One of the most eloquent voices of the pains, passions, and dilemmas that was (and still is) The Black Experience in a western-dominated world, James Baldwin traveled the globe learning, growing, teaching, and seeking peace. His unfiltered/no nonsense analysis of societal ills to me only can be compared to the level of genius presented to us by Malcolm X (aka El Hajj Malik El Shabazz). Relevant then, and relevant now, we must continue to study the insights Baldwin provided us-and use them as out tools to create the brighter future he surely hoped we would already have by now. So in memory of The Great James Baldwin, on the anniversary of his passing, here are a few quotes and videos to soak up and apply going forward…
I saw a picture floating around on social media earlier today that got me to thinking. The picture showed several different examples of the Beautiful Black Couples that graced the television screen during the Eighties and Nineties. That along with a few other stories, and interactions, got me to thinking. Relationships, in general, are pretty bad nowadays. almost all of those images of Black Love are long gone. And today it is a far more popular trend for Black women to date White Men and for Black Men to chase so-called Mixed Girls and the lighter skinned variety of Latina. Take a moment to do a Google Image Search "Black On Black Love," and you will get mostly images from the past and abstract art. But do a Google Image Search for "Black Relationships" and you will be bombarded with mostly pictures of Us Arguing or in Interracial Pairings. SMH
Few want to admit or acknowledge it, but the majority of the problems I will attempt to speak on in this post go back to slavery and colonialism. And before you start shaking your head in disagreement, please consider that for any person or group of people to dominate or control another-they must be able to dominate and control their minds. Physical force can only go so far. So in order to be able to enslave millions of once-proud Africans, colonize their lands, control of all of the natural resources of said lands, and subject those people to varying degrees oppression and apartheid for the next 500+ years, one would have to systematically destroy certain elements of logical thinking and dehumanize them so that others will not step in on their behalf.
Whatever you want to call it, Willie Lynch Syndrome or Cognitive Dissonance, the fact remains that a dishonest picture was projected on US and to US so as to systematically maintain the system of Global White Supremacy. Even those with only the most basic understanding of the slave-breaking process know that families were broken apart and the strongest were savagely beaten and killed so as to instill deep-rooted fear in the other slaves. Both the men and women became tools for breeding, hard labor and perversion only. In order to justify these actions, myths had to be created in regard to how lazy, ignorant, and savage we were supposed to be. That Black Woman could not have raped, because she was so promiscuous and uncontrollably sexual in nature. that Black Man somehow deserved whatever cruel and inhumane treatment he got, because he had to have done something to make it warranted. Even after slavery was sort of abolished, laws would be put in place that would reinforce those standards for at least another 100 years. Sadly many of those attitudes still permeate how we view things today. #MikeBrown somehow deserved to be shot six times, somehow #TamirRice and #JohnCrawford did something to deserve being shot on sight, and #DanielHoltzclaw was able to get away with repeatedly raping at least 12 Black Women-before he finally did it to the wrong one. Even while on trial, the defense still focused their efforts to save his freedom by painting the picture of these Whorish, Drug-Addicted, Low Class Black Women. But let me not get off of the main point.
Today those same ideals run rampant like never before in the age of big media. It has always been happening; but now the tools to push that agenda cast so much wider of a net. From music to television and movies, the images of the irresponsible and slightly coonish Black Man and the angry-but fragile vindictive Black Woman is pushed on us Seven Days A Week and 24 Hours A Day. Ever wonder why we can make an infinite number of movies, songs and social media posts about killing each other and disrespecting each other; but make a comment against others and it will be immediately attacked. We can be a million punks, bitches and hoes-but rarely ever Kings and Queens. Movies and music with true substance can win awards and gain critical acclaim; but you won't see or hear about them on mainstream radio and television. How many movies and sitcoms show a happy Black Couple working together for the greater good? Meanwhile sneaky, conniving, angry and over the top Black characters dominate the airwaves and movie screens. Black women struggle to persevere, while the Black Man runs off because he wasn't man enough to handle the pressures of real life. And nowadays the storyline goes further to have her eventually fall into the arms of the sensitive, caring and patient "White Knight." Even the characterizations of successful and well to do Black Men usually still have some major character flaw that precludes them from having a full degree of humanity-while at the same time painting the picture that if a man doesn't have all of these shallow material gains to show off, then he is somehow inferior and not worthy of a Black Woman's Love and Commitment. What message does this convey to the Black Man or Woman that has been hurt or disappointed? Rather than learn the lessons required to go forward with our lives, we instead find ourselves blaming each other and no growth occurs. Before long it becomes "these n___as ain't shit," or "these b___hes ain't shit." as a result, most begin to either buy into the pathology of hurting others before we get hurt or closing ourselves off and looking to other races for what we have been programmed into thinking that we can't get from our own. slowly the Black Family Structure declines, fewer Black children are Born (and too many of those born are born into dysfunctional families), and begin to take on the very stereotypes that were once used to justify our oppression. today they don't even have to put much effort into propagating these myths, because we exceed their efforts in our own mindless behavior. Multiple generations blindly accept this as the norm, and subconsciously go out of their way to defend the very system that exploits us.
