Roman J. Israel, Esq, A Review

Roman Israel —-the character and the film, illustrate a harsh reality of heartbreak, humility, and the attempt at humanity by one who has been dehumanized. roman_01

Like many of the great black ancestors, film protagonist Roman Israel (Denzel Washington) spent decades fighting for change—reaching for the impossible to the mental exhaustion imbued by his physical efforts. After his purpose partner dies following complications from a sudden heart attack, Israel finds himself mirroring the societal crippling of the clients he spent his life defending. After some effort to find work, Israel finds himself taking an offer from his late partner’s protege George (Colin Farrell), transforming his life from the modesty of pro bono to the prestige of a law firm in a high rise building. Israel is the oddball at the office full of coworkers obsessed with money and material- not materializing justice for their clients. A modest man of purpose, Israel seemingly snaps after a young client, of whom he tried to help, is murdered. This in the addition to his partner’s illness and ultimate death, his loss of income and purpose, offsets Israel into a dangerous path to which he will not be granted the ability to recover.

Denzel Washington
Denzel Washington stars in Columbia Pictures’ ROMAN J. ISRAEL ESQ.

In short, Israel illustrates how costly it is to have a lapse in judgment as a black person, and the detriment of black male emasculation. During his life of prose, fiction, and playwriting, the late James Baldwin spoke and wrote extensively about the plight of black men to materialize and actualize masculinity in the conventional sense. Prior to his lapse in judgement, Israel sought masculinity through fighting for the underdog as a societal underdog. His talent and dedication is palpable and inspirational—present both inside and outside of the courtroom. The film shows Israel calling to report construction taking place during unlawful hours multiple times to no response. He does not outwardly display frustration, but viewers are granted a sense of the the many ways in which Israel’s spirit was challenged, a challenge that unveiled the justice sought as that which would never come at request. Israel’s dilemma illustrates what we have seen both inside and outside the Diaspora, the continual request for justice by blacks.  Abolition regimes, Brown versus Board of Education, affirmative action, or land reparations as seen in Brazil, illustrate the gift of re-manefested oppression as awarded to those who request rather than resist, a request only acknowledge when the interests of the oppressed mirror that of the oppressor.  Derrick Bell introduces the term interest convergence,  in essay “Brown v Board of Education and the Interest Convergence Dilemma” written in response to the Brown v. Board of Education decision, asserting what many perceive as small victories as only overtly benefitting blacks when reflecting the interests of whites.

So when Israel realizes that he’s been requesting justice from “the wrong court” he decides to “take.” But his “taking” is not what is seen in cases of Nat Turner, or even Micah Johnson or Gavin Long. No, his taking is an exact replica of white behavior, in which Israel gains capital from inducing someone’s loss. Nat Turner took what money couldn’t and wouldn’t buy— what would never be readily given. Israel, emasculated by the consequences that followed his nearly four decade plight towards what he perceived as justice, takes a chance at the capitalistic existence nurtured by western culture. Israel used the confidential information to lessen the sentence of a teenaged boy’s pending trial, ultimately causing his murder, to incarcerate another young black man—an action that awarded him one-hundred thousand dollars.

The money allows Israel the means to acquire the western exteriority uniform to his new cooperate job, but in the short time it took for him to report this young man, viewers see Israel’s soul leave his body.

roman-j-israel-esq-3History has shown the conscious gaze this behavior before—the black body at an illusive crossroads where they are indirectly presented with the decision of cowardice or courage, enslavement or freedom, silence or sound, leader or follower, life, and death. We saw this James Baldwin’s “Sonny Blues,” where Sonny chooses music and his brother chooses education as a mode of escaping the inescapable. Despite their varied paths, they meet in the middle bruised by the same burdens and cruelty, pushed to the same edge viewers watch Israel dangle from. Whether compartmentalized by the phrase “dangling from the edge” or “snapping” the climax of black masculinity is a recurring theme of the black male narrative that either produces what functions as a hyper-masculinity or an emasculation.

Every black body that has ever occupied an extreme position of courage or cowardice in the systemic abjection of black people, has experienced this moment. This moment is crucial, as it signals a moment where an individual must decide his or her collective purpose. Nat Turner experienced this moment, and sought to overthrow his earthly master. Malcolm X had this moment and became a guiding force to unlock an esteem many blacks did not know was missing. Denzel Washington, the actor who portrays Israel, also has this moment. Extended a platform in his visibility, Washington emerges as a coward in using this platform to fester the wound of inferiority ingrained into the black psyche by way of white supremacy. Israel too had this moment. But his adversity did not mold a fearlessness, but a stifling fear manifested in Israel’s espousal of materialism. Specifically, Israel uses privileged information to collect one hundred grand after turning in the black man responsible for the crime in which his deceased client was charged. Rather than attack the forces that incite the oppressed’s desire for franchisment, Israel joins forces with those whom he spent his entire life challenging.  In short, Israel seeks to be on the other side of systemic adversity, a decision that would prove fatal.

A Stubborn Spirit

Ironically, prior to his cowardly conversion, a bulldog statue accompanies Israel nearly everywhere. A recurring image throughout the film, the bull dog symbolically depicts a stubborn nature or strong connection to one’s convictions. The bull dog represents Israel, a stubborn man anchored in his commitment to justice. In the moments before his death, Israel gifts the bulldog statue he carries from his old firm to his new high rise office, to Maya, a beautiful woman drawn to Israel in their shared conviction to justice. For Maya, Israel is what she aspires to be, but by the end of the film, Maya acquires the courage and purpose Israel relinquishes.

What’s in a Name?

The name Israel, is unique and seemly discordant with Denzel Washington the actor and roman_01the man. Particularly, the name “Roman Israel” represents colorblind casting, or color being implementing into the film as an attempt to seem more relevant than it actually was during conception. Casting a black man as the film’s protagonist both exposes the racist perception of the producers writers and directors, and aids the white supremacist agenda of implementing white supremacy any and everywhere possible. Namely, the film is a different take of the controlling image where the black male emasculation is evident in his donning of female clothing, appropriating femininity not as an act of resistance or nuanced approach to personhood, but as an effort to dissolve masculinity as it relates to the black male body. Although not assuming an overt femininity, Roman too distances himself from a black masculinity when his “aha” moment breeds an “oh no” reaction. In what should have been a moment of strength, Israel emerges as weak— a depiction that is not accidental in a white supremacist culture. Ironically, named for the land given to a people subject to the inhumane cruelty of a Holocaust, the allusion evoked in Israel’s name symbolizes the danger in waiting for what is given. Israel of course came to the Jewish community as the bow on a gift—a token or acknowledgment of wrongdoing gifted to those no longer in a state of abjection— a tokenizing of a powerlessness transformed into privilege. Israel a seeks an Israel- like token, but as a black man, his desires simply do not manifest.

