Orleans looting, I considered some of them to be revolutionary acts. They zealously emptied the stores that had overcharged them and put them out of work by getting their products manufactured for cheap across seas. They routinely ignored the falsely-imposed authority of police officers who were reduced to the timid bitch niggas they were before they started hiding behind a badge.
Naturally, these acts were too disorganized to be sustained for long, but they certainly got America’s attention.
It was significant that an act of nature was the catalyst in launching this unfortunate spiral of events. The thing about mother nature is that she don’t give a fuck about what color you are or how much money you make. Crisis such as these frequently feature large doses of cooperation among people of different walks of life. During these rare moments of chaos and tragedy, we recognize one another’s inherent humanity as opposed to viewing anyone with a natural sun tan or a different dialect as a threat.
But black people, after the dust clears we can’t get pimped again. It’s awfully nice that companies like DuPont, Wal-Mart and the National Basketball Association are making hefty donations to try and bring some relief to the victims of the storm.
These corporate fat cats pat each other on the back for how generous they are after exploiting black people’s misery and vice for generations. You’d have to be Hitler or Nero not to want to give something of yourself during these times. But symbolic displays of humanity in the aftermath of Katrina is kind of like being romantic on Valentines Day. Sure it’s a nice gesture, but it doesn’t take any great virtue to be thoughtful during these times. How are you going to get down the rest of the year?
Where will the bouquets and candies be six months from now when it’s time for the media to give most of their attention to the latest missing white girl? Or six years from now when the city is rebuilt and another scandal is uncovered on American Idol?
We’ll see how America does when the water recedes. Change will come to this country one way or the other. It will be up to the powers-that-be and their massive, brainless flock what form this change takes on.
Today it was a great flood, but the fire come next time.
Peace and God bless,
September 05 – Volume 6, #9
“Blacker than an Ace of Spade”
“Just ‘cause I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get me.” –Halif Muhammad-
“What’s that on your shirt my friend,” the Indian gentleman asked me as I slid eight dollars and forty-two cents under the bullet-proof glass.
I took a step back from the counter and he began to read before I could respond to his inquiry.
“Unbalanced: African Americans, Blacks and We the People, Whites – By Constitutional Laws,” the man read aloud.
“Yep,” I said, nodding my head in reaffirmation. I didn’t turn around to give him the evidence I carried on my back such as the Carolina Trade Law of 1686 that barred blacks from all trades, or the 1831 Mississippi Preaching Law that forbade free blacks to preach the gospel without permission. Or the present-day law that makes it where you get more jail time for selling crack cocaine instead of its powdery cousin. And I didn’t go into how blacks are exponentially more likely to receive the death penalty for killing a white person than if they killed one of their brothas and sistas.
“Well that’s not so anymore, right?” the clerk asked, as he closed his register.
“Really?” I asked in a manner where he could sense I was being more patronizing than sincere. “I can’t hardly tell.”
He smiled politely, but didn’t respond, which was just as well since I was in a hurry; as usual, and didn’t have the time to fully educate my new friend whose thick accent suggested his arrival to the United States didn’t date back further than a generation.
It’s understandable that a newbie like himself would think that all the wounds and scars of white supremacy have been healed in America. No one discusses the evil legacy of racism in candid terms anymore.
The talking heads and so-called leadership in the U.S. have made it where race has become the evil step-sister that no one ever talks about. This is due in large part to the fact that in the last 40 years it has become common in America to refute any and all complaints of injustice suffered at the hands of white supremacy by cleverly reversing the onus and accusing blacks of “using the race card” in situations where it doesn’t belong.
This phrase; using the race card, came into popular use during the O.J. trial. Simpson’s defense team was accused of using the extremely well-documented bigotry of the Los Angeles Police Department to obscure the fact that he had sliced his ex-wife up like a meat grinder.
The fact of the matter, however, is that the motives of the racist LAPD should have been brought into question. Beyond all the emotional; and downright whiney, arguments that whites have given on this, and other matters less serious, race almost always is a factor in even the most brief interactions between whites and blacks in America. And there is enough support of this relationship with police departments; in L.A. and all over the country, that it doesn’t even warrant me elaborating further. That shit’s a given like the laws of gravity, the sky being blue and the Cubs blowing late-inning leads..
