Why Monique Isn’t Mad Enough For Me

Monique made headlines this week for outing Netflix in what she references as payment discrimination. Monique, a black female actress and comedian, has repeatedly made headlines over the last couple of years regarding her treatment in Hollywood. As a full-figured black woman, known for her emphatic and sometimes vulgar language use, Monique is an easy target. Her role as a Hollywood Sapphire and veiled mammy who nurses the white ego with her caricatured presence, makes it easy for the masses to believe that Monique is “difficult,” “demanding,” and overall hard to please.moniquepoint

Although the issues Monique articulates are not new to Hollywood or the universal racist paradigm, if Monique were not a black being of female form her words would be taken with far more value.  If Monique were a white woman, she could easily seize the “me too” moment like Jennifer Lawrence and Michelle Williams and ensure that she earn the same about as her white male co-stars. If her skin were white, she would embody what America considers the “true” female form–her equity would matter and equality would be granted. But Monique is not white, so the woes of an impeded path to wealth do not matter, as to the white world–blacks should be content with whatever they are given.

monique-selfie-e1495036452805With the abundance of black streaming services available in contemporary culture, there are plenty of actors that would never be given a deal on a white streaming service like Netflix, that do exceedingly well in a space reserved for black people. Rather than beseech the master at his boots, it seems a more feasible route to reach out to the numerous black streaming services. Her “comeback” may even prove a mutually beneficial partnership with a black streaming service that engenders cultural benefit and career reinvention. I personally would love to see Monique as a positive role that functions to illustrate the full-sized, funny woman as something other than the “butt” of a joke, an asexual mammy, sapphire, or welfare queen.precious

But let us be honest here. What Monique wants is not for the culture, but for her wallet. She does not wish to confront or even combat white supremacy, she merely wants to see it work for her.We have seen this countless times in Hollywood, perhaps most notably with Jay-Z in his campaign to disrupt the capital of Kristal and Apple, after these racist brands offended him personally. As a continually disenfranchised collective, it is the persistent effects of colonialism that make it so that racism is only real when it happens to the individual. Slavery was not enough, losing your language and last name was not enough. No, a white establishment must refuse an individual a meal, job, or call them a derogatory name, for the most oppressed people on planet earth to believe their oppression is more than a myth.

While black oppression is not a myth, the value of white commerce is. An over-valuing of white commerce remains a core way the oppressed remain deflected from the evil of white supremacy. Namely, there seems to be a cognitively dissonant ideology that implies that the ways of the white man are evil, but his somehow his money pacifies said evil.   There are ways to combat white supremacy, and this way is not an over valuing of wealth. To be in love with the white man’s money is to possess an illness that cripples each and every step forward, to occupy a place on a contemporary auction block and sell your supposedly free flesh to the highest bidder monique-weightloss-435where you are  poked and prodded by the white gaze until you are longer human.

Five hundred thousand dollars was not enough for Monique, because she seeks equality not equity. Equality put her on television and made her visible, a lack of equity made her stoop to her knees to garner said visibility.

Monique’s complaints have nothing to do with the mistreatment of black bodies, but have everything to do with demanding the right to white capital. Thus, blacks should not support Monique’s endeavor, not because our collective does not care about our constituency of  black people, but because Monique does not. Monique, though offered more some than most black families see in a lifetime,  would have no complaints about the economic disparities that exists outside of Hollywood which are far more devastating, if granted the multi-million deals of Dave Chapelle, Amy Shumer, and Katt Williams. Monique’s attempt to draw support from the black community in times of distress or ejection from white spaces is no different that the present actions of Omarosa–illustrating that Black seems to be what so many grab on their fictive fall off a throne they never occupied in the first place. 636511086381783187-monique

All and all, I resent Monique’s representation as an angry black woman–because she actually is not angry at all.  Particularly,  while dissatisfied, but she was not angry about racism until it threatened her economic sanctity. Racism is what cast Monique on The Parkers, as Viviva A. Fox’s “ghetto fabulous” friend in Two Can Play Than Game, and as the wicked mother in Precious. Racism made Monique a star, so I suppose what I am saying is that, at this point, Monique should have been mad for over two decades–namely, upon the racists of Hollywood offering to make her a star and not the sky.

Nevertheless, nothing but love to you sister Monique.

Black Power ❤

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Remembering Recy Taylor

I became familiar with the story of Recy Taylor in my research efforts for a project I am assembling on the black female form and sexual assault. The late Miss Taylor was raped physically by six white men, but also raped by a system who failed to punish her attackers who after violating her continued to enjoy a life of privilege. But her story is not about them.

A new mother and young wife at the time of her attack, Taylor illustrates the blackrecy_taylor_family familial unit attacked by the white male phallus who feels big in disrupting the prodigious presence of the black family. Her attack and the sheer disregard to which she was treated illustrates the black female body as capital.

Recy Taylor’s case proved a harbinger for the 1959 gang rape of Betty Jean Owens, the 1988 gang-rape of Tawana Brawley , and the countless other attacks against black women never reported or not deemed newsworthy. Taylor’s case exposes white male terror as inflicted onto the black female form remains as isolated incidents of a few bad “apples.”


Hearing that Miss Taylor has passed at the age of ninety-seven placed a heavy feeling in my heart. At the risk of judgment, I will acknowledge that his heavy feeling had little to nothing to do with her passing—as death is probably the most natural thing to happen to Miss Taylor since the birth of her child. The heavy feeling in my heart came from knowing that for decades this Miss Taylor had to walk the earth in a body violated by both white men and the system created to normalize white terror by deeming it legal. Taylor’s story reflects the countless black bodies throughout the black diaspora born out out rape, forced to navigate life despite the psychological bruises imbued by the white phallus actualized in person and in law.
477578CD00000578-0-image-a-26_1513705602623The popularized image of Taylor wearing a black veil also proved a psychological bruise to the black collective. It is not the black female form that wears a veil. It is the oppositional gaze that wears a veil, a veil that distorts justice to be any and everything that upholds the white republic.

So while the black female form who lives to be elderly fulfills the American dream to grow old, she does so with wounds inflicted and infested by sorcery of white supremacy who conjure racism as a spell solely reversible in the esteem targeted by every facet of white supremacy.   So to live to see ninety-seven  granted Taylor an ability to watching her child grow up, but through the same eyes that saw six men take turns entering her body, the same eyes that watched her rapists walk free while she remained imprisoned in the mental aftermath of the cavalier disregard to which the world holds the black female form.  To live to see ninety seven, is to die over ninety seven times, to try to keep your head above water for nearly a century as those you love drown, or drift further and further away.  seg2-recy-taylor-posterI can only hope that Taylor’s transition issues her a peace simply not granted to her in life.

A peace deprived of the black female form that dares to speak up. Taylor’s life is most resonant in illustrating the cost of courage. Taylor did not bear her injustice in silence, she spoke up. She did not simply speak up for herself, but for every black women stifled in fear or systemically silenced throughout the black diaspora. She exposed the evil entitlement white men feel towards the black female form. She illustrates that hashtags like “metoo” still fail to acknowledge the black female victim of sexual assault. recytaylor031511

The black woman—a sexual fantasy, a gender hybrid, canvass of misplaced sexual anxiety, is the invisible victim of sexual violence. To acknowledge black female victimhood is to acknowledge the evil that started this country, that populated plantations, that occupied white men on idle evenings, a violent pastime that produced white female privilege and maintained the white male patriarchy that dominates the globe.

