Black Families Matter: #keepfamiliestogether, A Violent and Forgetful Initiative

Context: Allow me to Set the Scene. 

I imagine they left hours before sunset, seeking to be on a linear path by the time sun retired to its hiding place. There is a deafening silence, aside from the occasional moan and groan. The scent of bodies and bodily functions overwhelm the space. One on top of another, bodies are placed on top of one another. Christened in bodily fluids, the physically bonded share the experience of mental dehumanization. A woman that was once a mother, is now a faceless, and genderless body on a ship whose name no longer matters. She longs for her children, just as her mother continent longs for her stolen offspring. Her children are lost and afraid. Their parents can’t find them in the discordance of their displacement amongst the hard floors of a ship. Fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, and children listen to the sound of their loved one’s limp bodies hit the water. Others watch as their loved ones jumped from the ship to avoid bondage—their bodies transitioning from abductee to atoms that are still present in the water today. Black bodies fought internally as the pale people deemed them stock— their value stripped and replaced by western commerce.  IMG_4175

My ancestors were one of those bodies thrown carelessly onto a ship–  their journey a manifestation of a nightmare.  They are as familiar to me as they were to their own children and parents. Their memory is phantasmal, both there and not there, both seen and not seen. I know they existed because I am the fruit of their tree. The traces of this tree, however, are long gone. Not often enough do we search our mind for their memory and scan our bodies for their touch.  

Their lives and displaced memory are a testament to the very cruelty that continues to plague their descendants. Their lives are lost and utterly forgotten in a contemporary climate that campaigns to “keep families together” as the black collective continues to suffer from the aftermath of families separated centuries prior. 

IMG_4180In his Autobiography, Frederick Douglass speaks of the nighttime visits from his mother
who walked miles to see him. He never saw her face, but felt the impact of a severed family long before a hashtag. Douglass mirrors what many black children experienced during bondage, and even what many black children face in a contemporary climate that continues to subject the black body to forces that separate families often indefinitely.

IMG_4176These severed familial ties are the reason why  I am writing this prose in english. Why my last name speaks of a slavemaster, a rapist who is overlooked in the contemporary #metoo movement. Therefore, I cannot retweet that hashtag in good faith, or even consider supporting this deflective initiative, because I am still mourning the lost families of the African Holocaust. 

The “I” I speak of is the descendant of black bodies stolen and enslaved by those who continue to dictate the conversation. A conversation that continues to omit the struggles of the first migrants, the first families severed deliberately to butcher ties to a continent whose children were stolen and her natural resources stripped from her loins. The current conversations around immigration turn my black body red with anger, as they exclude those who literally and figuratively reproduce a colonialism “his” story violently references as in the past. 

Migrants come here by choice. A choice my ancestors never had. Therefore, I can not and will not sympathize with migrant stories that function to erase the slave narratives that foreshadow a  contemporary misfortune that does not graze the lasting impact of past tragedies. 

If this seems harsh, consider how you’d feel if your ancestors were stolen, stripped, tortured, raped, branded with their master’s name, robbed of their legacy and their earnings by a country who offers humanity to those who choose what was a chosen for us? 

A Violent Terminology

Let me say that America is absolutely indebted to migrants from the illusive “third img_4184.jpgworld.” This country’s wealth remains enabled by exploiting countries labeled third world. These third word countries enable first world privileges, privileges the black body does not bask in, and did not steal. It is not the abducted African that exploited the resources of our diasporic brothers and sisters and those of the African adjacent. Yet, although America exploits other countries, it is important for the black collective to not forget that the first location depleted of its resources was not a country but a continent. Our continent. 

The word “migrant” functions similarly to “person of color,” a violent terminology used to erase the black struggle in suggesting a cruel and non-existent commonality. These statements allow phrases like “we are all immigrants” to function, to place the kidnapped black body as a migrant and ignore centuries of legalized cruelty. “Migrant/immigrant” and “person of color” also silently address a hierarchy that places the black body at the bottom, when and if they address the black body at all. 

Nevertheless, this country was not build by migrants. This country was built by the enslaved bodies of Africans, the same bodies that continue to hold this country together in a non-negotiable degeneracy.  A degeneracy needed to ensure the fabricated superiority of whites, black migrants, and non-persons of color. Our bodies compose the nation in which all stand. Our blood birthed the very hierarchy system manipulated to consistently place those descended from the African architects of today and yesterday at the bottom. 

The “other” oppressors

Immigrants are cast as contemporary slaves, not an effort to highlight the struggle of past slaves, but IMG_4182to deflect from a past enslavement. A deflection that persistently encourages blacks to empathize with migrants in the same breath blacks are encouraged to collectively chastise Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Sandra Bland amongst other slain blacks who fail to personify the perfect victim. We as a collective are encouraged to feel everything but pride. We are pumped with knowledge about everything and everyone but ourselves. 

We as a collective are seduced into empathizing with those who invade our communities in a quest for capital. Who take our dollars and place it into their own communities where a non-migrant body is not welcome to shop let alone work or live. We are to cry for those who wish to reproduce the disenfranchisement the white man has cast onto the black collective. 

Our migrant brothers and sisters have largely joined the sides of our oppressors. These factions have taken the soil soaked in the blood of black bodies and set up shop to sell it back to us for a profit. They have become pawns in deflecting from black issues onto those who came here for a slice of a pie made with stolen resources. Migrant bodies in America seeking capital, mirror a bacon-eating pig calling for a cease in slaughtering. This behavior may be helpful in their own quest for whiteness, but has no place in the strides towards black nationalism.

To ask the black collective to sympathize and empathize with those who vehemently deny the black collective these very sentiments is both bizarre and cruel. To ask that blacks support migrant desire to demand the very rights we have we fought to have for centuries, and to allow migrants to dominate a conversation that has yet to acknowledge the sins cast against us as a collective, is counterproductive to curating a pro black nation.

#blackfamiliesmatter

Last summer I read Gabourey Sidibe’s memoir This is Just My Face: Try not To Stare. In IMG_4178the book, Sidibe reveals that her parents descended from the same family in Senegal. Her mother’s ancestors were abducted and displaced in the American South, her father’s left to life on the other side of the world. Sidibie’s anecdote illustrates the contemporary effect of families separated centuries ago. There is no hashtag for our loss, there is visibility, and their is certainly no justice.  This information resonated deeply with me, in depicting the impact of the severed black family. A depth that is too often deemed not important enough to talk about.

Had our collective families been kept together, the black family would cease to remain marked by the last names of men who raped their way into our nomenclature. Had our families not been severely severed, we too would be fighting to maintain the very community migrants wish to keep stagnant. Instead, our issues are those of restoration. We must restore what we never had, not feel for those who had the opportunity to feel what a white supremacist world continues to deprive from the black body. 

The hashtag #keepfamiliestogether, places the abduction and pervasive systemic asphyxiation of the black body as in the past, as we as as collective continue to grapple for air. We were separated not only in enslavement, but when drugs were placed in our communities, when the AIDS epidemic seized so many of our loved ones, and through natural disasters to which black bodies succumbed to the lethal combination of our origins in America—water and white supremacy. This hashtag functions similarly to the img_4181.jpgconversations on human trafficking, which focus on every body but the black body. 

Remembering What Matters 

Here is where I am supposed to insert some phrase that mollifies my earlier statements. Just as all outspoken pro-black figures are often required to apologize with a statement that says they do not “hate” whites, I am expected to implement a statement that states that I do not “hate” migrants. A statement that articulates my wish to stand beside white, black, and non-black migrants of color as they seek to obtain what I have. 

Well, what I have is scars on my back and lacerations on my soul. I have a hole in heart for the names of those I will never know. I should say I would not wish this on anyone, but I can not help but wonder if migrants truly had to develop the survival strength of the abducted African whether they would understand America for what it is, not what it needs everyone to believe. To understand however, is beyond a wish. To understand is to become, and migrants (even those with black or dark skin), do not come here to become black, they come here to become white–or at the very least a pastel shade.  Irregardless, I also do not wish to stand beside those who wish to stand on my back. Instead, I will conclude in saying that this persistent bullying of pro-black perspectives exposes who and what is truly hated. 

This hate is the precise reason that we as a collective must love ourselves, unapologetically. A love rooted in remembering our ancestors. 

For the families separated any time in displacement and/or the economical and emotional disenfranchisement of black people, #blackfamiliesmatter. 

Black Power ❤ 

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Decoding Deception Mastery

Gary Owens, Master Deceiver

Comedian Gary Owens recently made headlines for using his black wife to call another black man the n-word in a battle I admit I had no idea was taking place before this act of debauchery made its way onto my twitter timeline. I’ll be honest, I am not a fan of Gary Owen, and think he is just another below average white man afforded fame and fortune because of his hue. Because of these sentiments, it is impossible for Mr. Owens to do or say anything that will deviate from my expectations. I do not see myself as an anomaly in this case—I am pretty sure that the expectations of Mr. Owens remain virtually non-existent—yet is act provides a mean to afford Owens extended exposure and to foment a performative outrage ubiquitous in contemporary treatment of disrespect towards black people. gary-owens-wife-photo

My critique then is to the outraged who played a vital role in this man’s relevancy and confidence to act as he did. The same faction who had little to no objection to Owens’ presence in Think Like a Man, and tuned into his BET show-created a platform for this cultural leech. In both Think Like A Man and his reality show, Owens occupied a space that could have been used for a black body collectively call the black collective the n word. In both examples, Owens used the black female body as a canvass for his own visibility.