But white America finds it very difficult to have its oddly unique belief system brought into question. So instead of honestly dealing with the lingering effects of white supremacy that blacks and others are subjected to regularly, America does what it normally does and skirts its accountability; choosing instead to point the finger at the victim.
Granted, there are examples where race is used in some dubious ways. For example, R. Kelly is not on trial because “the man” is out to get him. He’s on trial because he displayed extremely poor judgment and has irregular bowel movements.
And I really think Steve Nash was the MVP of the NBA this year because he was more valuable to his team than any other player in the league this season. Of course, he’s not the best player, but that’s not what the award is for and I don’t believe there was a racial conspiracy behind this one. And you know I’s loves me’s a conspiracy.
But finding exceptions to the rule of white supremacy does not invalidate the many subtle ways that mainstream America assaults the black psyche, spirit and body on a consistent basis.
Accusing blacks of using the race card presupposes that the burden of proof lies with blacks to demonstrate that this is a white supremacist society.
Quite the contrary. The burden of proof continues to be on America to prove that she is truly willing to have an inclusive society, absent the racial and economic caste system currently in place. Thus far the good ole’ US of A has fallen terribly short.
I know this is hard to see if you don’t have three eyes in which to focus. After all, blacks no longer have the ability to expose white supremacy by referring to video where dogs are set against peaceful protesters. None of our recent leaders have been slain in a hail of CIA bullets. The absence of visible chaos has fooled many whites, and a fair share of negroes, to believe that we truly have overcome and that racism is a problem for past generations like small pox and polio.
Most of our contemporary experiences as black people in America suggest that this is not the case. Furthermore, our second-class status is more difficult to endure because when we speak out we are put on the defensive; like a rape victim who was wearing a tight dress, when we point the finger at the system that has consistently proven to mistreat its blacks citizens. And now many in mainstream America want us to keep quiet, shuffle and show them pearly whites. By-and-large, their project has been very successful.
So although the gas-station attendant was misinformed by media accounts of black status in America, I was pleased that we had at least engaged in some dialogue and perhaps my t-shirt gave him something to think about. Nowadays, those of us; of all races, who are sincerely committed to eradicating white supremacy have to inject discussions on race where we can in these days where it has become a taboo subject.
For black people in particular, it is important to counterbalance the many timid negroes and coons who have been frightened into remaining silent on issues of race for fear of being accused of playing the dreaded race card.
Until white supremacy is overhauled and made a relic of the distant past, brothas and sistas, keep pulling the race card and making whitey as uncomfortable as possible. Their brief moments of squeamish-ness can’t compare with the discomfort we have experienced in their midst over the past five centuries.
Peace and God bless.
August 05 – Volume 6, #8
“Supply and Demand”
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah. Blah. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah-blah, blah.
Blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah blah blah, blah, blah, blah, blahs, blah. Blah, blah, blah, blah…blah.
Blah? Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Blah, blah, blah, blah; blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah! Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, Paris Hilton, blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah.
Blah, blah, blah, blah, Bennifer, blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah? Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Blahblah blahblah, blahblahblaw, blahblahblahblahblawblawblaw.
Blah, blah, blah, blah, Runaway Bride, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah? Blah, blah, blah (blah, blah, blah, blah) blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Blah, blah, blah, blah.
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!!! Blah, blah, blah, blah –blah, blah, blah- blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, Michael Jackson, black, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah. Blah.
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah (blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah) blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blahblahblahblahblahblahblahblah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, Tom Cruise & Katie Holmes blah, blah, blah, blah, blah?
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, Jessica Simpson, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah! Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, JLo and Marc Anthony blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah? Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah! Blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Peace and God bless.
July 05 – Volume 6, #7
“Passion of the Christ”
There has been recent whimpering and whining from Republicans and timid moderates about some comments from Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean. The most “controversial” statement from the 2004 Presidential candidate; who was made infamous by his rebel yell in Iowa, was that the Republican Party is basically a “white, Christian Party.”
Since the comments were made public by the San Francisco Chronicle, conservatives everywhere have faked moral outrage over the statement. And as usual they have tried to use contrived indignation to deflect from the truth of the matter.