Taylor’s story is a true horror story, epitomizing what Hortense Spillers referenced as porno-troping. The pornotroped black female flesh is a captive of the white supremacist gaze resulting in her habitual rape. Taylor’s life is best illustrated  as what Spiller articulates “as a category of physical powerlessness that slides into a more general ‘powerlessness,’ resonating through various centers of human and social meaning” (Spillers 67). The individual and collective disregard Taylor experienced as a sexual assault victim deemed her a criminal for what functions as a crime when aligned with white women. Furthermore, Taylor represents black female powerlessness in a system of white supremacy where the black female form remains espoused to her status as property not person.

Thus, while the modern world continues to imply that things “are so much better,” Recy Taylor in life and death unveils the present as the spitting image of the past.

There is a sense of purpose in studying the persistent reality of whites as ruthless in ensuring their dominance remains stagnant. Whites have killed, stolen, raped, and eaten blacks for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Taylor’s experience illustrates that there  is nothing “they” won’t do to keep “us” down. Simultaneously, suggesting that there should  be nothing we won’t do to “keep on” in the spirit of a woman who  swam to sure despite the desperate attempts of the tides of white supremacy to drown her.

 Recy Taylor–

a living testament to the incomparable black female spirit.

They tried to destroy you-but couldn’t.

You are a hero to us all.

Rest in power, beautiful black woman.

With love and light.

Black Power ❤

No, We Didn’t Wake Up Like This: Why The J Crew Ad is a Mirror of White Supremacy

As a female member of the black collective, I admit that hair matters far more than it should. In making this assertion, it is also imperative to note that this prominence is far from a self-inflicted wound—but a gash produced by those who drink black blood like Popeye1Popeye drank spinach, morphing into a “stronger” “white supremacist version of self.

Hair has been used to produce capital for those who oppress blacks, from perms, to wigs and weaves. So while many inside and outside the black collective will argue that black hair insecurity reflects black issues with esteem, this distorted self-image is the product of western creation. The western world has largely succeeded in creating black insecurity for exploitation and consumption by whites. This exploitation and consumption continues even with the natural hair movement, which suggests an “acceptance” of natural black aesthetics by industries that perceive blacks as subaltern humans— an acceptance that merely veils the exploitation consistent with a global practice of anti-blackness. This anti-blackness surfaced last week when J Crew released g9671_ms1404_d1_720an advertisement that featured a black model with natural hair. The style, as seen alongside this text, does not feature an afro, wash and go, or braid-out, but an unkept, disheveled, ponytail. The image caused an outrage to which the model responded with the following:

“We all want more but still complain.”

The comment reveals that J Crew selected the right person to inflict this symbolic violence onto the black collective— a collective her career most likely convinced her she is no longer a part of . Her comment reveals that her priority is inclusion and what she perceives as visibility. This is of course a pseudo visibility, as the model exists as a master’s tool, functioning to display not herself but how whites view black bodies.

Fotolia_61917235_Subscription_Monthly_XXL.jpgThis picture is insulting, not just because it is unflattering, but because it is untrue. As mentioned earlier, hair is a source of pride in the black community. In past and present black communities, even the most conventionally impoverished black family will find a way to ensure their children are clean and if there is a daughter—her hair will be done. There are of course exceptions, but the “messy bun” and “tossled pony tails” that often occupy spaces atop the heads of white women and girls, are simply not a part of black hair care. Most black women sleep in silk scarves and satin bonnets, meaning that even before we’ve dressed, our hair is laid. So, we do not wake up like this picture would lead many to believe.

We do however wake up in a world of white supremacy. A world that desperately needs black inferiority. Anti-Blackness is never an accident but an intentional facet of a world that needs black inferiority like the human body needs water. Thus, it is not a complaint to call out anti-black images like these. But it is counterproductive for and human of a global subaltern status hose who still shop at this store, or any other company that caters to a white demographic whose esteem heightens upon seeing images like these alongside a fictive version of themselves in the company’s ad. Realistically, the advertisement reflects the kind of melanated individual who would I fact shop at J Crew with their “white friends” seeking to buy clothing they only like because of its proximity to whiteness. The hairstyle reflects the lengths some melanated folks will go to ensure that their white counterparts feel unthreatened by their presence.

Moreover, while the image is certainly problematic, even more so are the subtleties. Namely, the outrage prompted by this advertisement unveils that their are many blacks and non-blacks waiting for whites to showcase black beauty. It is imperative to mention that this anticipation causes many blacks and non blacks to celebrate blacks featured in mainstream global culture who possess a conventional beauty. This act should foment challenge not celebration, as whites should not determine what or if the black body is  “pretty” or “ugly.” This depiction of a black woman as unkept and unpolished resumes the same narrative that has consistently portrayed black people as uncivilized, dirty, dangerous, and overall inferior. So why is this news? Why is their outage?

The answer is that the subjugation handed to the black collective by way of white supremacy makes it so that blacks depend on white dictation to determine their own self-worth. As a collective, we must learn to acknowledge white perception of black bodies and expect nothing less. It is also imperative that we avoid looking into the white supremacist mirrors, be it television, advertisements, or any form of white media, for beauty. Seeking conformation of black beauty in white supremacist mirrors like white media provide a lethal validation to those who cannot see the beauty in blackness unless projected by whites. We as a collective should not even look into a conventional mirror to find beauty,, but to the beauty of the legacy  to which we were born.

With this said, I’m happy that J Crew posted this advertisement and unveiled their perception of blacks. Should we be so lucky with all white establishments from clothing to technology, who want black money but couldn’t care less about black people.

Black Power.

The Apple or The Tree? A Black Female Perspective on the White Male Predator Image

With regard to the Harvey Weinstein “scandal”my perspective deviates from the narrative produced by said exposure. The narrative that encouraged many to come forward with hashtags like #metoo, twists the horror of white male supremacy into a platform for feminism. This was almost as predictable as when Harvey Weinstein became Kevin Spacey, who will eventually give way for another white male predator angelina-jolie-gwyneth-paltrow-harvey-weinstein-272e75c4-578a-4d27-8e86-6275c5b1dfa0before eventually finding its way out of the news and out of the minds of many. One of the many perks of whiteness, is selective amnesia, an amnesia that displaces the white male predator as a temperate figment of popular culture, rather than consistent figure of a global nightmare.

Similar to the countless crime shows that document the white men accused of unthinkable crimes, the general perception of the white man remains virtually unscathed, white masculinity remaining a portrait of superiority and power to most. So, despite the countless women that have come forth, the white male as a sexual deviant and innate criminal remains protected from consequence by laws that veil his evil with virtue, rendering these instances of the white male predator as isolated incidents in which a white patriarchal society can claim equity in this exposure. Thus, these images function to strengthen white male supremacy although conspicuously seeming to challenge it.

lupita-nyongo-harvey-weinsteinThis truth surfaced vaguely when Weinstein was confronted with allegations of sexual misconduct from Academy Award winner Lupito Nyong’o—a beautiful black woman of Kenyan origin. Her entire career, from her role as a slave to a fetishized other of popular culture, illustrates racism as ubiquitous despite contemporary cultures ’s desperate attempts to counter such claims. While virtually unresponsive to countless white women who came forward with similar disturbing stories of sexual misconduct, Weinstein vehemently denied Nyong’o’s allegations.