The film adaptation of Steve Harvey’s book Think Like a Man, speaks to a generation of single women paralyzed by an oblivion to their own power. The book, like the movie, targets the black woman, romantically crippled by a society that murders or emasculates their male counterparts. Just as Owens’ marriage to his beautiful black wife affords him clout or proximity to blackness by way of a platform, the figurative and literal black female body in Think Like A Man, in audience and casting, is a pedestal to which Owens stands in his feature.

Owens personifies the white who exists at the bottom of white society who forges an increased proximity to blacks as a way to access the pseudo superiority whites have been conditioned to expect from life. If this sounds familiar, it should. A few years ago, performative outage erupted when average white woman Rachel Dolezal was outed as pursuing an above average life as a black woman. While criticized and parodied numerous times, Dolezal was most violent in the assumed singularity of her actions– a singularity that veils similar acts of employing the black body as a pedestal to a better life as a white person  just as (if not moreso) demeaning and dangerous to the black collective.

Though the term “by any means necessary” is aligned with black nationalism and black power movements, it is essential for blacks to acknowledge and understand that whites strive to attain their mythical superiority by the same means. All blacks have encountered Gary Owens type figures who veil their white supremacy with a smile or seemingly easygoing demeanor—-but are master deceivers who know all too well how to play their cards.

Most importantly, Owens illustrates that the detriment is not being called the n-word, but being treating as one. By existing, or should I say “starring” in this space, Owens niggerizes he entire black collective in occupying a space that should have been reserved for blacks. His act of deception functions to niggerize an already systemized audience who laughs at the “comedic” lynching Owens’ placement in the spotlight engenders to the black collective.  Particularly, the comedic lens  functions deceptively in mitigating actions that have “gone to far” as a merely a “bad” joke. This “comedic” lens, therefore, illustrates the height of deception mastery– the violent veil of laughter.

comedian-gary-owen-wife1In his ability to deceive the systemically disenfranchised, Owens has tricked many into thinking this is his first offense.  In employing his wife as the actor in a conspicuously offensive action, Owens deflects from his master deception simultaneously exposing the strategy for his espousal. Women and men who contractually bound themselves to non-blacks inevitably play in life, a role that Kenya (Owen’s wife) plays in the video. They are the canvass to which the white spouse casts their sins—a built in binary opposite–a bridge to capital. Let us not forget Owens’ degrading inclusion of his wife’s past sexual encounters with black men into “comedy” tours that span the United States. So whether Kenya Owens verbally called comedian Michael Blackson the n-word, or stood silently beside a white man who silently but violently attacks the black collective with white supremacist ambitions—she is in essence, in existence, in positionally, calling the black man-, calling black people,  the “n -word” while personifying her own systemized status.

Deception Mastery with FEMEN

Similarly, the black females affiliated with “radical” feminist group FEMEN, performed a FEMEN_Swine_Flu_Panic_Protest-13similar function with their display outside of Actor, Writer, Comedian, Philanthropist Bill Cosby’s trial. Over the last thirty-six hours, there have been multiple pictures of Nicolle Rochelle–former guest star on the Cosby show, topless and fervently rushing Bill Cosby as he made his way to trial. The images portray the beautiful black woman in a savagely manner, the word savage specifically used here to reference the feral state to which feminism reduces the black body. It is not an accident that the featured protester was a black woman resembling a young Angela Davis, but the majority of alleged victims are white.

FEMEN, an organization started in the UK, is inundated with white female bodies and therefore is inevitably anchored in white female interests.  FEMEN, like every other “wave” of feminism, solicits black female bodies as props for a pseudo universality used to veil their overt racism. If it were not for black demonstrators, these white female supremacists could not master their deceptive suggestion that it is “all women who are mad,” when it is white women, or feminists, who are happy to resume to denigration of the black man exhibited by foremothers Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. In Race, Gender, Class, activist and scholar Angela Davis presents a formidable platform for understanding just how racist revered leaders Cady Stanton and Anthony were, and how their views on black bodies and “remedying” what they deem black inferiority, mirrored that of their male counterparts.

The Remedy: Black Building

Yet in calling out these anti-black sins, I want to be cautious in ensuring that my criticism is not without care. I understand that many attribute anti-black actions to be one of choice—-I do not. Anti-blackness is a choice made for black people, by white supremacists who eschew responsibility for their evil in articulating anti-blackness as a reflection of black self-hatred. To this I vehemently refute. Self-hatred requires a “Self,” which is something in which the black community has been thoroughly deprived. It is this underdeveloped self that allows for those within the black collective to pseudo identify with master deceivers like Gary Owens and feminists– to believe in a commonality that simply does not exists.

To counter deception mastery, we as a collective must engender what I call black-Deception.pngbuilding, or the production of a black identity that has never been fully developed or given a chance to permeate our systemically fractured minds. These identities need not be identical, but in essence must be rooted in a pro-blackness that weaves together the details of our lives that without care, can function to separate us.

Master deceivers disrupt the ability of blacks to exist in peace, but in collective shaping of our identity—we as a people can ensure that blackness exists in and through us–extinguishing white evil with an incomparable black identity, pride, and over-standing.

 

****A special that you to BlackEmpowerment for introducing me to the teachings of Neely Fuller, whose scholarship greatly aided the terminology (namely, “master deceiver”) used in this post.

Black Power ❤

Rethinking the Black Hero, and Black “His” tory Month

One recurring phrase that dominates much of the discussion surrounding the recently released Black Panther film, is it’s function to grant black children an opportunity to “see themselves as super heroes.” This assertion is cringeworthy, in part because the movie is birthed from the mind of a racist, and in the overlooked reality that the film comes from a stance that super heroes do not in fact exist.

Black Panther presents viewers with a leader who succeeds his father’s throne, rights a persistent wrong, and loves a black woman who possesses an independent commitment to justice. The true hero of the film is Erik Killmonger. Unlike T’Challa he is not given anything, but has seized all that was owed to him. Whichever side you fall on, both men are fictional. The black hero or heroine, however is not. Harriet_Tubman_by_Squyer,_NPG,_c1885.jpg

So my issue with claiming that the film shows us black superheroes, is the implication that life, or the black narrative, has not shown us such heroes. The black trajectory has graced the black collective with countless heroes. Though the tearing of Africans from the womb of Africa, has separated blacks from their pre-enslavement majesty, even the tyranny of enslavement brought us heroes like Nat Turner. Turner, as a name we know, symbolizes the countless other ancestors that were sick and tired, but whose names were too courageous for “his” story. Though nameless, their deeds remain central in a portrait of heroism. Harriet Tubman was a hero. Harriet Tubman is a hero. Ida B. Wells, E. Franklin Fraiser, W.E.B. Dubois, Fanny Lou Hamer, Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, Dr. Martin Luther King, Assata Shakur, Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Bobby Hutton, Elaine Brown—the countless black educators and community members who launched and maintain grass root initiatives to advance the black community, are all heroes.

No their clothes are not fancy in the conventional sense, and many of them are far too prodigious to be contained in history books. They do however have superpowers, namely the understated power of courage. They strove not to do the best with what was made available, but to create availability for their people to think outside the permitters of those who thrive in their oppression. They are heroes and sheroes because they opted to color outside the lines of white supremacy for their collective. In relishing in the white man’s adaptation of the black hero, the black child is engulfed by white fantasy. The black child is violently nurtured to align a Stan Lee creation with “black panther,” not Huey P. Newton, or Bobby Seale. For this reason, the film functions like the beauty industry to the black woman—fictively “providing” the black collective with what they have naturally in a twisted and long-running joke of white supremacy.

FBI photo file showing the different appearances of Assata Shakur.A white man’s creation has dominated black history month, as an act of terror enabled in the use of the word “his story.” Have you every wondered why the SuperBowl, the NBA-All-star game, the grammy’s, The Olympics, and President’s Day all dominate so called black history month? It is because “his” story will always centralize whiteness. Moreover, blacks are inevitably “foot notes” in “his” or the white man’s story— a fact perhaps most evident this year when a white man’s creation, made the shortest month of the year even shorter for those of the black collective.

Despite the magnitude of Malcolm X’s contribution to the black collective, and this month supposedly being “black history month” Malcolm X was not trending once on February 21st—the 53rd anniversary of his assassination. if you needed any more proof, the media is NOT our friend and has not improved… there it is.

More people have seen Marvel’s Black Panther in its first three days, than last year’s I am Not Your Negro, a documentary on the late James Baldwin his relationship to the black revolutionary movement of the 50s and 60s. James Baldwin is a hero. His pen was a weapon. His words have saved many, including myself from the ledge of loneliness festered in an anti-black society.

My mentor, a beautiful black queen who educated through scholarship and art, is a shero. She breathed life into the novice ambitions of a diffident young girl, who encouraged me to advance my studies when everyone around me urged me to succumb to mediocrity.

Our heroes are those in our individual and collective communities that do not frequent are wallpapers, or conversations about heroism— illustrating that their is still much work to do in seizing our narrative and self perception, seizing “our” story from “his” tory. Until then, both our factual and fictive portrayals are but a painting within a painting of white fantasy.

Black Power ❤

Black Panther, A Review

Telling It Like It is

Lets start off with facts. Black Panther was a comic created by Stan Lee, a white man. So the moments where the film felt utterly stereotypical is not accidental, and perhaps most evident when W’Kabi (Daniel Kaluuya) rides on a rhinosorous during battle—depicting the continent as imagined in the minds of the ignorant—a land where man and beast live side-by-side.

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Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER..Black Panther/T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman)..Ph: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2018

What is interesting about Sam Lee and other whites like him, is that they engender projects that illustrate what they perceive as “problems” within blackness, cast the product as entertainment, yet fail to see their own authoritative illustration of a collective that is not their own, as a problem.

