You get Justice, if you’re Lucky

Now if you listen closely
I’ll tell you what I know .
-Maya Angelou, Alone

Life in 2020 is a constant cycle of trauma if you are Black in America. Black men face the constant pressure of being walking targets of brutality and fraudulent representations of waywardness. Black women treated as the weakest link when we literally anchor the totem in our dust. The last nine months have ushered in a physical and spiritual pandemic that has America in a chokehold and is both exhausting and overdue for Black folks. Protests, the exposure of racism and racists practices, and the real conversations on white privilege, supremacy, and responsibility are a true comeuppance. Yet simultaneously the constant broadcast of injustice, dead Black bodies, and loss of innocence are heartbreaking. My son’s drivers training class is having a discussion on “driving while Black”… a conversation whose necessity is obvious and life saving but also the face of racism and it’s affect on the Black cultural reality. The coming undone plays musically like the Janet Jackson sample…

Poetic Justice.

Black reality in this current space is like…
Pac and Janet.
Innocence and Pain.
Life and Death.
Trauma and Healing.
Cause and Effect.


Get your umbrella.

***

Read slow, and you’ll find gold mines in these lines. -Kendrick Lamar, Poetic Justice

Racism has always existed in the US, it is literally built upon it like bricks. It is the blood and bones of African slaves buried beneath Washington’s monuments. Yet 2020 has been a modern day Middle Passage, but cars instead of boats and prisons and cemeteries instead of plantations. State and government sanctioned murder and oppression of Black people, broadcast in living color. It reads like payback for our ascent that has challenged White men of what they thought was their birthright. A leader who with coded language and lies encourages the bad behavior of supremacy. Police officers who otherwise might have thought twice about shooting a Black man, woman, or child knows luck is on their side and justice will likely be suppressed. It seems, today is a good day when somebody got killed, instead of loved, in South Central LA.

The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan. –
Maya Angelou, Alone

Blackness is a state of being and a state of mind. In America, our story is one of infinitesimal degrees of separation both physically and spiritually. Out of about 400,000 slaves shipped to North America through the slave trade, we now number over 42 million. We are connected very intimately to one another genetically. Brothers and sisters literally. Since our feet stepped on American soil we have lived with external oppression that has tricked some of us into internal betrayal, by breaking those bonds between us through separation, familial destruction, and mental torture.

There is, in every hood a series of dichotomous experiences. Pleasure and pain: we exude style, confidence, and creativity that is often forced to live in the shadows of violence and generational curses. A Pac and Janet, hood boy and good girl, love story set against a backdrop of hopeless and violence. The boys and girls in the hood suffer the trauma of racism and cultural confusion that affects both how we love and what we hate.

The reality of most urban communities is that Black and brown people have been pushed into these pockets by poverty, racist housing policies, and a lack of opportunity. But as communal people we make a family out of these circumstances the best we can. Play cousins; Aunties giving you dollars for As; your cousin braiding your hair in the porch steps; getting Grandma a new church crown; and doing the hustles at the family BBQ. Simultaneously battling internal struggles about who we are and our worth that have been handled down the emotional family tree like kinky hair and curves are handed down genetically. Black on Black crime is a fallacy; we are able and intelligent despite biased test scores; we are worthy despite the ruin we often live in and around m; and we are powerful despite the lack of our faces in public spaces. It’s not nature, but external cultural oppression that breeds internal cultural betrayal.

What we have in common is pain. -Kendrick

South Central, LA gang stories make sense, but love stories? Despite lives of hardship in a hard place, the characters played by Tupac Shakur and Janet Jackson were soft reminders of the beauty to be had by healing their deep pain and generational toxicity. Grief, death, fear, misogyny, distrust, selfishness colored their experiences, yet they were both representative of the very real innocence of love and connection. Violence and aggression are stories of necessity, like hip hop, they tell our story. Softness and love are our truth, like R&B, they make babies and families and communities. Lucky had a softness only hardened by reality, like Pillsbury and Doughboy were hardened by heat…choppas or circumstances. Be sure that hard shell you develop is only protective of your softness, and not preventing your brothers and sisters from reaching it.

As we protest that longstanding oppression ALONG with our own traumatic responses to watching our brothers and sisters killed in today’s streets, we find ourselves exhausted and in need of a reprieve. Karma will be our savior. Poetic Justice. The Buddhist theory of samsara teaches that after death, our spirits return to either the good realm or bad realm depending upon our actions during life. That realm is where we’ll exist until another death. Rebirth. As we heal and pay homage to our communal history and our generational truth, we are being reborn free. The oppressive shackles of racism only have wrists and ankles to bind that are afraid to break. Healing breaks you so you emerge whole. Trust, this entire year is one big therapy session. We gon be alright!

If I told you that a flower bloom in a dark room, would you trust it? -Kendrick

Ever wonder why we got all this rhythm? How we turn our blues into funk? Why we sing and cook and dance with soul… collard greens in our feet, baked mac and cheese bubbling over, and the sweet honey colored juice of yams coating our vocal chords so we can sing high line Minnie and deep like Mahalia. Why our hair winds, twists, turns up to the Heavens? Why we are painted in color? We are the sons and daughters of soul. The very place where love lives. The softest place on Earth.

And this is our exhausting reality. In one moment we mourn Breonna and the next celebrate Kamala. We are here to teach everyone else how to emerge from the ashes, whatever burned them. Only healed hearts can have that experience. You get Justice, if you are Lucky; if the stars align; if the color of your shirt is blue; or if you have dirt under your fingernails. But that doesn’t mean you ever stop fighting for her if you don’t get lucky. Despite what you’ve been told and no matter how many of your teeth they try to pull to force feed you racism, know that in reality they only want to slur your speech. We must speak, write, tweet, telegram, and Pony Express our experience, and let our collective, communal, and familial words holler out for justice and freedom, come hail, snow, sleet, or…

…there’s blood in my pen. –Kendrick Lamar

The Two Kamalas

On August 10th, 2020 reports came out that James “Kamala: The Ugandan Giant” Harris, the WWE wrestling star had died from COVID-19. When #RIPKamala trended on Twitter, people assumed the hashtag was in reference to Kamala Harris, the US Senator and potential running mate for Joe Biden. The very next day, Uncle Joe confirmed he had selected the Black female US Senator as his Vice-President nominee. Coincidences are just God reminding you, He created Dave Chappelle!