But what exactly does it mean that a sexual predator deems raping with a black woman beneath him?

It illustrates, that while an irretrievable act of control, rape also functions as a cruel 5499934cd8ef3_-_hbz-beauty-secrets-lupiita-promo-lgncompliment.

Specifically, rape encompasses the forced penetration of non-male whites, whose pale skin functions as a symbol of virtue. Rape reflects a “forced” sexual act that desecrates white female chastity. Not afforded the modesty allotted to white women, the black female body became a canvas for everything the elusive “woman” was not. Black female scholars like bell hooks to Patricia Hill Collins emphasize black female exclusion from the woman concept— a core component to their scholarly ambitions as black feminists. While appreciative of the contributions yielded by black feminist scholarship, the cavalier displacement of Lupita Nyong’o’s black female body from the sexual abuse narrative, exposes the term black feminist as an oxymoron. Moreover, it is only time that separates the contemporary black female body from the mistreatment of her ancestors and elders who also faced exclusion from the privilege of womanhood.

Malcolm-X-QuoteIt is this exclusion from the woman concept and feminist cause that makes it so that white female victims remain able to ignite witchhunts on those who privilege and supremacy they wish to emulate—white males. White female rape bears the significance it does because of black female devaluement. In short, white women lives matter because in a global context, the black female body does not.

The crux of this argument became rather clear to me in a recent encounters with a white male who performed subtle inappropriate act. In disclosing this scenario, I purposely omit mentioning whether these men were one of power and position, as white men need solely to be in a position of masculinity and whiteness to assume their heirloom of supremacy. The gesture was disgusting to me  in the act itself and its symbolism. No one would believe me should I disclose this misconduct, for the same reasons Nyong’o’s testimony functions not to illustrate that white male lust knows no prejudice (because white male lust is inherently prejudiced), but to debunk the white male predator image. Her narrative of Weinstein’s sexual misconduct now functions to make all allegations seem fabricated, because although much of the current population of blacks throughout the diaspora are a product of white male rape of black women, to most this reality is merely a fantasy, a truth so mangled by the oppositional gaze it functions with incredulity.

The recurring image of the white male predator birthed from the vulgar comments madeCuMq7rHWEAAU08e by Donald Trump shortly before the  2016 election, maintains a drastically shorter leash circumscribed in our contemporary setting, but also illustrates a sensationalism which significantly reduces the impact to a numbness–reflecting the essence of white privilege.

In reality, Weinstein, Harvey and all other white men exposed for their behavior are not actually rebuked for their deeds, but for abusing their privilege. Thus, the implication is an acquiesce to white male supremacy implying thats its okay to have this privilege but not okay to abuse it. This ideology is of course a contradiction as to possess white male privilege is to abuse it.

Whether implicitly or explicitly,  so many wish to appropriate white male supremacy under a different title. Thus, very little commentary surrounding these allegations function to challenge the actuality of white male privilege. For this reason, Spacey, Weinstein and all the other white men exposed as sexual deviants function as “bad apples.” The black body—be it male or female, past or present,  illustrates that it is not the apples that are bad, but the tree.

Privilege and Gunpowder 

A twelve-year-old took what would turn into a life-changing trip to The Black Wax Museum in Maryland. The trip would prove a portrait to lifetime of lessons issued to her by way of her parents. The exhibit started with a walk-through a mock slave ship, to which black bodies hung nude, lifeless, and objectified. She works toward a staircase that betrayed a deceptive kindness unveiled in her hysterical peer who ran up the staircase with a face red and drenched with tears.

The twelve-year-old walks down three steps and turns around.

“Are you scared?” said Maya, the school dean,  with a subtle disappointment.  

She shakes her head.

“Well, take her upstairs she’s scared,” Maya responds assertively implying the significance of what lies beneath the stairs.

“No, I’ll go,” she replies.

She casually jogged down the stairs, wondering what could be so terrible.

Finally, she reaches the bottom, and makes a sharp left. There it was.

A white man held a bloody hatchet. A black male slave stood with his crouch area transformed into a gaping wound–blood squirting from his crouch—his genitals severed  from his body.

This depiction casts the black man as without yet within the paradigm of white maxresdefaultsupremacy. The castration is persistent with the latest Las Vegas tragedy in which the black narrative is once again overshadowed, castrated from memory, and issued as an impotence that prevents its reproduction.

A similar inhumanity exists in dissolving the dark struggle in lieu of white “loss.” I place loss in quotations because even in death or destruction whites receive more than most blacks will in a lifetime.

The twelve-year-old witnessed a loss that produced a real shock that wold last a lifetime—not the performance of shock that dominates the contemporary mood. The Las Vegas shooting, yet another casualty of white male privilege, illustrates a  fictive performance of shock.

I recall waking up to news reporters speaking of the tragedy “Americans” would have to wake up to. Her voice, low and sympathetic, illustrated a dedication to the role of sympathetic white Woman. This performance proved an act of terrorism in itself–illustrating a compassion noticeable absent from any coverage on murdered blacks.

TrayvonMartinHoodedDuring the Trayvon Martin trial, reporters seemed mechanical in their temperate coverage.  I don’t recall sympathy or even empathy from whites, or other persons of color that was not self-serving. To most, whether explicitly stated or written in a Facebook status or implicitly present in their silence, Martin was wrong, and the cause of his own death. Most could “relate” to the pseudo fear Zimmerman felt when a hooded black teen  walked frighteningly home with an Arizona Iced Tea. This is similar to what the entire world saw in 1989 the the world believed five black teens raped a white female jogger, in 1994-when most of the world assumed OJ Simpson was guilty. Ida B. Well’s Southern Horrors documents blacks slain in the later 1800s and 1900s, the pre-Trayvon’s and pre-Oj’s- the literally or figuratively castrated casualties of white evil. Moreover, seeing the trajectory of the instant and irreversibly guilty black man, makes the shock surrounding the most recent example of white male murder a predictable but festering insult. Considering the history and trajectory of the white man, mass murder is the most natural component of whiteness.   tdy_news_vegas_shooting_van_zandt_171003_1920x1080.nbcnews-ux-1080-600

In twenty years, news stories like Vegas, the shooting at the Ariana Grande concert, and Sandy Hook, will dominate the examples of white male terror. Martin, Brown, Crawford, Lacy, Bland, Castile, Sterling, and the innumerable number of blacks slain in the wrath of racial psychopathy will become a disappearing act of white supremacist sorcery. The Charleston 9 will receive less air time than the killer’s bowl cut, and if referenced will be referenced as “Christians” murdered by “lone wolf,” not blacks murdered by a racist psychopath. Vegas, will serve as yet another means to erase the black struggle to ensure that the black struggle is stagnant.

