This Week's Top 9

  1. Erykah Badu’s Newest Nude Video (339 Readers)
  2. Nude Black Celebrity Women Photos (155 Readers)
  3. Dear Black American Sisters: A Response To @KolaBoof (145 Readers)
  4. Kanye West At Oxford :: Shut Up, New Nigga (131 Readers)
  5. Money, Sex, Male Aggression & More Raped Sisters (57 Readers)
  6. Dear White Women… (42 Readers)
  7. 9 White Women Black History Should Have Avoided On The Elevator (25 Readers)
  8. BDSM: Encounters of the Black Male Submissive Kind (22 Readers)
  9. Another Useless Post About Fucking With No Strings Attatched (21 Readers)
  10. Erykah Badu’s Window Seat: All The Groupthinkers Get Down On The Floor… (19 Readers)

 

The Green DJHTY

Kanye West At Oxford :: Shut Up, New Nigga

Kanye West, Oxford University Museum of Natural History[March 2015]
I’ll take one question. I wanted to vibe off an idea, and then I can riff off of that…they said I’ve got 20 minutes or so, I might go longer.

 

OK, everyone please be completely quiet, because I can literally hear a whisper, and it’ll throw off my stream of consciousness, and when I get my stream of consciousness going that’s when I give the best, illest quotes. Literally, a whisper can throw it off.

 

Today was the first time I realised, If I could have done it again I would have gone to the Art Institute over the American Academy of Art, I would have researched where I could have got the best and the strongest education.

 

And I’m sure this will end up online, so I don’t want to diss anyone at the American Academy, I’m sure it’s equal to the Art Institute of Chicago by now, but at the time I was going I would look around at the work of the class and not feel inspired by the teachers, and I kinda, the idea of being a fine artist, that’s a really difficult profession to get into, to be respected in, to make money at. Maybe the goal for some of the people was just to work at an advertising agency or at a record label.

 

My goal, if I was going to do art, fine art, would have been to become Picasso or greater.

 

That always sounds so funny to people, comparing yourself to someone in the past that has done so much, and in your life you’re not even allowed to think that you can do as much. That’s a mentality that suppresses humanity.

 

Some of you here probably remember the night when the Donda tweets came through me and I started talking about professions that you guys are going into, that seemed they had nothing to do with a rapper. I was talking about a band of thinkers that could remove religion, race, gender, and somehow come together to find solutions for a broken planet.

 

We have the resources as a civilisation to find a utopia, but we’re led by the most greedy and the least noble.

 

What I notice about creatives is that, and one of the reasons why I get into trouble, is, not only do I want to design video games, or make music, or ride bikes, I think one of the most important things to my ability to create so much in the past 30 years is my desire to play sports. I approach creativity like a sport, where if I have a drawing I react just like a jock: LOOK AT THE FUCKING DRAWING RIGHT THERE YEAH!

 

We’re all creatives here, we’re all born artists. Some people are artists of business, some people are artists of composition.

 

We were taught to hide our black fingernail polish and put our head down in the back of the class and not notice out of fear that someone might laugh at one of our ideas – that our idea could become a mockery or a failure in some way.

 

There’s a Bible saying, ‘No weapon formed against me shall prosper’. Recently I’ve been doing interviews and I’ve had to go back to this verse because I don’t think there’s a living celebrity with more weapons formed against them, but I also don’t think there’s one more prosperous. So what weapons have prospered? The smoke and mirrors of other opinions.

 

I was sitting with Steve McQueen, he shot the visuals for All Day 2 days ago, it’s completely different to the Brit awards.

 

So it doesn’t get taken out of context, I’m going to use the word ‘like’. I’m not saying it is, I’m using it as a comparison. So people that want to say ‘Kanye goes to Oxford and tells everyone blah blah blah’. And I’m not telling you this. I’m telling you what I told Steve McQueen in private.

 

What I said was The Matrix is like the Bible of the post-information age.

 

I compared it like, when the hundred guys come at Neo, those are opinions, that’s perception, that’s tradition. Attacking people from every which angle possible. If you have a focus wide and master senseis like Laurence Fishburne and you have a squad behind you, you literally can put the world in slow motion.

 

It’s still February, right? (security guard shakes his head, everyone laughs).

 

By the way, I don’t know the days of the week. I just go to exactly when my appointment is.

 

We’d just look at each other and say, it’s still February. For the sheer mount of work that we were able to put into the world. Some of the stuff had been worked on for years coming, months coming. But nonetheless they came back to back to back to back. Answering every crazy interview question, blocking every shot, catching every rebound. Aside from the right I don’t have to give my opinion publicly about artists, I probably would have been batting 2000. I know that’s incorrect also.

 

This humanity that I talk about, this civilisation that I talk about, this future utopia I talk about…it can only happen through collaboration.

 

I love Steve Jobs, he’s my favourite person, but there’s one thing that disappoints me. When Steve passed he didn’t give the ideas up. That’s kinda selfish. You know that Elon’s like ‘yeah, take these ideas’. Maybe there are companies outside of Apple that could work on them and push humanity forward. Maybe the stock brokers won’t like that, the stock holders wouldn’t like that idea, but ideas are free and you can’t be selfish with them.

 

I think that progression of mind with the advent of a human being named Drake (laughs, smirks, crowd laughs) you know, this idea of holding onto a number 1 spot. And then you get this guy that comes and blows out the water every number 1 of any band ever. Be it me, or Paul McCartney [laughs].

 

I understand that I’m a servant. And with my voice, with my ability to build relationships with amazing people, speak to amazing people. Call Elon Musk out of the blue, or call Obama out of the blue…he calls the home phone, by the way.

 

With that, I have a responsibility to serve. Why do I say the Matrix is like the Bible? What is my definition of the Matrix? [he never answered this].

 

I work with an artist called Vanessa Beecroft, and she bought my daughter some toys.

 

I’d see toys that some people would buy for my daughter and I’d say this toy isn’t quality. I don’t want my daughter playing with this. There’s not enough love put into this, this is just manufactured with the will to sell, and not the will of inspiration.

 

Vanessa is very focused, she’s like my eyes, she’s a piece of my brain. She bought my daughter these three wolves, knowing the whole collection, that it’d play with the song Wolves, and based on this concept. And when my daughter saw these wolves, I’ve never seen her so happy. She was going so crazy, she was grabbing one, she was riding on top of one…I’ve never seen her happier than this moment. That level of happiness seems to be the thing that we’re fighting for every day, that we’re trying to buy back, trying to work for, especially in America.

 

In America people really do wear $3000 shirts. For real. Here and in Stockholm people will be like ‘oh dude, it’s a $3000 shirt’.

 

I’m assuming I’m probably wearing a $2000 shirt but I got it for free from the designer so.

 

We’ve been sold a concept of joy through advertising, through car advertising, through fashion branding. It’s not the concept of time, time with your family, time with your friends, the little time that we do have on earth and what we do with that. It was somehow sold to us through a Gucci bag or something.

 

Time is the only luxury. It’s the only thing you can’t get back. If you lose your luggage – I’m not gonna say the obvious brand of luggage that I’d normally say because I’ve got a meeting with them soon – if you lose your expensive luggage at the airport, you can get that back. You can’t get the time back.

 

It feels like people do everything in life to get this BMW, this Benz, to get this townhome, to get 2.5 kids exactly. One of them has to be small, y’know!

 

And you’re looking for this moment where you sit in your BMW after all the work you’ve done and all the accolades you get, and you somehow think you’re gonna get that level of joy that my daughter had when she received those wolves. And when you’re sitting in traffic in your BMW, it’s something that feels empty. To everyone who reaches that point. This concept of the selfish human, this idea of separation by race, or gender, or religion, or age, or my favourite thing to hate, class.

 

People say it takes a village to raise a child. People ask me how my daughter is doing. She’s only doing good if your daughter’s doing good. We’re all one family.

 

We have the ability to approach our race like ants, or we have the ability to approach our race like crabs.

 

This is a generation that is far less racist – yes, small remnants remain of even thinking of calling something of a racial slur.

 

White people that listen to rap say ‘nigger’…in the privacy of their own home.

 

That idea [racism], has passed. We’ve had The Cosby Show, Obama’s president, Beyonce’s great…that’s passed. But there’s still something you’re taught every day, especially in the UK, and that’s division by class. Our main focus, in my opinion…Imagine a world with no war, and imagine if everyone’s main focus, more so than going out to a club, their main focus was to help someone else.

 

I was joking with an interviewer earlier today…people talk about the number of viewers the Brits get, or the number of viewers the Grammys get. They need to do award shows for the Nobel Peace Prize, but I guess that doesn’t sell as many MasterCard commercials. Oh, I mentioned a brand! [looks disappointed]…I had two things…I was trying to get a flawless victory on my speech! No offence to MasterCard…but that was a big fucking logo in the middle!

 

You guys have been taught, without you knowing, ways to separate yourselves from each other. If you’re separated, you can be easily controlled. If you’re too busy pointing fingers at each other, rather than holding hands, you can’t get anything done.

 

You know, Chris Rock called my album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy…well, Chris Rock and everyone else at every single media publication called My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy the best album of the last 25 years. This only came through collaboration.

 

One of the most memorable things about MBDTF was Nicki Minaj, and the fact that she kicked my ass, on my own song, on one of the best albums…the best album – I’m just saying what the critics said – of the last 25 years. The best album of the past 25 years that I spent a year and a half making, out there. I was exiled from my country, it was a personal exile, but exile. To come back and deliver my magnum opus of a work, and to be outshined…to be beat by a girl, basically.

 

This was necessary. I think it was one of the most important points of working on that album, was to not stop her from her moment because of how good she is. Just think of a comparison, if you think about why did it take so long for the new Yeezys to come out? Why did I have to leave one group and go to another group? Why did that group not want to speak to me? I think the Yeezys I was doing over there were comparable to that Nicki Minaj verse. Because these guys were like ‘we’re worrying about this shoe, we’re gonna put it on this celebrity’. And the head’s son would come and say ‘my favourite shoe is the Yeezy’. And it’s like ‘ahhh, I can’t hear about these YEEZYS anymore!’. Like everyone talking about Nicki’s verse, ‘I can’t hear about this verse anymore!’. It was gonna work for her anyway, but let’s just say that in some way in helped give her exposure. She was able to go on and become a successful, and fly, and run, and dream, and provide. And it was not locked because of my career.

 

One of my biggest Achilles heels has been my ego. And if I, Kanye West, the very person, can remove my ego, I think there’s hope for everyone.

 

When I talk about collaboration and the creative process, the best idea wins.