Both Kamalas have excelled at the top of their respective games. Yet both have been victims of America’s favor of white mediocrity over Black excellence.

James Harris was born to very meagar means, but through a series of encounters entered the wrestling world in Benton Harbor, Michigan under famous Black wrestler Bobo Brazil. He was brought into the WCW, in 1983, and at the behest of Jerry “The King” Lawler his character, Kamala The Ugandan Giant, a play off of Idi Amin and tribal Africans was born. The character played well in the racist South where wrestling was most popular, and where the mediocre dwell. As a result, Kamala grew in popularity, moving in to the bigger broadcast at WWE, and ongoing battles with superstars like Hulk Hogan, Jake “The Snake ” Roberts, Macho Man, and Andre “The Giant”… names you likely know whether you were ever into wrestling or not. Unlike many of the larger wrestlers, Harris was more agile and flexible, and could put on a show. He was actually athletic, and provided the movement and charisma in most of his matches against the superstar wrestlers. However well into his career, he was never paid as much as the White wrestlers, despite his popularity. Harris remembers being paid only $13,000 for a match The Undertaker was paid $500,000 for, well into his career. He was a wrestling great, who suffered from racism and the justification of it based on how profitable his character was to the company.

Kamala Harris is an alum of Howard University, graduate of the University of California-Hastings with a juris doctorate. She’s a lawyer, former district attorney of San Francisco, the Attorney General of the largest state of the union, a US Senator for ten years, and a former Democratic nominee for President. Yet, like the wrestler, she’s portrayed as an equally savage prison warden because of her work as a district attorney. Minutes after her announcement, Twitter erupted in misogynoir, talking about her inability to lead, her prosecutorial record as a DA, and spouting all the right wing media nonsense we have come to accept as gospel, instead of doing our own research. I don’t have time for a history lesson, but I can assure you of this…

Kamala Harris is an educated force of nature in an upcoming battle where she is the only warrior. Her running mate, although our best and only choice, is an old mediocre White man who America picked over excellent women and people of color, including Harris. Her opponents are two very mediocre White males, one a conservative talking head and the other, the spawn of evil who has locked up children in cages, allowed Black women to be abused and mistreated at his rally’s and applauded it, surrounded himself with a circus of wild and wacky Black people to prove he likes “the Blacks”, and told four Congresswomen of Black or Muslim heritage to go back where they came from, despite three of them being born US citizens and one of them being a naturalized citizen. In this ring, she is the only person who can go the full round without needing a medic and the only person who continues to prove she belongs in the upper ranks of government.

The biggest discussion during the Presidential and Vice-Presidential debates will be the handling of this pandemic by the Republican administration, and its failure to save American lives by issuing a national policy to curb the spread of COVID and race. As sad as James “Kamala” Harris’s death is, it’s fate that the next day a Black woman with the same name would be in the running to break the ceiling on another first for Black Americans. Black Lives truly do Matter. She has a unique opportunity to wipe the mat with Trump and Pence, to not only expose them for the racists and public health piranas that they are, but to soak up Kamala The Ugandan Giant’s blood, sweat, and tears in honor of every Black person who has persevered through racism to bust through those ceilings. Just when we begin to wonder if our living is in vain, the universe yells out to us, “No, of course not!”

Like Kamala the wrestler had to don a costume that certainly was offensive to Black people, he also had a job to do and a character to play in the wrestling production. Similarly, Kamala the district attorney had to abide by policies and laws made by the government of California that continued to put Black men in prison, she too had a job to do and a character to play in the government’s production. Neither entertainers or politicians are at liberty to make their own rules up, they have to follow the producer’s rules and the government’s laws… if they want the job. But they must get the job to reckon with and expose its evils. We expect Black politicians to represent Black people, when in fact, their jobs are to represent the people who elect them. Instead, we should expect all politicians to be excellent leaders dedicated to freedom for all people, and against marginalizing people to keep them from success and realizing their true potential. Black people have had to sacrifice to get success despite being excellent. It’s time for America to take on excellence as the standard and discard this notion that Black people have to be 10x better to get 10% of the spoils of white mediocrity. After all, you can’t be truly free and truly brave AND mediocre.

Now grab your war paint and get in your wide legged stance, because we need to go win this thing. Ya heard.

The Purple, People Eaters

I need a minute…just a minute of your time.

I am for and about the liberation of Black people from oppression. In order to understand that oppression, we have to call out discriminatory, racist, oppressive, supremacist, and privileged power systems that both created and continue to thwart that liberation.

Taking “whitening” off of toothpaste has NOT A THING to do with that. Nothing.

But if I have WATCHED, WITNESSED, and/or EXPERIENCED someone, maybe a group of someone’s taking advantage of what whiteness allows in America, and it negatively impacts and oppressed me, I have EVERY right to call it out. EVERY.

Picture it…

We live in the nation of Monsterica and in Monsterica, purple people are the most successful because they have a history of eating blue people, (who they forced to help them build the nation) whole or their parts, killing them off or handicapping them. It’s technically against the law now, but they still benefit from the headless, armless, legless blue folks whose families and communities suffered because of their handicap. Typically tall purple men were the ones that ate the blues, but over time short purple people ate a few blue people and used purple cannibalistic power over blue people to succeed like the talls. The blue people revolted. In calling out the tall purples they also called out the short purples. In short 🤣, if a short purple man feeds on me for his comeuppance in the way of the purple people, it’s not his height but his assimilation into purpledom that has put me in chains. Once I’m freed from those chains, expect me to admonish EVERY purple person, tall or short, who shackled me and my people. You decided to ignore your short teachings and take advantage of being purple. So sit in that purpleness… you earned it right!