It happens to be a fact; and no secret, that the Republican Party is the party that is perceived to protect the interests of white Christians. Particularly those that speak with a southern twang. Of course the Republicans are a little more zealous in their efforts to protect the wealthy as well, but then both parties cater to the rich.
Hey, don’t feel bad Republicans, at least you can look in the mirror and know exactly who you are and where you stand. This is more than can be said of the Democratic Party of the last 40 years.
The Democrats after Kennedy have seen their power erode nationally to the point where they have only had two of their presidential candidates emerge victorious since 1970. This has culminated in them losing the Congress in 1994. And they control few state legislatures. In the cities, many mayors are Democrat in name only; and not in deed, as pols like Richard M. Daley work feverishly to protect the interests of big business.
A large factor behind the Democrats’ path to irrelevancy in America has been that they have made efforts not to offend anyone, always playing it safe. This strategy clearly has not benefited the Democratic Party, nor the American people.
So while his language can be questioned at times, those of us who have grown sick of the Democrats pussying up under Republican attacks view Howard Dean’s brashness as a welcomed breath of fresh air.
The Republicans have achieved their majority by basically going after whites and white-thinking Christians of various shades. For the most part, they have basically given the finger to anyone sympathetic to issues of racism, sexism, degradation of the environment and socio-economic inequality. They have cast their lot with a bunch of pompous, white elites; and uneducated, unemployed Bible-thumping rednecks, and have said the rest of the country can go to hell – both literally and figuratively.
Soon, however, this group will not make up the American majority which is why the Christian/Corporate right has worked so feverishly to try and cement their power.
For some time, it has been an unspoken given that the Republicans are not going to work in the interests of minorities. They don’t burn crosses or nothing, they just use code language like school vouchers, law and order and welfare state.
The Democrats; particularly after the election of Bill Clinton, have chosen to try and take their chances with corporate white America and a few educated, white liberals.
Jesus-fearing whites have controlled their population to the point where they may be extinct in a couple of centuries. But while blacks and Latinos have not been able to be fruitful in America, we have damn sure multiplied. Despite this demographic fact, in the last 40 years the Democrats have abandoned people of color at worst, and taken us for granted at best.
Democrats have shied away from any direct discussion about racism for fear of offending moderate whites. Moderates who often are just bigots who are too scared to admit it. This pandering to the spineless, comfortable, North-shore type liberal has caused the country to be lost to mad men.
So touché Howard Dean for cutting through the scripted bullshit and calling these undercover klansmen and sexually-repressed child molesters for who they are.
I have no problem with those who may have conservative political views, though I strongly disagree with them. After all, I understand the rationale for wanting the government involved in as few aspects of public life as possible. And I certainly can understand a person’s moral opposition to abortion.
But today’s Republican doesn’t even really hold true to conservative principles, they just make speeches that will numb the mindless masses into deeper submission and distract from the real issues at hand.
And this type of hypocrisy and injustice that the Republicans have overseen in America; and throughout the world, should be attacked and called for what it is at every opportunity.
If anything, Howard Dean was too PG-13 in describing these modern day Nazis who shit on the Constitution at every turn.
Peace and God bless,
June 05 – Volume 6, #6
“Damn, what is wrong with this thing?” LeRon asks to no one in particular. For what was actually the tenth time; but seemed like the 100th, he went through the process again.
Letter. Then he pressed transparency. Then blank. And finally the start button. Again, nothing.
Being his father’s son; and a man in general, LeRon didn’t like asking anyone for help. But even more so this time because he didn’t want to give any hint of dependency on his colleagues. But this was even more true of the copy machine because he would have to ask Mrs. Faye, and he had made efforts to try and only converse with her if he had to.
For Mrs. Faye; a Southern belle in her late 60s who displayed blatant discomfort with just about anyone who didn’t resemble what she had seen in the town of 80 people that she had spent the majority of her life in, limited conversation seemed to suit her just fine.
The displeasure was visible on Mrs. Faye’s face when he had to interrupt her morning tea to continue in what seemed to be her endless cycle of having to rescue the law department’s problem child.