Vegas, also proves yet another opportunity for whites to grieve. Vegas, functions like the Holocaust, The Great Depression and 9/11–an extended opportunity for whites to claim victim status for “tragedies” resulting from the same privileges they enjoy daily. This is the exact reason why these events, despite their similarities,  function as isolated incidents. Incidents were blacks kill whites, which are statistically few and far between, are referenced as facts proven by patterns–patterns fictively composed by the countless wrongfully sentenced blacks. The white man–the biggest criminal humanity has ever seen, paints himself as the exact opposite, the black collective bearing the sullied image deserved by their oppressors.

arinagelIt is also fascinating that the pattern of white evil remains limited to attacks of gun violence. The white man performs similar crimes in variation. The gun represents a supplementary phallus, in which the white man who feels disconnected from the pedestal he is conditioned to expect from life, seeks to penetrate the world and cast his seed of rage in bullet form. This act is mirrored in CUNY professor Ari Nagel, who  uses his sperm like bullets to cast off his seed into the world. Although he informed news reporters that he was “giving a gift,” the sole gift he is giving is to himself. He is giving himself the gift of dominance and the ability to supplement phallic superiority. Nagel mirrors the white slave master who inflated plantation population and an ego contingent on black dominance by forcefully placing his seed into the black female body to further his own agenda and birth the next generation of subjugates.

White male terror is perhaps most obvious in the treatment of black men by the police, who once armed with their supplementary phallus become intoxicated with a fictive importance, only maintained in murder.

The white man who dominates the education system and miseducates black youth, white-cop-pointing-gun-e1432786007882programming them for self destruction is just as evil as a white man with a loaded gun. He too will murder the body, but the death will be gradual, not instant. The subtle mental bludgeoning will cast the black body in the role of subjugate, a role that without incentive to do or think otherwise, blacks will spend a lifetime perfecting.

Feeling anything but numb or contemplative with regard to these recent attempts is to perform a the role created and cast by white supremacists.  The prodigious injustice that burdens the black psyche must trigger all reactions- not the cues of white supremacy. To do so illustrates the black body decentralized as subject and objectified as the concluding act of white supremacist sorcery.

For blacks to feel for victims is an act of humanity, but a portrait of the inhumanity to which renders black objectification. Whites have made it so that blacks feel for whites everything that they could never feel for themselves. To feel for the children of Sandy Hook, in a way most don’t about the children in their own neighborhood being educated on how to be a good slave one day, or the little girls murdered in the 1963 church bombing. To be sad for the Vegas victims and even the shooter, in a way that most couldn’t help but feel that Bland somewhat brought on her own murder, like Brown, like Martin, like Crawford– like them all. Whites nurture the world to see the best in themselves, even in the worst of times.

All blacks have a cache of moments that illustrate the totality of white evil. It may not be a physical castration, but castration by way of a seized narrative, withheld history, or general miseducation. So, what black should see, whether whites donning a smile or scowl, a white coat or white gloves,  is that white man with the bloody ax, or smoking gun, ready to fabricate his superiority at any cost. We must never cease to remember our seized memory, space, and time –our bodies forced to assimilate or become annihilated.

The fictive white male of The Black Wax museum who castrated the black man, symbolically represents the white terrorists that ruthlessly combine gunpowder with privilege to conjure the colonial potion that is white supremacy. A potion many drink voraciously via media, literature, conversation, or the various facets of ignorance.

Through a collective self-determination manifested through focus, understanding, and strengthened black economics, we can castrate white influence and consummate the journeys of our ancestors.

This, of course, is far easier said than done, but worth saying nonetheless.

Black Power ❤

Marcellus Williams: The Incarceration and Capital Murder of the Black Body, and Why the Legal System is Globally Unforgivable

This week a man reduced to a number for the last nineteen years, received extensive coverage in lieu of obtaining a stay on his execution set to take place on Tuesday evening.

His name?

Marcellus Williams.  

6a00d8345233fa69e2010536b4847a970c-piDue to new DNA evidence, there is now reasonable doubt cast in Williams’ murder conviction and for the time being, the Missouri governor has halted his execution.

The stories regarding Williams’ alleviated death sentence function to depict the legal system as changing for the better, casually disregarding the time this young man has lost in his imprisonment for a crime in need of a criminal. This case was never about Williams the man, and it still is not—he is merely a pawn, an individual exploited to divert from a collective issue of wrongful imprisonment and cold-blooded murder of black bodies.

Williams symbolically represents a contemporary consternation, mirroring the unspeakable evil documented in Ida B Wells’ Southern Horrors. Wells’ brilliant journalism captures the brutal and inhumane deaths of countless men, women, and children of whom she dignifies with names and a backstory—attributes purposefully omitted from their western portrayal which has long forgotten the spilled blood of our ancestors.

wells_lynching

Marcellus Williams proves eerily similar to the cases of CJ Miller and John Denmark, two black men who like Williams faced capital penalty for allegedly committing crimes against white women—a conviction reached with no evidence. Miller, who Wells regards as “absolutely innocent,” met a horrific end despite his innocence. She writes:

“They insisted that, as they were not sure he was the right man, they would compromise the matter by hanging him instead of burning. Not to be outdone, they took the body down and made a huge bonfire of it.” (Wells 207)

John Denmark of Denmark, South Carolina faced charged of rape. He too imbued conviction without evidence, yet still paid for someone else’s crime with his life. Wells documented the tragedy as follows:

“The crime has ben committed and somebody had to hang for it, and if he Peterson was not guilty of that he was guilty of some other crime.”

Although  documented by Wells  in the early nineteenth century, they reflect the fate handed to many black men throughout the globe. The phrase “a crime had been committed and somebody had to hang for it,” encapsulates the sentiments that incriminate the black body time and time again. Crimes indeed happen daily throughout the globe. Yet the true criminals enjoy labels like teacher, governor, financier, and business owner, whereas those born with melanin imbue criminality instantaneously due to the hue of their bodies.

emmett-till-trayvon-martin-mike-brown

However, if every black person born from from this day forward committed a so= called crime for the next century, it could never outdo the level of inhumanity implemented by whites over the last four hundred years. Let us remember that the devilish murderers of Emmett Till, like the murderers of Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, John Crawford III, and Lennon Lacy remain free despite insurmountable evidence. Whereas, young men like Marcellus Wallace, like the Central Park 5 and so many other black men are locked away unjustly for crimes they did not commit.

Author Ta-nehisi Coates discussed the state of the black body in Between the World and Me, with the following:

“You cannot forget how much they took from us, and how they transfigured our very bodies into sugar, tobacco, cotton, and gold.”

Whites use their language, their laws, and their control of the media to caricature the black body into America’s criminal. As a result, to be black is to navigate your body in a suspended state, in which whites puppeteer through an exploited fear. The insurmountable amount of blacks on death row, function to induce a bizarre fearful gratitude in which the oppressed are grateful in their pseudo distance from death row, but fearful in their interchangeability with the blacks on death row, or those incarcerated for the white man’s burden.

Yet news of Williams’ stay functions to illustrate the system as forgivable. Although Williams is one man, the conscious collective understands that Williams was incarcerated symbolically, Meaning, his body like the multitudes of black men throughout the centuries, endures a coerced penalty for the averted crimes of white men. A truth that betrays an exolted a system as unforgivably soured by white supremacy— its humanity and credibility irretrievable to a collective poisoned by its cruelty for centuries.