 

I’m proud of the consistency of the performances I’ve done since I’ve been out here. And it comes from four would-be egomaniacs coming out and being forced to work together. The best lighting guy on the planet, the best staging guy, the best video guy, another staging guy, a guy with a laptop for no reason…To be able to deliver, back to back to back, extremely successful, inspiring, groundbreaking, visual, visceral, creative moments that otherwise would have been challenged. And the kid from Chicago screaming from the top of the stage for 40 minutes in a row. I’ve had to pull that card out a few times. Not particularly screaming, but remember, I will scream.

 

My momma taught me that if I was in a grocery store and I’m by myself and a stranger grabbed my hand, scream at the top of your fucking lungs. If I’m at an awards show and a stranger grabs my hand and they say so we’re going to use these moving lights, or we’re gonna play the music right now before we define the look, or we’re gonna cut the TV cameras in a traditional way. I’ll scream at the top of my fucking lungs.

 

People say I have a bad reputation. I think I’ve got the best reputation in the building. They want you to have a reputation of tucking your black nail polish into your pockets and sitting in the corner of the class, and not fighting for your ideas out of fear of being ridiculed.

 

That’s one of my favourite ones…to be called crazy.

 

I remember when I was young and saw my dad working on computers. And the guy he was working with ended up being a bad guy. And the guys that helped him, that he had the voice to find, didn’t have the same motivation, a high enough skill set to match up to his vision, to his dream, for it to be considered to be a success. But the success is that his successor will be successful in his lifetime. You could say but you are successful. I’m successful in learning about the beauty that is afforded rich people. But in learning that, being brought up, middle class, it’s something that is beating out of my chest. ‘Wait a second, I was middle class, and I didn’t get to see none of this shit!’.

 

Let’s have an NBC telethon moment, and say that beauty has been stolen from the people and is being sold back to them under the concept of luxury!

 

It’s illegal to not wear clothes, and also possibly too cold. That means someone is imposing an idea on you that should legally have to do! Clothing should be like food. There should never be a $5000 sweater. You know what should cost $5000? A car should be $5000. And you know who should work on the car? The people that work on the $500,000 cars. All the best talent in the world needs to work for the people. And I am so fucking serious about this concept that I will stand in front of anyone and fight for it. Because I was 14 and middle class. I know what it felt like to not get what I have.

 

People say to me ‘you’re successful, what are you crying about?’. I’m crying about the people. I’m crying about their daughters. Our daughters, as one family. What good is it. What good is anything that everyone can’t have. Every ism. They think we’re done with racism. What about elitism, what about separatism, what about classism? That’s all.”

 

original transcript here


 

Kanye West really is a long-winded demagogue, yes???

 

I still am not quite sure how I feel about celebrities of entertainment being trumpeted for their views on social ills. I would love to be able to sit here and type that all people should be given the highest amounts of country and platforms to express their opinions. However, if I typed that, it would not be my most authentic opinion. Kanye West is a great entertainer. Although, “Twisted Dark Fantasy” was in no way/shape/form the best album in the last twenty-five years(Ice Cube’s “Death Certificate”, Dr. Dre’s “Chronic”, Outkast’s “Speaker Boxxx/Love Below”, and Tupac’s “Me Against The World” would all have to be considered first), I do feel obligated by objective good tastes to say ‘Ye is a worthy entertainer and musician. However, West has not been someone I would want to go at length on the topics of day in quite sometime, if ever.

 

I know.

 

I know.

 

I know…we all miss that rebellious underdog that on September 2, 2005 in front of a live viewing audience at the Red Cross’ Concert For Katrina Relief announced that George Bush did not care about US Blacks. I know. I miss that guy, my Self. Yet and still, still and yet, that Mr. West has left the building and he has ventured off to some unknown multiverse where terms like “utopia” are allowed in serious political discussions amongst adult age humans. This particular Mr. West, this new Mr. West, lives in his own universe where he is allowed to believe that a multi-million dollar US Black man married to a woman whose family just signed a contract for one-hundred million dollars renewing their reality television series has no problem with race and racism, only class and classism. Yes, the weed in the new negro Mr. West’s dimension must be grown in Martian dust and left to dry under the winds of Venus.

 

Apparently, in this new Mr. West’s sphere of existence, it more of a nod to humility to express a contempt for another artist, not because they studied their craft more, not because they prepared more, not because they took their presence on particularly global platform more seriously, but because they happened to have a vagina.

 

In this new Mr. West’s private galaxy of galaxies, racism does not exist because,”…The Cosby Show, Obama’s president, Beyonce’s great”. In his personal solar system where I am assuming is the only solar energy, this new Mr. West is able to overlook the murder of Mike Mike Brown and the subsequent refusal by the St. Louis County Justice System(yes, I fought very hard not to type,”INjustice” there) to turn over a good bill in the Grand Jury hearing of Darren Wilson as well as the US Federal Department Of Justice closing the case. The new Mr. West’s very own planetary ecosystem, Tamir Rice’s murder by Cleveland Police officer Timothy Loehmann and the city’s interpretation of the events as Tamir’s fault are not considered racist or a factor of race. Quite possibly, St. Louis, Misery nor Cleveland, Ohio exist in the new Mr. West’s exclusive cosmos since he also does not consider the murder of Tanisha Anderson, Droop Myers, Kajieme Powell, or any of the other 302 Black people that were killed by police in the United States in 2014 signs that race based political system and social infrastructure still exists.

 

Maybe the new negro Mr. West is smoking on some of that rare grade Darthmouth air that Shonda Rhimes spoke so highly of.

The Green DJHTY ::

Articles, Posts, Essays, And Media in this category are analyses and frameworks of US Black Media.
The Better You

Organization::The Phukkk Do “Real” Organizers Mean???

Frederick Douglass
Power is the highest object of respect…We pity the impotent and respect the powerful everywhere.

 


The term “organization” may be too abstract for a number of people, and for a number of reasons. When people use the term,”organization”, it often times is too abstract. What does OWL mean by “abstract”?

 

By abstract, I mean to convey that the term is more of a thought, a set of ideas(or ideals), a summation of notions, and even possibly simply theoretical or not concrete. I understand that in a society such as the United States of America– where critical studies and critical theory tends to weigh much more heavily, or is valued more than actual work or the things being studied “critically”– abstractions, or even “deep thoughts”, give a sense of authority. Many in the academic community tend towards a skewed notion of the objective or even esoteric in description above the visceral and concrete. However, if our goal is often the attempt at objectivity, then the terms we use should actually have concrete feel to them.

 

In the discussion of power and more to the point of my writing, the discussion of power exchange, the use of the term “organization” is more than not viewed in a lofty manner. What resonates most with me with regards to the term “organization”, is constituency. Power itself can be easily misunderstood when written or spoken, read or heard. The word,”influence”, tends to be a better substitute if the idea or goal is to share and spread understanding that will goad multitudes to action. What I believe causes the term “constituency” to work for me best is its underlying notion of collective support. Power, or influence, demands a demonstration to be weighed and measured. Power, or influence, demands a demonstration to have value. To move groups of people towards a common goal, it is often necessary to have already moved a group of people towards a common goal.

 

An organization does not have to be the size of the United States, or any nation for that matter, in order to be classified as an organization. If we look at the word “organization”, and see sitting at the front of it waving at us like a familiar face after time apart for attention is the word, “organ”. An organ is a small set of cells acting together to form a disparate unit of the body with a particular function. That organ is a part of a collective set of organs, an organization we call the human body. The human itself is an organization. So above, so below.

 

Rules For Radicals, Saul D. Alinsky(1971)
It is impossible to conceive of a world devoid of power; the only choice of concepts is between organized and unorganized power. Mankind has progressed only through learning how to develop and organize instruments of power in order to achieve order, security, morality, and civilized life itself, instead of sheer struggle for physical survival. Every organization known to man, from government down, has had only one reason for being–that is, organization for power in order to put into practice or promote its common purpose.

 


 

In the protest literature, and the radical literature, and the revolutionary literature, we are giving this principle that informs us that mobilization efforts demand organizing efforts to be effective for long lasting power, or influence, convergence. In other words, in order to truly change a group of people from being influenced by one set of thoughts for a long enough time to be considered an actual change, that group of people need to be given roles in a group not just a place to stand, march, or wave gun/sign/banner for a couple of hours before dispersing. Organizing is the process of building an organization. An organization is simply a group of people who have agreed to use their own individual strengths, talents, influences, resources, and abilities to function as one unit with a common goal.

 

As simple as that might seem in the reading or hearing, it is a concept that gets lost in translation just as easily as it seems to be understood theoretically. And why not? Work is involved. The Black Church is a collective of people that come together and submit their individual strengths, talents, influences, resources, and abilities for a common goal. The Bloods and the Gangster Disciples(or Growth & Development) are a collective of people that come together and submit their individual strengths, talents, influences, resources, and abilities for a common goal. Some might wish to render or parse what I just wrote there as an oversimplification, but I would retort and rebut they are of that thought collective that wishes for discussions of this nature to be overly complicated as if Avril Lavigne had written a hit song about them before.

 

Black Power, Kwame Ture & Charles Hamilton
The point is obvious: black people must lead and run their own organizations. Only Black people can convey the revolutionary idea–and it is a revolutionary idea–that Black people are able to do things themselves. Only they can help create in the community an aroused and continuing black consciousness that will provide the basis for political strength. In the past, white allies have often furthered white supremacy without the whites involved realizing it, or even wanting to do so. Black people must come together and do things for themselves. They must achieve self-identity and self-determination in order to have their daily needs met.

 


 

Yet, the theory should not be conveyed in complicated terms or abstractions. As painfully disruptive as my own family ties are(definitely another post at another time!!!), I do recognize that the family is an organization. It does bear that someone needs to organize, or bring to the table voiced goals, and communicated agreements that cannot be confused or obfuscated, in order for that organization to be organized in a more sophisticated manner. However, the family is an organization. Everyone’s constituency is not going to be the same size, nor does it have to be. Loyalty to the common goals, common purposes, common visions, and common interests is typically the life blood of the organized group; not just it’s quantifiables. There is a reason why those that measure social economics use the family, or the “household”, as a unit for wealth or poverty. There is also a reason why breaking up families in US Slavery was not just an occurrence of the market, but also a function of the institution of US Slavery.

 

Let me wrap this up, I really did not mean to do this much typing on this subject…

 

In the book, Bible, in the Old Testament, there is a story about a woman, a handmaid(which is just a nice way of saying, “slave”), who has been abused and decides to flee the home of her baby’s father and his wife, her former master, with her newborn. According to the Quran, the story goes, that while suffering dehydration, Hagar runs up and down several times between two sizeable hills in search for water. In her desperation, she looks down to see her son. Ishmael is playing by a stream of water. I often use this tale to demonstrate how US Blacks, especially US Black Women, can go through so many obstacles searching for a thing, and that thing be right there.