Though it must be said she was able to get a few sips in as she interrogated LeRon about exactly what degree of incompetence he had employed in trying to operate the copy machine this time.
“Did you put in your code correctly?”
“Yeah, I’ve been doing that for three years,” LeRon said respectfully, but bringing his trademark sarcasm to the surface.
“And you put the transparency paper in the machine, right?” Mrs. Faye asked, barely acknowledging his previous response.
“Yeah I managed to get that one right.”
LeRon knew that it would probably be inevitable for him to take it back to Cottage Grove on Mrs. Faye at some point. But having bigger fish to fry, he tried to avoid this to not fall into a common pattern of self-destruction. And he even kept his cool for Mrs. Faye’s own good, though she wasn’t worthy of such consideration. But she wasn’t making it easy for him this morning, as LeRon was stressed already.
Nonetheless, he sucked it in like many of his ancestors had as the two of them returned to the copy machine and Mrs. Faye repeated many of the combinations that LeRon had been spending more of his morning on than he had wanted.
“Maybe there’s too much paper in here,” Mrs. Faye said, removing the transparencies, not so much talking to LeRon as at him.
“Hmm, never seen that before,” Mrs. Faye says regarding the “red error” light, in a manner that suggested that the outcast had broken the machine. Or perhaps given it some strange, exotic virus. After a couple of unsuccessful tries, a light bulb went on in her head, to which Mrs. Faye said, “Oh I remember.”
Letter. Special. Then blank. Transparency. And start. The slides for his presentation on the overhead projector finally began to go through.
“Yeah they have to go in this way,” Mrs. Faye said as if she knew it all along.
“Yeah on the old machine, we could just go in the direct way,” LeRon reminded her of the recently discarded machine that he had used for the previous 34 months. Naturally she didn’t respond.
LeRon was just happy she had left the room and took the negative energy with her as he completed his copies before preparing for the 15 minute walk home.
After tying up his Tims and pulling his baseball cap over his eyes, LeRon put his headphones to his ears and embraced the only thing that consistently helped him get though the day – sweet, precious hip hop.
In observing the scene on campus all around him, a visitor from another planet might get the impression this strange culture called hip-hop had embraced others of lighter complexions than LeRon’s as well. But LeRon knew better and found great disappointment in the irony.
For the previous 1,000 days he had become well accustomed to how many of his compatriots wanted to embrace black culture. From a very safe and secure distance.
LeRon was black culture, there in the flesh. But all around him he felt hated, feared and despised for just trying to be. Being in a village of cowards, no one dared express this to him explicitly. But the subtle ways could be just as sharp. Like most of his ilk, LeRon had learned to put on enough armor every morning before leaving out the house in order to deal with it. And so it would be on this day.
No less than 8 white and 3 Indian girls coincidentally switched their purses from their left to their more secure right side as he walks on Green Street. White frat boys who were given license to wear their hats to the back by hip-hop, and who displayed all the courage in the world on Thursday nights at the bars, spotted LeRon at a hulking 5’7, 145 pounds and sheepishly walked to the other side of the street. Others took inconvenient paths in efforts to avoid him. The white dude with dreads monitored LeRon carefully over his left shoulder as they walked on the quad in full view of no less than a thousand people. The Asian girl with the Ecko jacket chooses to walk in muddied grass rather than share a sidewalk with him, and risk brushing up against LeRon and surely succumbing to instant death. Some would see him coming and force him to walk around rather than courteously share the space. On bad days LeRon would bump, and even shove, some of them out of the way. In his headphones Gang Starr was advising him to upset the setup so he was chill today. He didn’t want to be foolish, but he secretly lusted for any legitimate excuse to beat one of them to a bloody pulp.
But he knew that this was not time and place for that occasion; and he had worked too hard to fuck his shit up over some poor white trash and their ideological clones of different shades.
And as has been apt to happen, his victim could easily feign ignorance of any slight. And he’d be instantly characterized as a typical, irrational, unstable monkey.
“After all” they’d say, “No one was rude to him.” LeRon’s political rights hadn’t been infringed upon. No one said anything bad to him. In fact they made every effort not to say anything to him at all.
Peace and God bless.