Instead, Israel surfaces to depict the black male body as damned if he does, and damned if he does not. Israel was damned to a dead-end road as a criminal justice attorney fighting the real criminals to free the fictive criminals from a caricatured existence. In the film’s final moments, the film depicts the black man as paying with his life for doing what whites have done for centuries. Israel, like so many black men before and after him, loses his life on the hard concrete ground, the blood sinking into the same ground composed of the marrow of his ancestors. His spilled blood and premature ending, also like so many black men before him, becomes a stage for the white savior.

The White Savior

tumblr_oyy7exdDRG1vmfib2o2_400Despite initially shutting the door on Israel’s fight for the underdog, once these interests of the oppressed converge with his interests as a white man, George (Colin Farrell) expresses interest in Israel’s life work. By then it is too late. Israel had hung up his cape, a cape that proved a carpet to George’s assuming of Israel’s work after his death. Up until the shift that would cost him his life, Israel was building a case to expose the justice system as unjust. To an extent, every black body builds a case throughout his or her lifetime—some cases acknowledged far more than others. Far too often, these cases become the legacy of whites, who tie the ribbon on an already created black contribution. For example, prior to his death, Ralph Ellison wrote over one-thousand pages in an attempt to rewrite a novel destroyed in a house fire. After his death, a white man assembled these pages into the novel Juneteenth. This is similar to Georges Cuvier placing Saartje Baartman in jar, using the black body, or extensions of this body, as a means to exteriorize the interiority of the black collective–or, to put it simply, a means for whites to assume a legacy through black life.  .

This is of course anything but unusual.

20171121142511!Roman_J._Israel,_Esq.Furthermore, the film functions as a means to emasculate the black male body in showcasing both courage and cowardice as leading to fatality. It is worth mentioning that the featured image of the film’s poster, mirrors the perspective of Israel’s murderer and George, the film’s white savior. This angle prompts me to think of Malcolm X’s vow in his autobiography not to have his back to the door, after being rudely awakened to its positional vulverability. Here, Israel seemingly places his back to the world and is ejected from it, by someone, who in the faceless representation, shares the same hue as Israel– a depiction that also alludes to the orchestrated assassination of the late and great Malcolm X.

Rather than providing food for thought, the film not so subtly implies the impossibility of black male navigation in a white supremacist society as reason for their erasure. In the film’s final moments, Roman lay shot on a Los Angeles street. There is no face connected to his murder, or discussion of the fatal shot that delivered his body to the state of his soul. Like Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, amongst countless others, Israel is dead but apparently no one did it. This depiction, in short, screams “I wish you were never born” from the pits of white supremacy in depicting the fatality and ultimate idea abduction that awaits any black body foolish enough to think they can change the world.

Advertisements

The “Sparkle” of Meghan Markle and The Upcoming “Royal” Wedding

27-prince-harry-meghan-markle-2.w710.h473
For the last year, Suits actress Meghan Markle has remained at the center of pop culture and media tabloids. Meghan Markle, the daughter of a black women and white man, illustrates the nuanced concept of bi-raciality. I use the word “nuanced” sarcastically as Markle’s contemporary function mirrors her past “mulatto” manifestation, mulatto referencing the diluted black female form sexually objectified by a white man who probably fathered her, yet subjected to the very cruelty of the black body that bore her.  Bi-rciality serves as a means for those who can “pass” as black, or having two black parents, to dismember themselves as split between both both words, using a partial blackness as a means to earn a place in the house of  white supremacy. Markle’s racial ambiguity functions as a means to underscore the beauty of blackness when diluted with whiteness, and emphasize the white savior figure in the “spare” to a British throne.

45d888824c22099c095061fc2556f451The black female form, her offspring, and their global function in a racist society have remained intact for centuries, as any evolution of their function would challenge the white supremacist power structure. Meghan Markle, in the symbolism imbued in her bi-raciality and place at the foot of the white man’s bed, or this case monarchy, is veiled a reinforcement of the black female bodily abjection– an abjection Markle’s body symbolizes in conception and lifestyle.  This  pattern of black female bodily abjection seemingly illustrates an evolution of coercion to consent to those unfamiliar with the pervasive subconscious coercion imbued by systemic racism.

The pending union between Meghan Markle and Prince Harry additionally function to promote the myth of racism being virtually non-existent in places that have induced the world to forget the black bodies gifted as currency, congratulations, and compliments to “powerful” British individuals and institutions.

2017 Invictus Games Press Conference
United Kingdom’s Prince Harry speaks during the opening ceremonies of the the2017 Invictus Games in Toronto, Canada Sept. 23, 2017. (DoD photo by EJ Hersom)

Because this blog is a meditation of the black female perspective, I will not spend a great amount of time entertaining the white male perspective. I will state that whether to challenge the British monarchy who had a hand (in the very least) in Diana’s murder, or to acquire a legal concubine in a wife with direct black blood—Harry gains at all angles. His spousal selection functions to fictively displace the British as less racist than the United states.

Specifically, Harry and Meghan’s pending nuptials promote the myth of racism being virtually non-existent in places that have induced the world to forget the black bodies gifted as currency, congratulations, and compliments to “powerful” British individuals and institutions. British placement of a biracial black in a designated “place of prestige” is reflective of former President Obama’s eight-year reign, which yielded a pseudo but pervasive white victimhood mollified by Trump and his stealth supporters.

It is imperative to note that Harry will also have no true investment in blackness, despite an implication to the contrary in his white media coverage. His children will most likely bear little to remnants of their black grandparent, and his proximity to his black (ish) wife and her black family will prove a platform for the so-called philanthropy that will aid his emergence as the white savor figure.