“He was blowing it out, really knockin’ em dead; Playin’ rock and roll music through the horn in his head”-Sheb Wooley , The Purple People Eater

I get to call out my oppressors. I get to call them out by name. When I call out white supremacists, understand that’s not all White people but it includes any White person who wants my freedom stifled for his success. That’s tall, short, Christian, Protestant, rich, poor, blue eyed or green eyed. Everybody. Period. And like the talls, the shorts have a story, and in order to educate my people on our history of oppression, those stories need to be told. That’s education. It’s not hate speech if it’s truth speech. It’s hate speech to say Black people are inferior, less intelligent, over sexualized, thugs. It’s hate speech to say Jewish people are greedy, manipulative, crooked, and sneaky. It is not hate speech to say that a disproportionate number of Black people live in poverty or that a disproportionate number of Jewish people are media and entertainment executives, owners, and decision makers. It’s factual. It’s also not anti-Semitism… a phrase that is in and of itself ensconced in White privilege… to say that Black people have suffered at the hands of White people and Jewish business owners. It’s factual. Google it, or scroll down to yesterday’s blog. The education is there if you want it.

But this is also true… I can mistakenly and without malice say something in a generalized manner that is hurtful to a group of people, because it doesn’t apply to that entire group. If I say, “White people are racist”, that is wrong and I’d expect non-racist White people to expect me to retract and apologize because I was wrong. But if I say, “My experience has been that some White people are racist…” or “White supremacists are racist”, that is my truth and the truth, and I don’t have to and should never be asked to retract or apologize for truth. But if I’m wrong, and I apologize, that doesn’t mean I take back everything I said but it means I’m apologetic for condemning a group for the actions of the few and I’m sorry for hurting the people that don’t fall into that few. I’m not a sell-out, I’m an adult. And if I apologize for my bag, it’s my bag… how much is in yours!?

Guilty people don’t get to feign hurt and innocence when called out on their shit. Adults who hurt innocent people should apologize. We all need to show empathy and compassion. And oppressed people, in order to be liberated from it, MUST understand it and educate the masses about it, it’s how we pay for our freedom, cuz it ain’t free. The oppressors won’t like it tho… and when they can no longer eat you, they will just steal from you. Yep… take all yo shit!

“Never let the same dog bite you twice!”

-Chuck Berry

So don’t be afraid to call it a one eyed, one horned, purple, people eater… if that is WTF it is! Truth is like water, it takes the shape of whatever it enters, and surrounds and drowns whatever refuses it! The elected President, the state sanctioned police, their white supremacist electors and supporters, have caused what has amounted to an uprising in this country against racist and discriminatory acts, laws, policies, crimes, socially accepted images and institutions, and speech… written or spoken. It has focused on Black people who have been the victims of the most direct and continuous of these actions. But like thieves do, All Lives Matter is a tone deaf and privileged recharacterization of the real motives of Black Lives Matter (BLM). It’s a distraction to keep us oppressed. Black people don’t control any systems of power, so there is no racism inherent in BLM or any discussion of our liberation. The guilty will call it whatever they need in order to stifle it.

Power in defense of freedom is greater than power in behalf of tyranny and oppression.”

-Malcom X

The Black on Black Crime Fallacy

A few days ago I was totally impressed by the conversations and dialogue going on about Black life in America.

Today, in my mom’s group on Facebook (started by Raquelle Harris, a Detroit area journalist), we started talking about the fallacy of Black on Black crime that is used to both paint Black people as inherently violent by those who hunt and kill us and still used by Black people who are ignorant about crime statistics and buy into the Black people and neighborhoods as violent trope. As much as I’d like to take full responsibility for my writing, it is experiences such as these that give me something purposeful to share with you all. So let’s get to it…

So first let’s break this bullshit down to its shitty parts.

“IF Black lives really mattered…” Black lives do matter but we know who is responsible for this based on the mere fact that there is a question about a Black life having value. Someone Black invented that light you stop at while driving that warns you first that a stop is coming, to ensure you have time to stop, to save your life. His name was Garrett A. Morgan. Remember his life when your next drive ends with you walking through your front door. Someone Black invented that refrigerator truck that carries blood and organs for transplant that saved your Granpa Joe’s life. His name was Frederick McKinley Jones. Remember him when you need that pint. Someone Black was the first American soldier to die in a US war at the Boston Massacre in 1770 which led to the start of the American Revolution in 1775. He died helping to protect the throngs of White soldiers who regarded him as less than human. Remember him. We matter, there is no IFs about it.

“They’d stop shooting each other”… well we will stop when you stop. How about that! “Most states police forces kill Blacks at a higher rate per capita than Whites” and “in 2019, 24 percent of all police killings were of black Americans when just 13 percent of the U.S. population is black – an 11-point discrepancy. ” The fact that a person TASKED with the job of protecting and serving a community can kill an unarmed Black person 99% of the time with no repercussions is a much greater example of inhumanity than the reasons that are often present when citizens kill one another. Just yesterday I watched Watch Black Market with Michael K. Williams, there’s an episode about carjackings in Newark and these guys are basically saying… I had no food, no place to live, I can’t get hired, my children were hungry… I have to eat, so I don’t want to kill you but if you fight me I will because I’m hungry. Poverty and desperation tend to fuel neighbor v. neighbor killings. Narcissism, fear, power, and privilege tend to fuel unjustifiable police murders of people of color. Hunger and poverty induced madness is far different from state sanctioned killings and directly related to racist policies and actions that just fuel these fires.

“94% of all Blacks are shot by Blacks” … Murder or killing or shooting even is not a crime of race but one of proximity. Most US cities are segregated. After White flight, neighborhoods tend to be homogenous. Crime is typically committed by a perpetrator in the area where he/she lives. According to the FBI in 2013, of the 3,005 White people murdered, 2,509 were killed by White people. Similarly, if the 2,491 Black people killed, 2,245 were killed by other Black people. If we use these statistics, White on White crime happens more than Black on Black crime, so where’s the fake outrage? Stop it… stop promoting this garbage and stop repeating it. Black on Black crime as a justification or argument about Black people being killed, specifically by police, is a non-sequitur. Don’t do it.

We have to keep tearing down these false images. Sending Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben to the Sweet Home Plantation in the sky. Talking about discrepancies in pay versus levels of education between Whites and Blacks. Breaking down these facts and supporting them with data. Figuring out ways to talk to each other and then spreading the knowledge we gain is imperative. Not for them but for us. Black people aren’t responsible for teaching White people about the racism their ancestors created and they still benefit from. But we must educate ourselves so we don’t swallow their misinformation whole.