May 05 – Volume Six, #5
- Something needs to be done about cell phones. What is going on people, can you not afford to be disconnected for even a few moments? There needs to be a constitution for cell phone etiquette. Allow me to offer some suggestions.
First, save your intimate conversations for the crib. Resthaven niggas, I don’t want to listen to you cake on the phone with ya girl for 2 hours while I’m trying to chill on the Greyhound.
And stop letting these exploiters sell you so much crap? Stop this walkie-talkie shit, just make a damn call. The next chirp I hear, I’m breaking somebody’s phone.
And I understand some of you parents want your children to have cell phones for emergencies, but let’s get real, that’s not really what’s going on. This is just one more commodity and status symbol. For the most part, teenagers and elementary school kids having cell phones is pretty ridiculous. They ain’t calling mom to tell her soccer practice got cancelled, they’re text messaging their friends while they are supposed to be paying attention in math class.
And the point of going out used to be to get away, now people will be out at clubs and two-waying people about the most trivial stuff. Shit that can surely wait to be addressed at a later time.
Much of this is just another prop for people to draw attention to themselves. “Look at me on my cool cell phone/two-way, I’m important enough for people to call.” No, you’re a lame who needs to get some business.
- I understand people’s beef with greedy athletes at times. For example, it is pretty ridiculous for athletes like Minnesota Timberwolve Latrell Sprewell to explain his rejecting $21 million over three years by claiming he needs to feed his family.
And it is easy for eyebrows to be raised when athletes wish to renegotiate their contracts every year. Often times jeopardizing team goals because they want $40 million instead of $38 million. But when it comes to football players (where this generally happens) making an informed critique requires some understanding of how the NFL job market works.
This is an industry (like most in America) where almost all of the leverage lies with ownership. The NFL is a cash cow like none other in sport, grossing more than the NHL, MLB and NBA COMBINED.
Yet for all the Michael Vicks, Peyton Mannings, Brian Urlachers and Randy Mosses who are well compensated, most players make just a little over the league minimum.
And for this, they sometimes choose to literally put their life on the line every Sunday. And if they blow out a knee to the point where they’ll need assistance walking after their career; or the multimillionaire owners want to put a couple of dollars in their pocket while raising ticket prices, they can cut the players at any time without just cause.
And most of these players’ careers are extremely short. Even cats who have brought the ruckus like Al Toon, Terrell Davis, Billy Sims and Bo Jackson have had relatively short careers.
Fortunately most of those dudes made enough dough, and had other opportunities to maintain their lifestyles. But what becomes of many of the athletes who have been groomed and bred to play ball since they were 5-years-old and have few other skills to make a decent living in society?
Now I don’t expect to emote a lot of sympathy from readers who are having to take two buses and a train at 5 in the morning to go to their first of multiple daily job sites. But examining the NFL presents the basic nature of ownership and labor under this system we live under.
The job demands quite a bit from you, but your company can sever ties with you at any time. They can do this with no consideration in mind for your family, your potential for other job opportunities, or the intangibles that you have provided for the company over the years. Your expendability is generally a product of nothing more than the greed of ownership.
So with this in mind, if you had any kind of leverage on your job, how much diplomacy would you treat your boss with? It’s ok to criticize greedy athletes, but also take into account the insatiable greed of the ownership class.
- Lebron James is cold, but he will never under any circumstances be as good as Michael Jordan. We set an unfair barometer for these cats when we even talk like that.
- With 12 years behind us now, I can say more definitively that “Midnight Marauders” is the finest hip-hop album ever made.
- These winter boot things you women are wearing, take a step back a minute and picture yourself in these three years.
That shit looks crazy as hell. You dames look like action figures or something. And me and my guy Roland think it probably make your feet stink. That shit is not cute at all and I think most fellas agree. Clearly, the only reason to wear them is to keep up with the latest fad.
- How come the Republicans are always talking about small government, then they ensure that the government is always involved in people’s private lives? From Terry Schiavo, homosexual marriage to abortion.
- Condoleezza Rice is being pushed to run for president in 2008. Know this, black folks, a vote for her is in no way a vote for the improvement for black people.
- I know these last two elections were especially wack as hell. And I know that in many ways the basic structure of things won’t change before revolution, but in the meantime, please keep voting black people.