So HOW DO WE FIX IT???
Self discipline. We must have a code. We must stop supporting the media companies that profit off of this foolishness. Boycott the movies, television shows, and radio shows that put priority on the negative-with little if any regard for balance. Write complaints to these companies and post comments on social media, letting them know that we require them to do better OR ELSE! Demand that radio PROGRAM Directors balance out their playLISTS with more balance. Support those more positive artists and filmmakers. At the end of the day money is the key; and even those with the worst of intentions will adjust to what will keep money coming in. And let's be honest, most of those in positions of power truly think they are giving US what WE want. More importantly, let's take an honest and critical look at how we treat ourselves and each other. NEVER LET ANYONE ELSE DEFINE WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT'S BEST FOR YOU!!! That Black Woman you mistreat is someone's Daughter; and that Black Man is someone's Son. And WE ALL COME FROM THE SAME DIVINE ESSENCE; so let's begin to train our minds to treat each other as such. There is nothing more Beautiful and Powerful as The Children Of The Sun. We are the Fathers and Mothers of Civilization, and The Backbone of All things In Existence. Don't you think it's time for US to get back to acting according to Our True Nature??? The journey won't be an easy one; but the sake of future generations, don't you think fighting this battle is worth it??? P.E.A.C.E.
WRITER'S NOTE: Some will wish to point out the few, and I do mean few, examples of happy Black Families in TV & Movies. But be honest with yourself. They are so outnumbered in reference to those that push more negative narratives of Black Life. Part of Mental Enslavement is to make the minds of the oppressed just be thankful of what little they are allowed to have, and not question why more isn't being done.
"We Respect Nonviolence. But to Sit, And Watch Ourselves Be Slaughtered, Like Our Brother (Martin Luther King), We Must Defend Ourselves. Like Malcolm X Said, By Any Means Necessary."
Last week (December 4, 1969) marked the 46th year since Our Brother Chairman Fred Hampton Sr. was EXECUTED by Chicago Police Officers in a pre-dawn raid. Working in conjunction with The FBI, Cook County State's Attorney Edward Hanrahan sent Fourteen officers to Chairman Fred's apartment on The West Side of Chicago. Officers surrounded the house and immediately fired off an estimated 100 bullets-mostly in the direction of Hampton's bed. When the gunfire stopped, 21 Year Old Fred Hampton & 22 Year Old Mark Clark lay dead. Several other Panther Party members were wounded, and seven were arrested for Attempted Murder. Official Police Reports claimed that there was a shootout, and authorities put out photos of the carnage to the media. Shortly thereafter the photos claiming to show bullets being fired toward the cops were exposed as being nail heads. it would later be confirmed that only one bullet had been fired in the direction of the cops & THAT BULLET WAS FIRED FROM A COPS GUN. Four years later it would be discovered that Chicago Black Panther Party Chief of Security William O'Neal was a paid informant for the FBI, and had not only provided a layout of the apartment-specifically citing the location of Chairman Fred's bed; but had also drugged him in the hours leading up to the raid. Black Panther Party Leaders led Chicago residents on tours through the crime scene to show the corrupt & savage nature in which the Chicago Police Department had enacted the raid (as Police had clumsily left the scene unsecured). After a 1971 break in at a Pennsylvania FBI Office, by The Citizens Commission to Investigate the FBI , over a thousand documents were liberated that confirmed that the Chairman Fred's assassination was part of a larger plan to "expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, and otherwise neutralize" Black Organizations. More specifically to Chairman Fred Hampton, to "Prevent a coalition of militant black nationalist groups" & "Prevent the rise of a messiah who could unify and electrify the militant nationalist movement." At the time of Chairman Fred's death, The FBI had already compiled at least 4,000 pages of reports on him. Chairman Fred was a brilliant organizer and had established community service programs, called "Survival Programs," that included Free Breakfast Programs for the youth, Free Medical Care for the public, and Political Education Classes. The BPP Free Breakfast Program was the model for the State & Federal Sponsored programs that we see today. Most importantly Chairman Fred had successfully brokered a Non-Aggression Pact between several of the cities most powerful gangs, and a "Rainbow coalition" of Black and Puerto Rican youth. Fearing that these street organizations would soon become revolutionary organizations, The FBI initially tried to manufacture tension between The Panthers & Jeff Fort. When that failed, Hampton was marked for assassination. Fred's legacy lives on to this day, not only in the hearts & minds of our consciousness; but in the work of his son Chairman Fred Hampton Jr. And as he said in a comment on an earlier (post) from 2014, "The Cubs are Coming...The Cubs are coming...The Cubs are Coming...The Black Panther Party Cubs are here!"