As for Blackness… there is no shortage of that. we are drippin melanin everywhere! We are the original man, the world is ours. We are where it all started.

Black life.
Black liberation.
Black intellect.
Black business.
Black lives.
Black votes.
Black love.
Black support.
Black men.
Black women.
Black children.
Black success.

And as for a Black on Black… that’s just how we like our couples and ours cars yo!

…all black. All chrome. Black-owned. Black tints. Matte black.

-Beyoncé, Black Parade

Black Maybachs, Black seats, White piping. Remind me of Paul McCartney and Mike fighting. The girl is mine. Life’s a bitch. So the whole world is mine!

-Jay -Z, Maybach Music

Find Raquelle Harris on Rocki’s Reality, her podcast and as a contributor to Rolling Out and This is R&B.

Micros in the Macro

Microagressions and macroagressions against Black people in this country are both symptoms of the same disease: racism.

Police brutality, unequal wages, the lack of justice for the murders of Black people at the hands of law enforcement, educational funding that is determined by property taxes, mass incarceration of Black people and unequal sentencing, housing disparities… those are the forms of racism we are used to hearing about. These government and legislative oriented issues that we know are major impediments to Black success, but things many of us see as factors we have little influence upon. These are macroaggressions… large scale injustices towards a group of maginalized people to further restrict their progress. These are the things we protest against and write books about.

But it’s those smaller, more prevalent, daily and incessant indignities that communicate hostile, discriminatory, and prejudicial slights against us that really eat away at our peace, emotional stability, faith, self-worth, and truths. Microaggressions are those things that happen across our intersections… sex, race, sexual orientation, religion, class, educational level… to weaken us in our social spaces. They are often harder to identify and certainly harder to prove. But they are nonetheless the most fucking exhausting form of racism.

We are in the midst of some sort of paradigm shift. Our kids care not about Black, White, gay, straight, rich, or poor. Hip hop concerts are filled to the brim with White kids who know every word of Kendrick’s “D.A.M.N.”. Black boys blasting Jack Harlow, a white boy rapper who looks like an extra from Dawson’s Creek. Black girls rocking creepers and Hispanic girls rocking baggy jeans and crop tops in reverence to Aaliyah. They march together for Black Lives Matter. The protests boasting as many White faces as Black ones. A majority of people in America recognize and speak out and about white privilege and it’s affects in the lives on non-White Americans. Yet, the shift hasn’t quite happened yet. And the shift is in the macro.

Ask any Black woman about microaggressions. It’s in the comments, the slights, the looks, the 911 calls trying to report Black people for being, impeding people of color in social spaces, and the social media comments that don’t exactly promote racism but somehow justify behaviors that slap the hands of Black people for touching the glass objects, their fragile ass egos. It’s at work when the White supervisor accuses you of something with no proof, at the store when she clutches her purse, at the restaurant when she asks to speak to your manager because you gave her three and not four ice cubes. It’s a use of power, white privilege, to demote you to a place lower than where you started. It’s racism. It’s bullshit.

The same way we do blackouts, shout and share on social media, protest and engage, and mass call and demand for arrests for the murderers of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor… we have to expose this shit in the same way. Don’t just videotape and share Black deaths. Videotape and share White ignorance… show and tell that fool calling the police on a man minding his business at the park or at his house. Then let’s go en masse to the police station with their names and addresses to demand their arrests for filing fake police reports. Let’s call out folks at work and file mass EEOC and Title VII complaints. If she stands behind your car to impede your movement, call the police, lay on your horn, videotape her and post it everywhere. Yell out loud… I’m being harassed and stalked!!!!

In 1988 Donald Trump put an ad in the New York Times demanding that New York bring back the death penalty, particularly in the case against the Central Park Five, Black males all of whom have been exonerated of their wrongful convictions of the rape of a White woman in the park. The racists use their money and access to continuously attempt to dismantle our communities, success, families, and businesses. We have to employ the methods available to us to fight hatred and fear. We also have to expose all forms of racism.. but especially those that eat away at our individual and collective psyche.

Microaggressions are used to weaken us so we submit to macroaggressions… too exhausted to fight or fight back. Imagine how many time Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown had heard themselves, their friends, or other young brothas called thugs, uneducated, stupid, violent, or worthless. How many times had Sandra Bland and Korryn Gaines heard they were bitter, angry, less refined than their white counterparts, needed to straighten their hair, lose their hips, or calm down their attitude. How many times have you been told you are LUCKY to have your job, you can easily be replaced, you are too sensitive or angry, everything isn’t about race, you have the chance, opportunity, ability to come so much farther than your ancestors… as if it’s a gift, as if our ancestors were ALL born into slavery, as if we voted George Washington and his 123 slaves having ass into office.

NOPE!

These microaggressions are not just being mean, being an asshole, ignorance, fear, because leadership positions are hard, because you reacted wrong, or because it’s your job to educate or change the minds of the ignorant.

It’s RACISM! These actions are a systematic part of the same systems that are written into our governments and made legal by our lack of legislation.

Period.

Call a thing a thing.

Call it what it is OUT LOUD!

Signed, a Negro with Attitude

I-De-Clare…

“When the looting starts the shooting starts”

Donald J. Trump

THIS is America.


These racially diverse people burnt commercial Minneapolis to the ground in the exact same manner that George Floyd lost his life on the ground.

THIS is a revolution.


Racism is a tool of power. It is a direct action supported by the system in power to oppress a certain race of people from forward progress and opportunity. It was used to colonize every part of the world inhabited by people of color to raze the land, steal its resources, and torture and traumatize its people into burying their past to survive their present. Mentally and emotionally scarred people can only grow and rebuild with time and healing… not when that torture and trauma is constantly relived. We begin to believe we must adhere to the values of the culture we’ve had forced upon us and are virtually ignorant of the one our ancestors, the first people, the creators of civilization, were born into. We have exhausted trying to live an American Dream not meant for us. It’s time we gain knowledge of self, for when we know who we are and where we come from, we know our destination, our next move.

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.”