- How come when there’s a hip hop beef now, these phony rappers always cite their record sales? Is Will Smith doper than Rakim because he outsells him? Is Arnold Schwarzenegger a better actor than Morgan Freeman because he might outdraw him at the box office?
When KRS slayed MC Shan, dollars wasn’t the issue. LL and Kook Moe Dee wasn’t about who was moving the most units. Though it may be an overused cliché, the respect of the street is what was important in those legendary, legitimate hip hop feuds. To me it still is.
- If you’re working-class and reading this, stop whatever you’re doing and start laying the foundation for economic independence as soon as possible. This is a difficult task, so the odds are stacked that you will fail.
But you have to try, and you have to start now! Not tomorrow. Not in a few minutes. Not during the commercial break of the game, but right now.
Your government is rapidly cutting you off, and soon it will be every man for himself. Don’t wait for the push.
- Criticizing wack shit does not make you a hater. Some shit is just wack and that’s all it is to it.
Please believe me, I am not jealous of someone who wants to spend six figures for cars and feminine jewelry that’s going to depreciate in value the moment they buy it.
- If I ruled the world people couldn’t get married before the age of 25, and maybe even 30 years old. And reproduction certainly couldn’t be considered before age 25.
True, there are many successful stories of people who have been able to. I am the product of one such union myself.
But in today’s world of labor insecurity and increased cost of living, it’s just not a wise move. I know people say that this may be thinking too much like a capitalist and that love can get you through. But THAT’S some capitalist-invented bullshit.
In non-western societies all over the world, having a family was a rationally considered issue that took into account the consequences for the two extended families, and how it would impact the village or tribe as a whole.
And if you want to deal with the emotional; the fact is that the overwhelming majority of people have no idea who they are before age 25. Many never find out.
So because many people do not properly undergo this process of self-examination, they conduct it later in life to the detriment of their family. Then you find out things about yourself when you’re 40 and make decisions that break up the family which has impacts for us all. And generally does not serve your children well.
I’m not saying the family structure should be a nuclear one. For the most part, I think this is impractical. But what is necessary is to provide a situation where your children, who you claim to love so much, can have optimum opportunity for happiness and self determination.
It’s hard to do that at 40, it’s exponentially more difficult to do at age 20.
- Little Brother and the Justus League are the absolute truth, and the living manifestation of hip hop. If you haven’t heard them yet, check your local record store or search the net for them. Little Brother’s debut album, “The Listening” is one of the top 5 albums in the last ten years.
- Arsenio Hall is a cat who really laid it down for early hip hop, putting a lot of cats on national TV at a time when nobody else was fucking with hip hop at all.
He was blackballed out of TV after having Minister Farrakhan on during a time where the Nation of Islam’s national representative was persona non grata to the State Department and Anti-Defamation League.
Since then, despite being a funny, talented and versatile cat; Arsenio has largely been frozen out of Hollywood, which is likely not a coincidence.
But props to Arsenio -though often perceived as a coon in his day- for bearing the cross, and opening the door for a lot of talentless cats to use unprecedented media exposure to steal a lot of money in the rap industry.
- Robert Stewart; wherever you’re at on the planet, will you please finally concede your mindless argument that sex packets were real, and that Humpty Hump and Shock G were two different people.
- Look, most of these cats on these reality TV shows, and 70s retrospectives are populated with B-list actors, has-beens and never was-es that nobody has ever heard of. It’s a reason that these people weren’t stars the first time around.
Just some food for thought. You cook.
- The fact that Brooke Valentine’s song “Girlfight” has been number one on 106th & Park is another example of that bullshit I was talking about last time out.
- Hey check this out, the New York Yankees hats are dark, navy blue. Not pink. Not lime green. Not orange. Not red. Blue.
- I know a lot of times in the black community, a lot of emphasis is given to black mothers. During games, for example, almost without fail, cats will send shouts out to ma dukes after making a big play.
And black mothers deserve all the props they receive and then some.
But I’d like to take a moment to give shouts out to the best father in America, Halif Muhammad. Thanks so much, daddy for molding me into a man. Happy birthday to you and many more to come.
- Mayor Daley, like his father, will be mayor of Chicago until he dies.