Lee embodies what blacks humorously call whites in the film, “colonizers.” Notably,  Lee makes a cameo in the movie, an appearance acknowledged by the audience with an applause that functioned to put the black cast in the periphery of the central white gaze. Ironically, Lee’s cameo features him collecting all the chips from a gambling table, which is exactly what he does in seizing control over the black narrative.

Lee’s presence in the movie, and as the creative architect in this supposed feature of black talent, casts him as a contemporary Otto Preminger (Carmen, 1954)—a creator of black “art” in a time of racial tension. Authoring a page in the black narrative, Stan Lee seemingly inserts blackness as shaped by him— a white man—into history, but in actuality personifies black objectification in deeming the (fictive) black narrative “his” story.

Thus, as much as many tried to depict the film a portrait of black excellence, it is a product of white privilege–exposing Black Panther as not indigenously “black,” but a canvass for the white imaginary.

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The Nationalist v. The Revolutionary

On the surface, Black Panther delineates a son’s battle to avenge his father’s murder, but the film allegorically represents the battle between the nationalist and the revolutionary.

The film’s fictive setting of Wakanda is clearly symbolic of Africa, the mother continent, or what it could be sans white influence.

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Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER..L to R: Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) and T’Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman)..Photo: Matt Kennedy..©Marvel Studios 2018

Wakanda is advanced, bearing the technology to heal the wounds of those ripped from the continent’s womb centuries prior—but only accessible to those born into her majesty. Yet their interest remains not in pan-africanism, but preserving “their” own. Their nationalistic perspective prompts them to label solely those born and raised in Wakanda  as “their own.” The people of Wakanda are overtly cultural but covertly nationalistic, illustrating their status as colonized in the dissonance to which they hold their kinfolk and perfection of the English language.

Admittedly, I did not anticipate the accents that dominated the film. The accents though,

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Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER..T’Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman)..Photo: Matt Kennedy..©Marvel Studios 2018

were not present for cosmetic reasons, but functioned as a line of demarcation between the nationalists and the revolutionaries. Erik (Michal B. Jordan), who is aligned with the white “American” characters, does not have a ‘Wakanda” accent like his kinfolk—illustrating the very exclusion his father warned him about. Wakanda, though seemingly maintaining an antithetical relationship to who they call “the colonizers,” regard their ‘black nation’  as a colony. However, their speaking of English illustrates that they too have suffered the scars of colonization.

The nationalistic perspective, is perhaps best illustrated in the act that actors the film. After King T’Chaka (John Kani), discovers his brother, N’Jobu (Sterling K. Brown) has “betrayed” Wakanda nationalism in providing resources to its abducted brethren, he murders N’Jobu while N’Jobu’s son Erik plays outside. Erik Killmonger, brilliantly portrayed by Michael B. Jordan, discovers his dad’s body, devotes his life seeking to fulfill his father’s mission of Pan-Africanism—or as depicted in the movie, providing Wakanda weaponry to blacks throughout the diaspora. Though perceived as a “traitor” by his nationalistic

The brother relationship between N’Jobu and T’Chaka is reminiscent of the brother relationships centralized in many of James Baldwin’s texts. Namely, Baldwin’s short story “Sonny’s Blues” features two brothers who choose very different paths but find unity in music, a common vessel used to materialize the pain of oppressed people. In Black Panther, it is not music that joins the two brothers, but an understanding that arises in Erik’s act to take what was not willfully given.

You’re not so “bad” after all

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Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER..L to R: Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) and W’Kabi (Daniel Kaluuya)..Ph: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2018

Though Erik is conveyed as the caricatured “angry black man” in a series of witty lines, Erik is layered, seeking to take the means to liberate oppressed people beyond Wakanda. Erik symbolically embodies the revolutionary spirit seen in Nat Turner, Malcom X, George L. Jackson, Huey Newton—black men who saw an issue and did not wait for justice, but made their own. The revolutionary is not angry, but ambitious— a deliberate mistake made far too often in the historical remembrance of our most beloved and successful leaders. Thus, Erik’s portrayal is just as he would be remembered in history—embittered and violent, portraying writer Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole as embedding the twoness articulated by late and great scholar W.E.B. Dubous in The Souls of Black Folks.

I will say that the Wakanda nationalists are villainized in the critical interpretation of the film, but I will return to this point later.

It’s a Man’s World?

I would be remiss if I did not point out the film is anchored in sexism. All women have a noticeable attachment to the male characters, allowing men to dominate the film

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Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER..L to R: Okoye (Danai Gurira), Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Ayo (Florence Kasumba)..Photo: Matt Kennedy..©Marvel Studios 2018

This is mirrored in conception and content, as black female representation is largely absent behind the scenes as well. Nevertheless, though the female presence is quite strong on screen, all female characters are noticeably underdeveloped. Nakia (Lupita Nyon’o), T’Challa’s love interest, is certainly a revolutionary spirit that mirrors the contributions of Assata Shakur in her independence and commitment to righting the wrongs in government regardless of the cost—but details of her past and desires beyond her love for T’Challa is largely absent, as is Ramonda (Angela Basset), T’Challa’s mother.

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Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER..L to R: Shuri (Letitia Wright), Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), Ramonda (Angela Bassett) and Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman)..Photo: Matt Kennedy..©Marvel Studios 2018

Ramonda fades into the background, as her purpose following her husband’s death has dwindled. Ramanda was the someone T’Chaka loved in live, and given her minimal screen time, it seems she ceased to be someone after he died. Similarly, Nakia exists so that T’Challa has someone to love. After Black Pather’s defeat at the hands of Erik,  Nakia takes it upon herself to separate from the system that allowed his de-throning, illustrating that masculinity continues to motivate black femininity posthumously. Even Okoyo (Danai Gurira), a supporting character that steals every scene she’s in, is largely defined by the male ruler. Viewers watched as Okoyo transitions from guarding T’Challa to guarding Erik in a blink of an eye—depicting the gorgeous amazon as a fair-weather friend, loyal to the land, not man.

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Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER..Ayo (Florence Kasumba)..Ph: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2018

Okoyo is also overtly masculinized, not by her role as general, but in her espousal to a phallic object. While she deems guns “primitive,” Okoyo’s spear is always by her side, acting as a supplementary phallus to a gorgeous being of black female form. To most, the spear is merely an extension of Okoyo’s strength, but to the conscious gaze, it is yet another depiction of the black female as a gender hybrid—not quite man and not quite woman.

Romanticizing Africa

The loyalty to the land is a trait common in all the Wakanda peoples not anchored in their personal affiliation to T’Challa. This portrayal offers a new perception of “romanticizing Africa” as it is not those stolen from the shores romanticizing the motherland, but those never ripped from their mother’s womb—a disturbing but contemplative read on the nationalist’s ideology.

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Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER..L to R: Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Shuri (Letitia Wright)..Photo: Matt Kennedy..©Marvel Studios 2018

In acknowledging difference, it is worth mentioning the difference in T’Challa and Erick’s visit with their deceased fathers. Though T’Challa is crowned king in the beginning of the movie following his father’s death, after a bloody battle with his first cousin, T’Challa is usurped and Erik is crowned king. Upon both of their crownings, both experience a psychological “passing of the torch” from their fathers through a dream.

T’Challa, the nationalist, tells his father that “he is not ready to live without him,” to which the father replied by stating that the “role of a man is to prepare his children for his death.” Upon visiting his father, Erik does not cry—as it seems that though young at the time of his father’s murder, he had been enduring loss, or at the very least, bracing himself for loss, his entire life. The revolutionary, as seen in Nat Turner and Malcolm X, acquired a literacy of loss and seemingly accepts death as the price for their courage it takes to spare their people loss via injustice.

Black Love with a Side of White Savior

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Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER..Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o)..Ph: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2018

What is a black film without a white savior?

Black Panther acquires its white savior, Everett (Martin Fraiser) in a battle against white adversaries. Everett jumps in front of Nakia in combat, nearly dying. So, though T’Challa’s love interest, it is a white man who risks his life for the black woman. This depiction paints Black Panther in the same image as Avatar, where the white man is portrayed as more deserving of the “othered” woman than the “othered” man. A subtle plug for interracial relationship–this mawkish feature paints the white man in Jack Pearson (NBC, This is Us) like fashion, suggesting the white man’s “sacrifice” yields the possibility of black love (on the series a black man raised by a white family proves a great father and husband) .

The writers could have easily omitted Everett’s role in the film altogether, as there are countless films, like Titanic where there are absolutely no black people. Or, they could have depicted T’Challa  as taking a bullet for his beloved Nakia, illustrating the black female body as an irreplaceable asset to the black individual and black collective.  So while it warmed my heart to see T’Challa and Nakia, two beautiful black people, kiss—this image of the white savior sullied what could have been a perfect portrayal of black love. A common but disappointing cost paid in attempting to depict black love on the Hollywood plantation.

Top Moments

Okoyo, a strong supporting actress has a scene where she wears a straight wig to a party.

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Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER..L to R: Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER..L to R: Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), T’Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and Okoye (Danai Gurira)..Photo: Matt Kennedy..©Marvel Studios 2018..Photo: Matt Kennedy..©Marvel Studios 2018

The wig fails to frame  her perfect black features, a point she made clear when she tosses it from her head when combat calls. This was powerful moment in the film as it illustrates a black female form completely literate to the extent of her beauty. This scene combats what the hair industry has generated millions of dollars in manufacturing– a beauty mastered by the black female form.

 

 

 

 

After rising from the “death”  of temperate defeat, Black Panther ultimately defeats Erik in a second battle for the throne. Although T’Challa offers to revive Erik, he refuses and says possibly the greatest line ever uttered in a mainstream movie:

“ Bury me in the ocean with my ancestors who jumped from ships because they knew death was better than bondage.”

Powerful.