In Discipline and Punish Foucault delineates the role of penalty in explicating societal consequence. He writes:

The teacher must avoid, as far as possible, the use of punishment; on the contrary, he must endeavor to make rewards more frequent than penalties, the lazy being more encouraged by the desire to be rewarded in the same way as the diligent than by the fear of punishment” (Foucault 180)

They teacher in these instances is of course  those of the majority who reside at the top of our systemic hierarchy. The punishment inflicted by our societal teachers, functions to deepen the internalization of white superiority—deeming black consequence a reward for whites. So, while blacks live in a state of suspended fear, whites enjoy an oppositional sentiment.

It is also imperative that the black collective not forget about Troy Davis, a black man Troy_davisexecuted in 2011 for allegedly murdering an off-duty  police officer. He was sentenced to death despite the absence of a murder weapon, his life taken and body placed beneath a ground he was unable to walk on freely for over two decades prior to his death.

The judicial system, reflective of its creators, is inherently racist. But, as Coates states

“And the word racist, to them, conjures, if not a tobacco-spitting oak, then something just as fantastic—an ore, troll, or gorgon.”

The word “racist”does not function properly to a collective emotionally stunted by white supremacy. Rather, the global gaze paints whites as magicians that can make black life disappear with falsified charges and a corrupt legal system. The judicial system functions to illustrate the black body as disposable and subject to legal systemic abjection.

So while this victory, if you wish to call it that,  is a small one for the individual, it must not be overlooked that it took DNA to temporarily free a black man from death, but evidence and a confession is often not enough to put away white murderers. Let us also not forget that Troy Davis also received a stay, but was eventually unable to dodge the white need to seize the body of another black soul. .

Davis, Williams and the plentiful black men listed in Wells’ journalistic archive, illustrate the black body as a canvass for western error—labeled criminals by those bearing a criminal past and present.

Troy DavisBlacks remain overwhelming incarcerated, murdered and instantaneously criminalized by a system where whites play the god they handed to Abducted Africans centuries ago– taking lives they didn’t give–seizing bodies mangled by white oppression.

Yet, as Ta-nehisi Coates wrote:

“…America understands itself as God’s handiwork, but the black body is the clearest evidence that America is the work of men.”

I say this statement grudgingly and not with an ounce of pride–blacks are America.  Blacks are the red, white, and blue of this stolen land.

  • We bear the white in the white man’s coerced presence in our blood.
  • We bear the blue in a collective body beaten a blue black by overt and covert racism.
  • We bear the red in our our thick, hot African blood prematurely cast into the ground, water, or air to resume our natural state of freedom unsullied by the depravity of the white race.

Whether footage from a black body murdered by the police that goes viral, or a black man issued capital punishment, the black body is a consistent victim of legal racial terrorism.  If this does not illustrate how the legal system is designed to fail us as Black people, I am unsure what does. If this does not solidify the status of Black death and destruction as a public spectacle, with the intent to dwarf our collective to a state of cowardice, I am unsure what will.

May Marcellus Williams, make us remember not only CJ Miller, John Denmark, and Troy Davis, but all the black bodies systemically wounded by a country that murders blacks for sport. May they remind us that we are not free, but bound to the lethal injection seat, or the literal and figurative stake to which too many of our kinfolk have taken their last breaths.

Black Power. ❤

What to say to a dying man or woman: Weighing Life, Loss, and Love

Much thought has been placed onto the black bodies that populate death row, who proceed each day knowing when they will die. These so called criminals are thought to bear the ultimate punishment for grisly crimes, despite being the victims of the greatest crime to affect civilization–racism.

I have thought extensively about what to say to someone in death row, but also about what to say to those on an informal death row. Those beaten down by life so severely they find it easier to stay down. Those haunted by poor choices that were not really choices but chosen for the oppressed by the oppressor.  Those whom a bad day turned into a bad month, which turned into a bad year, which translated into a life troubled by means determined far before their birth.  black face

Oppression is like a cancer. Early diagnosis increases the opportunity of recovery, whereas a late diagnosis often leaves one with only weeks to live. Those not diagnosed at all will experience a death that seems quick to the external gaze, but is long and torturous to the internal sufferer.

What do you say to this dying man or woman?

What words can you find that aren’t a selfish plea for life to appease your conscious and the sentiments you’ve been nurtured to perceive as human? What can you say to lift a bird who does not want to fly?

black-boy-mirror-500x330How can we extinguish an external force that breeds an internal problem? How do you try to get someone to smile on the outside when the blood running through their veins is iced over with heartache? How do you save someone from a blaze they started with the sticks of their own oppression?

How can you love he or she who can’t love life, or love you, because they don’t want to live? How can you convince a body limp with defeat to float when they refuse to swim?
OB-in-mirror1-610x405In times of despair, we have laid on death’s doorsteps. We all have not knocked on it’s door.

I’ve shopped, watched prime time television, read, fell in love, complained, cried, and even gotten degrees while others have pounded on death’s door pleading for entry–waiting and waiting to no avail. Until they do, and we’re all sorry and bruised and yet ignorantly dissonant to how our own behavior was the background to a collective tragedy conveniently forgotten in moments of personal bliss.

6361753721567377941131426678_beautyBut how can we extinguish an external epidemic that causes black bodies to bleed internally? How do you hold a mirror to a black face and try to get its heart, withered by an oppressive ideology, to love what it sees? How do you try to get someone to smile on the outside when the blood running through their veins is iced over with heartache? How do you save someone from a blaze they started with the sticks handed to them in a dire state of disenfranchisement? How do you wish for  life on the same stars others wish for death? GLOBELM7

How can you convince a body limp with defeat to float since they refuse to swim?

What do we say to our dying brethren?

Most do not say anything at all. Instead most issue him or her the same silence that the world showed them. Except our collective dismissal is typically not in cruelty but of cruelty. We not know what to say so we say nothing, just as so many don’t know what to do, so they do nothing.

In hindsight, it becomes obvious that to do or say nothing is the worst thing to possibly do, yet we continue to do it in the same rhythm as those on death row proceed to the death chamber as if passing through a revolving door.

In mulling over the desolate dark body, I see the abducted black bodies that hopped off slave ships and swam to what many attribute to their deaths—but I suppose they saw it as swimming to life—away from the living death that lie ahead.

To strive for death is to strive for predictability, to exhibit control over a life seized by mental and physical colonialism.

Some will say that we are all dying, walking, some faster than others, to our plot in the ground. While this perspective is understandable, I see things a little differently.

Death is a construct implemented to make sense of something that does not make sense until an individual’s moment of transition. Collectively, we are on a journey to life. Life is never ending and death is a bridge that carries the soul from one experience to another.

hugging-empathy-007n considering the broken spirit that often encompasses the black body, it seems the best thing we can do is live. To not forget their names when things have turned around for us. To remember their smiles and struggles should you graduate from overt racism but become encompassed with a more covert wrath. To feel the coldness of their despair in the heat of your life.

To the black man or woman on an informal or formal death row—know your spirit is un-killable. For, what is truly living can never die, and as a collective we are alive.

We should have done better. We should have called more, loved more, and listened more. It seems there are always those in need of more care, more love, and more time but we are seduced into thinking we have the shortest stick of all.

We will all fight the urge to be sad when we hear the news, not because we couldn’t or didn’t see it coming but because we are trained to cry over a dead body, not consider its journey. But sadness is selfish, and life is non-stop.

If we cry, let it be because the death of our own kinfolk, touched us far more than their lives did. If we cry, let it be because our brethren in their transitioned state, resonate more deeply than when they sat beside us on the train or at a family reunion.