- Though I personally think that the recent gathering at an underpass on the Kennedy Highway in front of a water stain; that is perceived to be the Virgin Mary, is crazy as hell, I can allow for the possibility that this could be a potential sign.
But if it is, laying flowers along side the Kennedy is cool, but the sign might be call to action in these last days. Gathering at an underpass and laying wreaths is cool, but might it be better to serve by actually DOING something to serve God in a concrete way.
Now I know that actually putting some deeds behind rhetoric is not popular among religious types of all faiths, but working to serve humanity in some way might be a more deferential and spiritually fulfilling way to pay respect to the Virgin Mary.
- I know the media hasn’t found time to talk about it, but there are still Americans and Iraqis being killed in Iraq.
- If you’re a big, muscular dude, know and understand that wearing tight shirts and pants makes you look gay, not sexy or macho. I’m sorry to have to break it to you like this.
- To the good white people of Champaign, I want to formally announce that I have no intentions of robbing you. 99 times out of 100 you have absolutely nothing I would want. Nothing.
So stop looking over your shoulder all the time or crossing the street when I’m walking behind you on campus.
You cats outnumber us down here by a ratio of about 85 to 1. Plus much of history suggests that when violence occurs between blacks and whites, your kinfolks are overwhelmingly the perpetrators.
Despite this, I don’t walk down the street looking over my shoulder like some punk, scared bitch at any point. I have absolutely no concerns about anyone running up on me. Where does all your fear come from?
- I think wearing your baseball cap straight, and on the top of your head is generally wack as hell. Almost as wack as wearing a hat with a doo-rag, but not quite.
- I don’t care what you’ve heard, and how profitable it might be. It generally is not good for the longevity of an artist to release an album a year. These frantic acts might produce a few decent songs, but rarely are there consistent full-length gems being produced over this period.
- I don’t know about math and science, but in my experiences in doing business in the street, black women have the fellas horribly faded and you cats should be ashamed of yourselves. Women come on time to meetings. They have paperwork accessible and it isn’t folded, stained, or have phone numbers written on it. They generally think things through a bit better. They’re more careful. They don’t be getting all sensitive and catching feelings like some of you soft ass niggas. And they frequently follow through, with action, what they have put in the universe with their words.
- Having attended some of the nation’s top schools; and vicarious contact with numerous others, I can safely say that the dumbest people in America are in the nation’s universities.
- Eric Sermon is one of the most underrated producers in hip-hop.
- My beef with most clubs is that the DJ no longer displays any unique creativity while rocking a party. Rather than use imagination in his playlist, and vibe off of the flow of the crowd, many of these club DJ’s just recycle the normal circuit of shit that you hear on the radio all day.
I accept this on some levels because people do want to hear some songs they are familiar with while they’re out, so the DJ has to accommodate that a little bit. All I ask for is a little more variety than the radio and BET gives me.
But, heah, if you’re DJ’ing a club where it’s b-boys and b-girls present, it is not necessary for you to play the obligatory radio shit at any point in the evening.
Clearly the point of us coming to many of these underground spots is to get away from most of that stuff. Leave your Lil John, Camron, Ashanti, Ciara and Fabulous records at the crib that night.
Peace and God bless,
April 05 – Volume 6 # 4
“Black Girls Lost ”
“Yeah it’s true
“See, it’s hard livin’ in Sodom
“I think it’s ’bout time we stop these pop rappers
In the national press lately there has been an uproar from black women over Nelly’s song “Tip Drill” which describes the motivation and technique behind having sex with an unattractive girl who has a nice body. One part of the song goes:
See, now I would let you ride but the rubber might slide
Turn that ass up mama put that dip in ya back
I said it must be the ass cause it ain’t ya face
Since the release of the video for this typically simplistic song, many female activists have launched a variety of protests against the rapper. One of the more noteworthy was undertaken by female activists at Spellman who objected to the St. Louis-based rapper’s participation in a university fundraiser for bone marrow donations to help blacks with cancer. The rising protests caused Nelly –whose sister recently died of leukemia- to cancel the event, saying he didn’t feel this was the forum for discussing explicit lyrics.