 

Organizing does not have to be a difficult thing in the understanding. Group building is a fairly organic process. If I am to go by most numbers on the subject, most humans are extroverts and bound by nervous conditioning to seek social settings and to belong to groups. Most of us seeking to demonstrate social responsibility in an effective and lasting way might ask ourselves, “Where do we begin to organize? Where do we start with the establishing of organization?” The best question posed in this arena could quite easily be: how do we better organize the organizations we are already a part of?

 

And, sure, that is another set of words, sentences, paragraphs, and organized thoughts for another time…

The Better You ::

Articles, Posts, Essays, And Media in this category are discussions designed to provide self-improvement, self-reflection, and self-awareness
Mike Brown Notes

#MikeBrownNotes :: Heroics, Intoxications, And Understanding

I think it has to be written that much of the response to the murder of Mike Brown is under immense duress. Unlike many other contemporary socio-political movements, much of the protesting is occurring in the face of the very same police department that the perpetrator worked for. Nobody ever organized a protest in front of George Zimmerman’s home. The protest outside of the major districts of Wall Street were shut down fairly rapidly. The same police department that reacted to a seventeen year young boy headed to college with ten bullets and then reacted to the residential outcry with a small paramilitary force and tear gas are the very same people these protesters have to face on a daily and on-going basis. With that, I am very understanding of certain more than human counteraction.

 

(Yeah, OWL still sucks with the friendly disclaimers…anywho…let’s go…)

 

Seriously, alright, we are dealing with, once again, a murdered teenager. Yet, another young Black teenager shot several times by US “law enforcers”. The difference in this case is just how close the quarters between citizens and pigs during protest phases has been. There is a sense that Darren Wilson will not be indicted. A great logical conclusion that I can only muster up a small portion of doubt of occurring and that would only be for the sake of advocating devils. I do not think Darren Wilson will be arrested for the brutal murder of Mike Mike Brown. I am not the only person that thinks this, I just happen to be lucky enough to be too many miles away from home to have to deal with protesting for a goal I know will never manifest. For those that are not as lucky as me presently, that has to be a very painful bit of cognitive dissonance to wrestle with. What do you do when there is no way in the world your best efforts could possibly yield you the desired results?

 

I worry about the instant gratification of social media during all this. In the initial three days prior to Daddy Obama’s two or three sentences that were not about ISIL/ISIS, most of those protesting and offering uploaded footage seemed to not want to be identified. Even after Mike Mike’s St. Louis transformed into Obama’s Ferguson, most of the protesters wore shirts and masks over their face before tear gassing hours. Initially, even the social media presence felt secondary, even tertiary. Those few days after Mike Mike’s execution was such a dynamic occurrence that even if a person was in communication with those on the ground in St. Louis, you were still disconnected from much of what was happening. People simply could not update the events fast enough. Then came the media frenzy, more tear gas, and then Kajieme Powell.

 

A lot of people make the comment that they are protesting daily to prevent another Mike Brown, and yet another Mike Brown was murdered not to far from Mike Brown’s murder scene and not too long afterwards. Those in that area have to feel an epic level of fear and a tremendous blow to their overall resolve. Two relatively young Black persons shot multiple time by the police within a three mile radius with no public reprimands in either incident. How do you cope with that if you are a protester attempting to make some sort of sense out of all this? While you are getting hit with rubber bullets and tear gas cannisters, the police are still taking lives while the news crews are still looking for their pulitzer in the streets of Obama’s Ferguson? I cannot personally write that I know what that feels like.

 

There is a heroic quality to those that appear regularly at these protest sites, and yet I fear getting too close. I fear my gaze and them being too aware of my observing them with cause them to act differently. I assume that my apprehension here is a bit delusional, and that it is way too late for that. The sheer enormity of the measure is too magnetic for media to avoid. A livestream documentation here, a Twitter stream of rebroadcasted images there. To be in Obama’s Ferguson from a distance seems like being in a fish bowl. I would imagine from time to time the psycho-chemical blends of ennui from no arrest coupled with the potential instant gratification of social media and possibly an actual media van pulling up can be intoxicating.

 

I am not so sure intoxicated responses to life are prudent on such a precarious protest site.

Mike Brown Notes ::

Articles In This Category Relate To The Mike Brown Forever Movement And The Ferguson Protesters
Nude Black Women

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Vanessa Williams Nude Black Celebrity Women Photos

 

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Vanessa Williams - Nude Black Celebrity

Vanessa Williams - Nude Black Celebrity

Vanessa Williams - Nude Black Celebrity

Vanessa Williams - Nude Black Celebrity

 

Tyra Banks Nude Black Celebrity Women Photos

 

Tyra Banks - Nude Black Celebrity

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Tyra Banks

 

Traci Bingham – Nude Black Celebrity

 

Traci Bingham - Nude Black Celebrity

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Toni Braxton - Nude Black Celebrity

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Tocarra Jones

 

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Taraji Henson

 

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Stacey Dash

 

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Rihanna

 

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Paula Jai Parker

 

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Pam Grier

 

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Nicki Minaj

 

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Monifah

 

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Lil Kim

 

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Lil Kim

Lil Kim

Lil Kim

 

K. Michelle

 

K. Michelle

 

Kelly Rowland

 

Kelly Rowland

 

Joseline Hernandez

 

Joseline Hernandez

Joseline Hernandez

Joseline Hernandez

Joseline Hernandez

Joseline Hernandez

Joseline Hernandez

Joseline Hernandez

Joseline Hernandez

Joseline Hernandez

 

Jody Watley

 

Jody Watley

Jody Watley

Jody Watley

 

Jill Scott

 

Jill Scott

Jill Scott

 

Janet Jackson

 

Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson

 

Iman

 

Iman - Nude Black Celebrity

Iman - Nude Black Celebrity

 

Gina Torres

 

Gina Torres

Gina Torres

 

Garcelle Beauvais

 

Garcelle Beauvais

Garcelle Beauvais

Garcelle Beauvais

Garcelle Beauvais

Garcelle Beauvais

Garcelle Beauvais

 

Gabrielle Union

 

Gabrielle Union

Gabrielle Union

Gabrielle Union

 

Foxy Brown

 

Foxy Brown

Foxy Brown

Foxy Brown

Foxy Brown

Foxy Brown

 

Eva Pigford

 

Eva Pigford

Eva Pigford

Eva Pigford

Eva Pigford

Eva Pigford

Eva Pigford

 

Erykah Badu

 

Erykah Badu

Erykah Badu

Erykah Badu

 

Downtown Julie Brown

 

Downtown Julie Brown

Downtown Julie Brown

Downtown Julie Brown

Downtown Julie Brown

 

Debra Wilson

 

Debra Wilson

Debra Wilson

 

Amber Rose

 

Amber Rose

Amber Rose

Amber Rose

Amber Rose

Amber Rose

Amber Rose

Amber Rose

Amber Rose

Amber Rose

Amber Rose

Amber Rose

Amber Rose

Amber Rose

Amber Rose

Amber Rose

Amber Rose

Amber Rose

Jill Scott Nude

Jill Scott Nude

Amber Rose

Amber Rose

Amber Rose

Amber Rose

Amber Rose

Amber Rose

Amber Rose

Amber Rose

Nude Black Women ::

Articles, Posts, Essays, and media in this category are discussions about Black Media images of Black Women and Nudity
The Green DJHTY

Erica Caines’ “All In Love Is Fair” :: A Critique Of Sorts

Erica Ryan Caines
Words reside in my spirit, entangle my mind and captivate my imagination…I live for words. I live through words.

 


 

Every now and again a body of work comes across the Desk of Asylum that reminds me of those written works that initially sparked my own word wielding. What I liked most about this particular bit of inspiration is that it dealt with love. And yes, romantic love, eros. And I think the brilliance of Ms. Caines’ work is that she embodies it in such a fashion as it does not feel overly saturated and oozing with awkward sentiment. It does not read like a book of poems about a love I have never felt. The words reflect a love and an infatuation with a person like the ones I have felt. For that reason Erica’s writing stands out.

 

I do not want to cover every piece in her 71 paged book, you should do that for yourself! However, I do wish to highlight three of her poems. The book is divided into three sections of work. The first section is entitled,”Amor Incipit”, and here are the words of one the pieces from that section that stand out to me:

 

Erica Ryan Caines
A hidden interest only shared with the stale pages of a
long kept notebook
Desires I can’t ever seem to be able to overlook
My pen knows my thoughts all too well
Gossipping on yellow tinted pages, anxious to tell.

 

Details about the makings of you.
Your structured suits and silk ties in vast shades of
blue.
Your eyes; the clearest shade of brown

 

How my world seems to stop motion whenever you
come around
My pen and I tell those pages things we wouldn’t dare
share with anyone else
Those surreptitious moments I try to keep to myself.
Like the bit of joy I get from our everyday exchanges
and smile
Followed by a silent prayer for you to stay awhile
I could never let you know any of this, you see
So instead, this is a well kept secret between myself, my
pen and my diary

 


 

I enjoyed the wording here. Mainly the line,”the clearest shade of brown.” As a Black man, it is one of those details you don’t get to read often. Not too many people in my life have described my eyes as having a clear anything!!! I also was moved to draw a line under the words,”Gossiping on yellow tinted pages…”, which for me was just a great usage of framing in a space more prone to sentimental musings. I have never read or heard anyone considering their private writings in books dedicated to private writings as “gossiping”. But the notion is not lost on me either! It is a rich detail that I have grown fond of while reading Erica’s work.

 

Erica Ryan Caines
At the edge of a cliff staring at what’s awaiting not
scared of the results terrified of the journey vowing to
wait for me vowing to stay with me
I trust in your word.
A true feat.
I leap…
I fly against the breeze Arms stretched out, free-falling
Fear escapes me
Thoughts surround me Wondering if at this very
moment
I feel what you feel.
Vowing to wait for me
Vowing to stay with me
I take comfort in your words
A true feat.
Finally
Only you, I agree to fall for No longer suspended in air
Suspended in this moment
No more anxiety
Safe…within love

 


 

Found in the second section of her book, entitled, “FreeFall,” is one of those poems I enjoyed due to the topic it dealt with and the manner in which it was dealt. In much of the poetry I have been exposed to, the issue of love, especially romantic love is such a binary. Here is a piece that deals with the middle ground, that flux, the initial stages of being vulnerable enough to let go. It is aptly titled by the metaphor and imagery of a free-fall. The risks of sacrificing one’s emotional space are depicted as the edge of a cliff, or at least that which one might meet staring down, anyway! And it resonates. I enjoy her logic here. The idea that love, yes, romantic love, can also be a choice. The poem’s clear statement through the vivid images is that the speaker is making a dedicated and conscious choice to trust someone(“I trust in your word”) and to release themselves, so to speak, into that trust. Which as the phrase “fall in love” is typically used to state the opposite. Normally, the idea of “falling in love” is this unconscious and overly emotional sentiment; yet, Erica invites us to view it as a choice, still a leap and “a true feat”, but a choice, nonetheless.

