Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been subject to more ignorant rhetoric pertaining to the Black Lives Matter movement than my brain cells can stand. From being labeled a “domestic terrorist group” to “a bunch of racist cop haters” I’ve seen and heard way past enough. So rather than waste my time counter-trolling every unlettered remark I come across on social media, I’ve taken the liberty of putting together an easy-to-read reference guide post for all those who fail to understand — or try to understand, rather — the meaning behind Black Lives Matter. Read carefully. [Read more…]
At the moment, I’m having a very difficult time formulating a sentence. My thoughts are scattered, my nerves are shot, and I am exhausted. To keep it totally one hunnid with y’all, I have no clue what to do right now. I am not one to start a rally or organize a protest. I am a writer. I write things. I use words to connect with people. To uplift. To heal. But today? Right now? I’m stuck. Lost. Disturbed.
Mad as all hell.
I keep thinking about how [insert hashtag name here] could just as easily be my grandfather, father, uncles, cousins and friends. I keep trying to think of something — anything — I can do to help prevent yet another innocent Black human being from getting shot by corrupt police officers. I keep trying to come up with ways to help reassure and reaffirm my and my people’s humanity and unalienable right to live. But again, I’m stuck. [Read more…]
So last Sunday was the 2016 BET Awards. I know, I know. I’m hella late. I actually started writing this earlier in the week, but then I got sick so life got put on hold for a moment. So without further ado, here are my top five blackest moments of the 2016 BET Awards:
1. Beyoncé & K Dot’s hella lit “Freedom” performance
I wasn’t home when the awards first aired, so I had already heard Beyoncé was performing. But when I watched it later (praise God for DVR), I still thought she was a hologram at first. ‘Cause seeing Beyoncé at the BET Awards is like seeing a shooting star. During the daytime. While blindfolded.
But anyways, her and Kendrick’s “Freedom” performance was lit. I had already seen her perform it in concert, but her collab with K Dot took it to a whole ‘nother level. It embodied so much symbolism, and as a writer, it was too hard for me to ignore. When she spread her arms, her costume resembled a Black Phoenix rising from the ashes, the perfect metaphor for the resilience that Black people naturally embody and a foreshadow to our revolutionary rise from oppression into a position of power. Her tribal-printed dancers, who are all in formation and are ready for war, represent our numerous ancestors who were stripped of their homeland, humanity, culture and identity to be labeled as property. The interlude leading into Kendrick’s verse looked very much like an ancient, ritualistic war cry. And when she and K Dot were splashing around in the water on stage, these were the words that came to mind: Rebirth. Purification. Renewal. Restructure. Freedom. It was the perfect introduction to a four-hour-long telecast of unapologetic blackness.
2. Beyoncé dipping the second she got off the stage
Beyoncé is basically that one cousin who never comes to any of the family functions. And when they finally do show up, they fix them a plate and leave without anyone realizing when they left exactly.
3. Mama Tina being a real mama
Mama Tina accepting Bey’s award and then writing a novel-length post on IG defending her daughter’s absence was like every Black mama coming up to the school and cussing out the teacher for not giving their baby an A on the science project she stayed up all night creating.
4. Jesse Williams giving everyone the
Greatest Read Of All Time
First off, let me just say how shocked I was that Viacom didn’t have the producers cut to commercial in the middle of Jesse Williams’ eloquently delivered, well-deserved read to the entire United States of America. Aside from the fact that JW is one of my Top 10 on my Bae List, his acceptance speech for the Humanitarian Award was the epitome of everything and then some. And was it just me, or did the gum chewing add just a lil bit more eff it-ness to his delivery?? As phenomenal as it was, I don’t think that speech would’ve been quite the same without the gum. And this quote right here drove it right on home:
“Ghettoizing and demeaning our creations, then stealing them, gentrifying our genius, then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit. The thing is though, just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real.”
*runs down the aisleway*
*jumps up and down*
*passes out at the alter*
5. J Hud leading us into worship during her Prince tribute
I heard J Hud got a lot of backlash for sounding too “churchy” during her rendition of Purple Rain. Haters always gon’ hate doe. Personally, I loved her rendition. She sang that song like a true Baptist choir soloist — with hella pipes, and hella soul. AND THAT ENDING? Yeah. She killed it.
As y’all know, the Super Bowl was this past Sunday. Now here’s the thing with me and the Super Bowl — I don’t watch it. I am a proud, unashamed, non-active football watcher. I might sit in front of the TV with game-watchers to merely bask in the Super Bowl ambiance, but I pretty much am just there eating and not paying attention to the majority of the game until halftime. Which brings me to the very subject of this post: the controversy surrounding Beyoncé’s big, Black halftime performance (Happy Black History Month, btw).
Now I originally had planned to post this yesterday, but I seriously had to think, pray and meditate on this one (I’m not lying, y’all. I literally pray and meditate before I write all of my posts, actually. This one just needed some extra time.). Because folk are legitimately tripping over the new “Formation” song/video that Bey released 24 hours before singing it in a politically-charged performance at the Super Bowl. Which has since begotten hella blogs and overthink pieces, infamous Facebook rants, Anti-Bey protests, the whole nine. Some folk (most of which were of non-melanin descent), even went so far as to say her entire halftime performance was racist and “anti-police.” Mmkay. [Read more…]
So Sunday, after I went off on my little rant about all the tomfoolery over Ayesha Curry’s tweets, I took a break from social media and went with a friend to go check out the new Spike Lee movie, Chi-Raq. When the trailer first debuted last month, the film received a ton of backlash over the title (which I’ll go more into later in this post). Many Chicago natives, including Chance the Rapper, vowed that they would not be supporting the film due to its controversial title and themes highlighting the ongoing gun violence in Chicago. [Read more…]
Most people would assume that since I’m a writer, I’m automatically a journalist who just LIVES for reading and watching the news. I remember this one person I met during a business trip kept referring to me as a journalist, and basically cornered me into making small talk about the latest big news in Detroit.