Here, Erik embodies the true soul of a revolutionary—revolutionaries live to die for what they believe in. For the true revolutionary it is not about a

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Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER..Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan)..Photo: Matt Kennedy..©Marvel Studios 2018

happily every after, or acquiescing to life on their knees just to eschew death, but to die on their feet, or in Erik’s case, on the heels of an image painted by the man who shaped your life. Before his untimely death, Erik’s father N’Jobu (Sterling K. Brown), spoke of the Wakanda sunset as the most beautiful sight. So in addition to avenging his father’s death, Erik ends his mortal life in consummating the journey “back to Africa” with a Pan-Africanist perspective.

Erik’s actions mirror the actions of the late revolutionary Nat Turner, an enslaved man who staged an uprising and in its aftermath chose death over bondage. The irony is of course that the creation of the characters by a white man, is also a form of bondage, and death in which the black narrative becomes reduced to a paradoxical fantasy. Nevertheless, Erik’s death is predictable and necessary, as both reality and fantastical portrays of fantasy demand the revolutionary’s exclusion to maintain the stagnancy of dominant rule.

T’Challa, like his father, must now go through life with blood on his hands. But unlike his

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Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER..T’Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman)..Photo: Matt Kennedy..©Marvel Studios 2018

father, T’Challa allows the seed planted in him through a murdered Erik to grow and birth change. Particularly, Erik inspires T’Challa to open up an outreach center in the same location that staged the murder that engendered Erik’s “rage” or what T’Challa called “a monster of their own creation.”

Erik is of course not a monster, and  his sentiments are not “created” by his estranged family, but the wrath of the colonizers. Though referenced as “Colonizers,” the film places  an undeserving emphasis on black behavior and not the reason for said behavior. While seemingly treading the line between blame and responsibility, this feature makes the film accessible to whites–as depicted in the dissonant phrase ‘black on black crime,’  whites love blaming blacks for actions induced by centuries of white tyranny. Thus, the feud that anchors the film places brothers T’Chaka and N’Jobu, and cousins T’Challa and Erik, in a “Battle Royal” (Ralph Ellison 1952) like stance, fighting with one another for white entertainment.

In Closing

So, is this film the reparations blacks have been deserving of for four hundred years? Absolutely not. The film, though similar in name, is not to be confused with the black panther movement—it is not revolutionary, or even reactionary. The celebration surrounding the film is actually a sign that most will overlook the allegory and succumb to the ethereal portrayal of black faces. Black Panther functions as 2018’s Get Out, a film with a veiled intellectual message diluted by actors who are black in color and not in mind, and audiences seeking to bask in a caricatured blackness for two hours before returning their interests pursuing a colorblind society.

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Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER..L to R: Director (Ryan Coogler) and Chadwick Boseman (T’Challa/Black Panther)..Photo: Matt Kennedy..©Marvel Studios 2018

The verdict?

Support a brilliant black director Ryan Coogler and the black actors and actresses, but take it for what it is— a movie, not a movement.

Black Power ❤

*The author notes that (black) nationalism, need not be mutually exclusive with  revolutionary or a pan-africanist status–a merging seen in leaders like Malcolm X. The disparate use of these terms functions to reflect the film’s depiction and not my understanding or stance on the concepts themselves.

Thank you for reading.

Beheading Ms. Badu: The Vulture Article and Undeserved Backlash

Revered Neo-soul singer Erykah Badu made headlines on the fourth Wednesday in 2018 for comments made during an interview with a white Jewish interviewer for Vulture magazine. As per usual, her remarks were taken out of context, Badu placed on a scaffold and be-headed in a social media paradigm that seeks to cast blacks as villains and not victims in the contemporary dialogue about race. 10-erykah-badu.w710.h473.2x

During the interview, David Marchese asks Badu a series of queries that illustrates him as unfamiliar with her catalogue as he is with the context that births her music. Badu, an obviously intelligent person and elevated creative thinker, paints herself as a seasoned optimist which allows her to “see the good in people.” Being the risqué individual that she is, Badu states that she can see the good in Hitler. The interviewer becomes overtly defensive and the following exchange took place:

I saw something good in Hitler.
Come again?


Yeah, I did. Hitler was a wonderful painter.
No, he wasn’t! And even if he was, what would his skill as a painter have to do with any “good” in him?
Okay, he was a terrible painter. Poor thing. He had a terrible childhood. That means that when I’m looking at my daughter, Mars
Badu’s daughter with enigmatic rapper Jay Electronica. She also has another daughter, Puma, with the West Coast rapper the D.O.C.
, I could imagine her being in someone else’s home and being treated so poorly, and what that could spawn. I see things like that. I guess it’s just the Pisces in me.
I’m perfectly willing to accept that you might be operating on a higher moral plane than I am, but I think going down the route of “Hitler was a child once too” is maybe turning the idea of empathy into an empty abstraction. 
Maybe so. It doesn’t test my limits — I can see this clearly. I don’t care if the whole group says something, I’m going to be honest. I know I don’t have the most popular opinion sometimes.
But don’t you think that someone as evil as Hitler, who did what he did, has forfeited the right to other people’s empathy?
Why can’t I say what I’m saying? Because he did such terrible things?
Well, yes. But it’s also disheartening to hear you say that at a time, like now, when racism and anti-Semitism are so much in the air. Why would you want to risk putting fuel on that fire?
You asked me a question. I could’ve chosen not to answer. I don’t walk around thinking about Hitler or Louis Farrakhan. But I understand what you’re saying: “Why would you want to risk fueling hateful thinking?” I have a platform, and I would never want to hurt people. I would never do that. I would never even imagine doing that. I would never even want a group of white men who believe that the Confederate flag is worth saving to feel bad. That’s not how I operate.
I appreciate that. But I really struggle with the idea of how much we’re supposed to make an effort to understand or have empathy for people who have dangerously backwards or hateful thinking. You want to take the moral high ground, but sometimes that also feels the same as ceding territory. 


Hitler, The Great Painter? 

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The most conflicting component of Badu’s interview stems from her optimistic perspective of the late dictator. Specifically, Badu states that Hitler was a great painter, a direct reference to the Hitler paintings that sold for a high price. I agree that Hitler was a great painter–although in a vastly different context. His acts of evil, functioned to paint whites as victims— to paint a portrait of remembrance whereas victims of the African Holocaust are painted in a collective amnesia that depicts them as potential Hitlers in seeking to possess the pride withheld from them for centuries.  Hitler illustrates white evil as ubiquitous and universal, some evils being ethereal–its most sadistic cruelty–cast onto the peoples of African descent–occurring for what seems like an eternity.

It is interesting though that, Marchese is not so much denouncing Hitler and his deeds as he is berating Badu for a praise she never articulated. Though violent, this exchange exposes Marchese as having an obvious chip on his shoulder in his interaction with Badu.

Those of the black collective can certainly relate to encountering a person who believes themselves to be white, who bears negative feelings towards them for no obvious reason. As a woman whose attire is always an homage to the past, and an obvious student of observation and contemplation, Badu possesses a form that threatens the veiled white supremacist. Whites are most comfortable with blacks who are happily ignorant and fearful and/or in awe of white people and white acceptance. Marchese’s exchange with Badu illustrates a white person’s desperate attempt to denounce black intelligence with a fictive bigotry. To mask his own feelings of inaquedacy by trying to paint Badu as he is, small minded, prejudice, and unworthy of his position .

How does it feel to be a problem? 

My main issue with this exchange is the white male privilege that violently belies the black 98a95e52female form as problematic and not the individualism, ethnocentricity and unprofessionalism of the white male interviewer. As beings of black form subjected to centuries of systemic abuse, physical mutilation, and scientific experimentation, many blacks have adopted a form of optimism as a means to cope. If it were not for this optimism, Badu would probably not have been able to stay afloat in the industy, or have a discussion with someone who benefits from the disenfranchisement of her past and present collective. It is also rather ironic that the interviewer berates Badu for her “empathy,” but offers none to a victim of the same system that afforded him his job. The two moments that prove most violent in the delineated exchange are:

A: But don’t you think that someone as evil as Hitler, who did what he did, has forfeited the right to other people’s empathy?

This is an issue because it’s a leading question. As a woman nearing fifty, Badu needs no help organizing her ideas and as a black woman, Badu has no obligation to mollify the emotions of a white man. Especially a white man, who instead of empathizing with what America did (and continues to do) to abducted Africans, maintains veiled role in their contemporary crucification for allegations of doing what continues to be done to those of the black collective.

B. Well, yes. But it’s also disheartening to hear you say that at a time, like now, when racism and anti-Semitism are so much in the air. Why would you want to risk putting fuel on that fire?

“At a time like now?” When has racism not been pervasive?

This statement illustrates Marchese as  bearing a privileged oblivion to which racism is erykah-badu-e1448850177478-1merely an attribute of the contemporary climate, not a lifetime component in the lives of truly abdicated people.

This is not to say that the Jewish Holocaust was not horrible. It was horrible, and as a being of black form–I know all too well the evils of whites.  But  the African Holocaust never ended and that descendants of those stripped of their name and culture continues to cripple present strides of black advancement. So yes Marchese has historically suffered, but Jewish people, like countless other “ethnic” white factions that have suffered at the hands of white supremacy, are also given an opportunity to practice this very supremacy (which most have actively participated in) onto those issued an inescapable “othering.” Thus, while some may offer sympathy for the once “othered”  despite their rise to oppressor, I decline.  And to the skeptic suggesting that I am making a comparison, I want to clarify that I am not. I am saying that there is no comparison.

I am also stating that despite the implication, and backlash that suggests the opposite, Erykah cannot be racist–as this feat is an impossible one for anyone of African descent. Prejudice is a common attribute nurtured globallyl, but racism is far beyond name calling and hurt feelings–but a label solely extended to those who possess the power to persecute.