 

Erica Ryan Caines
He tried to be something he wasn’t
I tried to be something he wanted
Entrapped in lust,
Disheveled by love.
Love, such an awkward multifaceted term
A magic fix, something earned
Battered by the effort
Hypnotized by the comfort
Strangers dressed up as lovers
Raw emotion surfaces under covers
Passions streaming towards each other
Drawn to each other
Magnetic forces camouflaged as fate
A straining hardship to keep the faith
Nothing more than a lie…

 


 

In the last and final section of Erica’s “All In Love Is Fair”, “Amor Desinit”,she escorts us through the finality of a relationship, the bitterness, and the more than philosophical ruminations of exactly what “love” in its romantic notions–and possibly the romance itself– should be or might be. One of my favorite pieces in this section(I actually had a hard time picking one from this section–go figure), is entitled,”Fabrication”. In it, Erica’s opening lines work their way like a sharp glass clawing through my mental membranes.

 

“He tried to be something he wasn’t/I tried to be something he wanted”

 

It is a haunting depiction of a romantic entanglement, but like much of her writing in this book, it is aided by the comfort of resonance. The idea that I am attempting to stress about her work is just how blatant the economy of it is. After reading that first line, I wanted to say,”ouch” for the brother! No overly dramatic metaphor was needed there. Just an acute, candid, and well phrased insight. Her vulnerability is extended through this one as she admits to a romance based more on physical compatibility than that “awkward multifaceted term”. The title of the poem is given its double entendre quality by the expression,”Raw emotion surfaces under covers”. Fabric-ation indeed.

 

Erica Caine’s “Love” is not the fantasy romance poetry. It is not quasars and lofty metaphors built on space ships. It is the real thought process coded in the verbal economy of poetry of a Black Woman intentionally inviting a Black Man into her exclusive and protected emotional space. Even as a budding poet, this being her first collection of poetry to meet print, I still was put in the mind of Lucille Clifton while reading her work. Erica Caine is a witty, edgy, honest, and serious poet. I have thoroughly enjoy interacting with her words in this collection.

The Green DJHTY ::

Articles, Posts, Essays, And Media in this category are analyses and frameworks of US Black Media.
Mike Brown Notes

Crucial Race Theory

The title of my post, Crucial Race Theory, is a play on critical race theory, which, according to Wikipedia, is “an academic discipline focused upon a critical examination of society and culture, to the intersection of race, law, and power”. Critical race theory holds that white supremacy is maintained over time and that the law has something to do with it, and works at achieving racial equity and anti-subordination.

 

What happened on Saturday, January 24, 2015 at Forsyth and Central in Clayton, MO must be seen through the lens of racial, social, and cultural history. Our actions, behaviors and thoughts are shaped by our past and our environment, and this is the context we must bring in order to understand what we see, and often do.

 

There are people who insist we are all the same. Then why do some have such a different experience of the world, and they happen to be black? So the inferiority and pathology explanations fill the void, in their understanding of the world.

 

Two friends of mine, using their right to free speech, attempted to unfurl a “Ferguson Is Everywhere” banner at the pro-police rally at St. Louis County Police Headquarters. One, Misty, is dark and heavy. The other, Elizabeth, is petite and may be seen as “white”.

 

As they tried to keep the banner unfurled, a tussle ensued. I was standing right there. I did not see any punching, or kicking, or spitting, anything like that. Here’s the video of that portion of the incident:

 

 

Between being egged on by the crowd, and trying to decide between physically abusing a small white woman or the larger black woman, the police appeared to tire of the scene, and grabbed Misty. They sort of trip-dumped her to the ground, and then marched her away by neck-hold. The neck-hold appeared to be quite painful and unwarranted. (The whole “arrest” seemed unwarranted.)

 

After they got past the kiosk and at the car, I was able to get more video. Here’s that one:

 

 

So, to be didactic about it, we have a rally in which 100% of the people roaring for the police on scene are white. Most of the law enforcement officers are white. By putting their hands on Misty, the police relied on past custom and historic power relations among ethnic groups. By inflicting pain on her, they make her anonymous and singled out, simultaneously. She is hurt. She is in trouble. And the voices bay even louder.

 

This is why we hammer “Black Lives Matter” and bat down “All Lives Matter”. This is one incident of degradation that can be analyzed and understood through “crucial” race theory. This involves empathy, the ability to see something from the viewpoint of another, writ larger.

 

People are treated differently, in part of a hierarchy of privilege that, admittedly, is in flux, waxing and waning and intersecting according to context and milieu. However, white supremacy still generally rules the day. Though socially complex, a pro-police rally such as this one is pretty easy to understand ON THE GROUND. It’s one of the ironies of street showdowns involving generations of history and cultural practice. No one is in favor of chaos and disorder.

 

Would the crowd have cheered so lustily if the police had treated any of the pro-police folks that way? Would the struggle with police have been as violent had they chosen to drag off Elizabeth? If you don’t know the answers, you don’t get it. Do get it. Black lives matter.

Mike Brown Notes ::

Articles In This Category Relate To The Mike Brown Forever Movement And The Ferguson Protesters
Spoiler Alert

Tetsuo and Youth: A Dictionary-esque Album Review

Lupe Fiasco:

 

(noun) a West Chicago raised, enigmatic, often polarizing, skateboarding, ever-ranting, rapping rubix cube.

 

Tetsuo and Youth:

 

(noun) Lupe Fiasco’s 5th studio album, named such because Fiasco “likes the way it sounds.”

 

 

Stand Out Tracks

 

Mural-

 

a hook-less, 8:45 epic poem accompanied by angelic voices and repetitive keys, Mural could very well be a stream of consciousness freestyle that can stunningly hold the attention of any fan of lyrical mastery.

 

Prisoner 1 & 2 (featuring Ayesha Jaco)-

 

a cinematic pairing of strings and keys in 2 distinct movements where the perspectives of an inmate and CO are exposed. Briefly interrupted by rattling chains, a poem entitled “The New Jim Crow”, and screeching crows, Prisoner 1 & 2 paints an eerie description of how mass incarceration tragically alters the psyches of those employed by prisons and those behind bars.

 

“Love is looking over various errors/And hate is habitually accelerating terror/ Everywhere but the mural/ I just wanna be collected when I call god damn/ I don’t wanna be accepted; not as all as I am/ Visitor, visitor, prisoner, prisoner, land.”

 

Chopper (featuring Billy Blue, Buk of Psychodrama, Trouble, Trae tha Truth, Fam-Lay, & Glasses Malone)

 

a gritty banger outlining Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (Physiological, Safety, Love/Belonging, Esteem, Self Actualization) from a hood/impoverished perspective.

 

“That’s why I look at God kinda odd/ Cuz these are the cards that he deal us/ Ramen can’t fill us/ Medicaid can’t heal us/and the mamas can’t stop us/and these choppers might kill us.”

 

Deliver (featuring Ty Dolla $ign)-

 

Deliver oozes over a sizzling bass line and examines the root causes of violence, drug addiction, and urban decay that have led to the specific refusal of pizza chains to deliver to urban neighborhoods.

 

“The ghetto is a physical manifestation of hate and a place where ethnicity determines your placement/a place that defines your station/reminds you niggas your place is the basement/white people in the attic/niggas sellin’ dope/white people is the addicts/white folks act like they ain’t show us how to traffic/all that dope to China ya’ll don’t call that trappin.’”

 

Madonna (And Other Mothers in the Hood) (featuring Nikki Jean)

 

Just as Mary lost Jesus on the cross, Madonna captures the unmitigated grief and unanswered questions of mothers who have lost children to violence in the streets.

 

“They sent them all to the slaughter/ Baby mama, no father/ He was hanging round them murderers/ And them prostitutes and them robbers, yeah/ Them dope fiends and that water, yeah/ Wit’ angel dust in they nostrils, yeah/ They hit em up wit’ that chopper/ She was holdin’ him, in her hands/ Just like Stigmata, yeah/ Said you gon’ live here forever/ Salvation and treasure/ You gon’ live here forever, yeah/ Died like Ricky on his mama couch/ Right there in his mama house/ Only child, the holy mama’s your mama now/ Mama said my son never been no killer/ Mama said my son never been no gangster/ No drug dealer, no gang member/ Mama said my son never been no trouble/ Mama said my son never been no trouble.”

 

Final Thoughts

 

Mighty:

 

(adjective) great in amount, extent, degree, or importance; exceptional. “Tetsuo and Youth” is singularly one of the most complete studio albums released in recent years.

Necessary:

 

(adjective) being essential, indispensable, or requisite. From its acrylic on canvas cover art to the odes to double entendre, symbology, and subtleties not seen since “Food and Liquor I” and “The Cool”, Fiasco has created a kaleidoscopic observation of urban violence, racial profiling, mass incarceration, lust, depression, and the possibilities of growth and redemption.

 

Complete:

 

(adjective) having all parts or elements; lacking nothing; whole; entire; full. This album is a tapestry of thought provoking subject matter and stellar production that can only be described as cohesive abstraction.

Spoiler Alert ::

Articles, Posts, Essays, and Media in this category are reviews about movies, music, books, and television shows.
The Better You

On Accessibility In Writing

So, I was talking to someone today and the topic of accessibility came up with regard to OWL’s Asylum. The idea of accessibility with regard to writing is that the writing is capable of being understood. Understanding, of course, is the key word there and the point of contention because it is the most subjective aspect. People understand in different ways. That understanding is not solely based on their interactions with particular symbols like words that they know the meaning of, but also how they know the meaning of that word, how deeply they have considered how or when people apply or use that particular word, and even that word’s texture or feel, it’s rhythm as well as its connotations. So, understanding is not just about a level of socialization whereby a person has been taught the function of a particular word in society, but also how that word once given life actually functions in society.