Sun Tzu, The Art of War

1. Knowledge of Self

We are the original people. Aristotle, Thales, and the great Greek and Roman philosophers learned at the feet of Egyptian and Ethiopian scholars. At the Temple of Waset in Kemet, Greeks and Romans alike were taught mathematics, science, the building blocks of language, art, medIcine, and free intellectual thought. That’s our truth. Africans were/are communal and tribal, we lost that in favor of American individualism. That’s theirs, not ours. Africans were/are creators not destroyers. That’s theirs, not ours. Africans are/were both intellectually sound and in tune with nature not overly dependent on technology. That’s theirs, not ours. We are leaders not just followers trying to catch up to White success. As such, Black people must unlearn and relearn who we are. To gain power WE MUST believe we are powerful.

“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity”

Sun Tzu

2. Educate

We take that newfound power to build by organizing… first educating ourselves in every trade, legal, medical, and financial arena. We must also educate our children and anyone who wants to know about our history, real American history, and world history. One cannot effectuate change by wishing and hoping other people act or don’t… we change ourselves. We pivot until we get our shot. Then we shoot… not with bullets but with truth. You don’t just speak truth you act in truth. You show your enemy (yes racists and White supremacist and NOT White people are our enemy) who TF you are. Racism is built on lies that paint us as less intelligent and civilized. We don’t have to prove that to be untrue… it is untrue. What we do need is a multi level approach to ensuring our unalienable rights are upheld. We aren’t guests in America, we are the architects. But no one will listen to your truth unless you grab the mic. We must react with our forward movement. But be a ninja about it…

“The whole secret lies in confusing the enemy, so that he cannot fathom our real intent.”

Sun Tzu

3. Organize

I have watched these chaotic protests in many cities that are infiltrated by those who in turn incite more violence and hide in plain sight. Protests since the Tulsa Riots have resulted from police brutality and resulted in razing communities. We can’t show up with choppas at the legislature, we’ll be shot on sight. So we destroy the things built in our communities, often not owned by us, because of proximity and out of anger. Going forward, we must be organized, prepared, smart, resourceful, and stealth at all times. If you ever see me at a protest we all coming in all Black, faces cover, basically unidentifiable. We got rags dipped in milk or vinegar, two fully charged cell phones each, important phone numbers written on our arms (lawyer, ACLU, mom, hubby, friends, the person with bond money), several of the same sign, water, a planned route, scarves for anyone who shows up unexpected, and a promise of peace for the safety of all involved.

“Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.”

Sun Tzu, The Art of War

In addition to our preparation on the ground level our preparation beyond the classroom needs to be as stealthy and as smart. Buying stock in the American businesses we have helped build; starting our own businesses; supporting making those businesses quickly profitable; creating communities that are self-sustainable with schools, farms, medical facilities, retail, and opportunities for ownership; using our resources to grow and build not to accumulate; voting systematically (votequadrant.com); running for office in every state, every elected position, en masse; using our money to support Black candidates with an agenda to pass and support legislation that tears down the system that supports racism, law by law. Ensuring “we the people” are all considered and treated like human beings.

Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.

-Sun Tzu

The time has come for Black people in America to declare war on Racism and White Supremacy. There is an art to this. We are by far the more creative. On every level we need to come correct. Racism is the biggest racket going. The biggest Ponzi scheme ever. We created real hustling. It’s time to put that skill to good use. Our children’s children need not be born victims.

“I hustle for my last name, not my first.”

-Damon Dash

THIS is a solution.



Dedicated to every unarmed Black person who has been shot and killed in the name of justice, unjustifiably, whose murderers walk the Earth freely today. This is for Trayvon, Mike (Brown), Philando, Eric,Breonna, Botham, Sean (Reed), Sean (Bell), Oscar (Grant), Sandra (Bland), Alton, Ronald, Kendra, Jordan, Amadou, Atatiana, Korryn, Ahmaud, George, and every other Black person who lost their life at the hands of a coward.

Invisible AF

Fear is a bitch with a vengeance. When it’s coupled with both the possibility of death and tbe loss of power, it’s not just a bitch, it’s a lowley bitter savage that’s hungry of soul and cold of heart. It’s ugly and treacherous and grimy. It’s the thing that filth and wretchedness are made of at their core. The center of hatred.

Racism is fear’s first born.

While we sit in our homes binge watching and critiquing the humor, wardrobe, and audacity of Black AF, two disturbing AF videos have emerged of Black men in Indianapolis and Atlanta being gunned down. One, Ahmaud Arbery during a jog when he was hunted and left for roadkill like an animal by a White father and son team, in what they claimed was vigilante justice. The other Sean Reed was driving, pulled over, got out of the car asking his Facebook Live viewers to come help him minutes after he was shot down by police officers, one who jokes after murdering this man that he may have to have a closed casket. It’s the same soup warmed over that we’ve gotten used to burning the roof of our mouths with… videos of our Black men being killed with no concern for their humanity. It’s Trayvon, Mike, Eric, Botham, Oscar, Renisha, Jordan, Tamir, Sandra, Philando, Amadou, and Freddie on repeat. These murderers don’t abide by the scales of Justice but by the code of the Grand Wizard. In a land where a young Black woman can be manhandled by grown men at the soon to be elected President’s rally, simply because she protested and disagreed while Black , it is no surprise Black men can be dead AF at the hands of those who pledged to protect and serve and men who claim to seek justice. There is no justice or protection for us.

When They See Us?

They won’t ever see us. We live in their neighborhoods in Calabassas, Brentwood, the Hamptons. We win their awards, when we are properly honored, and we aren’t properly honored because we’ll win their awards. We dominate their sports. Our faces are on their televisions and movie screens. We sit on Forbes lists ahead of many of them. We aren’t hidden, they know we are there. They see us with their eyes but they don’t plan to acknowledge us, our skills, our talents, our bodies, or our lives. Separated only by the color of our skin, the White people who hate us, they see us, but not as worthy of air, sun, life. Not worthy of this country’s nationality. If that ain’t some… I brought you in this country, Ill take you out … hateful AF foolishness, I don’t know what is.

Mostly, they are afraid that we will take their power because we have taken some of their accolades, prizes, and money as our own, through our own toil. But like a true bully, these bullies will only lay their weapons down if we either fight them or disarm them. They once poked holes through our bodies with water hoses and dog fangs, now they hide behind badges and semi automatics to riddle our bodies with bullets. Vigilantism is illegal, not jogging. Murdering a man who was no threat to you and then joking about it shows premeditation, he is supposed to run from murderers. They are afraid we will win their wares, secure bags they thought they had a skin color right to, and collect allies that share their skin tone but not their hatred. They should be. Bullets don’t kill spirits, they strengthen them. We get sadder but also stronger as a collective with each bullet you pierce our people’s skin with.