Announcement-Of-Prince-Harrys-Engagement-To-Meghan-Markle.jpeg.CROP.promo-xlarge2Thus, to the white supremacist gaze, it is this white savior figure, personified in Prince Harry’s global function as a white savior and his pending nuptials that makes Meghan Markle “sparkle.”  For Marke’s “sparkle” is determined by the same forces that designated the “royal” family and Harry’s fictive prince status. Before this highly popularized courtship, Markle, an actress, worked on a little known series, and navigated the world with a fluid identity fit for a prince.  _L1A1133r

Markle’s relationship with Prince Harry functions similarly to the over-publicized union of Serena Williams and her white-tech husband, to illustrate the happily ever after for the woman maintaining any relation to blackness as solely consummated by a white man—or in Markle’s case, an actual prince. Ironically, Williams was quoted as saying that she “felt like a princess” at her wedding, illustrating the social conditioning that engender black women mutilated by white supremacy to perceive their white male lovers and husbands as “princes.” Serena and Markle collaboratively illustrate the black female body in any varying amount of blackness, veiling a journey to whiteness as a journey to the white dress worn to wed a white men. Furthermore, Williams and Markle’s appeal surfaces in their ability to simultaneously personify the fiction of black female invisibility or ugliness rescued by the personified fairy tale image of the white male prince.

nintchdbpict0002785248261-e1477822071176As the former legal concubine to a white male “spouse,” and the offspring of white male penetration of the black female form, Meghan Markle is a physical manifestation of everything Prince Harry represents as a part of European monarchy. So to contest the crux of Dwayne Wong’s Huffington post article entitled “The Upcoming Royal Wedding and Our Colonized Mentalities,” the core issue is not  black reception, but the force-feeding of these images for black consumption by a society who has used the body of Meghan Markle, a real personification of a fictive bi-raciality, to poison the black psyche.

Admittedly, some of the black collective have readily sipped the Koolaid of the upcoming nuptials in a delusional attempt to live vicariously through Markle’s partial African ancestry as she 39FEDA1500000578-3898232-image-a-14_1478117629314weds a “prince.”Many will perceive themselves as collectively victorious in this “union.” Some will even see themselves as a jewel in Meghan’s illusive crown, whereas in actuality this union functions as the shoes the imperial subject uses to step over a barefoot corpse crucified in abjection veiled as advancement

The desire for inclusion displaces celebration where there should be indifference. But whether living vicariously through Miss Markle or not, the black collective is not what deems Markle revelant. Rather it is the white collective who gains from Markle’s societal displacement as central to a world were she is inevitably and irreversibly marginal—even with a white father, white husband, or white children. Wong’s article is an example of an exteriorized psyche that blames the victim but allows the oppressor to run free and continue to capitalize on their continued colonization.

 

I do however agree that the pending union has unveiled the unhealed scars of a colonialism that never ended but merely changed form. A wound continually opened  by the pervasive strategy of white supremacy, whose social reproduction continues to derive from the loins of the black female body. Social reproduction is a violent action implemented as escapism for whites who desire to treat every act of racism as an isolated incident, and for the mutilated black mind seeking to assemble what Dr. Wade Noble called a “fractured identity” in a pseudo acceptance or inclusion.

In conclusion, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s “union” is a grotesque image that romanticizes a ubiquitous attack on the black family and black identity as vested in the black female form. Yet, the pervasiveness of this attack denounces the “news” as a means to acquire information, instead exposing white sources as espoused to inoculating inferiority into the black psyche. But more so, the pending “princess” status of Miss Markle proves a catalysts for racists to appear as colorblind humanitarians and the raced and gendered to appear loved in a media lynching of their collective.

To Miss Markle:

your black mother,

not your white father

or fiancee

makes you princess.  

 

Black Power ❤

Wake Me Up, and How Pop Culture Seduces Blacks to Sleep on White Supremacy

In a nutshell, the Remy Ma/ Nicki Minaj beef is an exploitation of the black female caricature. Specifically, Remy Ma’s rise from prison to the height of pop culture proves that it pays to function against those of your own collective. nicki-minaj-vs-remy-ma

Rapper Remy Ma’s new video “Wake Me Up” features a nostalgic sample of Mary J. Blige’s “I Can Love You,” from the Share My World era. The lyrics are shallow, vulgar, and antagonistic, the song an obvious shot at Queens native, and fellow rapper Nicki Minaj.

While I reference Remy specifically, I want to note that my critique is not anchored in Remy, but illustrated by the rap star. The purpose of the post is to regard Remy symbolically, speaking to black objectification as a casting the black body as a tool in its own systemic dominance.

lil-kim-remy-ma-studioThe particulars of this feud are not interesting or important. The significance lies in the symbolism celebrated by many who easily choose sides and celebrate the flashy clothing and long inauthentic locks donned by Kim and Remy Ma as they unite in berating another black woman in a systemically induced battle, where black female bodies battle for a place at the boots of their master. Remy’s “comeback” remains rooted in beckoning for another black woman’s fall, just as many blacks released from prison become informants to yield to fall of their brother to remain in good graces with massa’. Thus, Remy’s rise illustrates that conventional success awaits those who illustrate a caricatured blackness as fact.

It is imperative to note that those who prove most victorious in the feud between blacknicki-minaj-vs-remy-ma women, are whites. Whites are granted the symbolic victory of a systemically induced black dysfunctionality to which they can and will exploit economically. Specifically, white executives and management companies are able to capitalize on the feuding black bodies casting the limelight on black women who illustrate the presupposed incivility of the black female form.

It is a pervasive anti-blackness that breeds Remy Ma’s “comeback.” An anti-blackness that ingrains into the subconscious of black girls and black women that “success” among black women is mutually exclusive. Therefore, the subtle message becomes one that encourages black women to strive for “success” and not sisterhood. 42-og

This distorted reality also blurs the reality that the black female body is utterly irrelevant to her respective caricatures. This fact is perhaps best illustrated in a world where a racially ambiguous Cardi B dominates the charts. Her “music”, to use the term generously, consisting of reality television dialogue exposes the black female caricature as a portrait of oppression and appropriation that signals the inevitable erasure of the black female body from the face of her own caricature.