 

Let me say this:

 

All lessons come with an admixture of pain. If it is an actual lesson. If one has actually learned a thing, has developed a full context of conscious awareness about something that also informs(or possibly awakens) subconscious connections allowing for a gut level reaction with a new found accuracy, then they have will have undergone a certain degree of pain to get there. Learning should be difficult. Building muscles is painful; sure, it feels good, and the results tend to be attractive to everyone, but the process is the endurance of pain. In the same way one builds physical endurance in order to build physical strength, one has to embrace the cognitive dissonance associated with developing a new understanding and codifying new symbols of information to memory. The best analogy I can think of for this to be conveyed best is the difference between the free gym and the gym with a monthly subscription fee. No matter which gym you go to, whether you spend no money or hundreds of dollars on a gym with your own personal trainer and a nigga to come and wipe the sweat off of your brow, if you do not have the initial strength and discipline to utilize that gym for its purposes, its level of accessibility means nothing much. If you do not have the discipline and a few core understandings, or a desire to learn them, then no matter the layers I write with or the price I place on the writings will matter.

 

Now, for me, Asylum is mainly free. I have charged for e-books in the past, and I got an advance check for some research that lead me to being a co-author of a published textbook. However, most of what I do that really has had impact, I did not charge for. In that way, my writing is accessible. I also attempt to convert much of what I read into a vernacular more common to those that I interact outside of the US academic mind space. In this way, sure, one still needs to be willing to at least google a few words I use here and there, but I have for the most part already parsed the symbols(words) used to convey the understanding or the logic into code(language) the majority of my readers will have familiarity with. Accessibility has to be defined as something that respects levels of prior attainment, with also a respect for lack of attainment elsewhere. A person do not have to have spent one hundred thousand dollars on an education to read OWL’s Asylum; they just probably would have needed to read the books that come with a one hundred thousand dollar education.

 

Or the desire to.

The Better You ::

Articles, Posts, Essays, And Media in this category are discussions designed to provide self-improvement, self-reflection, and self-awareness
Inspiration

The What Niggaz && The Who Niggaz

The What Niggaz and Who Niggaz have to come together

The What Niggaz are the Niggaz that mastered What Training

   They Became, Whats.

The Who Niggaz are the Niggaz that mastered Who Training;

   They Became, Whos.

What Niggaz greet each other with,”What Are You?”

Who Niggaz greet each other with,”Who Are You?”

Some Who Niggaz also mastered What Training,

    But The What Niggaz that did not master Who Training

       Do not like to let those Who What Niggaz have their own What.

Some What Niggaz also mastered Who Training,

    But The Who Niggaz that did not master What Training

       Do not like to let those What Who Niggaz have their own Who.

But All Niggaz, both Who and What alike come from Nigga.

And all people that come from Nigga have Ofay as Foes.

And Ofays like to remind What Niggaz what they are.

And Ofays like to remind Who Niggaz who they are.

But What Niggaz do not like being reminding Who Niggaz are what.

But Who Niggaz do not like being reminding What Niggaz are who.

A What Nigga was running away from a fight,

    A Who Nigga called that What Nigga a coward.

A Who Nigga was running away from a fight,

    A Who Nigga called that Who Nigga by who that nigga was.

A Who Nigga was applying for a job from a What Nigga,

    A What Nigga asked that Who Nigga what that nigga was.

A What Nigga was applying for a job from a Who Nigga,

    A Who Nigga asked that What Nigga who he knew.

The What Niggaz and Who Niggaz have to come together

The What Niggaz are the Niggaz that mastered What Training

    They Became, Whats.

The Who Niggaz are the Niggaz that mastered Who Training;

    They Became, Whos.

What Niggaz greet each other with,”What Are You?”

Who Niggaz greet each other with,”Who Are You?”

Some Who Niggaz also mastered What Training,

    But The What Niggaz that did not master Who Training

       Do not like to let those Who What Niggaz have their own What.

Some What Niggaz also mastered Who Training,

    But The Who Niggaz that did not master What Training

       Do not like to let those What Who Niggaz have their own Who.

But All Niggaz, both Who and What alike come from Nigga.

And all people that come from Nigga have Ofay as Foes.

And Ofays like to remind What Niggaz what they are.

And Ofays like to remind Who Niggaz who they are.

But What Niggaz do not like being reminding Who Niggaz are what.

But Who Niggaz do not like being reminding What Niggaz are who.

A What Nigga was running away from a fight,

    A Who Nigga called that What Nigga a coward.

A Who Nigga was running away from a fight,

    A Who Nigga called that Who Nigga by who that nigga was.

A Who Nigga was applying for a job from a What Nigga,

    A What Nigga asked that Who Nigga what that nigga was.

A What Nigga was applying for a job from a Who Nigga,

    A Who Nigga asked that What Nigga who he knew.

The What Niggaz and Who Niggaz have to come together

Inspiration ::

Articles In This Category Convey An Sense Of The Uplifting And The Hopeful
The Green DJHTY

Eleven Very Short Thoughts On US Black Media Space

  1. The concern with historical(as well as ahistorical) political narrative is that it often supposes a pattern similar to fiction story.
  2. And in its format(crisis-confrontation/labors/development-resolution), some students might think this is how life resolves itself, too
  3. Systems are often extended through time based on the assumption of secure and infallible processes.
  4. Fairy tales, myths, folklore, and the like present these formats to us, these narratives, and yet much of life works much differently.
  5. Much of the west is saturated in a psychology that presupposes binary realities, characters based not on internals, but externals.
  6. Often our society reduces us to not WHO we are, but what we are, and especially in the USA, what we have obtained.
  7. We often understand the devices used in the thirty minute sitcom, and yet, we still often process like a character of a thirty minute sitcom.
  8. We often tend to seek one method for solution for one problem at a time in an existence where multiple problems ALWAYS persist.
  9. We wish as individuals to be treated outside of the set of our human similarities and yet treat human problems as constants.
  10. Instead of thinking that, “hey, this worked for them it MIGHT work for us,” we tend to say,”this occurred for them it HAS to be the way.”
  11. We are often socialized to assume and presume security in a space defined by its insecurity and lack of permanence.

The Green DJHTY ::

Articles, Posts, Essays, And Media in this category are analyses and frameworks of US Black Media.
The Green DJHTY

Empire As Metonymy For Nigga Rich :: A Semiotic Analysis Of Lee Daniels’ Empire

The use of metaphor and metonymy in symbol creation throughout communication is replete and yet often does not generate much discussion outside of academic trained spaces. In much of media analysis(yeah, that academically trained space), and by extension, Black media analysis, however, the use of metaphor, metonymy, simile, and other semiotic analysis devices are visited quite often. As it is a principle of OWL’s Asylum to make Black Media Analysis as accessible(raw) as possible, I have here discussed the metonymy of the title “Empire” as it is used in a trailer for the upcoming television show on Rupert Murdoch owned 21st Century FOX controlled FOX Television. Within the context of the discussion, I show that the term “Empire” is used less in a political fashion, but as a metonymy for a particular sort of success often displayed in hip hop imagery and storytelling. This particular connection leads me to develop a relationship between the show “Empire” and Starz Inc owned Starz cable station broadcast, also executively produced by Fifty Cent(nee Curtis Jackson), “Power”.

 

 

At the time of this writing, for about three weeks now, there has been a commercial airing for a new show. Due to the show starring one of my favorite actresses, Taraji P. Henson, I have decided to loan the show a few denominations of my attention. The show, “Empire” is executively produced by the same guy that directed “The Butler”, Lee Daniels, and also stars Terrance Howard in the lead role of drug dealer turned music executive, Lucious Lyon. What struck me beyond the show’s very closely related thematic elements with another show executively produced by Fifty Cent about a drug dealer’s rise to power, that so happens to be entitled “Power”, was the use of the term “empire” for the title.

 

The use of the term “Empire” here to express a family business of entertainment as opposed to say, something that could be more akin to an actual empire is noteworthy to me. In many ways, “empire” here sort of suggests metonymy in its associating rulership and the trappings of a dominant imperial conquest with what one might be able to flesh out as the “American dream” in a higher expression of capitalist attainment, but definitely not its highest. It is in this vein that I sort of find the use of the term of “empire” to refer to a successful Black entertainment company troubling. Where shows such as “Game Of Thrones” use terms like “empire” to suggest, well, an empire, the image of US Blacks is much less ambitious in scope. In this sense, the term “empire” here also works as a metaphor for political power; unfortunately, as a symbol communicating such erroneous ideas in a world where Barry Obama cannot be elected president of the United States and also discuss police oversight without having to invite police personnel light years beneath his pay-grade to the White House, I do wish there was a space for a more realistic image of power beyond the consumerist notions found in the average radio rotation heavy trap hop track.

 

It is also very telling, and probably a good time to mention here, that “Empire” as a textual semiotic device, or sign, represents and reflects the ideals of US Black capitalistic success as “power” is used as the title of show in the same genre as(or simply a carbon copy following after the ratings success of) Fifty Cent executively produced along with CBS Television Studios, Mawuli Productions Inc. and Atmosphere Television, “Power”. Once again, we have a show that associates power with the financial success and asset attainment as well as lifestyle of the accomplished street drug dealer turned not so illegal product trading businessman. Where the show “Empire” uses the sign “empire” in a way that is closer to what I would define as metonymy for the purpose of encompassing the show’s theme quickly, I see the term “power” used in the Fifty production a little differently. The main character of Fifty’s show, James “Ghost” St. Patrick (played by actor Omari Hardwick), is the symbol for Fifty Cent in some ways. The nightclub owner that happens to also be a drug dealer in the space of the fictitious New York urban scene seems extremely close to the iconography Fifty Cent uses for his own personal branding. The term “power” as a title also extends itself to connect aspects of Fifty’s personal branding, specifically how it ties Fifty’s written products, the book coauthored with “48 Laws Of Power” writer, Robert Greene, named, “The 50th Law”. By implication, this would make the book about Fifty Cent (nee Curtis Jackson), the 50th law of power. This, of course, works in the same overall container for me concerning US Blacks and the idea of power versus US Whytes. Robert Greene’s “48 Laws of Power” is a discussion of spies, military leaders, and their exploits; the idea of power here tends to be the type wielded by the heads of state. So, there is this connection and association with US Blacks and “power” as well as “empire” that tends to be less political, and while definitely financial, just more consumerist.