May their memory be catalogued in our minds, and welcomed in our dreams.

So what do I say to a dying man or woman?

I say, I see you in the sun and feel you in the breeze, and I promise to smile when I see your silhouette among the stars. C_PC0014959

Black Power ❤

Author’s Note: I know this piece may seem vague to some. This vagueness is intentional to encompass a collective emotion. I am hopeful that this piece speaks to someone. ❤

Remembering the Late and Great Dick Gregory

It is just over twenty-four hours after Mr. Dick Gregory’s family released a public statement informing the world of his passing. Just twenty-four hours, and Gregory has already faded into the background of a culture who pretended to mourn Gregory until a more prevalent white issue arose. In life, Gregory would have predicted this abjection by a culture who have, for decades, anticipated his demise.  The white world regards Gregory’s passing in the same way it recalls the black contribution to America in the history books. Thus, Gregory’s dissolvement, is not accidental but purposeful in mirroring the collective amnesia induced by white supremacists to maintain their fictive superiority.dick-gregory-onstage-nyc

Few live a long life entirely dedicated to overturning injustice. Often one endures the temptation of an enslaved mindset for a least a few decades before stumbling onto a journey to consciousness most fail to complete. The late civil rights activist Dick Gregory illustrated that fighting for injustice need not be separated from how members of a collective makes money. Perhaps this is why the phrasing ” A Comedian who found humor in the civil rights struggle” seems an oversimplification if not an insult of Gregory’s life.

Gregory, an outspoken and unafraid figure of black masculinity, illustrates in his tragedies, choices, a decision to chase greatness despite the circumstances handed to him by a purposely imbalanced system.

Gregory’s contentiously titled Autobiography Nigger, is a perfect depiction of human experience flawed by implicit and explicit racism– a masterpiece in its candid and analytical examination of the black experience. Gregory’s autobiography is a poignant piece, that makes readers cry out of sadness, pride, and familiarity. Gregory’s audio biography illustrates the essentiality of blacks narrating their own stories  to document a shared experience, and expose brethren throughout the diaspora to the many folds of blackness.

Dick-Gregory“Shame,” is a chapter of Gregory’s autobiography that I often teach in my writing classes. It’s a detailed excerpt that uses the personal to paint a collective portrait. Gregory writes, “I never learned hate at home, or shame. I had to go to school for that.” In the excerpt. Gregory illustrates a heart-less white female supremacist teaching a young impoverished black boy shame.

Covertly, Gregory’s anecdote illustrates how the white supremacist world teaches blacks to feel ugly feelings like shame as a facet of oppression. This story reminds blacks that inferiority was never innate but conjured by those who eat their dinners off our backs. While Shame is a formal narrative of black innocence stripped away by white evil, Gregory was an informal narrative–a beacon of knowledge who taught in how he lived his life.

Extracted from his autobiography, here are five lessons from the late Dick Gregory.

My dollar was bigger than his because nobody knew I had mine.

Poor is a state of mind you never grow out of, but being broke is just a temporary condition
Teachers were never interested in finding out that you couldn’t concentrate because you were so hungry, because you hadn’t had any breakfast.

The Negro church has always meant a lot to the Negro—it was his club, his social life, a place where he could forget about The Man downtown. For me, then, it was a place to get all wrapped up in a God who was stronger than any teacher, or social worker, or man who owned a second-story window. dick-gregory-60s-photo

Once you get a man to laugh with you, it’s hard for him to laugh at you.

A worn heel could break an arm, but I never heard of an arm could break a heel.

How could I explain how I felt the day a white history instructor wrote the word Negro on the blackboard and spelled it with a small n? At the end of the hour I went to the board and erased the letter and wrote in a capital N. Everybody stared and nobody said anything about it.

When white folks call you mister you know something is wrong.

When you’re a little kid you can press your nose against a plate-glass window and tell yourself you are going to grow up someday and be able to go inside. You can tell yourself you are going to grow up someday and be a man, and do all the things a man can do. These are nice dreams for kids. But when you walk down the street and see your track team friends on the other side of that plate-glass window, where you can’t go, you can’t even tell yourself to wait until you grow up. You are already a man, and knowing that there is no dream just strips your manhood away and brings you all the way back down to the gutter.

170124174153-dick-gregory-exlarge-169That piece of white paper isn’t enough unless they graduate you with a white face, too.

That’s why it’s so important to be nice and polite to people. You can never tell when you’re going to meet your future wife.

The harder that white man laughs, the harder he’s saying, “I’m all right, boy, it’s that Other Man downtown.”

I was learning that just being a Negro doesn’t qualify you to understand the race situation any more than being sick makes you an expert on medicine.

“Who you calling a monkey? Monkey’s got thin lips, monkey’s got blue eyes and straight hair.”

I was sitting on the stage, waiting to speak, when the bomb came flying through an open window. It hit a man on the head bounced off a lady’s hand, then rolled to the middle of the floor…We found out that the bomb had been a special US Army gas grenade, more powerful than tear gas, which could have killed the people nearby had it gone off…And people were surprised a few months later when they blew up that church in Birmingham.

And Whitey sat in his car and watched the funeral go by, the same Whitey who didn’t say a word when a man was fighting for right and truth and justice, who didn’t open his mouth when that man was shot in the back in front of his house. And Whitey in his car had to be scared that day when he saw that procession go by, scared to realize that when you shoot right and truth and justice down, more right and truth and justice will rise up.

Dick Gregory 1967, Chicago, USAJim asked me how I could be funny that night. I told him that when a man sells his talents he’s a prostitute, and when you’re a prostitute you lay like the customer wants you to lay. I was funny that night.

They told me there was very little racial prejudice in Hawaii. Like a woman is just a little bit pregnant.

In 1952 I was a welfare case, and in 1963 I was on a list of famous men. In America, with all of its evils and faults, you can still reach through the forest and see the sun. But we don’t know yet whether that sun is rising or setting for our country.

It always amazes me to see how the southern white folks will knock themselves out, pose all kinds of things to slip into a Negro meeting, and we haven’t gotten around to wanting to slip into a Klu Klux Klan meeting.

Every white man in America knows we are Americans, knows we are Negroes, and some of them know us by our names. So when he calls us a nigger, he’s calling us something we are not, something that exists only in his mind. So if nigger exists only in his mind, who’s the nigger? They laughed and they clapped. Now let’s take it one step farther. This is a Bible here. We know it’s a book. Now if I sat here and called it a bicycle, I have called it something it is not. So where does the bicycle exist? In my mind. I’m the sick one, right?

Those four kids who were killed in that church in Birmingham, they weren’t demonstrating. You don’t have to participate. Just be black.170820-usnews-dick-gregory-filer-0400_1671ddb0e376492e6c2fc2ddbf6a92b7.nbcnews-fp-360-360

A Negro is better off going to a foreign country fighting for America than he is coming to the South fighting for the Negro cause. When he’s in a foreign country, fighting to give those people rights he doesn’t even get, the whole of America is behind him. When he comes down here, there are only a few behind him.

You didn’t die a slave for nothing, Momma. You brought us up. You and all those Negro mothers who gave their kids the strength to go on, to take that thimble to the well while the whites were taking buckets. Those of us who weren’t destroyed got stronger, got calluses on our souls. And now we’re ready to change a system, a system where a white man can destroy a black man with a single word. When we’re through, Momma, there won’t be any niggers anymore.