Additionally, Marchese’s actions illustrate the following violent passive-aggressive Joe-Budden-Warrant-895x1024.jpgbehaviors:

Separating the black woman from the black man.

In the following, the interviewer references an interview Badu had with a black man and cites sexism in what he considered an insulting caricature the black male allegedly casted of the singer:

I was listening to the interview you did recently with Joe Budden, and he brought up the recurring cartoonish image of you as this sort of quasi-mystical sorceress who’s always playing mind games with rappers.
The Erykah Badu legend
.
Is it frustrating to have that kind of legend follow you around? It seems pretty clearly rooted in a kind of sexism. 
I take advantage of it. It’s a good thing if people think I’m supposed to be some mystical creature that controls people’s minds.

Here, Marcheese attempts to paint himself as some kind of ally, identifying issues plaguing “minorities,” which in his  defensiveness over what he perceived as anti-Semitism he sees himself a part of too. In this instance, he referenced Joe Budden, who, as a member of the black collective shares the same struggle as Badu, as sexist. This performance is one of racism, where the master imbues the Willie Lynch Letter’s directions to separate blacks. To experience sexism is a privilege. Beings of black female form do not get the privilege of experiences sexism, what we experience is a form of racist-sexist oppression where we are masculinized, yet expected to support whites in their persistent persecution of black men.

The efforts of division have also birthed the wrath that engulfs the backlash 141208121102-bill-cosby-super-169.jpgfollowing Badu’s comments regarding actor, comedian, humanitarian,  Bill Cosby. Particularly, when asked about Bill Cosby, Badu does not give the expected polarized response. She was expected to berate Bill Cosby and contribute to the white media’s attempt to sully the legacy of someone who has done so much for black people. Badu says,

“I love Bill Cosby, and I love what he’s done for the world.”

Badu delivers these sentiments in a humanist context, even going as far to say that bearing the same skin as a victim does not dictate her loyalty, a sentiment overlooked by the white media seeking to sacrifice a black woman in a desperate attempt to simultaneously attract more gazes to the article and sympathy for a global oppressor.

B. One black person is expected to speak for other black people.

Your situation is different, but what you were saying a minute ago about how you can’t create new music unless you feel an honest compulsion to do it is making me think about how some of the most important musicians of your generation — people like Lauryn Hill, André 3000, D’Angelo — had long periods where they went silent. Do you think they felt the same way you do?

Badu issues this inappropriate and leading question a masterful responses that portrayals them all as individuals:

I don’t want to speak for those people. I know all of them, and there are individual circumstances for why each of them were quiet in different moments.

This is something most members of the black collective can admit to experiencing. Black people are commonly regarded as a single entity, detached from the thought that black people have a whole range of emotions and perspectives. Thus, the interviewer, although interviewing Erykah Badu, approaches the endeavor as if he is interviewing the every black Neo-soul artist — male and female- suggesting an insulting interchangeability between Badu, Lauryn Hill,  D’Angelo, amongst others. This is anti-black and inevitably racist, an act that exposes the interviewer as bearing the same problematic ideology he attempts to cast onto the black female bodily canvass. Erykah Badu_Photo by Samir Hussein-Samir Hussein-WireImage_Getty 886966038

Needless to stay, although I do not adopt a philosophy of conventional optimism, I support Erykah Badu. . I admire Badu as a student of life, and for being unapologetic in her revelation of self.  I admire that she spoke lovingly of a black man who the white world tried to adorn in a disgust the black collective should reserve for the white male rapist.

This vulture interview and twitter backlash depicts even seemingly progressive movements as rooted in anti blackness—seeking not to call out injustice, but to call blacks words that should be solely cached for those who believe themselves to be white.

Thus,  Badu is most remarkable in presenting in her interview responses to a racist to “call” blacks everything but majestic, with an articulate remix of perhaps her most famous lyric: you can’t use my phone.

Badu’s approach  exposes the lesson of this interview–whites can very well  maintain their negative perception of blacks as the glue to their “esteem,” but not with black bodies as a vehicle or vessel.

Furthermore, while Badu opts to see the good in everyone, I strive to see the best in black People. And black people are incomparably the best–despite the various attempts of those believed to be white, as seen in this interview, to suggest otherwise.

Black Power<3

 

 

Decoding The Intent to Institutionalize

I attended a lecture at Rutger’s University about two years ago to view a presentation on the book Ebony and Ivy by Dr. Craig Steven Wilder. The lecture was as informative as it was passionate—its most resounding words being

“ I used to feel thankful to be here, but now I feel as thought I belong.”

There words were powerful, but more so was his presence.

At the time, I was someone aspiring to be within academia, and Dr. Wilder possessed a voracious intellect paired with an unapologetic confidence—attributes I had previously only seen in black professionals in black spaces. To be honest, I have yet to see that confident intellectual charisma, on any black scholar since. This dearth is not accidental but strategic, and directly connects to Dr. Wilder’s words.Author-Craig-Steven-Wilder-0333-300x200

Wilder’s sentiments of course do not denounce the obvious gratitude he has for his platform and ability to share his research with interested parties. His sentiments speak to an often unaddressed facet of institutionalism—the implementation of inadequacy. Particularly, blacks who seemingly “gain entry” into an institution because of their skill, endure consistent reminders of their displacement into traditionally white spaces like universities and other so-called professional spaces.

An Ingrained Inferiority

Reminders of this displacement come in many forms. As an instructor, I had an elderly white male supervisor who in addition to consistently treating me as too intellectually deficient to grade my own exams and too “urban” to be trusted with departmental documents, staged an in-class hearing where I was verbally assaulted by my students as he looked on. Given that we had identical credentials, it was obvious that my complexion reflected an incompetency that he would not assume if I were a young white woman. His actions, while crass and demeaning, functioned with cavalier disregard because to him I was “lucky” to be in this space to begin with.

35348-thankfulhands-hands-reaching-prayer.1200w.tnIn recent interactions with institutional gatekeepers, I am consistently nudged to be thankful with consistent reminders of how “lucky” or “protected” I am. Rather than acknowledge black achievement and potential, or simply leave blacks to fulfill their purpose in silence, whites, and others who believe themselves to be white or operate as white people, mollify their discomfort by sullying black conventional success with shame— a shame many of those believed to be white feel in the stupor of their own mediocrity.

The Institutional Insult

Like so many black bodies before and after me, I experience daily the wrath of institutionalized racism that has plagued any black daring to reach beyond altheticism and celebrity marketed as the sole escape routes for so called black destitution. I have learned that something as seemingly innocuous as a syllabus can operate as a weapon, mirroring the colonialized perception of black bodies that overtly decorated the ideologies of the centuries that precede us. I’ve obtained an invaluable amount of informal lessons pertaining to black life— inside and outside academia. But most importantly, I have learned the cost, best labeled as consequence, of black confidence and an unwavering belief in oneself. I have met extreme adversity that although tempting to render an individual experience, illustrates a collective effort to destroy the black mind that does not fear whites or the potential for their own greatness.

Despite gaining entry into a institution of higher learning, I have learned firsthand what quote-the-master-s-tools-will-never-dismantle-the-master-s-house-audre-lorde-114745black female scholar and esteemed writer Audre Lord said decades ago, that “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” As a so called student at the “master’s” school, I know that I will never be handed the keys to my own liberation. I know that every book, every lecture, and every assignment functions to entangle me deeper into the labryinth of institutionalized insanity, known as submission. But, this can only happen if I perceive myself as a student of the institution. That I am not.

What I am, is a student of institutionalized racism.

I am learning first hand what ancestors and elders from Dr. Bobby Wright and Dr. Amos Wilson to Dr. Francis Cress Wesling and Dr. Neeley Fuller (amongst others) spent lifetimes working to articulate in books that function as keys to the mental chains that bind us to the various manifestations of white supremacy. As Neely Fuller famously stated: “If you don’t understand white supremacy/racism, everything that you do understand will only confuse you.” Understanding racism, makes this experience difficult , but necessary in explicating the experience for the majority of blacks displaced dr-bobby-e-wrightin white spaces.

Most blacks do not understand racism because they are conditioned not to. Most whites do not fully understand racism, because they do not have to understand racism to benefit from it, or to be racist. This is s statement I must make to myself daily, so that I do not harbor resentment or excessive disappointment in the daily attempt to navigate the institution while black.

It is very hard being black any where in the globe. But a prisoner of my ancestor’s captivity, I will say that it is very hard to be black in America. But it is even harder to be black and proud, as this pride is deemed as a threat to whites, but also blacks beaten into submission by the pseudo promise of white acceptance.

Denouncing Inclusion: The Black Female Form as a Pre-Woman Form

In my enlightenment, I see this this submission is perhaps most deeply embedded in alice-large-black-froinclusion. This inclusion is not simply wishing to obtain a seat at the table alongside whites, but inclusion into so called radical factions like “feminism”, “marxism,” etc.that seek to place seemingly de-centered factions as central. Regrettably,“womanism” performs this same deed. Womanism, although an attempt to engage the intersectionality of blackness and femininity, still implements the term “woman”— a concept established on the exclusion of black female bodies. The rape, physical bludgeoning and mental mutilation of the black female birthed the piety, domesticity, submissiveness, and chastity attributed to white womanhood. As a black female striving for consciousness, I can no longer strive for inclusion in the woman concept. I acknowledge that I am female, but the woman concept is far too small to encapsulate the totality of black female identity. Thus, my pending dissertation and future blog post now even mores than before, will function to push the black body beyond spaces established in their exclusion.

I wish to clarify that my use of the word “woman” on this blog in part and whole, does not to speak to black female inclusion, but to reference the black female body as a pre-woman concept. Thus, I do not wish to compartmentalize the black female as woman. Instead, my use of the term “womanism” functions to assert the black female form as a being far greater than “woman.”