No One Ever Went To Jail For Chairman Fred's Murder. With the current climate of injustice, political fuckery, and police brutality, we must honor the example set forth by our pioneering Leaders to take up the mantle to teach & mobilize our masses. They must not be allowed to have died in vain.
It takes a special kind of courage to stay connected to our community regardless of wealth or aspirations of power and fame. To truly be an advocate of the fight for equality and justice, you must never allow what you become outside to replace who you are inside. This is the story of Craig Hodges.
"I was never in trouble for drugs, or guns or raping women or anything like that. I just wanted to help my community, and that made me a troublemaker. - Craig Hodges”
Craig Hodges is one of two players (Larry Bird) have ever won three consecutive NBA 3-point shooting contests.
When the Chicago Bulls visited the White House after winning the 1992 NBA Championship, Hodges dressed in a dashiki and delivered a hand-written letter addressed to then President George H. W. Bush, expressing his discontent at the administration's treatment of the poor and minorities. The White House episode was hardly out of character for Hodges, who frequently took advantage of his exposure to champion political causes.
From that meeting began a series of events which ultimately had Hodges out of a job and to this day, has fans of the sport with many unanswered questions.
Shortly thereafter that same year, The Chicago Bulls cut him and he wasn't signed by another team. Actually, he wasn't even invited to camp for any of the remaining 26 teams, either. The Bulls’ position was that he was an aging back-up point guard who could not play defense. The following season they sign two defensive liabilities both of whom did not shoot like Hodges.
Then Head coach Phil Jackson said, "I also found it strange that not a single team called to inquire about him. Usually, I get at least one call about a player we've decided not to sign. And yes, he couldn't play much defense, but a lot of guys in the league can't, but not many can shoot from his range, either (Granderson.)" "Do I think the league had it out for me? You tell me...”
"I was outspoken, but I wasn't disrespectful," he says.” "I played for Tex Winter for four years at Long Beach State," Hodges said. "I knew the triangle offense better than Phil Jackson.”
"No one would take my calls, no one would give me a chance. I went from helping a team win it all, to all of a sudden not being good enough to play for the worst team in the league. Hodges continues, "I asked Jesse Jackson to help me and he wouldn't, I asked Johnnie Cochran to represent me and he wouldn't.”
Hodges also criticized Michael Jordan for not using his fame to draw attention to social and political issues, and said Jordan was "bailing out" for not being politically outspoken.
In 1996, Hodges filed a $40 million lawsuit against the NBA citing the reason they blackballed him was for his association with Louis Farrakhan, criticizing other African-American professional athletes and for his activism.
It is suspect at a minimum that Hodges failed to attract any offers after the 1992 season. In addition, reports of team backing out because of what may have been intimidation and an attempt to blacklist him from the league for his politics. The racial dynamics of the NBA are unusual: 80 percent of the players on the court are black, while 80 percent of the fans in the stands are white (ESPN).
Hodges stood up to the status quo and fought for something he believed in. He further believed in accountability as a professional athlete and an obligation to give back to the community. Our community respects and appreciates the efforts of Hodges and many like him who continue to stand up for justice, equality and social activism. Maybe we may never know truly the motives of the NBA during that time period. However, we should look inside ourselves and demand more when it comes to preservation of our communities. It is our duty. Hodges felt that way, we should too.
One of the Father's of the Black Nationalist Movement, The Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey was born on august 17th 1887 in St. ann's bay, Jamaica. After being involved in Black Nationalist activities at home in Jamaica, Garvey traveled and studied in Central America & London before ultimately ending up in America in 1916 at 29 Years Old. A year earlier he had founded The Universal Negro Improvement association, loosely modeled after the teachings of Booker T. Washington. The goal was to uplift Black People around the world mentally, Physically, Spiritually, Politically, Economically, socially & Beyond. By 1920, The UNIA would boast of having more than 1000 local offices across the globe & would be considered to be by far the largest organized movement of Black People. The centerpiece of the movement was The Black Star Line, a growing fleet of ships designed to foster trade/economic development for the Global Nation of Blacks All Over The World, and to facilitate Repatriation Back To Africa. In a pattern to be seen over & over again in american History, this challenge to the paradigm & philosophy of white supremacy put targets on the back of Garvey & the leadership of the UNIA. Alleged improprieties & errors of inexperience were manipulated to create a criminal indictment, and in 1922 Marcus Garvey was charged with Mail Fraud. Garvey was immediately deported back to Jamaica upon his release from prison, and the movement never recovered from this setback. The Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey would die in London, England on June 10th 1940. Garvey's work was one of two direct precursors to The nation of Islam, and a model for so many others-especially The Black Panther Party. Not included among the quotes you will see below, but probably his most famous, "Black Is Beautiful!" #Salute