They are also afraid we will take their legacy. With the exception of a few acceptable Black faces, most of America’s history is only positively attributed to white people’s actions. They were the heroes, builders, creators, thinkers, great minds, and the politicians who shaped America and American government. When Ida B. wells (posthumously), an abolitionist, and Kendrick Lamar, a rapper, were awarded Pulitzers… trust it set some of them off. The higher we excel, the less their claims of higher intelligence, civility, and worthiness matter. The higher up we get in government and law making roles, the more we can pull back the veil on these institutionalized policies and systems that allow murderers to go free for months and allow judges to let their murderers go free. We saw that video of Arbery and our social media presence, sharing, and loud demands for justice had to at least be considered. But even small victories matter when our lives are being snuffed out.

Their legacy is also threatened by each biracial couple and child, White boy at a Travis Scott concert, White girl twerking on Tik Tok and speaking in what she thinks is some colloquial Black language. Cash me ousside. Howbowdat. It’s threatened by their mothers who love Oprah and Iyanla, and their wives who are our allies because every White woman is not the stereotype calling the police because Black people are having a BBQ, clutching their purse at our site, or being some version of privilege and acceptable American ignorance. They still carry confederate flags, wear their Make America Great again infamous red hats, and think Jim Crow is an actual White nationalist hero. They semi worship the American flag and the vestiges of a country where their Whiteness made everything they did acceptable. As they lose that foothold slowly but surely.

The Racist AF want us to be Invisible AF by diminishing us in any way possible. Ain’t no coming back from death. Nothing makes you more invisible. They don’t want to see us.

We here AF tho.

That’s the thing about Black people, we have been stolen and taken, beaten and bruised, relegated to 3/5th, razed, and shot dead. But still we rise. We find beauty in our ashes. Roses grow between the concrete squares that jungles. Let’s see… Black women are the largest growing sector of entrepreneurs in America. We have used the power of social media to make us small fortunes. We run for political office, and despite the stones thrown in our path, we win. We are billionaires… in America. We are the mighty Phoenix… we soar despite… even death. We have found our voices. We have already pierced America with our very existence, bullet free. But imagine us with the means to protect ourselves. That fear seeps from your wounds. Your hate is like a boomerang. Watch out for the ricochet.

Despite our accomplishments, we still end up in some second class holding cell despite being born in this country, citizens by jus soli. (law of the soil). We may not ever win in your courts, because they weren’t built for us. That’s the lesson. America’s internal structure was not meant to shelter us but to keep us out. The rules are different for us. We can’t just wear clothes, go to the store, drive, play, jog, watch TV, catch public transportation, or listen to music in your America. But we have been paying attention, we are whole billionaires out here, whole judges, whole Presidents. We win your awards and take your titles. We want nice thing too. Also. In addition. As well. We don’t want your power, we just want to harness our own. We don’t want your legacy, we just want to live long enough to build our own. See us. Or don’t. But we see you … AF!

You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still like air, I’ll rise-Maya Angelou

Black Kintsukuroi

“Ring the bells that can still ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything.
That is how the light gets in.”– Leonard Cohen, Anthem

Kintsukuroi (“golden mend”) is the Japanese art of mending broken pottery using lacquer resin laced with gold or silver. The beauty of the piece is the flaws that are made into art.

Black people’s hearts are kintsukuroi.

…..

But first, we are all Black in america. None of our other designations matter in this world, as much as our race. Our race is identified on site… even if our ethnicity, ancestry, genealogy cannot be as easily ascertained. It is the source of GREAT pride. It is the source of GREAT pain. It is not real…

It is not real!

Race is indeed the child of racism. Our most valued level of existence is premised upon hatred, power, and greed… death and destruction. How can any of us, whether we have been isolated from racism or not, have unbroken hearts? Shit ain’t possible! But what makes it even more damaging, is that race has no meaning. Being Black is only juxtaposed against being White. Much in the same way being poor is juxtaposed against being rich. But those designations have meaning outside of that dichotomy. “Black” is a color. It is the color of these letters you are reading. There is not a human alive whose skin is this color, just as there is not a human alive with skin that is purely “white”. Yet, white means pure and untouched, and black is associated with being devoid of light, darkness, and the shit in the fish tank the algae eat… waste. It’s not real.

In this country, Black is synonymous with ancestral African, and as a result we are all lumped together. We are primarily children of the slave trade, but we might be American, Caribbean, Honduran, Mexican, Dominican, Brazilian, or other South American designation, African and Caribbean immigrants, and mixed-race people. However our values, traditions, and customs are as wide ranged as those between the English, Irish, Scottish, etc.

“Black” doesn’t care about culture, it only cares about difference. It’s not real. It is used as a tool of oppression. For us it is a talisman of pride. In the name of money and power, our Blackness is shot dead in the street, on our own sofas. Our Blackness is relegated to a term meaning ignorant. Our men are jailed like animals, piled up on top of each other in cages like we were once piled up in ships. Our women are raped physically and spiritually. Our children, America’s sons and daughters, labeled as thugs, undereducated, underserved, and misunderstood. Yet in our Blackness we find our differences and exalt them. In that difference is where you find our golden cracks.

Black peoples are…

rich, poor, smart, beautiful, talented, brilliant, hard-working, excellent and mediocre, doctors and dog catchers, investors, kind, unkind, light, dark, sweet as honey, bitter like lemons, honest, manipulative, men, woman, transgendered, envious, jealous, supportive, from the hood, of the bourgeoisie, woke, asleep, enlightened, ignorant, basketball players and tennis champs, golfers and gaffers, everything and yet to many, nothing. But be assured, we are as homogenous and heterogenous as any other grouping of people. However, we didn’t ask for this box. It was given to us. It is not real.