Sylvia_Wynter_________2002_0In challenging what Sylvia Wynter called the over-representation of man, or pervasive whiteness, I find my purpose in replacing this fascination with pro-black initiatives. So the adversity of watching white professors overly praise whites and non-blacks for mediocre work, a brown professor highlighting black “insecurity” as the crux of the course, amongst other evils, I too feel as though I belong. I feel a sense of privilege in having a front row seat to the inter-workings of white supremacy. A proximity that breeds a strength that emerges from sitting so close to the fire without being burned is a strategy I hope to teach other member of the black collective in years to come.

Concluding Thoughts

I worked a really long time to occupy the illusive space I currently occupy. Upon my acceptance I was thankful that my hard word had “paid off.” My experiences have shown me that this ideology is wrong on so many levels. That way of thinking “paid” for my current frustrations, and hindered my sense of belonging. Feeling as though my hard work needed to “pay off” symbolized my desire to subconsciously “belong” to an institution.

Similarly, when I started this site I did not even realize that I sought to belong to the woman concept with the title “womanism.” Now, in my pending consciousness, I am on a journey to belong to myself, to my collective. So while black spaces are integral to the advancement of our people, the first space we must possess as a collective is the one in our mind.

So while there is an “I,” in institution, there is no “we.” That is because the “we” combats institutionalism. When “we” symbolizes a collective anchored in unity, the intent to institutionalize, an intent strategically embedded in the commonality of western conventions, becomes an obsolete agenda unable to annihilate a people anchored in their majestic past, and not the enslavement socially reproduced for centuries by who the late Dr. Francis Cress Wesling called the genetically inferior race.

Black Power ❤

What Happened When I “Came for” Cardi B.: The Cardi B. Conscious ClapBack

I’ll be honest with you, I never intended to author a post on Cardi B. The post reflects an aspiring writing seizing an opportunity to practice the skill to which she has dedicated my life.

Before I continue, I want to state that I do not regret anything that I posted. I do however regret the aftermath of my articulation—namely bringing the disingenuous and intellectually impenetrable to a blog designed to expose the labyrinth of a global racial paradigm.


Soaring Stats: A Gift and a Curse

ABD logo
ABD logo

Saturday marked the most readers my blog has ever seen. Three and a half years ago when I started this blog, this news would have been great. The traffic however, was not those seeking a collective consciousness, but those who maintain a proximity to blackness but seek to centralize what they compartmentalize as their faction, in discussions of blackness.

Specifically, this increased traffic was solely credited to Cardi B, and those solely interested in engaging blackness from an Afro-Latin/Latinx perspective. So while the majority of the hate-spewed comments accuse me of being ethnocentric, the argumentative interest prompted by my Cardi B. post was in fact fomented by ethnocentricity.

To those who counter my assertions, I ask you—where was the influx of “Afro-Latin”* commentary on my post remembering Recy Taylor—the black woman gang-raped by white men in 1944? Where were you a last week when Erica Garner passed? And where are you yesterday when as the black community honored black author Zora Neale Hurston on what would have been her birthday?

I want to point out that all of the previously mentioned names are those of black females born in America, just like Cardi B. But neither of my articles speaking of those bearing the same blackness my skeptics claim to believe in, garnered any traction from the Latinx community.

Where was your interest in blackness when not anchored in the location of your drop off?

The answer is simple— basking in the ethnic deflection created by the sorcerers of whiteIsabel_Luberza_Oppenheimer_(Isabel_la_Negra)_del_Barrio_Maragüez,_en_Ponce,_Puerto_Rico_(DSC05441C) supremacy, claiming the many labels, like Puerto Rican and Dominican, created by the white man to diversify how they call us all n*ggers.

I would  have welcomed a  proposal to partner with a diasporic sibling to widen my pan-Africanist scope. I would have welcomed a critique demanding I acknoweldge the diasporic black female form like the late Isabel la negra—but this is not the critique.

No, the overwhelming amount of insults,  accusations of ignorance, and declarations of my misunderstandings of colonialism, reflect the colonized minds of those who place nationality before race, and attack truth to maintain the fallacy necessary to eschew looking the true villain in the eye.


The Real

Most of the comments on my piece on Cardi B, are from those who did not bother to readbutton-blackpower-lg
the article. The article specifically acknowledges diasporic Africans as descendants of the same black bodies abducted from the shores of Africa. But rather than take the article for what it actually said, many approached the piece with their own insecurities regarding all that they’ve gained from blacks whom did not choose their placement in America.

Yet despite my descendance from the same abducted black bodies that birthed by brethren outside the U.S., I have been credited for stealing my own ancestors, for doing the white man’s work of dividing the most beautiful and resilient people offspring of Africa.

Namely, what makes these comments problematic is the personalizing of a collective argument, by attacking what my skeptics perceived as a representation of the haughty “African-American,” while the true villains escape these scathing replies and instead maintain their esteemed place in the bloodline, the employment, and bed, of my mythic adversaries. These verbally violent acts– socially reproduced almost two-hundred times in the last seventy-two hours– not only depict misdirected anger, but reflect the type of cowardice that brings our shared oppressors to tears of joy.

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Africa, A Tree with Many Branches 

Africa is the common branch to all her lost children, but to act as though some of her children have not forgotten the black foremothers and forefathers of their past, is sheer denial of the part many of Africa’s children play in the wrath of white supremacy. While certainly not limited to schomburg_arturoAfricans outside the U.S., the migrant black is often given an easy out by the American white supremacists who wish to discount the horror inflicted onto dr-benblacks in the “land of the brave and home of the free.”

Now, my blog does not discount that that there are diasporic Africans, like the late and prolific Arthur Schomburg and Dr. Ben who made  incomparable contributions to blackness. Though also born in Bronx like Cardi B, Dr. Ben is absent from ALL criticisms of my diasporic siblings, which reflect the limited and prejudiced scope of my skeptics. Dr. Ben reflects those who placed nationality second to their African origins– those throughout the diaspora that welcome their separated siblings with open arms, and dedicate their life to the  whole of blackness. But in the 2ffe9421a4f01c98a8c5b7723ac2f48c4a36afabsame breath that I remember and honor the late Dr. Ben,  I would be remiss to acknowledge the overwhelming majority that do not mirror his actions or ideology.

This assertion does not mean that those with African ancestry must identify as black–there is no pressure to associate with blackness.  The conscious objective is not to “convince” folk that they are black, but embracing those who do.

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Tell em’ why they mad son’

black_pride_rectangle_magnetYet, the issue with the post was not so much my analysis of Cardi, but that me, a person of the black collective not only understands the unmatched contribution of blacks to the globe, but possesses the confidence to shout it from the mountaintops.

I, like countless other blacks who stand up despite the pervasive expectation that blacks must lie down and take the exploitation and appropriation violently  handed to them by those inside and outside the black diaspora, endure the labels of “bitter” and “angry.” Labels that function to cloud black confidence with the same negativity–namely bitterness, anger, and hate– that foments our continued disenfranchisement.

The animosity that accompanied this post, mirrors the animosity endured by the outspoken black deemed bitter, angry, and difficult by whites threatened by blacks who articulate an incisive understanding of what has been designed to destroy them.

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Am I Black Enough to Be Black Person? 

dascha-polanco-brooklyn-high-school-vibe-compressed
Dascha Polanco, of Orange is The New Black (Netflix)

The question is not and never has been whether an individual is “black enough,” but how present blackness is in the life and identity of a person who considers themselves black. Light skin does not discount one’s blackness, as Prince, Michael Jackson, and Beyonce, while flawed, have never stated that they are not black. Rihanna, though a black woman, has never identified as a black woman—Amber Rose, though birthed from a black woman discounts her blackness—though both reap the benefits and support from black people and their proximity to blackness, and also function to illustrate the pervasive ideology that the black female form oozes an animistic sexuality.

Orange is the New Black actress to Dascha Polanco, on the other hand, an African of Dominican displacement, has openly proclaimed herself as a black woman, although she plays a Puerto Rican woman on the series. Thus, the issue is not whether you are of African ancestry, but whether you function as a black person. Cardi B, and Bruno Mars have African ancestry, but do not function as black people. Having black blood does not make you black, its about owning your blackness and not treating blackness as a fair-weather friend. It’s about enduring the good, bad, and ugly of the black experience.

It’s about understanding the road you walk on as paved in the blood and bones of your brethren. It’s about joining forces with your black brethren, about aiding in the production of black commerce, be it economical or intellectual—not using black people, black support, or black currency as a key to enter the master’s house.

job-applicationRather than accuse me of dividing the black collective, I encourage those who identify as Afro-Latino, or Latinx to consider the ways they function to divide the collective. Particularly, do you check “black” or “hispanic”?  “Hispanic,” “Latin,” etc all function similar to terms “mixed” and “biracial.” They are mythic labels implemented to divide the black collective. Thus, by calling yourself any of these names, an individual becomes a facet of a collective war waged against black people.

Namely, the systemic distinction between “black” and “hispanic” is a deliberate act implemented by those who observe a place at the top of the hierarchical structure to divide the black collective with an implication that black and hispanic/latino are mutually exclusive. So rather than ask me whether your displacement in the diaspora or bilinguality qualifies you as black, ask yourself whether you are black enough to check black on paper?