While these national protests and outcries are noble and well-meaning, I can’t help but to wonder what took you all so long? And what music have you sistas been listening to for the better part of the last decade?
I’m all for holding our artists and community spokespersons to higher account, but I’m also going increasingly frustrated with the practice of black people reacting after the fire has engulfed the community, rather than mobilizing when the first signs of smoke appear.
Have these young ladies at Spellman not listened to any of Nelly’s music before the invite was issued in the first place? Is “Tip Drill” really that much more offensive to women than things that the queens of civilization have shaken their considerably large asses to before? Some of Nelly’s previous work, for example, includes him commanding chickenheads to drop down and get their eagle on. And one of his more popular hits features a chorus where women are seductively panting “I feel so hot, I wanna take my clothes off.”
These are the kind of messages that black mothers all across the country have consumed, and allowed their children to be exposed to, during this era in music that began long before “Tip Drill.” It has been this kind of music for many years that has blared in the club while I was almost being run over, as scores of young women flocked to the dancefloor to see if they could re-enact the video. Sometimes with wet t-shirts and all.
The sistas make a strong case that Nelly’s music is socially and morally irresponsible. But what then is to be said of the women who are largely the consumers of all this bullshit music?
Make no mistake, ladies, 90 percent of popular music today is marketed with you all primarily in mind. If the niggas get on board, then that’s great. But most of what you see on BET and hear on your local Clear Channel station is done with the female consumer in mind.
Even the videos where all the women are half-naked are marketed to you all, in order to guide you in letting you know how you should look and what you should wear (or not wear) to enjoy the life of celebrity that so many young girls cherish. There are many powerful, black women who have long pushed for multi-dimensional views of women, but many others seem content to digest whatever the media machine feeds them.
Though I am no fan of his music, it would be unfair to pick on Nelly. He is far from alone in selling sex through the airwaves. From Beyonce shaking her moneymaker; to Usher, 50 Cent and LL taking off their shirts at every opportunity, all of these images are generally aimed at women.
So while it is fine to hold the artist to account, ladies some of you betta check ya’ self as well. Somebody has been buying all this stuff all these years. The common response from chickenheads from north to south in their justification for supporting this music is “they ain’t talking ‘bout me” or “I just like the beat.” But black women and men who contribute to this cycle end up hurting ourselves in the long run.
However, in these last days we must be especially careful that we don’t make the white man’s job easier for him and present an even further divided black front for the public by producing a battle of the sexes. Additionally, I am very sensitive to potentially limiting someone’s freedom of speech, regardless of how obnoxious it might be.
In the early 1990s, for example, the hip hop community aggressively rallied behind Luke and The 2Live Crew after they were arrested for obscenity in Broward County, Florida. Many, like myself, were not fans of their music per se, and didn’t necessarily condone the messages. We just were not about to allow white America and their government the right to dictate to us how we could exercise the one autonomous voice we had left – hip hop. Plus we found it utterly hypocritical that a government that thrives on indecency; with far greater consequences, dare point the finger at us.
As white supremacy has evolved in recent decades, the ruling-elite has often utilized double agents to try and tame the negroes.
I do not imply that this is the sistas’ intent in the least. Unlike Tipper Gore, Dionne Warrick and C. Delores Tucker, I believe efforts like those taken on by the ladies at Spellman and the “Take Back The Music Campaign” by Essence Magazine are genuine. More importantly, in addition to the holding our brothas like Nelly to account for our collective being, there are constructive steps that we all can take along the way to take back the music. To take back our culture.
There are several constructive ways that I have chosen in protesting these images of our black women. One of the primary ones is I don’t buy the shit. Additionally, I don’t listen to local radio unless I’m in the car with someone who does. But you won’t catch me actively seeking that shit out, nor do I check for this madness on the video stations. And generally when the DJ plays this stuff at the club, I’ll rest my dogs or head for the bar.
For all these ladies’ efforts, the truth is that this kind of degrading music won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. So long as sex sales, this is going to continue to be marketed. It is commendable to put pressure on the artists, but these women should also try and put more pressure on some of their sistas who make these images more acceptable than they should be. Because quite contrary to what you may believe, more times than not these niggas are talking about your stankin’ ass too. Peace and God bless.