Yet we have torn this box up to escape it, and put it back together with kintsukuroi. In our newness we are damaged, but not destroyed. You see, we have taken your culture and colored it Black through music, art, literature, language, and activism. It’s not ours, but we are steadily reinventing it. It’s very difficult to pour into a country others seek to escape persecution and tyranny where we face tyrannical persecution every time we walk out of our front doors. Yet we are somehow determined to offer libations to this melting pot turned stew. We continuously offer this country our earnings… rights, education, freedom, accomplishments… our voices, and our lives. But those golden cracks are our spirit. Damaged but not destroyed.

Race is not real.

Racism is very real.

Our scars are very real.

But we… Black people… are the realest!

“There is a light that shines, special for you and me.” –Common

Wake up … Mr. West?

Okay so I had a whole other post planned… I’ll release that later. But I really want to talk to y’all about Kanye West because y’all concern me. Really you do. Take a psychology class, read an article on mental health, see all these posts about “support Black mental health” but then watch how you act. You don’t support a person’s basic rights… let alone their right to an opinion that doesn’t match your own. We put Brandt Jean on trial for forgiving. We wanna cancel Ellen because she sat with Dubya. Really?

Well I’m gonna tell you my opinion. Fight me. You might want to after this. I don’t care… this is what I do. Now read…

So recently he made some comments and y’all like, see keep dude cancelled cuz he’s on that bullshit again. Now I’m not gonna go back in time and argue my case for or against, but I will say this…

You cannot be for supporting Black mental illness and judge him through some other lens. You cannot also preach about privilege and racism and not see that in the past our elected leader has used this man to validate his position that he’s for “the Blacks”. We all know he’s not, but in a state of unmedicated mania, we can certainly understand, if we seek to, that this man should have been protected from that monster, not allowed to sit down with him and further his agenda as a result of his mental instability.

Okay so fast forward to this past Saturday, let’s break down what was said…

“Abraham Lincoln was the Whig Party—that’s the Republican Party that freed the slaves,” … That is truth. The Whig party was the modern party mid 19th century, that rose up in opposition to hard nosed racist Andrew Jackson, while his followers formed the Democratic Party… the party of the “people”… who were considered only the White men who could vote. They morphed into the Republican Party primarily huddled around the idea of anti-slavery. Yes the parties have “realigned”… but that does not negate his point. He was referring to being called a coon for his affiliation with the party.

“You black, so you can’t like Trump? I ain’t never made a decision only based on my color,” West said. “That’s a form of slavery, mental slavery.” Ok, so I cannot say I’ve never made a decision based on race. However, what a position to be in. To be so personally unaffected by the economic and social disadvantages of race to be able to see things from a different vantage point. Be clear that doesn’t mean race and racism aren’t important and present, but that as a singular human you can see outside of and around race, because your position allows you to. Black people VOTED for Trump, will likely again. He spoke about rights… the right to vote for whoever one desires. That is true, it is his right. We focus so much on what other people are doing we don’t focus enough on ourselves and how we play a role.

I see my social, political, and racial responsibilities involving as much my vote as my economic stability, promotion of that to my child and my peers, and use of whatever small or large platform I have to promote understanding, health, love, and more economic stability. This is America. For the love of money people will…

So while I dislike Trump, I understand it is within the right of anyone else to choose. Freedom of choice is huge. You can’t argue a woman’s right to chose then shit on his rights. I don’t listen to R. Kelly and I have not for years, he’s a child rapist. Other people do. I’ll take a racist over a child rapist any and every day if the week if I have to choose. But I get to choose. If I’m Kanye, I’ll take the racist who embraced me to use me over the Black people who condemn me and cancel me constantly and with vitriol.

Brandt Jean likely understands as does Ellen.

“Social media is designed to make you think slower. … They want to slow you down and control you”

Welllllllllllllllllllll… I can’t find the lie. Sorry. So you read an article, it contains quotes, but did you go and watch whatever they took quotes from. Chances are, EVERY TIME, the quotes, in QUOTATION MARKS are not exact quotes and are used to match the writer’s intent. So instead of reading or listening to what was said you are told what was said. Every article. Every. ERY. This quote was not about Trump but about him not paying attention to critics on social media. These are not unlike things we sat ALL the TIME.

If you got it from the internet, chances are you don’t have all the answers.

Keep in mind, this man doesn’t live in our world. He’s married to a woman who makes money because she’s a White woman with an ass and has gained more and more fame based on her relationships with Black men. He’s a genius. He’s mentally unstable. He sells out stadiums. We praise God with dude… who we hated a year ago. He’s a complicated individual. Our relationship with him is complicated.

Listen, I get it, we want our big names, the powerful, the verbose, the opinionated to stand up and out for US. I understand that. But we cannot want that so badly that we a) fail to do our part and b) ignore their ability to choose their own path and voice their own opinions. We cannot want others to be so woke, that we sleep on their rights.

After all, This is America.

C

Nothing and Everything

Every now and again something gives me a soul lesson, unlike a simple life lesson. It’s a deeper thing, hard to explain but real. Often, I’m not quite sure that the ways in which I learned about myself were purposeful or happenstance in terms of the medium. But I find myself unwrapping whatever it is in awe… amazement… eager to be changed by it.

Jharrel Jerome in “When They See Us”

1989

I was 13 years old when the “Central Park Five” case started in New York. I am not ashamed to say I don’t remember hearing about it much, or it having much of an impact on me. I do recall it being one of the first times, other than seeing the name on TV or emblazoned in lights in Atlantic City, hearing the name Donald Trump in the news. But honestly I was too involved in my own teen drama.

2011

I do recall much more vividly in 2011, Trump calling for then President Barack Obama to release his US birth certificate to prove he was a born citizen, and seeing that horrendously racist ad he took out in four NYC papers calling for the death penalty of “murderers” who were actually innocent children that were used, tricked, and illegally interrogated for hours without parental supervision. The NYPD, in true form, put on a masterful performance of trickery and fraud and racism. No surprise there.

2014

2014 was the year Mike Brown, Eric Garner, LaQuan McDaniel, Akai Gurley, and Tamir Rice were killed by police officers. It started a series of conversations about what it meant to be Black and male in America for parents of Black sons. In my house, we discussed how my son didn’t and never would have the privilege of being seen as young and innocent, as his young and innocent little face peered back at me, confused and bewildered, too free to be afraid and too happy to understand.