 

 

Consumerism is not the only term I can think of to describe the notion of power and empire exemplified through the show. It would be remiss of me as a Black media analyst to not consider bell hooks’ framework of Whyte patriarchal capitalism here. Both shows make a certain implication about male figures as head of the “throne” so to speak. Both shows are almost long form hip hop videos in that regard, with the show “Empire” even having the “bitter” US Black woman who “does what she has to” in order to feed her children which causes her to be incarcerated. This is a theme we’ve visited more than once in the history of US Black media, and it does not seem to be straying too far from the cliché of the urban Black female trope. I also add here simply to be in alignment with the Whyte patriarchal capitalism part that “Empire” airs on FOX(owned by 21st Century Fox which is still headed by the world-renown Rupert Murdoch),at the time of this writing, and “Power” is entering its second season on Starz network(owned by Starz Inc, whose CEO is Chris Albrecht and partly owned by The Weinstein Company[this can be found on the corporate website here]). Neither media company even remotely owned by US Blacks, but like the themes of both shows, Whyte controlled US Black media images are pretty much the going cliché.

The Green DJHTY ::

Articles, Posts, Essays, And Media in this category are analyses and frameworks of US Black Media.
Mike Brown Notes

#MikeBrownNotes :: The Believing Community of 2014

When I worked at World News in Clayton I heard horror stories for years from customers just out of the St. Louis County Jail, which was two blocks south of the store. Upon their release, many would find their way to the convenience store on the corner where they would get candy and cigarettes. Someone was jailed for weeks for parking tickets. An ill woman spent three days in jail because nobody had $200. Things like that. These two persons were black.

 

Was it really true? Could these things happen to Americans in the 21st century? Certainly, they’re leaving something out, I thought. We are notified almost daily that these things and worse do happen. I had protested only once before, in early 2003, in the run-up to the (predicted) disastrous Iraq War. It lasted one day, a Sunday. I asked my then-wife if she would gather our five-year-old boy and come with me. She declined, so I went alone. I remember liking being part of a multiracial crowd, and that people wearing strange costumes disturbed me.

 

I’m a good deal older than the persons who spurred the rebellion against police brutality and racism in St. Louis in 2014. I had consciously given up on fighting the world as I found it, and retreated into a world of watching, listening to, and writing about Major League Baseball, specifically the hometown St. Louis Cardinals.

 

My conscience prodded me to protest, however. The militarized response to unrest on W. Florissant Avenue was not a good introduction to its practice. That scared me. The sight of MRAP’s and snipers was a major deterrent. I couldn’t fathom it going well over there, but the mere notion of police pointing guns at citizens in the street simultaneously enraged me.

 

I went to a gym populated mostly by blacks and got a lot of bad looks one day. I was already in a mood. CNN was on in the locker room. I said something against cops, loudly. I received quizzical looks from the men around me. I became hyperaware of my own whiteness and my apparent “cop-ness” and left. It was at that time I determined I had to get down to W. Florissant. I never would have been out there had the young adults not withstood the test; had not defied the state’s attempt to bully protesters into submission.

 

I wondered, how are they different from me? What are their lives like? Some lives are, at times, harrowing. A young man was threatened where he stayed by a baseball bat-wielding homeowner. Another woman stays with friends or at hotels for short durations. I know a pregnant woman who sometimes goes hungry.

 

You listen more than you might be used to doing. You make some mistakes, which surprise you, because you think you are down. Even if you think you know everything there is to know about race, you don’t.

 

These are the connections I wish to make here. The woman in the hotel? She would excel in college. I think of the education she has given herself this year and believe it would hold up to any other. This woman has flexed her imagination, tested her endurance, traveled, met many people, and expresses a creativity and drive that others notice. She is kind to all. She sets a great example.

 

The people I have met are often very resourceful, ambitious, evince a powerful sense of self, and extremely hard-working. “I need money to do this service.” She finds a way to get it. “I have to get to two meetings tonight.” He stays up ‘til 3 am planning an action.

 

It manifests as indomitable will, but it is augmented by confidence in the future. The young leaders of #Ferguson exhibit a confidence in their own futures that belies the objective data, which is what young people do, in all spheres! They inspire those around them with their energy and their belief in the cause. The young leaders constantly drag the rest of us along with them.

 

I had forgotten how it felt to believe I could get what I want. These folks, many of whom have had fewer opportunities than me, generally don’t give up. “I believe that we will win” is infectious, in a crowd, at night.

 

We’ve struggled with the course of events. We didn’t get an indictment of Darren Wilson for the shooting death of Mike Brown.

 

Brittany and Alexis often say “Let’s get free, y’all.” None of us is free when a policeman shoots an unarmed teenager to death because he is afraid; because his mentality is warped.

 

So I see connections—to our past, in our circumstances—and to our future, through the lives of these people who are supposed to outlive me. Many Americans fret and just wish to be unyoked from this country’s racial legacy. Time is neutral, Martin Luther King reminded us, in his Letter From Birmingham Jail. The young grasped this, and presently attempt to wrest a city toward the future.

 

We’re on a different footing now. We’re at a higher base camp. The summit is not in sight, yet it exists as a vision in the minds of the believing community—the community we made in the summer and fall of 2014.

Mike Brown Notes ::

Articles In This Category Relate To The Mike Brown Forever Movement And The Ferguson Protesters
Mike Brown Notes

Oprah Cannot Afford The Flight To Ferguson And Other Socio-Political Observations

In a recent interview hosted by People’s Magazine, Oprah Winfrey does something her years as a White Woman’s favored daytime negro do not seem to afford her any expertise is: she gave a socio-political critique and analysis.

 

Her particular critique of a socio-political movement that she has neither funded, visited– or based on her comments– studied was the Mike Brown Forever movement, that global revolt inspiring collective of actions sparked by the protest of residence of Canfield Green apartments in Ferguson, Mo. The billionaire who sold almost half of her brand name and had to hire Madea to come help her buy it back seems to have forsaken years of study of political actions and any experience on the ground. Her entry point into this brand new expertise as a political scientist with a special focus on social protest is the new movie she not only stars in, but also acts as producer(read that as part financer) of. One of the world’s richest women has found her voice on the topic of social change in the United States from financing and acting in a small role of a film that has to doctor the speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr because they couldn’t afford to pay to license the usage of such wordings on the $20 Million dollar budget they had to work with.

 

Instead of the former fat pocket chica of Chicago, which happens to be a four hours drive away from Ferguson, Mo where Mike Brown was murdered, a four hours that is apparently too much for the boss of Tyler Perry to take out of her busy schedule to observe and give morale, admitting that she has absolutely no clue about what is going on in Ferguson directly, she decided to use her legacy and platform as a punching bag. As quoted here(“Oprah Winfrey’s Comments about Recent Protests and Ferguson Spark Controversy” ), here(“Protesters slam Oprah over comments that they lack ‘leadership'”), here(“Oprah suffers Twitter backlash for comments about protesters” ), and here(“Oprah Comments On Ferguson Protests & Upset Protesters!” ), and if any of these links decide to be removed or altered, I have also included the video of the People interview and the full transcript of the conversation as well:

 

 

Winfrey & Oyelowo, People Magazine(Dec 2014)
Oprah: “I’m a person who lives my life based on intention. I don’t do one thing without thinking about what is my intention first. And I’ve been living my life that way since 1989. And it really just, ya know, it’s ordered my life in such a way that you have, you meet divine order all the time because you’re doing things on purpose. So, I think that what can be gleamed from our film, Selma, is to really take note of the strategic intention required when you want real change. Mmm. Strategic, peaceful intention when you want real change. Mm. I think it’s wonderful to, to, to march and protest. And it’s wonderful to see all across the country people doing it. But what I really am looking for is some type of leadership to come out of this to say this is what we want. Right. This is what we want, this is what has to change and these are the steps that we need to take to make these changes and this is what we’re willing to do to get it. And, and when you watch Selma. That’s what Selma is all about, it’s all about the strategy. Those marches just didn’t happen, and they weren’t happening, happening haphazardly, they were happening out of an order, and their design for change. That’s my feeling about it.”

 

Oyelowo: A, and, and, to jump off of that, what I think is so divine and beautiful about Selma coming out at this time is, a), it shows: This isn’t new, we’ve had this before, and there are very direct parallels. Ferguson, I feel, when it initially happened, it felt like it was a black problem. When we saw the footage of Eric Garner, it became an American problem. And you saw that in the way that black and white, young and old came together to say, this is not okay. It was the same thing in Selma.

 

Oprah: Exactly the same thing.

 

Oyelowo: It was, you know, in, in, in the sense that voting rights, or the lack of it for black people, was a black problem. When you saw Bloody Sunday, it became an American problem.

 


 

“What I’m looking for is some kind of leadership to come out of this to say, ‘This is what we want. This is what has to change, and these are the steps that we need to take to make these changes, and this is what we’re willing to do to get it,'” Winfrey told People magazine.

 

Purely as a Black Media analyst taking in a certain text for the first time, I have to consider certain allusions being made her that baffle me. Firstly, the notion of this movement being “leaderless” is silly. There are leaders in Ferguson, Mo representing the Mike Brown Forever movement, there is just more than one. There are several organizations in Ferguson and the St. Louis area that are major key players working for some semblance of justice in not only the Ferguson arena, but also in the names of Kajieme Powell, Droop Myers, and Antonio Martin. There was an entire delegation including the parents of Mike Mike Brown that presented a case to the United Nations. What there has not been is a dictator that could easily be swayed by a multibillion dollar media interest. What there has not been is one single face to put on this movement other than Mike Brown, which, as the interview goes on, seems to be the major concern for not only Oprah “I’m Too Sexy For My Blackness” Winfrey, but also her Afrikan paramour, David Oyelowo(OWL is totally kidding with the “paramour” part. We at the Asylum have no clue as to whether Winfrey and Oyelowo are having sexual relations or not).

 

In the interview, one of the more overlooked aspects, is a statement regarding Mike Brown and the initial phases of the movement. Oyelowo states, “What I think is so divine and beautiful about Selma coming out at this time is, a), it shows: This isn’t new, we’ve had this before, and there are very direct parallels. Ferguson, I feel, when it initially happened, it felt like it was a black problem. When we saw the footage of Eric Garner, it became an American problem. And you saw that in the way that black and white, young and old came together to say, this is not okay. It was the same thing in Selma. ” One of the major concerns voiced by one of the young leaders of the Civil Rights Movement that is not mentioned in this discussion of the Martin Luther King, Jr. led segment of the march on Selma, Alabama in the early months of 1965, namely, Kwame Ture (nee stokely Carmichael) is the dependence of US Blacks on a White set of institutions and what he referenced as “national sentiment”. What Oyelowo overlooks in his ahistorical and context-less comparison of two dynamic events–the protests formed around the murder by Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson of an unarmed Mike Mike Brown and the voting registration campaign of the early 1960s in Alabama–is that, as dauntingly dangerous it is two compare these two extremely disparate instances of justice campaigning, both were regarded, funded, recorded, broadcast, championed and whatever other verb one can think of to describe “included to the degree of defining”, Whyte US citizenship who from day one positioned it as A) A Black Problem and B) A United States Problem. It is also necessary to return to the words of Kwame Ture who actually happened to be directly involved in a major way with the voting registration drive in Alabama in the early 1960s, not just some actor, actress, producer, or otherwise financial beneficiary whose only study and involvement with the movement to date is the product of capitalistic investment.