With her adaptation of black female caricature, Cardi B exhibits blackness in a manner miley-cyrus-2013-vma-large-women-1024x560 inaccessible to predecessors Lil’ Kim, Foxy Brown, Remy Ma, and Nicki Minaj as black women. Namely, Cardi is both present and absent in the abjection produced in her symbolic function. Just as Miley Cyrus depicted in the 2013 VMAs with a performance were thick black women were used as twerking prop

BET Hop Hop Awards 2016 - Arrivals Cardi B depicts the abjection of blackness without actually bearing the burden of blackness like the black female rappers that came before her. Thus, like the short-lived hype of Australian rapper Iggy Azalea, Cardi B dons the mask Nicki Minaj put on to gain her cross-over appeal. A mask Remy Ma cannot wear, but uses as a catalyst to searing comebacks that berate a privilege she too tries to appropriate with blonde weaves and white designer clothing.
Moreover,  Remy and Nicki feud as their racially ambiguous body doubles illustrates black female replaceability and pending erasure, to which their systemically induced hatred blinds both individuals and their constituency. The same dynamic is present in countless other institutionalized settings to which black women are nurtured to antagonize one another in environments where the black female body bears a replaceable presence.

As stated in an earlier post on the subject, I acknowledge that this could be and probably is a rehearsed “beef” derived to illustrate that black people cannot and do not get along, an illustration exploited by white executives for monetary gain. Yet, the “truth” behind this strategic performance is not nearly as important as its function. The feud functions as anti-blackness— ensuring that the black collective remains sleepwalkers in a system of white supremacy.

remy-ma-lil-kim-wake-me-up
Yet despite her anti black performance, Remy’s hook and title request to be woken up when “the morning comes.” In thought and action, however, it is obvious that neither Kim or Remy, or those of whom they represent, desire to be “woken up.” To wake up would require they remove their store bought tresses and be forced to polish their own crown. To wake up would require they abolish their anger toward one another and actually look their master in the eye and thwart the hypnosis of white supremacy with a collective confidence. To wake up would require courage not the cowardice of complacency— or what the western world labels popularity.

In my effort to produce what Christina Sharpe calls “wake work” in In the Wake:On Blackness and Being, it is imperative to note that my efforts are not to perform the acts that my post vehemently speaks against. Rather, my objective is to expose the contemporary slave as performing against her own—tokenizing white ownership over the contemporary black slave.

A key component to wake work, is an ongoing state of hyper-awareness. This hyper-stay-woke-power-fist-men-sunisex-tshirtawareness is often regarded as pessimism in a world indignant when the oppressed are no longer fooled, entertained, or complacent to their oppression. This hyper-awareness would incite Remy Ma, Nicki Minaj and all the other institutionalized black bodies to make a difference, rather than play a prominent role in ensuring everything remains the same. This hyper-awareness allows those handed a subaltern status to emerge as subject in possessing a heightened understanding of the workings of white supremacy.

In short, if one is truly woke, there is no need to “wake” them, because when the morning comes” those in the wake have been woke.

Popular culture incites the black body to endure a prolonged slumber where blacks literally and figuratively “sleep” on white supremacy, allowing whites to wake up in a world where their fictive superiority continues to function as a reality.

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.

Suburbicon, A Review

I had never heard of Suburbicon prior to being invited to attend a pre-screening event.  As a black woman interested in explicating blackness, seeing the movie was initially of little interest to me. But as a plus-one, the endeavor became a low stakes opportunity to meta a white film targeting an audience of white liberals. MV5BMTA3MjA1NDkxMTReQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU4MDU2Njg3NDMy._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_

The irony in the phrase white liberal is seemingly not entirely lost on director and writer George Clooney, who uses Suburbicon to assert his own white liberalism. Suburbican-set  in a suburban town, depict what many Americans would consider a utopia. The lawns are perfectly manicured and the white families are as firmly planted in their fictive superiority as their prime real estate is in stolen American soil.  This utopia setting becomes a state for dystopia—the film succeeding in depicting the drastic lengths whites will go through to satiate greed and italy-venice-film-festivalmaintain an image of pseudo perfection.

In a little under two hours, Clooney contemplates what it means to be white. A query the film seemingly answers in a disturbing portrayal of greed, sex, and a ruthless exercise of white privilege from multiple angles. This privilege is not simply skipping lines or obtaining a high-paying job with sub-par credentials, but far more grim.

In short, white middle-class suburban dad and husband Gardner (Matt Damon) hires other white men of lower social stature to murder his handicap wife so that he can pursue a romantic relationship with her sister. Rose (Gardner’s wife) and Margaret (Rose’s sister), are both played by actress Julianne Moore, a duplicity that while many things is not accidental. The dual role suggests an SUBURBICONinterchangeability between white women. Given Margaret’s murderous rage when she learns she will not obtain the funds to start her new life, the film implies that if placed in a similar position, a deceased Rose would behave like her sister—or possibly did so to secure her temperate place in Suburb-icon.

Suburbicon’s characters are allegorical and represent a specific facet of white privilege. Gardner (Matt Damon) exercises his privilege in inducing white female interchangeability and access to capital. Margaret (Julianne Moore) seeks to exercise the privilege of white female beauty and white female supremacy in aiding her employer torment her black female neighbor in a local supermarket. The insurance man, who easily uncovers Gardner and Margaret’s evil plan, does not seek to extinguish their cruel intentions, but exploit their actions for his own gain.

tdtNicky, Garner’s pre-adolescent son, is easily the film’s protagonist and hero, that as seen in The Dark Tower, Suburbicon implies that white youth, in their willingness to befriend black males, are the hope for an anti-racist future. This suggestion is as narcissistic and laughable as it is self-serving to the white savior image pervasive throughout every avenue of American life. Like The Dark Tower, Suburbicon implements a black male body to fictively diversify an otherwise all white case. Suburbicon, slightly advances the pursuit of pseudo diversity in casting a black family who integrates a white middle class neighborhood as figures in a utopian backdrop. As seen in countless instances prior, the black body becomes the canvass to which all whites  cast their sins. After Rose, a well-to-do white woman is murdered in her own home, the Mayers, a respectable black family, incurs the blame. When neighbors seek to disrupt the sanctity of this family by building a fence, singing loudly on their lawn, vandalizing their car, and breaking their front window to drape the confederate flag— the black family endures blame for the animalistic actions of whites.  FILM-SUBURBICON-REVIEW

I feel compelled to state that I do not support integrative efforts, namely blacks who seek to live amongst whites. But I will say that the depiction of the grave efforts implemented by white bodies to maintain a space established in black exclusion was disturbingly accurate.