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They Worked Hard for All You Have

As seen in countless countries populated with Africans displaced in the transatlantic slave trade like Brazil and Haiti, blacks displaced in the United States sacrificed  for centuries to engender modern (temperate) liberties. Our efforts, while birthing many feats,  have largely knocked down the door for many throughout the diaspora who voluntarily flee to the US to get places that that young boy or girl in the projects will never obtain an opportunity to visit even on a school trip. Contrary to popular belief, this young boy or girl that does not get a chance to seize his or her full potential does not reflect lack of ambition or motiviation. This illustrates how white supremacists have succeeded in no-colored-allowed-black-americana-cast-iron-sign-10x4_220665307171dividing and conquering the black collective, how the white supremacist society has succeeded in using our own siblings to systemically disenfranchise their own people.

(If you read this reference in the comments under my original Cardi B. post, I apologize for my redundancy.)

In her autobiography, Assata Shakur delineates the divide and conquer technique in an anecdote from her childhood. She recalls a summer trip to an amusement park where she and her family were initially refused because of the color of her skin. Once her mother begins to speak Spanish, they gain access to the park. Shakur concludes the anecdote with the following reflection:

” Anybody, no matter who they were, could come right off the boat and get more rights and respect than Amerikan-born blacks” (Shakur 28). 

Were, Assata and her family any less black then when they first tried to gain entry?

Not all.

But at that moment, their blackness took a backseat to the mechanism, or in this case language, manipulated to grant them a cruel duality, where their blackness birthed their exclusion, but the foreign nature of their blackness garnered their temperate inclusion.  Thus, they opted out of blackness in order to opt into a white space.

too-blackTo celebrate Bruno Mars, Cardi B, Jennifer Lopez, and others employed in the same malevolent intentions to maintain the stagnancy of the African displaced in North American as occupying the base of American society, is to wave and smile at those granted entry to a space you were “too black” to attend.

Yes, I am saying that there are plenty of children lacking Bruno Mars, and Cardi’s racial “choice” that exceed their talent, but will never get the chance because they are “too black” to be anything but a rapper, or a “star” on Love and Hip Hop.

afro-latinoTo this I would aptly engage criticisms of those who perform a similar deed in  vacationing and staying at resorts where their brethren are suffering. To vacation at resorts when our diasporic brethren are rendered invisible by the culturally unenlightened and those indulging in a selective amnesia, who eat shrimp cocktail where diasporic Africans barely have enough to eat, is to also occupy a space established on the exclusion of your kinfolk.

But this is not the criticism.

The criticism is my failure to celebrate those who have the ability to choose whether they function as black. As a black person not subject to this choice, it is essential to my individual and collective survival to note that having black ancestry or a black ancestor does not make you black. People like Cardi B, Bruno Mars, Zoe Saldana, Christina Milian, etc,. have an option whether or not to identify with their black forefathers and foremothers in a way that author Wallace Thurman, singer Sam 5bca5ff33de4c8f97e6b70b06d3b22daCooke, and activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  did not.

This criticism, in its abundance and fiery presence under my initial Cardi B, post, proves an unintentional declaration of the low regard to which blacks displaced in North America are held. We are expected to smile in the face of a division that discounts our humanity to not seem divisive to those who imbue temperate benefits in the collective bludgeoning of black people from the white strategy of divide and conquer.

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Conclusion: What Happened When I “came for” Cardi B. 

So what happens when you “come for” Cardi B? 31ec281578fbbc9806eaf21d758113b8.1000x563x1

You are accused of lacking blackness in a failure to comply to the stereotypical traits expected of black people. It means being accused of dividing a people, while simultaneously subject to the division imbued in an accusation that me, a bearer of the black female form, “jumped Spanish girls in high school because they had better hair than me.” (actual quote)

I want to specify that I never “came for” Cardi B., I simply articulated a stance against cultural exploitation and appropriation encouraged and featured on the white media. I simply stood up for my people and my culture, and the aftermath illustrated diasporic blackness with regards to the black displaced in North America, as more abjected and ostracized than any article I could ever write.

So what happens, when you come for Cardi B?

White people everywhere snicker while the African displaced in Latin America and the  052217-Shows-BETX-Cardi-B-1x1Caribbean sulk in the exposition of the envy they hold for those they seek to emulate, but remain reluctant to appreciate  and truly identify as.

This envy solely comes from those who pledge an allegiance to an African identity they do not truly feel, who separate rather than sync themselves with their displaced sibling separated on the ship that did not not sever our bloodline, but parted our bodies.

Bodies that in some way, shape, or form face the option (at varying degrees) to “opt” out of blackness, to become a weapon used against those born from the same continental womb, be it via skin color, hair texture, education, tax bracket, ethnicity, etc.

All the conscious community asks is a non-fickle choice to embrace or ignore blackness in part and whole, and to refute any and all options to work against your people.

While the systemic crippling of black folk throughout the diaspora, make it nearly impossible for the average black person, despite their placement in the diaspora, to travel or relocate from one drop-off to the next, in enjoying the richness of a 39diasporic culture,  we, as Africans, must remain mindful of how our bodies can easily transition from familial to fatal.

In journeying to the places where our abducted brethren created culture out of kidnapping (in travel or migrancy), our goals should never be to get in with the master, but to get in with our people.

Thus, my issue with Cardi B, Bruno Mars and other diasporic Africans turned “hispanic” “Afro-Latino” or “American success story,” is not so much their selective blackness (for those who argue that they function as black at all), but that their goal is not to get in with black people, but to get in the black mind and purse. To get into spaces created by those raped to birth the privilege they presently observe.

Nevertheless, there is no shame in refusing to claim those who do not claim you, but there is great shame and entitlement exhibited by those who perceive blacks with the same disdain as our colorless counterparts yet demand support from those they see as subjugates.

So what happened when a being of black female form “came for” Cardi B?

She was reminded that all desire central placement in blackness, but few actually desire blackness.

*Members of the black collective need not occupy their time or thoughts with those who do not claim them, or only claim black to attain access to some benefit. Which is why I choose to end my post here :-).

Black Power, and all Power to the People Who Truly Identify as Black.

*The author places “Afro-Latino” in quotations as she includes all factions of diaspora in her use of the term “black” unless indicated otherwise. 

How Whites and Non-Blacks Talk About Race 

This post will implement the unisex name “Leslie” to avoid overuse, and the subtle passive-aggressive tone of the  pronoun “they.”  Leslie, will symbolically represent white and non-black collectives respectively.

Author’s Note: Leslie also encompasses the ideology of melanated individuals who are only black on the outside. Because these individuals, while dangerous, do not enjoy the systemic advantage of other factions, they are not the central subjects in the post.

  1. Leslie redirects the conversation in an “all lives matter” fashion, meaning he or she highlight the “struggles” of other factions.  Example: ” Blacks are not the only ones struggling. Consider the native Americans, migrant whites, women (insert any other subculture demographic).”
  2.  Leslie refers to blacks as “racist” or “bitter”
  3. Leslie references the fictive “black on black crime” as a justification for crimes against black people
  4.  A casualty of privilege, Leslie fails to see race’s role in every component of a person’s life.
  5.  Leslie inserts individual examples to counter a collective injustice. Well my (insert relative) came here from (insert non-African country) and they (insert material “evidence” of conventional success)
  6.  Leslie condemns Micah Johnson and Gavin Long, but make excuses for white terrorists
  7.  There will almost always be a reference made to a Toni Morrison novel, Tyler Perry film, or the latest movie by or starring black people as a primary source. This is not to say either source cannot be discourse for discussion, but that this individual references these in ignorance of Dr. Ben, Dr. Neely Fuller, Dr. Davis,  e.t.c.
  8.  There will be an attempt to alter the context of a racial dialogue because they said so.  Example:  “Don’t call them Africans, call them African-Americans.”  This act will be racist in both execution and content and only helpful in exposing whites and non-blacks as inherently racist.
  9. Leslie may seem to accidentally misinterpret commentary from blacks, but in actuality purposefully misconstrues your words to assert  a personal agenda
  10.  Instead of asking about the many blacks unjustly murdered by police, Leslie will redirect the attention to soldiers of white supremacy killed in the line of incivility–a risk made clear prior to their inclusion in the field
  11.  Many will not talk at all, and will objectify blacks like gorillas in a cage and watch them discuss race. The contents of discussion will eventually be passed off as “new” ideas by these spectators in a form of racist plagiarism

Black Power ❤

Detroit: A Systemized Suffocation of the Black Narrative

In recent months, I have written extensively about Dr. Christina Sharpe and the wake work initiative ignited by her book In the Wake: Blackness and Being. The book epitomizes Afro-demia, where blackness is placed in the forefront of formal discourse. Although difficult to point to a single moment in the text as more significant than the rest, Sharpe’s discussion of black aspiration, or the black struggle to aspire, proved quite significant. Sharpe uses the term “aspire” in the most elementary sense–which simply means to breathe. To illustrate the concept, Sharpe references the physical and systemic suffacation of Eric Garner preceded by eleven exclamations of the clause that would become his last words– “I can’t breathe.” maxresdefault

Garner is the epitome of the figurative chokehold that encapsulates black life. Not all blacks will personally experience a physically fatal embrace. All blacks are however born into a system designed for their suffocation. One of the most persistent manifestations of a cholkhold is appropriation, namely, the metamorphosis of the black struggle into a white narrative.

In 2011, the world rejoiced in Katherine Stockett’s novel The Help’s film adaptation.help3face   Despite elevating black actresses Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer from obscurity to center-stage—the film is an ode to white female supremacy—casting the white female outcast as the saving grace for black female oppression. To some, the film proved ground-breaking in featuring a white female gaze that scrutinized her own kind. The conscious gaze, on the other hand, sees the one-dimensional black female characters as the backs to which the black female castmates stand in their three-dimensional portrayals. This book and film, like The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, function to humanize white evil at the expense of dehumanized images of blacks in moments of heightened oppression. The black female potential stifled in the domestic demands of the segregated 1940’s and 1950’s, forced many black women away from their own homes into the homes of whites to resume the mammy role established in slavery. As a domestic worker, the black women encountered unfair wages, emotional and sexual abuse and long hours. Similarly, Henrietta Lacks, a physically ill woman, would die while two of her children were still in diapers. Most problematically, Lacks would be robbed of the  pearl-like cells that took her life, but in their abduction would save countless others. Telling these stories from a white gaze, compromises the integrity of the black narrative.  These white productions function as an antiracist effort to some, but in execution perform the very racism they seemingly denounce. These abducted narratives, and others like them, suffocate the black narrative, resurrecting incidents essential to black advancement as appropriated stories of our oppressors.