 

Kwame Ture & Charles V. Hamilton, “Black Power, The Politics Of Liberation”
…there is a clear need for genuine power bases before black people can enter into coalitions. Civil rights leaders who, in the past or at present, rely essentially on “national sentiment” to obtain passage of civil rights legislation reveal the fact that they are operating from a powerless base. They must appeal to the conscience, the good graces of the society; they are, as noted earlier, cast in a beggar’s role, hoping to strike a responsive chord. It is very significant that the two oldest civil rights organizations, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Urban League, have constitutions which specifically prohibit partisan political activity. (The Congress of Racial Equality once did, but it changed that clause when it changed its orientation in favor of Black Power.) This is perfectly understandable in terms of the strategy and goals of the older organizations, the concept of the civil rights movement is a kind of liaison between the powerful white community and the dependent black community. The dependent status of the black community apparently was unimportant since, if the movement proved successful, that community was going to blend into the white society anyway. No pretense was made of organizing and developing institutions of community power within the black community. No attempt was made to create any base of organized political strength; such activity was even prohibited, in the cases mentioned above. All problems would be solved by forming coalitions with labor, churches, reform clubs, and especially liberal Democrats.

 


 

Kwame points out in 1967 with shrewd foresight that there would be a need to empower US Blacks beyond a dependence on Whyte institutions because the gains made by US Blacks in such relationships would only become eroded over time, a point he makes while citing the erosion of public school integration gains he witnessed in the early 1960s. Fast forward to June 25, 2013, some almost 15 years after the passing of Kwame Ture, the Supreme Court of the United States of America in a 5 to 4 vote effectively gutted out one of the most important aspects of the Civil Rights Voting Rights Act of 1965 in (please catch this)SHELBY COUNTY, ALABAMA v. HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL, ET AL., the stipulation that made certain Southern states accountable to report any changes made to their election laws and to have those changes federally approved. So, while Oyelowo presents on one hand an argument and interpretation that reads as obviously oblivious to the context within which the movie he lauds and the events the movie inaccurately portray, Oprah nods in agreement while on the other hand lending credibility to a specious argument that frames Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s methodology as basically the ONLY methodology worthy of consideration outside of the historical and objective trajectory that shows a political stratagem not only worthy of criticism now, but that had received worthy criticism by someone that worked with Dr. King then!!!

 

Let me close on this note, not only does Oprah and Oyelowo get the details of the film they should have studied the events they are supposed to be reenacting wrong, they by way of lack of apparent research get the details wrong regarding the movement of protest and civil disobedient actions stemming from the desire to call to justice the officer that killed Mike Mike Brown. While it is my thinking that Winfrey is well within her rights to wait for whatever messiah might fall from the sky, her desire to have that messiah present demands seems to be oversight. Since prior to the mobilization weekend held in October(“Ferguson October”) that galvanized activist nationwide to join in the St. Louis area in a series of actions including one involving Professor Cornel “I came to get arrested” West(how did Oprah miss that?), there has been a list of five demands. These demands, as well as an addendum to those original demands here at this online location I have linked to. These demands were read to the St. Louis Mayor in an action that same Monday on which Cornel West was arrested outside the Ferguson Police Department with other activists and clergy at the St. Louis City Hall. The facts would show that Winfrey has no clue as to what she is talking about. As far as waiting on some majestic messiah to fall from the clouds, I cannot speak too directly to that, other than to say, I personally am not and have not been waiting on anyone to lead; I have been waiting on justice to prevail. I would think waiting on justice in the United States of America with regard to its slave descendants is also a very wasteful pursuit, just one I deem less wasteful of resources than waiting on the Black Messiah if it ain’t a record being recorded by D’angelo.

 

Given that Winfrey obviously has no clue about what she is talking about, as a Black Media Analyst and thus semiotician, I do now wish to question why the hell is she talking about this at all…

Mike Brown Notes ::

Articles In This Category Relate To The Mike Brown Forever Movement And The Ferguson Protesters
Seven Tears

Pain As Expertise In The Attention Economy

Often I find it difficult to dissect when a person is actually narrating a tale of woe based on their own story, or based on one they’ve heard spoken from a member of their in-group. Identity politics provides this really interesting space where stereotyped horror stories are capable of not only avoiding attack for branding individuals as cookie cut, but also allows for that cookie cut group to have as logo the same shared pain trope. I am pretty sure when Herbert Simon spoke about the attention economy, he did not realize the major factor to consider in harnessing attention in an information rich society would be to scream loudly, “my ouchie hurts, too!!!”

 

It is not that doubt that many of the members of the more privileged class of whichever oppressed group is getting the most burn behind the atrocities faced by their more alienated and marginalized brethren and sistren do not experience the same level of pain. Wait, I am totally lying. I pretty much fully doubt it. That does not make me a bad guy, it makes me critical of those using warmed over narratives that once represented genuine epochs of human suffering. Now, these narratives only work to generate a few rebroadcasted social media updates of a clever hashtag in a sea of copy and pasted overly dramatic hyperbolic tales of woe. It would seem as though the badge of belonging among certain in-groups in media space is to not only belittle the less unfortunate among a particular group, but to also steal the lived experiences of them while over-exaggerating particular aspects of one’s own life to stretch to fit the one-hundred and forty character tear jerking Twitter blast necessary to complete initiation. I suppose it is simply too humane for the lumpen and proletariat to actually have to experience as a lifestyle the most damaging share of society’s incessant hostilities, they must also have their voices maimed from their very mouths as well.

 

Selah…

Seven Tears ::

Articles, Posts, Essays, And Media in this category are discussions reflecting homelessness, poverty, and/or imprisonment.
Mike Brown Notes

Get Your whyte Ally Card Here :: Thoughts on Allies Across Intersections

 

Alright, all jokes aside for the moment…

 

Shayla C. Nunnally, Trust In Black America: Race, Discrimination, And Politics, pg. 9
Organized terror against black Americans(e.g., in the form of actions by the Ku Klux Klan and other antiblack groups) and state-sponsored unequal protections for black Americans by whites (or even by blacks who held a negative view of the value of black life) also signaled how much people inside or outside political institutions could be trusted to act on behalf of blacks’ interests and protection. Even blacks who internalized racism could act in ways that were adverse to black interests (Woodson[1933]1999). Moreover, blacks who did not challenge their subjugated status in society were referred to as “good,” whereas those who contested their status were referred to as “bad”(Hartman 1997).

 


 

Topics such as these almost demand a use of humor to break some of the tension. Immediately, I am begged to answer a certain question: what does it mean to be an ally? That is not as easy as typing the term in some search engine and clicking the first dictionary entry link that pops up. In dealing with contemporary identity politics, the term “ally” typically comes with a shade(pun not so intended) of pejorative. The term “ally” in most instances here are not to imply someone or some group that share an enemy or obstacle and have agreed to see that enemy defeated or obstacle overcome. In this space, it often means something different. “Ally” in this space, as much of today’s academic filtered jargon with its incessant need for hypercritical context, tends to be used as a means to belittle those that are not a part of a particular group seeking heightened visibility while battling an oppressive force. The term “ally” in this space points more often than not towards those that are actually a member of said oppressive force in some fashion.

 

So, initially I ran across the phrase, “male ally” used by Whyte Feminist ideologues discussing their disdain with Whyte Males attempting to “assist” them, and how their assistance was either simply a form of exploitation, or just not assisting them any way and needed to be critiqued to the point of what many might refer to as being “hen pecked” in some other spaces. Then I heard or read the phrase, “Whyte Female Ally” being bandied about in the more academic Black Feminist spaces referring to Whyte Women Feminist making Black Women invisible in Feminist narratives(which I thought was funny given the history of Black Women and Whyte Women in those particular spaces, but that’s another essay, I am sure). A few months ago, during a protest outside of the Ferguson(Missouri) Police Department, I saw a Vine clip where White supporters(?) where being asked to stand in front of Black protesters while police used a tactic of random arresting, and the phrase “White Ally” had begun to be tossed about pretty vehemently since then.

 

I am almost never one hundred percent sure where I stand on these sorts of issues where group and alienation based on some extremely superficial or very abstract quality are determining factors. Especially when I consider my own histories and my understanding of human behavior. It is difficult for me embrace a space that would minimize a John Brown and his Branch of the United States League of Gileadites as “ally”, but put Russell “Harriet Tubman Rape Tape” Simmons on a pedestal as brother of the struggle. It simply does not add up well to me. The fictive kinship obligation must be honored by a certain set of traditions and blatantly agreed upon rites whereby one is held accountable to the covenant of said fictive kinship. I have a problem with a space that would reduce Che Guevara to some hapless adventuring “ally” and yet treat “Fill-in-the-blank” Black Celebrity who shows up 130 plus days after it has become a popular trend to wear a t-shirt/hoodie with a murdered Black person’s last words on it in a trendy t-shirt/hoodie with a murdered Black person’s last words on it!!!

 

None of what I am writing is to absolve any responsibility for respecting sacred space on the part of those seeking to genuinely assist a group being oppressed, marginalized, or being made invisible by a group they might be a member of. Lawd knows, I am sick and full of disgusted gut vomit of the Tim Wise and Michael Skolnik brand of ofay-splaining and patronizingly nauseating White savorisms. However, some Whyte folks actually deserve a little more credit for their social responsible acts and deeds in spaces of US Black oppression. Once again, I am not writing this to remove any standard of testing one’s allegiance to a particular group’s cause or fight against oppression, yet, in fact, what I am writing is to expand that standard to not only those that might belong to a group or class of society that one is being oppressed by, but also to one’s own group membership. I understand the need for security of the Black voice and of any voice that is often either more easily silenced due to society not wanting to hear it, or because society has not provided that voice the proper space to give that voice’s particular narrative a hearing. For me, if a person is going through what I am going through day for day to obtain or at least lay down the ground work for justice, liberty, or whatever hip and cool phrase that means, “a cessation of the bullshyt”, then they are not my ally; they are my teammate, my comrade.