If the film did nothing else well, it captured the desperation and sheer ugliness of white greed and the need for whites to have someone to blame and otherwise look down upon. The cost in delivering said images, comes in casting black people along the backdrop in the film. The black family, although portrayed by able and attractive actors, are essentially faceless and one- dimensional. The black family surfaces to denounce the idea of a white utopia. Ironically, the film, as stated by some of its characters, implies that it is the presence of a black family that unveils white utopia as a dystopia–by offsetting a series of unfortunate events with the black family’s move into surburbicon. But despite this dystoia, Suburbicon predictably concludes by emphasizing the motif of white liberalism–that there is potential for a non-racist white subject.

Film-Review-Suburbicon-2The film ends with Nicky—the son of the murderous father and husband who left a trail of blood in his desperate attempt for sex and money, playing with his black friend Andy (Tony Espinosa). The two boys toss a ball to one another over a fence that separates them. While noticeably more peaceful than any other scene in the film, the image suggests an ability of black and whites to harmoniously co-exist  via an informal segregation. While I do not disagree with blacks and whites having designated spaces were interaction is optional not mandatory, this implicit idea also implies that this informal segregation is what allows for utopia–subtly suggesting that the black family’s failure to exercise this ideology proves a catalyst for the dystopia depicted in the film. An implication that acquiesces rather than challenges notions of white supremacy.

Suburbicon also implies that Nicky, although pursuing normal day with a house full of dead bodies, is “better” than his murderous and adulterous father, who although the epitome of evil warns him against “playing with that colored boy.” Incidentally, by playing with “that colored boy,” Nicky allegorical represents the “good” that can come from evil. Andy, Nicky’s black friend, functions to humanize a child who will grow up to possess the same racial psychopathy as his father. Except maybe, given the film’s recycling of the outcasted white who finds camaraderie in a black person (or people), (i.e. Skeeter from The Help) Nicky may grow up to have a black wife, or at the very least, a black friend.

The film, while not the worst film made in the last five years, fails to deviate from a suburbiconwhite supremacist agenda because of its obvious attempt to demonize and humanize whites in the same chord.

The verdict?

Social Commentary about whites by white people will only go so far. “Radical” white social commentary or criticism will go out on a limb and depict the white man and woman as both the devil and the angel—performing the very psychopathy it seems to combat.

With regards to psychopathy, the film accurately displays its white characters, with the exception of young Nicky, as callous and cavalier.

While the images presented in the film seem exaggerated, they are a watered-down version of what a global historical trajectory reveals to be true. Yet, despite this truth, many blacks will be shocked at the footage, and as reflected in many white authored reviews pertaining to the movie, many whites will be outraged. They of course won’t admit to being indignant regarding the exposure of white incivility, so instead express dissatisfaction regarding technicalities–proving that action need not be revolutionary to rock the effete boat of white esteem.

Although certainly possessing brief moments of contemplation or  truth, the film fails to hold white feet to the fire, or at the very least, their eyes to the truth. Furthermore, Suburbicon proves a means for whites to once again eschew reality for a fantastical version of their collective selves.

So while Clooney appears to entertain the query of what it means it means to be white, he renders a morose answer in both production and product, implicitly asserting that to be white is to pursue a fictive self-portrait in front of and behind the camera. `

The cycle continues.

❤ Black Power

 

 

Black Leadership: Action or Image

I got into a heated exchange with a faceless Twitter profile who claimed a melanated identity. The exchange stemmed from a tweet I made praising Oakland Raider Marshawn Lynch as a prominent figure of silent protest, to which my adversary proclaimed former NFL player Colin Kaepernick as the face of the silent protest. His reasoning pointed to a white media source where Kaepernick gave a detailed interview of his intentions, conversely Lynch was curt if not dismissive to reporters. My adversary deemed Lynch as acting out of personal not collective interests, deeming him insignificant in wake of Kaepernick’s brave efforts. His comments mirror the ideology of many who praise Kaepernick’s activism and deem him a contemporary revolutionary.

Considering Kaepernick alongside Marshawn Lynch and any other faceless black person who acts without the coverage of Kaepernick begs the question:

Which is most significant: action or image?

To start, I want to say firmly and unapologetically that every person within the black collective should question biracial leadership. A quick examination of the Obama presidency reveals that despite the support of the black collective solidifying the biracial leader’s relevancy, the biracial black is commonly used against the black collective. Former president Obama would not have obtained relevancy without the support of blacks, and neither would Kaepernick. Yes, both men would achieve crossover appeal, but blacks garnered both the necessary popularity for them to prove victorious.

Biracials are commonly selected as black leaders because they personify an “acceptable” blackness that is not separate from whiteness. They also function to subconsciously suggest to their black constituency that their black is more beautiful, more intelligent, and more brave if born to a white parent. 170110212027-01-obama-slider-2008-super-169

I use the word choose to articulate Keepernick’s placement in the contemporary culture  because it’s imperative to note that Kaepernick reflects the choice of the white media. Upon asking Kaepernick why he was kneeling, the media could have left well enough alone, as they did with Marshawn Lynch.  Kaepernick could have also chosen not to given an interview, but his choice aided the white media in designating him a hero to the black collective.

Moreover, whether you like Kaepernick, distrust him, or are indifferent to him, he  reflects white casting for the role of contemporary activist. Although denied a contract, Kaepernick’s omission from the NFL functions to illustrate the son of a white woman as willing to sacrifice everything for the rights of others. This of course is not entirely true, but it is how his image functions in the white media— Kaepernick nailed to the albratross of the Trump Administration, stripped of his job, beaten by conservatives, dying for the sin of mankind–racism.

hi-res-882a5f94cc03cf3b6a9004f48d63aa8c_crop_northHowever, it is remiss to ignore that it was racism that cast Kaepernick as contemporary activist. Lynch was not chosen because he seems to have little desire to entertain whites. Yes he said that he’s “being himself,” but if being yourself leads you to sitting during the national anthem for over decade— Lynch illustrates a genuine love for blackness that even if articulated to the white media would be bludgeoned if not eliminated entirely.