Thank you seems far too weak a sentiment to compartmentalize such a paramount contribution to the black collective. But nevertheless, thank you Mr. Gregory. We will not forget you, for to do so would be to forget a formidable piece of ourselves.

Rest in Power.

Black is Beautiful… or is it? Examining Black Beauty as a Tool of Systemic Oppression

White men go after pretty black girls.

This is statement that I grudgingly used to believe to be true in comparison to the white women often pursued by black men. The truth is, black women are beautiful period. So whether paired with a white, mexican, asian, latino, or racially ambiguous man, the black woman man is bound to seem superior because her beauty is a fact not an anomaly.

The statement “White men go after pretty black girls” exists and functions on the belief that black is not beautiful. It implies that all black women are not beautiful, but the beautiful few are gorgeous enough to catch the eye of white man. In reality, it is the proximity to whiteness that functions to depict the conventionally unattractive black woman as beautiful.       halle-berry-aubry-nahla-flight-03

In evaluating the ever-present force-feeding of interracial relationships to black women. It is interesting to note the role of aesthetics. This analysis come to me in thinking of Halle Berry, the famous actress praised for her beauty. Despite garnering extensive acclaim for her beauty, Berry seemingly lost esteem after selecting a white mate who would ultimately father her child. Notably, these decisions predate the contemporary fixation of black women in relationships with white men.

Berry’s relationship with Olivier Martinez did occur during this time, but failed to garner the attention of Serena Williams, Tika Sumpter, and Youtube stars Nikki Perkins of Jaime and Nikki, Gabe Flowers of Gabe and Babe TV and Ami McClure, black mother to the biracial McClure Twins. The black woman- white male dynamic dominates much of the modern depictions afforded to black women. This dynamic culminates careers and raises black women from obscurity to the height of fame and fortune. For example, Gabe Flowers went from a regular job to starring in Walmart commercials, Ami McClure went from amateur modeling to the morning news and Nikki Perkins went from a resigned model to the BET red carpet. Commonly, all women are paid to live their life on camera–as black women married to a white men  Commenters on message boards are often rebuked for questioning whether or not these women would garner a second glance if not one half of an interracial relationship.

786fc31354a0f00e40693907c8b15231The answer is of course no. Their visibility and conventional accolades exist because of the general belief that black is not beautiful.

These interracial couples, illustrate that unconventional black beauty can however be beautiful when issues increased proximity to  whiteness. This only works when the black female is not conventionally beautiful i.e. not bearing long hair, a looser curl pattern, fair skin, svelte body, or an extensive education,  because when she is—soliciting a white man betrays the “beauty” of blackness as co-existing with the superiority of whiteness, and thus appears pretentious not proactive in fomenting the myth of black inferiority.

 

The conventionally beautiful black woman, an aberration to those plagued with the 44th NAACP Image Awards - Backstage And Audiencemental illness of white ideology, is viewed as a traitor to blackness in soliciting a white or non black mate. In order to properly engage a black demographic to platform her portrayal of Olivia Pope on ABC’s Scandal, actress Kerry Washington had to marry a black man and have black children. Revered for her beauty, poise and intelligence, Washington possesses the conventionality that when paired with a white man actually enforces the idea that black is beautiful and therefore deserving the connotation of white superiority as their presumed equal. We do this dynamic as true in Washington’s first relationship before she was revered as a beauty icon, and on Scandal–a fictive series. The relationships between black women and white men function to illustrate white men as “forgiving” the curse of blackness as ugly and overall inferior. Thus, this dynamic does not function when the black woman possesses conventionally superior qualities.

beyonces-even-more-beautiful-in-leaked-unphotoshopped-picturesThe black woman is of course a superior being regardless of how she looks, how much she makes, or any other attribute enforced by the white world. However, the belief of white superiority anchors the popularized black female white man dynamic. This dynamic, to the gaze hypnotized by white supremacy, illustrates the black woman as resurrected from undesirability to an ethereal being who can conquer the world with the beauty granted to her by her by the white male gaze.

david-bowie-wedding-435

Some will contest my argument and point to Iman and David Bowie. But Man, a model imported from Africa is as tokenized in her marriage to Bowie as she was as a model. Iman’s image surfaces to paint black abduction from African to America as positive and their sexual relationships with white men as reflective of black female desire not coercion. Iman’s popularity stems from a distorted appropriation of the term “black is beautiful,” illustrating that black is beautiful when tokenized by the white gaze.

Others will reference senator Kamala Harris as an example of a conventional attractive Senate Supreme Courtblack (ish) women who is married to a white man. To this I say that Harris’ interracial union  performs another function–to deem her blackness approachable and non-threatening. Harris could have never been a Gabe Flowers or Nikki Perkins, simply because her presence functions to illustrate the black female as just as womanly if not more so than a white woman—a factor that is counterproductive to preserving the fictive superiority of white people. Kamala Harris illustrates that black is beautiful when the black body does not derive from a black woman, and must “forsake all others” to uphold her contractual bond to her white husband.

Black women like Meagan Good, Gabrielle Union, Kelly Rowland, Beyonce, Angela Basset who are alsoKelly-Rowland revered for their beauty, prove that black is indeed beautiful and therefore must have a black spouse to not challenge ideas of white superiority. While all women of a darker hue compared to their white female counterparts, all women due to their “safe-brown” complexions, and relatively small features are able to appease conventional standards with or without enhancement, which proves dichotomies to their swirling counterparts.

In contrast, singer Janet Jackson, although a beautiful woman, wears her conventional “ugliness” in a face that has been sliced and diced. She is beautiful, but her image functions to discount the inability of beautiful black women to see their own beauty and therefore places her in the same boat as those presumed to lack conventional beauty. She bears the sickness of self-hatred that functions to illustrate fictive white superiority as fact. 160505112440-janet-jackson-2010-super-tease

Yes, the conscious gaze knows that black love is revolutionary, but in a global white supremacist context, black love is a union between two base beings, kissing in the presumed corruption and curse of their blackness.

I can imagine that this post probably comes off superficial if not frivolous, and if I amJane-goodal-habitat honest its perhaps more alarming if it did not. To this I ask you to reacquaint yourself with Jane Goodall, the white woman who garnered fame and fortune for demonstrating that chimpanzees could be tamed. Goodall symbolizes the intentions of whites, or non-blacks in interracial relationships with blacks–to illustrate their ability bring out the beauty in a beast. Let us not forget that it was the chimpanzee’s openness to Goodall’s touch that supposedly showed their ability to be tamed. Had the chimpanzee been praised for its aesthetics and behavior, Goodall’s exploitation would not have been successful. The same can be said of whites (and non-blacks) in their relationship with members of the black diaspora.

To most, art imitates life, and certainly there are number of instances where this is indeed true. However, as targets of systemic racism, it is imperative for blacks to note that life imitates art as a form of control. We are presented with images to which we subconsciously or consciously emulate and use as a fictive measuring stick for our lives.  The 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 29 Jan 2017

It is also prevalent to implement what WEB Dubois labeled double consciousness. To assess portrayals of black bodies in popular culture, or white media is an essential form of double consciousness because as Carter B Woodson once said “if you control a man’s thinking you know what he’ll do..” Analyzing black portrayal betrays white thought and can better predict white behavior. Perhaps most importantly, critically contemplating popular culture unveils the extent and strategy of white evil—an attribute that continues to be vastly disputed and overlooked by those most wounded by its wrath.