Kathryn Bigelow’s upcoming film Detroit, is no different.

Detroit-5-www.nothirdsolution.com_

The upcoming film has garnered abundant press from black and white media for its coverage of the the Twelfth street riots and the cold-blooded murders of teens Aubrey Pollard, Carl Cooper, and Fred Temple at the Algiers Motel in the summer of 1967. Lost in the media coverage of this upcoming film is the actual story. Instead, director Kathryn Bigelow basks in a media glory for her Oscar-nominated culturally appropriative film. The film does not function to provide context to contemporary murders that mirror a tragedy that seized the lives of these young men. Nor, does the film discount the contemporary murders of black youth as isolated incidents.  No, this film exists to permeate American culture with yet another white savior image.

White abduction of black stories poses a conflict to the black narrative for many reasons—the most prevalent being that this appropriation epitomizes racism. In Black Power Kwame Ture states the following:

Racism is both overt and covert. It takes two, closely related forms: Individual whites acting against individual blacks, and acts by the total white community against the black community. We call these individual racism and institutional racism (Ture 4).

Bigelow’s Detroit, like Katherine Stockett’s The Help, Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, and every other adducted page of the collective black narrative, illustrates institutionalized racism. A system existing solely to attack black esteem and control black action.

Institutional racism relies on the active and pervasive operation of antilock attitudes and practices. A sense of superior group position prevails: whites are ‘better” than blacks; therefore blacks should be subordinated to whites. (Ture 5)

Abducted black narratives appropriated by whites desperate to consummate their own journey to conventional success is an act of anti-blackness in its promotion of racist ideologies. This abduction and appropriation of black narratives suggests that because whites are “better” than blacks, only they are capable of accurately and appropriately rendering the black narrative.

Instances like these often prompt the query as to whether it would better if these books, and films were never made–the stories destined to obscurity. In response, I fail to see the difference between a black narrative appropriated by whites and an untold black story as both fail to reach the demographic to which this narrative is essential. “Untold” simply conceptualizes the relationship to mainstream media, or white access. A black narrative is essential to black consciousness. Thus, our stories need not be mainstream, but made available to those spiritually and physically elevated in acquiring knowledge of a shared experience.

The black experience is a compilation of stories shared by those across time and circumstance. Black stories are like air to a black people, providing a means and context to physically aspire. Moreover, the abducted black narrative is not only appropriative –it impedes black aspiration.

To see this film is to smother black aspiration, to toss dirt on top of the black body buried alive by a veiled anti blackness, better known as white supremacy.

As W.E.B. Dubois once said:

Through history, the powers of single black men flash here and there like falling stars, and die sometimes before the world has rightly gauged their brightness.

Detroit is yet another means for the white female body to illuminate in the glow of white supremacy. It is yet another means for the white female body to aspire, and indulge white supremacy in the same manner as her male counterparts.  In contrast, the light cast onto the black body has often blown out too quickly, if illuminated at all.

Rather than provide yet another platform for whites to shine in our glory, let us support our own art, written, produced, and brought to life by us. Let us breathe life into our collective identity. Let us aspire the only way we can, as Africans.

Black Power ❤

 

 

Twenty-One People You’ll Meet on Your Stride Towards Consciousness

The road to consciousness is a long journey composed of many situations and people. These people and situations afford the conscious body an opportunity to evaluate their own behavior and actions—ultimately providing a chance for the individual to choose a collective ideology they'd like to adopt as their own, and those which they'd like to discard.

  1. The  "exceptional" biracial This person is not conventionally exceptional, but believes that their multi-cultural heritage gives them an upper hand. This person often seems cool, until they're called "black," "dark" or any term that aligns them with what they see as the detriment of blackness. This person often implies that others are jealous of them and puts blacks down for any traits the black individual shares with the racially ambiguous—as the interchangeability between themselves and non-biracial blacks proves damaging to their pseudo superiority. 

2. The physically black individual determined to “un-blacken” himself This person bears all the attributes of an unsullied bloodline. From the rich complexion to the full lips to the beautiful coiled hair, this individual is a portrait of the motherland–much to their dissatisfaction. Due to an inability to change their aesthetics, this person will try to mimic whites in speech, dress and customs. They will often solicit white or non black mates to appease their low self worth and esteem. 

3. The black friend who swears she's mixed Like the individual mentioned above, this person bears attributes that imply an unsullied bloodline. Understanding the impossibility to reverse their genetics, this person constructs a fictive bloodline that grants esteem in its proximity away from blackness. 

4. The multi-cultural person who plays both sides This person has "mixed" ancestry and employs every component of their identity to reap benefits from multiple angles. This person bears no allegiance to any group, and instead seeks to not be too much of anything.

5. The Educated Fool This person consummated  their journey to an illusive whiteness, be it in buying a home, obtaining an education, or any other material item attributed to conventional success. This person represents a demographic who believes because they "made it" any other black who does not "make it" is lazy or incompetent. Their conventionality distances them from the truth of black struggle, and they eventually (figeratively) stand beside their oppressors in castigating blacks for their systemic disposition. 

6. The envious non-black womanThis person most likely sought out the friendship or acquaintance to magnify superior feelings towards black people, but became immersed in an unanticipated inferiority that accompanies juxtaposition to black brilliance. 

7. The male friend that does not date black women This person may have liked a black woman at one point, but used this experience to fuel a dating life that eliminates black women as an option. This friend now restricts himself to the less intimidating and often less aesthetically pleasing non-black significant other— as a symbol of their upward mobility.

8. The fair-skinned woman who carries her skin color around like a designer clutch This person feels that the only thing going for them is their skin color, despite diligently working to prove otherwise. She'll drop her skin color in the most inappropriate ways, so that you remember she's light skin, because to this fair lady–light is right. 

9. The black friend unhappy with her blackness that tries to makes you feel badly about your own.This friend may not like their hair or her body, so they'll thrown digs at you in attempt to make you feel as bad as they do every day. 

10. The non-black man who is attracted to you but does not see color You'll see him looking at you from across the room. He'll make small talk, but if you say anything cultural he'll be immediately turned off at the reality of having to encompass the totality of your being. 

11. The non-black who is insulted by your brilliance This person might be a coworker, supervisor, or friend of a friend. This person thinks lowly of blacks. He or she views black people as base, and is completely thrown off course by any black person who challenges this thinking.  They will incessantly put you down to convince themselves that you are inferior, while they imitate your moves. 

12. The non-black who loves you for not being white This individual may be a teacher, coworker, colleague, or person encountered in everyday life, appreciative or fascinated by black culture. They see you as the epitome of blackness and often tokenize you in a genuine (but objectifying) effort to encapsulate your greatness. 

13. The black man or woman who takes you under his or her wind fearful for how you'll turn out without their guidance This person may not be the blackest person, but he or she appreciates your journey to an elevated consciousness and seeks to guide and protect you from the adversity that awaits. 

14. The confused black who things the white man's ice is colder This person is  scarily misguided, but often sees themselves as remarkable. They speak confidently in defending whites and ideas of white superiority, while vehemently supporting blacks who have either consummated white success or appear white in appearance. These are the same individuals who will say the fatal slaying of Bakari Henderson was an isolated incident, but the crimes in the black community reflect a hanus mindset. 

15. The pseudo activist who is using black consciousness as his or her claim to fame This person is an individual seeming to uplift the collective but in actuality merely seeks to appease their own insecure need to feel better than others.

16. The non-black person who thinks going to a black history assembly or calling enslaved Africans "African Americans" makes him or her a revolutionary These are the same individuals who mistake hurt feelings for oppression in a bizzare ignorance that distorts perception. 

17. The migrant black who thinks non-migrant blacks appropriate black culture  This person has no Pan- African understanding and therefore sees blacks (or displaced Africans) as "Americans" and not Africans. 

18. The confused black who aligns Obama with Dr. King or Malcolm X 
This person reflects a collective ideology that is in such desperate need for a leader that actual contribution or action is optional. Thus, they do not appreciate Dr. King or Malcolm X for their contributions, but for their image of strength. This makes it easy to compare President Obama to King and X, despite Obama allowing what King and X died trying to prevent.

19. The so-called black conscious person who lusts after non black men or woman 
I call it Cognitively dissonant coonery. 

20. The conscious black who shrinks in “mixed” company

This person is often extremely conscious in private. They quote powerful black thinkers, and oppose the status quo. In public however, they avoid saying anything that can be viewed contentiously.

21. The conscious soul who “gets” it
This person may be the strong silent type, or outspoken, but they live and breathe black. They see the unseen, and exist in the isolated state of cultural enlightenment. Their circle is small but dynamic. Their brain is in constant motion, their curiosity solely satiated by the thoughts and experiences of our ancestors and the enlightened few. This person is receptive to any invitation to be blacker, and will anticipate your gradual strive to a higher consciousness in the silent demand of their purposeful presence.

It may take years to find this person, and when you do you may never actually meet. But just knowing that they are out there makes the rough and unpaved road to consciousness well worth the while. 

Who have you met in your strive towards

consciousness? Tell me in the comments.

Black Power ❤