This is not to say that Kaepernick does not have good intentions, or that he does not care about others. This is to say that his intentions matter less than his function. The white media choose Kaepernick out of desire to stage a pseudo revolution controlled by whites–something the white media could not do with Evers, X, King, Hampton, etc–which is why there were murdered.

It is to say that Lynch illustrates those that were “already mad” or at least aware of the injustices that have plagued Blacks for centuries, whereas Kaepernick illustrates the modern “woke”  millennial awakened to the past by present injustice.Marshawn-Lynch-Oakland-Raiders-Jersey-1495143490

Leadership matters, because without considering all the facets of racism, black leaders will function against black people. Case in point: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. continues to get lighter and lighter every black history month, illustrating the abduction of black heroes by white media.

To reiterate, I am not anti-Kaepernick. I am however pro-black. It is this pro-blackness that makes it mandatory that I mention that neither man is the ideal role model. The intention of this post however is to bring to light the ingredients of leadership which unfortunately involves color. This post also strives to acknowledge the true silent protestor whom does not desire media coverage more than the power of standing by one’s convictions. Mainly, my chief assertion is that Lynch appears to just work for the NFL, not desire the bells and whistles of fame. Though still very much a slave in body, Lynch’s mind appears to possess a form of freedom deprived of most blacks cast along the many plantations of the globe. Moreover, his actions personify what Kaepernick’s words articulate.

Image is important to many, which garners Kaepernick’s appeal. However, to the few who value consistency and action, Lynch embodies the silent strength often overlooked by those seeking what they can manipulate. Lynch’s mystery baffles a world who eschews what they cannot understand, a world who eschews or eliminates those who actions are more resonant than their words.

Many will disagree with the contents of this post, which is anticipated. But as black people it is imperative that we explicate, not follow trends. It is crucial for our survival to examine those handed to us as leaders by a white supremacist world.

nessa-kapIn evaluating these leaders, it is imperative that the black collective perceive action and image as one in the same. Image is most often the action of our oppressors, and at the very least reflective of an individual’s mental state. In action, the world has handed the black collective a “hero” who lost his job for civil rights. In image, the white world has handed us a kneeler birthed from a white woman’s womb, whose significant other is a non-black person of color. Thus, although seemingly dedicated in action, his selection of a mate is also an action that is not pro-black which when juxtaposed to the image of Kaerpernick as birthed from a white woman’s womb—unveils Kaepernick as more disconnected than connected to his supposed cause. In “Small Change: The Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted” Malcolm Gladwell references this personal connection as crucial to establishing the strong ties of activism, a fact vindicated by prominent black revolutionaries like Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Fred Hampton, Assata Shakur, Huey Newton, Elaine Brown, etc.

Biracials lack this personal connection in function, because although not acknowledged1007145_1_1006-obama-approval_standard as white, the biracial body works to discount black ability and innate superiority  regardless of intention. Kapernick could very well have used a black significant other to supplement a personal connection like Barack Obama did, but as seen with the former president—this also is not enough to guarantee action that actualizes not symbolizes black elevation.

Nevertheless, in a world that hands the black collective poison in various forms, to break the cycle of mental enslavement blacks must regard everything with scrutiny and avoid singing and dancing on what may very well be the eve of our own demise.

Black Power ❤

“We all Know This,” OJ’s release and Superficial Black Thought

The day has come.

NFL legend and possibly the most popular defendant of all time—OJ Simpson was finally freed  from prison yesterday following a nine year sentence. While the charges may read “armed robbery,” Simpson served time for the murders of Ron Goldman and ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson— a statement I made to a relative who responded “we all know that.” 170720152327-26-oj-simpson-parole-hearing-0720-super-169

This comment is not only dismissive, but a fatal oversimplification of an assertion that even if common is worth articulating. The idea that everyone knows anything is vastly untrue and should be assumed by no black person. To use OJ Simpson as an example, most people, whether black or white, believe that OJ is guilty of something. Namely, most believe Simpson, if not the actual murder, was involved in some capacity. This conclusion has nothing to do with the so-called facts, which were heavily manipulated by the white media, but everything to do with the connotation of blackness. This connotation aligns Simpson with crime instantly and irretrievably —with an oppositional gaze that blinds those most affected by racism to its baseless evil.

To believe in OJ’s innocence is not about OJ at all. To believe in OJ’s innocence is to believe in the good of black people— something most whites and blacks can articulate but seldom perform.

Thus, to state that “we,” whoever this pronoun is intended to represent, all know that Simpson’s fate reflects the need to place black bodies to “unsolved crimes,” suggests that there is a general understanding of racism— to which their is not.

zimmerman-casey-anthonyI suppose we also know that Florida, land of the George Zimmerman’s and Casey Anthony’s, a state that acts as a hanging tree for black bodies—antagonizes Simpson’s proposed residence not because of race or crime, but because each one of these attributes serves an individual purpose in Florida. The black body with a petty crime under his or her belt functions to validate his or her incarceration, as blacks in poverty prove feasibly shooting targets for police that can easily be murdered and discarded to no consequence and temperate media coverage. OJ complicates the evil intentions of a poisonous state, yet these truths are seemingly only fleetingly evident given the large amount of black people who retire and vacation in a state only separate from Texas and Mississippi in name.

Moreover, to say that “we all know that” not only implies that the black collective fully nbsunderstands racism, but that OJ himself did. For if OJ truly understood racism, he would not have married a white woman. He would have understood that money and a trophy white wife does not undo blackness. So while many feel they understand why Simpson went to jail, the reasons stem further back than Nicole Brown Simpson’s murder. Simpson agitated white supremacists by making an insurmountable amount of money, having a larger than life persona and allegedly physically abusing his white wife. These domestic abuse charges in addition to eliminating key information about the late Simpson’s lifestyle, painted OJ Simpson as responsible for Nicole’s murder.