 

Kwame Ture(nee Stokely Carmichael) and Charles V. Hamilton, Black Power: The Politics Of Liberation, pg. 81-82
At the beginning of our discussion of Black Power, we said that black people must redefine themselves, state new values and goals. The same holds true for white people of good will; they too need to redefine themselves and their role. Some people see the advocates of Black Power as concerned with ridding the civil rights struggle of white people. This has been untrue from the beginning. There is a definite, much-needed role whites can play. This role can best be examined on three different, yet interrelated, levels: educative, organizational, supportive. Given the pervasive nature of racism in the society and the extent to which attitudes of white superiority and black inferiority have become embedded, it is very necessary that white people begin to disabuse themselves of such notions. Black people, as we stated earlier, will lead the challenge to old values and norms, but whites who recognize the need must also work in this sphere. Whites have access to groups in the society never reached by black people. They must get within those groups and help perform this essential educative function. One of the most disturbing things about almost all white supporters has been that they are reluctant to go into their own communities—which is where the racism exists—and work to get rid of it. We are now speaking of whites who have worked to get black people “accepted,” on an individual basis, by the white society. Of these there have been many; their efforts are undoubtedly well-intended and individually helpful. But too often those efforts are geared to the same false premises as integration; too often the society in which they seek acceptance of a few black people can afford to make the gesture. We are speaking, rather, of those whites who see the need for basic change. Yet they often admonish black people to be non-violent. They should preach non-violence in the white community. Where possible, they might also educate other white people to the need for Black Power. The range is great, with much depending on the white person’s own class background and environment.

 


Mike Brown Notes ::

Articles In This Category Relate To The Mike Brown Forever Movement And The Ferguson Protesters
Inspiration

A Message to My Last Messiahs

Luke 12:49-53
I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled? But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

 


 

Who are we to the world?

 

Another sun laid under the moon tonight as his blood poured out in the street. Across the ocean, many more suns and earths are shot, bombed, raped and maimed. Daughters of kings cry until their life ends and sons of queens look in a daze as they watch the will of another overtake what they’ve yet to know was theirs.

 

We are crucified for the sins of others. Who are we to the world?

 

Our energy harvested, every misdeed done against the last messiahs make the wicked feel stronger; every ounce of blood spilled by those that agree to evil, take communion and make bread from the broken bodies. And yet still miracles are performed. Still the will to stand up, still the will to create more people and build families, still the desire to be more than just another image made in the likeness of those that died before us.

 

And to what avail will it cost the world, that it loses its soul at the death of each one of us?

 

The earth loses its soul at the death of each one of us.

 

Where is salvation from the cross that we bear? Who said this was our cross to bear? Where is the judgment against those who sacrificed our children to bring division between us?

 

Generations before claim we’re doing it wrong even though there’s no difference in death as both the old and young are being slaughtered; the elders are slaughtered with complacency and the youth assassinated by state-supported programs. An example from times past and ages to come, how many times has the world been set on fire due to the division created to choose between life and man-made laws? Is socio-economic codes of legalese more important than the lives it strives to stifle?

 

Who are we dying for? Are we the sacrifice for those who trespass against us?

 

How many times throughout the story of spiritual trial and human error do we have to do this? How many times do we have to die for the sake of “progress?”

 

When did violence become the order of the day? When did self-defense become shunned? When did sacrifice of the very life you need to love, become a form of love?

 

Step back and look at what billions have come to agree upon: that you are to die for the shortcomings of a people who cannot conceive how you are still here. Millions around the world wonder how you have survived being at the neck of your enemy and still find the strength to hope and have faith. A story told during every astrological age about you and how you would die so that others could live.

 

Who are you? Who are we to the world? Will we die and leave the world in wonder of if or when we’ll return or will we find strength in our divinity to withstand this trial until blood no longer falls from our bodies and we overcome the lynch mobs that try to turn us into the scapegoat for their mischief?

 

You are not a sacrifice. Your life matters.

 

To my last messiahs: be the final call to order for this place. Let no further division come between you and your parents and your children for the sake of a people who’d rather see your past wiped from memory and future wiped from prosperity. It is a crime for the wicked to make you be their god and praise the fact that you die every day, despite what way of luxury and privilege you made for them, so that they can live their fantasies of a world free from your beautiful faces. As many of us have heard before, we are not at war with flesh and blood but with spiritual wickedness in high places; places that aim to make a profit off of your death and sell the story of your lifeless body to future generations to only say “these people died so that you could live,” in hopes that you resurrect only so that they kill you again.

 

May you be the last messiahs, that no one else dies so that wickedness and falsehood can live. Re-write this story so that it will never, EVER have the same ending again.

 

I love you all. You are chosen.

Inspiration ::

Articles In This Category Convey An Sense Of The Uplifting And The Hopeful
Mike Brown Notes

#MikeBrownNotes :: Molly’s Memo

On August 9, 2014, I got a text from a friend. “A kid was shot by a cop in Ferguson,” it said.

 

I found out, after a few texts and a phone call, that the kid was a teenager and that police officer had killed him even though he hadn’t been armed. I learned that his body was still in the street, even though it had been well over two hours since he’d been killed.

 

A little while after getting off the phone with my friend, he sent another text: “You going to the vigil?”

 

In St. Louis, when someone is killed, there is almost always a vigil of some sort. People go to these vigils, hold a candle, sing a song or say a prayer, and go home. I have been to a few vigils, so I thought I knew what I was doing. It did not occur to me that this was not going to be a vigil. It did not cross my mind that deciding to say a few prayers for a dead teenager would lead to four months of protesting, city and county council meetings, and what is probably going to be a lifelong fear of police.

 

The evening of August 9, I saw a grieving community met with dogs. I saw questions met with increased police presence and an armored truck. I saw flower petals laid in the street to cover the blood of someone’s baby. It was sick.

 

Over the following days I continued to go back to Ferguson. I’m a shy person when in any new situation or with people I don’t know, so I usually stood off to the side and waited for someone to speak to me. Attempts at vigils continued, but always resulted in overreactions from police. We were tear gassed, shot at with rubber bullets, screamed at and called names. I saw people arrested for no reason. I saw people whose spirits seemed to be breaking right in front of me, but I also saw people whose spirits seemed to be emerging, powerful and angry and full of energy. More than once, I was helped out of clouds of tear gas or escorted to my car by groups of young black men I had never met before – the same people being referred to as violent and criminal in the media.

 

And me? I protested because I believed I was morally obligated to. This is MY town. I love Saint Louis. I have lived here my entire life (with the exception of two years of undergrad). I could not not protest. I could not sit at home and watch the news while people – my neighbors – were being tear gassed and shot at. So I kept going back.

 

The tear gas eventually stopped, and armored vehicles were no longer present, but protests continued. Sometimes police were laid back, and other times we were met with large numbers of police in riot gear. Sometimes, police would go crazy for no reason. One night, Thomas Jackson, Ferguson’s Chief of Police, agreed to march with protesters. After the march had progressed less than 100 feet, a Ferguson officer ran into the crowd of protesters and began grabbing people. Ferguson and Saint Louis County officers followed him, shoving, grabbing and beating peaceful protesters. Chief Jackson was completely unhurt; the same was not true for at least three protesters. Seeing people – people I had come to know and love – be beaten like that remains the worst thing I have seen happen since August 9th. After the people who had been arrested were taken away, the rest of us stood across the street from police officers in riot gear. We screamed at them while they laughed at us, secure in the knowledge that their behavior is accepted and will go unpunished.

 

At some point – I’m not exactly sure when – I realized that this was not a one-off. Police here have been covering things up for years, and have almost always gotten away with it. Local elected officials here have been ignoring the needs of their communities for years and nearly always get reelected anyway. Our state government and federal government have allowed this to happen and have often participated in the oppression of black people and the black community in Saint Louis and elsewhere. Our schools under-educate and under-prepare children for college and for life. My moral obligation has shifted a bit: while I still protest and take part in actions, I also feel compelled to facilitate changes in my community in more traditional ways. We have huge problems with racism, poverty and a lack of adequate education in Saint Louis (and while these issues are not unique to Saint Louis, this is where I can most clearly see them and am best equipped to help change things).

 

On November 24th, it was announced that the grand jury had opted not to indict Darren Wilson for the murder of Mike Brown. I was in the crowd across from the Ferguson Police Department when the announcement came. The crowd was much larger than normal and full of anxiety. Mike’s mom, Lesley McSpadden was present. Almost immediately after the announcement, people took off running in different directions and glass windows were being shattered. Many people screamed – in anger and in sadness. Police looked afraid, and cameramen looked eager. Despite the months I’d spent protesting in this place, I reverted back to my habit from August. I stood off to the side, looking for someone I knew. And the police started launching tear gas. Later that night, buildings burned down and businesses were looted. A young man named DeAndre Joshua was murdered, shot in the head and his body burned. Police did little except launch tear gas and fire bean bag rounds. It was the worst night I can remember St. Louis having.

 

The failure of the prosecutors to secure an indictment of Darren Wilson only increased my desire for change. I realized that, if I want a better future for my potential children (and nieces, nephews, grandchildren, etc.), I have to fight for it – by protesting, by lobbying, by organizing and by doing my best to convince others to do the same.

Mike Brown Notes ::

Articles In This Category Relate To The Mike Brown Forever Movement And The Ferguson Protesters
Inspiration

Maids don’t have maids…

Maids don’t have maids…

 

No one says, as a child, “when I grow up, I want to be a maid.” That’s not a job many people aspire to have. Maids do the dirty work. They clean up after people. They make sure the living conditions of others is comfortable. Often times its a disgusting, exhausting, thankless job. Wealthy employer throws a soiree. The guests are enamored by the beautiful space. Everything lovely; neatly in its place. The host offers a simple thank you in response to their compliments. They may even go into the history of how they acquired a wonderful piece of art. They do not, however, mention the maid. “Yes, the maid does a fabulous job at making sure my home is clean” No…that surely is not the response many would have. The maid does not get the credit. No (public) accolades will come her way. Nothing. Why? It’s her job. It’s what she’s supposed to do, isn’t it?

 

After a long days work of doing and being for others, the maid goes home. She returns to her own humble abode to breakfast dishes in the sink. Ironing board still out from having pressed her uniform. Makeup and toothpaste residue on the bathroom sink. Bed unmade. Basket full of laundry. What a mess… Who will clean up after her? Who will make sure her home is presentable? Who will clean and sanitize, vacuum for the maid?

 

The maid has no maid…No, the maid must be a maid to herself as well. An exhausting job. A never ending job. One that is so important, it can’t be left undone. But who? Who takes care of the maid? Who supports the supporter? What a lonely thing it is to always be for others, and not have anyone to be for you. How emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually draining to give of yourself until there’s nothing left, and still have to muster up the strength to give to yourself also. Because…who will be a maid for the maid…

Inspiration ::

Articles In This Category Convey An Sense Of The Uplifting And The Hopeful