2014 was the year that I experienced uncut racism at my place of employment for the first time… my upward mobility sabotaged by white men less experienced and much less educated. It was also the year, the Central Park Five, as they had become known, were exonerated for a crime for which they spent years wrongly imprisoned and rumblings of Trump running for President started.

2014 was pivotal for me in terms of my Blackness… While I abhorred and was educated on America’s racist history, my own personal Blackness had been pretty much an urban tale of an Around the Way Girl. Bamboo earrings, bad attitude, gangsta talk, manipulating minds, being gentle and kind, independent, and my grandma stayed buggin! Yet suddenly I experienced all it meant to be Young, Gifted, and Black through this lens of trauma. I wouldn’t have called it that at the time, but surely it was…

I spent a long time trying to understand some shit that wasn’t meant for me to comprehend. I had never experienced blatant racism, so it was foreign to me. I convinced myself that I didn’t belong there… not because I wasn’t good enough, I was too good, that was the problem. I started to see everything as an operation of color… whether warranted or not. I felt like a prisoner, detained somewhere I didn’t belong. So kind of frozen by that feeling, I couldn’t move. I never took my own response to their behavior into consideration. It’s not what happens to you, it’s how you respond to it that matters, right?

2019

I took ownership. I decided that my Blackness, something I always embraced, was gonna get a bear hug. I would be blue black. I might eat a chitterling… Ok that’s going too far.

I had spent a long time hearing that as a lighter skinned Black person my experience of Blackness wasn’t quite the real experience, but I knew different. My experiences were just as real and authentic as any brown skinned sista’s… not the same, sprinkled with privilege in some instances that I neither wanted or asked for…but as real and authentic nonetheless. I had definitely experienced the modern day version of racial injustice at the hands of my employers. I also had allowed it to take residence beside me… and I needed to evict it once I really processed it.

I decided that I was going to swallow whole every bit of knowledge and experience I could have that gave me a better understanding of where I fit in this unfortunately racist and sexist place. So June 5, 2019 I sat down and started to digest another piece of our history, made so beautifully and hauntedly by Ava Duvernay. Listen… it was much like what I imagine hell to be like in one bite and then just rich and flavorful and robust in the next… art and hatred. Joy and pain.

Jharrel Jerome and Korey Wise

This young man’s performance, not taking away from any of the other actors as they were all phenomenal, but this one… it made me feel some power I didn’t realize I had. Being Black is a joy… we are lit, cultured, educated, magical, unicornian and shit. Being Black in America is also traumatic af! There is a scene where Yusuf Salaam’s mother walks him out of the police station and it flashes to Korey Wise sitting on a wooden bench in the police station. At that moment, I knew he was about to take me somewhere. I wasn’t really sure where… but I just put my seatbelt on.

I was metamorphosed from it in a way I had never been from watching news stories or reading articles. I think I can only compare my reaction to his scenes to seeing Mike Brown lying in the street hours after being gunned down and Trayvon Martin’s sneaker peeking from under the sheet on the ground. Yet his portrayal was somehow more real, even though it was scripted. At one point, the young actor, Jerome, looked into the camera with such desperation and fear…

…it was clear he’d not just acted out this trauma but decided to experience it first hand, to become a 16 year old in Riker’s Island… if not physically, then emotionally. It was like he ingested the script. He feasted on the real life victims being on set, sharing their stories. In basic terms… he went all the muthafuckin way IN! He surrendered himself and forced me to do the same. That boy was GOODT!

There was a scene where Jerome alongside Neicey Nash, as Korey Wise’s mother, are separated by a wall to discourage contact with prisoners. Jerome leans over and grabs her hands and pleads with her to come back to see him. That shit took a gangsta all the way out ok…

I could feel what it must have felt like to be a child deprived of any loving human touch, of your mother’s presence, of any positive human interaction. He broke me down ya heard. But something came from that mix of artistic excellence and emotional transference that was seriously cathartic.

Racism has many faces. It’s the pointed hate of walking into a church with Black parishioners and shooting them. It’s the juxtaposition of power versus safety with our Black sons and trigger happy police officers. It’s the feigned ignorance about Black life, vernacular, levels of education and success as if our skin color makes us somehow foreign and less human. It’s the xenophobia against people and cultures assumed to threaten the majority, their power, wealth, and sheer numbers. I could go on and on. Whatever it’s manifestation, racism is hateful and borne of control, power, and the threat of death. What I thought would leave me even more mad at patriarchal racist white folks, left me feeling powerful in a way I cannot explain well… but I’ll try.

Have you ever had a headache and immediately grabbed for Excedrin or Aleve because you didn’t want to bother with the headache or it’s cause, only to have the headache an hour later still pounding? That is often what we do when we have been traumatized, big or small, we look for a band-aid. We want it to go away and we don’t want to deal with the root cause. Instead, if you take a few deep breaths, get a cool compress, and take a nap, the headache will be gone when you rise. It requires both taking some responsibility for your healing and some time for it.

I spent a lot of time mad about shit that really didn’t serve me. I didn’t go in, see my part in it all, heal that, and use their evil for good… instead I just let it sit and fester …

“or maybe it just sags like a heavy load, or does it explode?”

Mad at white people… not all white people but hateful, patriarchal, racist white people… the very ones who don’t care if I, or more importantly my Black son, lives or dies. Why spend an iota of energy on that mofo?!?

I liked my sheltered and innocent life… it was comfortable, safe, cozy, and easy. But that shit is a thing of the past. It got me here, I’m grateful for the shelter… but I have seen how ugly and hateful people can be. The thing is, that’s them, not me, not you, not us. Fuck hateful, patriarchal, racist white people and all that shit they hope they are making us feel… anger, rage, hostility. Don’t let the hateful shit they do stop you … from grinding, from becoming, or from watching this masterpiece.

Like any and everything else , trauma has to be faced head on. I sat down in racism and it didn’t kill me… it made me stronger. I was beasty before… I’m a muthafuckin Blackity Black superhero unicorn now. I am the dream and prayer of Harriet and Frederick, Malcolm and Fannie Lou, Thurgood and Shirley, William and Betty.

As for the racists, I ingested their hate and spat it out, so now I’m immunized. I lost nothing and gained everything. That’s the transformative power of art. They will remember me different.