1977 Movie PremiereIt is worth mentioning that had his black ex-wife turned up missing, America would not have batted an eyelash.

Nevertheless, Simpson’s desire to live in Florida illustrates a similar disconnect and inability to properly conceptualize racism. It is this disconnect that permits OJ to believe that the juice hanging from a Florida tree references their esteemed oranges, and not foreshadowing his lifeless corpse, or the corpse of another black man, woman, or child. This is not to suggest that places like New Jersey, New York, or California are just as racist, but that Florida continues to occupy a fantasy like image despite its record of devaluing blacks.

It is counterproductive to look past Simpson’s continuous and elaborate efforts to be and act as if he was white. It is imperative that members of the black collective make note that despite these efforts, Simpson illustrates that regardless of what the Black body thinks, blackness is a fact. Just as it took an arrest to remind “scholar” Henry Louis Gates gates__1249401847_1626
Jr. that he was black, not an Ivy League instructor and canonical theorist, a murder trial reminded the world that Simpson was not a  “celebrity” but a black man.  Simpson dispels the myths of celebrity, illustrating that any beloved singer, athlete, or black public figure is just seconds away from murder charges, the penitentiary, and a soiled legacy.

Simpson also functions to expose the glamour of celebrity as veiled bondage. As a NFL player Simpson was a contractually bound slave, and after his imprisonment he will be the same way–bound to a parole officer who must approve his every action. Despite his wealth, Simpson embodies the cyclical disenfranchisement that follows the black body– depicting this cycle as indifferent to the  societal hierarchy  that prompts many blacks to desire lucrative careers in sports, music, or television.  But, as Simpson teaches the black collective, there is no escaping racism. Seen as far back as Saartje Baartman or as recent as Whitney Houston— even after death the connotations of blackness will haunt the black legacy with lies.

But… I suppose “we all know this” as well…

May the ancestors guide Mr. Simpson.

Reactionary is the New Revolutionary

In contemplating the contemporary climate, I cannot help but consider the fervor of so called revolutionary acts as reactionary at best. I originally authored this post as the western world waited to see how many would kneel during the beginning of the NFL season. Kneeling has seemingly become a contemporary version of the black fist, an advancement that implicitly explains how Bodak Yellow is the number one song in North America.

Kneeling, the physical hybrid of standing and laying down, has superseded the black fist as the modern symbol of justice. As mentioned in a post of the same topic that you can find here, this act is one I regard with ambivalence. On one hand, I love seeing black people come together. Seeing Stevie Wonder, one of the wonders of the world, kneel in support of Kaepernick was a beautiful moment because black solidarity is an essential tool for black advancement. Thus, the brotherly love depicted in Stevie Wonder’s gesture is revolutionary, kneeling however is not.

In fact, kneeling is a reactionary act. To be revolutionary is to play for a black only, black-owned and black-endorsed team. To embody the revolutionary is to refuse to be a field worker for contemporary slave masters, to refuse materialism for self-respect.

Kneeling is what Malcolm Gladwell in his article “Small Change: The Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted” called low-risk activism. The activism is low risk, because although contentious, the so called activists are paid workers, making them disobedient employees not revolutionaries. A revolutionary would not use their body to alter circumstance, but their mind. For it was not the white body that created slavery, it was the white mind. Thus, in order to liberate black bodies, the black body minds must be free. This  activism constitutes low risk because it does not demand the participant to consider the totality of black disenfranchisement. It allows the black, white, or non-black peron of color to live in the now—to collaborate in combat of an orange being who I am told is the leader of the free world . Thus, this low risk, reactionary behavior, reduces its impact by placing this individual, who I refuse to address by name, at the center of this so called revolutionary behavior.

It is a disturbing but resonant fact that this recent election offset an acknowledgement of injustices that have resulted in the murders, rapes, exploitation, and extortion of black bodies for centuries. It is unsettling that so many have only recently become angry yet still covet white wealth.

It is imperative to note that if Hillary Clinton— a co-conspirator in the mass incarceration of young black men and exploitation of several countries within the black diaspora— had won, Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Sandra Bland, Philandro Castile, and Alton Sterling, amongst countless other black men, women, and children who did not gain media traction, would still very much be dead—but the uproar would most likely not be as loud. The NFL and NBA would still very much be racist, but taking a knee would be limited to those tying their shoes–  arguments of white supremacy would be silenced, or less covered in lieu of a white female supremacy veiled as a minority victory.

This truth, as troubling as it is true, summarizes the confusion of our contemporary climate. Moreover, the modern reactionary efforts are low risk because they do not actually have an issue with racism, they have an issue with overt racism.

To truly have an issue with racism, the black collective would not desire inclusion. Most within the black collective only have an issue with racism if is directly impedes our stride towards whiteness. In reality, we should be angered daily when we open our mouths to speak the language of our oppressors, or sign the white man’s last name on all our official documents. Our daily lives as black people bear the remnants of colonialism, yet we have been trained to “look past” the quotidian symbols of our oppression.

If truly meant to personify black injustice. the black man or woman should be kneeling through life, not just the national anthem. So, I don’t know about you, but I’d rather die on my feet than live on my knees.

Black power, not just today but everyday.

Who or What Determines Black Love? 

Sterling K Brown is an amazing actor who is pleasant to look at and listen too with a voice MV5BZmEzNmExM2ItNzg5Zi00NGRjLWI1NTEtMmQ5MGMwNjFlNWFhL2ltYWdlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTM0MzI5Nzc@._V1_UX214_CR0,0,214,317_AL_as smooth as his chocolate skin. His recent speech following winning a white supremmy begs the question whether black love can ever be a product of white creation. The answer is of course no.

On NBC series This Is Us, a series praised for its ability to master the white savior role, Brown’s role is essential. Brown plays Randall the adopted black child of a young white couple. This role is the crux of the white savior theme that anchors the series. Without Brown the series not only loses its token, but it’s ticket to illustrating the pseudo beauty of white people, prompting the masses to forget the disservice whites do to blacks as their educators,  police officers, e.t.c.–a disservice that displays whites as lacking the ingenuity and cultural cognizance necessary to raise a strong black man or woman.   milo-ventimiglia-plays-the-role-of-jack-the-loving-husband-and-doting-father-is-shown-here-having-an-alone-time-with-son-randall-in-nbcs-new-hit-drama-this-is-us

Nevertheless, Brown had to win for his role. It’s interesting because Brown’s acceptance speech seems to imply that he is playing a black man. No, Brown is playing a veil that masks white supremacy with the implied kindness of making a black body visible on a white series and network.  Brown is employed to ensure that whites remain comforted and proud in their whiteness. He’s the crossover sound that plays loudly (like the music played when Brown overstayed his welcome on the whitesupremmy stage)  over the prose of black consciousness. 