A few things about me:
- I do NOT like discussing news about Detroit with people who are not from Detroit. Especially if they are not from Michigan. Mainly because most of the people I have conversations with have a one-sided perspective based on what they hear/see in the media, which is basically one, big cesspool of political bigotry and propaganda.
- I don’t consider myself to be a journalist. I am a writer – a pretty good one – who happens to possess the basic, fundamental skill sets of a journalist (i.e. fact checking, proofing, editing, transcribing, etc.). There is a difference. I did not study journalism in college; I actually got my degree in marketing (#funfact). However, I’ve been a writer since the first day I learned how to put pencil to paper (#anotherfunfact).
- Anyone who really knows me knows that I dislike reading and watching the news. Not that I don’t enjoy reading – I actually love to read (although I’ve been slipping on my reading list as of late). But more so because the media has an agenda as far as what it chooses to portray to the masses, which is generally crimes, breaking news about Bruce Jenner becoming a grandma, commentary about celebrities at the Met Gala, (Rihanna slayed in that Beauty & the Beast costume, and you will deal), crimes, crimes and more crimes. Generally, crimes committed by the inhabitants of the urban communities. Translation, Black people. Excuse me — “thugs.”
By now, I’m guesstimating that the majority of the people reading this post – roughly 99.5% — possess a general knowledge regarding the Freddie Gray case. If you’re of the .5% who is still unaware, my girl Google will give you all the tea, honey. But to make a long story short, yet another – unarmed – innocent Black man, Freddie Gray, has died at the hands of law enforcement. The incident occurred in Baltimore and has spurred a number of reactions from the Black community – or “thugs,” according to Fox and CNN – ranging from peaceful protesting to rioting. Of course, the media outlets chose to focus on the latter – so much so, that little to nothing was covered on Freddie Gray’s actual death, the police officers who detained him, or even the man’s funeral.
Cue in Marilyn Mosby. The Baltimore State’s Attorney who has been investigating the case independently with her team. MM also happens to be very beautiful, very intelligent and very much Black. She made a statement during a press conference last week, in which criminal charges were brought up against the six police officers that arrested and detained Freddie Gray before his mysterious, untimely death. Of course, the press and police force have been up in arms about MM’s bold move, and now the attorney representing the six police officers has filed a motion for her to rescue, I’m sorry, recuse herself due to “conflicts of interest.” So in other words, Freddie Gray was Black, the prosecuting attorney is Black, and that is utterly and remotely unacceptable. The end.
What really irritates me is how oblivious certain people are – or at least pretend to be – about racial injustice, when it’s constantly being plastered all over the media. And how every national news outlet has to have at least one Black person serving as Devil’s Advocate to make this look like a “moral issue” instead of a “race issue.” Or the fact that the government and media are trying to play the role of the naïve victim who never realized how bad the economic and educational conditions of Baltimore — and every other major urban city in America — were until now.
But what’s even more frustrating is the plethora of ignorant comments I’ve been witnessing regarding this and the numerous other cases of justified injustice against Black people. Comments like “Rioting is not going to bring Freddy Gray back” really grind my gears. Not because I agree with violence, but because: a) no one is actually looking at the REAL issue here, which is that innocent people are continuously being brutalized and killed by the police, hence the rioting AND peaceful protesting (in case y’all forgot); and b) some of the very people gasping and pointing the morality finger at these “thugs” are the same ones breaking windows, blowing up cars and ransacking the streets after their college sports team has either lost or won a game, or just because pumpkins are cool – and potentially flammable. Which also — if my lack of memory serves me correctly — has never turned into a national breaking news alert. But I digress.
I have so much more to say right now, but I’m just gonna wrap this on up before my frustrated fingers catch a case of carpel tunnel.
So here are a few more things I’m going to leave you with before I go pray to my God and do some yoga:
- Racism still exists. And no, the fact that we have a Black president in office does not count. If anything, having a Black president has brought the deep-rooted, prolonged passive-aggressiveness of racism to the forefront. Don’t believe me, read all the racist comments under just about every news story involving the current President and First Lady of the United States of America. Next.
- All police officers aren’t “bad,” and all Black people aren’t “thugs.” Or uneducated. Or ghetto. Or dumb. Or angry. Or savages. Or robbers. Or murderers. Or weak. That is all.
- The phrase “Black Lives Matter” does not mean the lives of all other people don’t. It is a public service announcement to this nation’s corrupt law enforcement and judicial system that continues to blamelessly kill and incarcerate our people that our lives are just as valuable as anyone else’s. So to all the folks pushing these “All Lives Matter” hashtags, remain calm. You’re already covered.
- This land was founded on the bloodshed of its true native people, by the “thugs” who rioted and killed to steal it from them. The same “thugs” who traveled overseas to snatch my African ancestors from their native land, strip them of their names, culture and identity and classify them as property for three centuries. So if this very nation was birthed and built from the plights and oppression of innocent people, what leads us to believe that the spirit of injustice does not exist and will not be justified for the betterment of the privileged? I’ll wait.
In the mean time, I charge all of us to wake up, smell the political and social malarkey, and seek some wisdom. Open up a history book, the Bible, or hit up my girl Google. ‘Cause ignorance is only blissful for the privileged folk who can afford it.