Take notes and beware my people.

Furthermore, interracial relationships silently re-appropriate the 70s term “black is beautiful.” This re-appropiation does not suggests that black is beautiful. In fact the opposite is true. These relationships illustrate that little to no one truly believes that black is beautiful. The truth is most people didn’t believe the phrase when it first surfaced, a fact relished in those utterly clueless about their origins and therefore inevitably confused about the beauty of their people.

The cure to this issue lies in denouncing individual beauty. By this I mean ignoring the significance of mirrors and knowing the collective beauty of black beauty without a mirror. In assuming a collective beauty, any and every woman of African origin will know her beauty without a mirror and not see personal idiosyncrasies as flaws but as necessary to complete a masterpiece. 2EAoEgP1

In reasserting beauty it is also important that we as black women decide who our beauties are. The commonality between Halle Berry, Beyonce, Gabrielle Union, Kerry Washington is that they were black beauties designated by the white world and used to lure the black female collective to concert venues, movies, and sitcoms that reek of anti-blackness. By allowing the white world to determine black beauty, beauty becomes a weapon used against black women. These tokens of beauty exists to prove that black beauty is an aberration, an anomaly only countered when the white world opts to recognize black beauty. In implementing black beauty as a universal truth, all black women, not some, are beautiful. Therefore, there are no such thing as “black beauties” as blacks in their entirety are beautiful.

Furthermore, we, the black collective, must refrain from behavior that is unassumingly anti-black. Veiled anti-black terms or phrases yield anti- black behavior that prove counter-productive to the advancement of black people.  So I am asking that we denounce individual beauty, and replace it with an ideology that perceives the black female body as collectively beautiful.

If black is truly beautiful, then let  we as a collective must allow this be to true. This phrase in pro-black form is inclusive for all those who identify as black, not exclusive to blacks who bear conventional traits. There is power in redefining how we use this assimilatory language. No, beauty may not be a kemetian term, but it reflects a shared kemetian trait.

Black is beautiful. Let us not only say it, but believe it.

Black Power.

From “Reclaiming our Time” to Reclaiming our Crimes

California Senator Maxine Waters made waves a few weeks ago with the phrase “reclaiming my time.” Waters had the floor at a House Financial Services Committee Hearing—a privilege Waters was unwilling to relinquish. Waters used her time to inquire why Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin failed to respond to her letter— a query he eschewed with an extensive and evasive response to which Waters responded with “reclaiming my time.”  maxine-waters-e1501706089248-300x239

Similar battles for power accompany black leaders across the diaspora, who despite seemingly occupying positions of power, fight for their voices to be heard. Yes, after robbing the black collective of nearly every attribute of culture, the black body remains robbed of time as a strategic means to strip blacks of their esteem.

Water’s phrase “reclaiming my time,” although regarded as ignorance or immaturity by those who do not understand what scholar bell hooks labeled “racist-sexist oppression” is necessary for the black collective.

The art of reclaiming is a necessary addition to the daily lives of members of the black collective to combat the consistent deflection from our issues onto members of the white collective. Despite claiming to answer Waters’ query, Mnuchin sought to silence Waters by appropriating her time to speak as his own. This behavior mirrors the pattern of deflecting from black victimhood onto the white villain.

Charleston_9_VictimsTo explicate this point, let us consider the Charleston 9 and the recent act of racial terrorism in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Both attacks illustrated the depth of white evil in overt acts of racism cast onto the black collective. Yet, in both instances, the injured or murdered black bodies fade into the background as white villains dominate the spotlight. For this reason, I will intentionally omit both white villians’ name from this post. They have received far too much attention for mirroring the acts of their ancestors. In their heightened visibility, the white assailant emerges as the villain and victim. His attack is humanized by a “troubled” past, or “sudden lapse in judgement,” and the world is given reason to love this being sullied in white supremacy and deem the murdered inconvenient casualties that stain the memory of a otherwise “good” person in the bizarre “logic” that dominates much of the globe.

Despite whether any white person individually pulled the trigger, rammed their car into an unassuming crowd of people, or owned slaves, they benefit from every act of evil cast onto the black collective. Whites benefit from every freed murderer of a black men, women, or children, as this means that they too will be forgiven and returned to their families in time to enjoy dinner should they find themselves in a “bind” and need to kill a black person.

So while Waters gained traction for her phrase “reclaiming my time,” may the black collective focus on reclaiming our crimes. By crimes I of course mean the crimes thrust onto the black collective in past and present settings.

Up until this point, I have yet to hear of any other victim of the Charlottesville attacks aside from “Heather.” Although reports state that nineteen people were injured, I suppose they are less interesting because they are not young white women.

Similarly, the most known name with regard to the Charleston 9 is that of the murderer. This is anything but accidental, as oppressing blacks extends far beyond physical bludgeoning, disenfranchised schools, and gentrified neighborhoods. A crucial component to oppression is to maintain control over the oppressed’s history. White supremacists exercise control over the black collective through erasure. Blacks are continually told, whether implicitly or explicitly, that they are without history, or the right to be angry. We are constantly coerced into believing that we are in fact the problem, and the solution is whiteness. Yet in reclaiming our crimes, we understand that this method of control only functions in our ignorance. In reclaiming our crimes, blacks maintain their integrity and refuse to be their background in their narrative. In reclaiming our crimes, we refuse to even look at the pictures of the white villains, as their features are unremarkable and unworthy of a gaze better spent on the actual victims.

To reclaim our crimes, we assert our status as the bearers of the world’s biggest crime, and refuse to be criminalized by the invisibility issued by white supremacists who refuse to admit their faults.

To reclaim our crimes is stand beside the Charleston 9:

 

Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd (54) – Bible study member and manager for the Charleston County Public Library system; sister of Malcolm Graham.
Susie Jackson (87) – a Bible study and church choir member.
Ethel Lee Lance (70) – the church’s sexton.
Depayne Middleton-Doctor (49) – a pastor who was also employed as a school administrator and admissions coordinator at Southern Wesleyan University.
Clementa C. Pinckney (41) – the church’s pastor and a South Carolina state senator.
Tywanza Sanders (26) – a Bible study member; grandnephew of Susie Jackson.
Daniel Simmons (74) – a pastor who also served at Greater Zion AME Church in Awendaw.
Sharonda Coleman-Singleton (45) – a pastor; also a speech therapist and track coach at Goose Creek High School; mother of MLB prospect Chris Singleton.
Myra Thompson (59) – a Bible study teacher.

 

and the unnamed victims of the Charlottesville protest. In reclaiming our time, we afford a memory to the incalculable black victims cast throughout the diaspora disregarded in the indifference of white supremacy.

To reclaim our time, is to ensure that while the world forgets our sacrificial lambs, we do not and will not forget those placed below a ground soiled by black blood and trampled on by those seeking to claim our time, bodies and mind. To reclaim our time is to claim our bodies and minds as our territory, uncolonized by white evil.

We may not be able to reclaim time already seized by white supremacists, but we can collectively reclaim the time we have left.

Black Power ❤