06-this-is-us.w1200.h630So when Brown speaks of being proud to portray “black love,” while it sounds good coming from a black man, it is also quite disturbing.

Let us not overlook the recurring image of the darker black man with a significantly lighter spouse that dominates nearly every portrayal of “black love” except Love Jones (1997) and Two Can Play That Game (2001), an image that illustrates the relationship between Randall and his his wife Beth ( Susan Kelechi Watson) on This Is Us as generic not groundbreaking. 

The “black” union featured on the show produces two little girls, so while seemingly This Is Us - Season 1featuring black love and black parenting, the series omits the raising of black men by black people. This implies that not only are whites responsible for creating a conventionally successful black man, but in cultivating a “proper” husband for the black woman. This of course ignores the unsettling yet intentional reality that for all intensive purposes Randall, a man denied access to his blackness by this white adopted parents,  is for all intensive purposes a white man with black skin 

Furthermore, black love is not simply a union between two people with black skin. No, black love is a union between two souls guided by the ancestors to fulfill a collective purpose. Black love is two souls treading the high tides of being African anywhere on the globe. Black love is choosing to love another black person through the storm of white supremacy– to  view the red black and green rainbow that appears afterwards as what Stevie Wonder called “a ribbon in the sky” for black love. 

tumblr_oj7tygbbL01vhp0t2o4_400

As a union conjured by white authors to seem liberal and diverse, Randall and Beth of This Is Us is not black love. To paraphrase what Dr. Cornell West asserts about Black love in Race Matters, black love exists autonomously from whitenesss. Black love is for blacks, by blacks, and between blacks–no exceptions.

All imitations are like candy, they may look or taste good after dinner or even as an evening snack, but it is not good for us individually or as a collective. 

 

To Sterling Brown,

I hope you stick around.

But I hope that loud music was enough to show you how the white supremmy’s get down.

For when Kanye “interrupted” Taylor it went viral,

but when they cut you off, social media was hardly in a spiral… 

Black Power ❤

Atlanta and The White Supremmy’s

Last night and this morning, social media outlets reeked with the stench of white validation. Last night, the artist formerly known Childish Gambino, won an Emmy, or what this article will reference as a “white supremmy,” for best actor in a comedy series. This article will implement the term “white supremmy” to illustrate the Emmy for what it is— a token of white supremacy. childish-gambino-donald-glover-golden-globes-2017-billboard-1548

Writer, Actor, Comedian and now whitesupremmy recipient Donald Glover, plays the lead role on FX’s Atlanta, a series that tackles the grim reality of adulting while young and black.

The series succeeds in shedding glamour to capture the grittiness of those born without a silver spoon between their full lips. Atlanta’s episode “Juneteenth” is easily the standout of the premier season, because while funny, it confronted elitism as poison to an already fragmented collective. It also illustrated that money solves no black issue. Rather, money creates issues within the black collective. The episode, while illustrating the incompetence to which whites pursue black studies in a Jim Crow poem performed by a white “scholar” of Africana studies, illustrates that blacks who have no allegiance to their collective may earn their way into white circles but will not earn the respect of their oppressors. This sentiment seemingly preached to the choir, as many of those seeking acceptance into white circles were most likely too consumed by white series like Game of Thrones or This 160905-wilstein-donald-glover-tease_yyyt4ois Us to view this series—until now.

As a Whitesupremmy recipient, Atlanta’s upcoming season will debut to a wider and “whiter” audience, seeking to indulge the series as vouyerism if not an anthropologic exploration of the “other.” In just one night, Atlanta went from an underground black-authored production to a token of white liberalism implemented by those seeking to maximize their profits by masking Trump-esque beliefs with belittling small talk of a black series.

What made Atlanta different from other series starring black people was that it was not over-promoted or force-fed to the masses. It did not air on a major network or streaming platform, nor did it feature faces the public had grown to love in movies or series. It seemingly attracted those seeking to see a new portrayal of blackness. Those intrigued by a grassroots production that challenged stereotypes. Those seeking to enjoy a show without white validation.  atlanta.0

Perhaps my perception was too optimistic. It seems many viewers needed “permission” to enjoy the series in the same way that many blacks needed permission and validation to enjoy black spaces. Now many traditionally black spaces from Bed Stuy to Oakland are inundated with whites culminating the contemporary context with same ambitions that colonized our ancestors.

This whitesupremmy earned by Glover solidifies America’s comfort with the “funny” negro. So despite the streams of consciousness displaced in the series, the brilliantly authored series proves victorious for its comedic relief. This truth reveals the subtle insult that awaits black greatness—and that tokens of white supremacy signal the same white gaze that transformed Harlem, a Mecca of black history, excellence, and culture, into Harlem “village.”

atlanta_ka_p11271_fin_01_couchfrontc.jpgYet, some will deem Atlanta‘s debut on a white network as foreshadow for a stride towards white acceptance. To this I agree. Atlanta the series, like black community, were externally black until deemed an apt vehicle for white supremacists to consummate their journey to the top of a global capitalistic hierarchy.

It is also does not offer clarity to the current celebration surrounding Glover’s pseudo victory by saying “we should have known better.”  As demonstrated in the tweets from black millennials that feel seen and saved by Glover’s whitesupremmy, we as a collective do not know better.  A paramount step in knowing better is acknowledging that white acceptance should not foment black celebration, but incite caution from the black collective. This caution should prompt the black collective to consider the metropolis to which the series is named, and anticipate that what is now a bustling pot of blackness may be an eventual victim of the poisonous touch of white supremist sorcery that “magically” makes blacks disappear.

To Mr. Glover, you were golden before the globe, and excellent before the Emmy.

Black Power ❤