Fucking Up Royally – A Love Story –

What is it about a woman? From their outer beauty to the characteristics that make them who they are, women always have a way of catching the attention of anyone with eyes. The type of attitude that they possess and the style that choose to express creates many thoughts inside of a man’s mind.

Enough of the obvious..

I’ve always had a problem with women. Since I was young, I always was attracted to older women. However, it was the younger ones who always ended up capturing my heart. I like to compare women to art; they’re masterpieces. Thus, this is where the problem comes in for me. My ex once told me that I was dramatic and I love attention. She told me that I need someone who can always hold my attention, because I am quick to go after something new. I couldn’t disagree with her, because it is true. There’s nothing like a woman who looks good, smells good, and is good at what she does. If you know what I mean.

I had a masterpiece, but I was too busy checking out all the other exhibits in the gallery. Now hindsight is a muhfucka. Hindsight can show you exactly who you were, how you were, and what you were. Unless one is seriously delusional or just in denial, one cannot deny the fact of what their own pasts provides. When I say this, I mean that a person’s past is filled with all of their own thoughts, words, and actions. When I look at my pasts, I see self-inflicted pain. I was a happy child and I smile and laughed a lot, but I had plenty of dark moments. Inside of those dark moments is where I found a lot of my strength. However, those same dark moments are the ones that produced ways that aren’t always the brightest of ideas.

Growing up, I loved chicks. I just didn’t trust them. Being from Detroit, you are apart of a specific type of culture. Fashion plays a big role in that culture and not having the means to participate in shopping sprees made it hard for the girls to want you. Sure, clothes aren’t everything, but try telling that to someone who believes otherwise. Once I got to high school, I was able to afford to get the desirable fashions. However, I was still holding on to the pain of rejection.

Everyone has some type of insecurity. Not everyone deals with the root of those issues. Being in a relationship, while not handling insecurity issues, can create so much unnecessary stress. I think I put my ex through more stress than I have put anyone else through. That’s not something you do with someone you love. I mean, stress kills! My love for women and my need to prove that I could get that woman’s attention was always a problem. I’m a natural flirt. I love to hold conversations and I love to make people laugh. Whenever you flirt, there is always something else occuring underneath the flattering words and the interaction. At times, the flirting would escalate to so much more. At the end of the day though, I knew who I loved. At least I thought I did.

The pain of losing a woman that you truly adore can be one of the most unbearable feelings to have to experience. It’s like wishing that the Sun would rise, but knowing that tomorrow will never come. No matter how much I tried, winning her back was never the final result. That shit crushes an ego and goes straight past the heart and touches the soul. At least, that’s what I felt. Yet, this was my own self-inflicted pain. It was, partly, caused by having unresolved issues that manifested in wanting to prove that I wouldn’t get rejected.

I look at life like a game of Chess; I am the King and my life is my board. Now, in Chess, the King isn’t the most powerful piece, the Queen is. The Queen protects the King. Also, there is another Queen and King on that same board. Trying to go after the other Queen can be very detrimental, especially if you aren’t too good at playing the game. I was so attracted to countless other Queens that I allowed myself to lose sight of the very one who had my back, the one that was protecting me. In the end, all I got was a lesson that stuck with me to this day: Treat your woman how she deserves to be treated or you will lose her.

This King fucked up Royally, but the game isn’t over yet.

Marissa Alexander And The Continued Culture Of White Male Dominance Over Black Women

On August 13, 2010, Marissa Alexander decided that the best protection against a husband with a history of domestic violence aimed at her was to shoot a warning shot in her home while gathering her keys to flee. No. Not shot a gun at him. Not hit him with the gun. But shoot the gun in the air. No body was damaged except for that of the home.

 

This all occurred in sunny Florida. Yes, sunny Florida where national elections are foiled and cans of tea look like semi-automatic weapons in the hands of teenaged Afkan (Afrikan Amerikkkan) boys in hoodies. The great land of Stand your Ground. The great land where Marissa Alexander has been sentenced for said shooting of gun for 20 years due to yet another stipulation of Florida’s books, the 10-20-life rule.

 

Basically, the 10-20-rule,

  • Mandates a minimum 10 year prison term for certain felonies, or attempted felonies in which the offender possesses a firearm or destructive device
  • Mandates a minimum 20 year prison term when the firearm is discharged
  • Mandates a minimum 25 years to LIFE if someone is injured or killed
  • Mandates a minimum 3 year prison term for possession of a firearm by a felon
  • Mandates that the minimum prison term is to be served consecutively to any other term of imprisonment imposed

(Source)

 

It would seem as though the laws of Florida are executed in a pristine arbitrary fashion. When a man of direct European descent kills an Afkan child, play the Stand Your Ground law card, and allow him to go without being arrested for months. If it is an Afkan Woman asserting her right to not be clobbered for the umpteenth time, then play the 10-20-rule. This is a disgusting example of not only racial oppression of the State, but also sexism.

 

Where there is a fear of the male hegemonic being dismantled without State intervention, there is a need for the State to impose draconian measures to reduce the likelihood of a recurring trend. It should be noted that while the Florida State site boasts of reduced crime due to the 10-20-law, and legal scholars boast of progressive thinking with respect to the Stand Your Ground doctrine, the state of Florida also had 113, 378 reported claims of domestic violence in 2010 alone, and have no special stipulations handling cases of domestic violence. Of those 113, 378 reported incidents only 67, 810 have resulted in arrests. With a state so seeped in legislation and legality surrounding violence and the appropriate treatment of violence, wouldn’t you expect some sort of nifty law to be forged in the instance of domestic violence against women?

 

I am not often left to question the abuses of males of European descent towards women. I will admit, I am slowly being enlightened further into the roles European men have played in the oppression of women. I am just now learning of the oppressive and disgusting tradition Anglo-Saxon-American men had involving their Afkan slaves at exclusive clubs where the women where manipulated into believing that they were engaging in some romantic act with these savage rapists while calling the women ‘wenches’. These elements of our story are slowing trickling down my Asylum. Yet, it doesn’t take much for even me to realize the rampant attack against women and protection of White male terrorism towards women in the home. If they allow an Afkan mother to get away with it, then how much longer before their golf buddies are being engulfed in burning beds?

 

It is not often that an Afkan male is afforded a pass from remembering his sexuality. My body politic is what makes me a threat. My assumed sexual prowess prevents a large sector of this society from imagining me without insecurity. The need to compel my physical form to act in accordance with European standards is almost a necessity for this nation to operate historically. The same is to be held for women of Afrikan ancestry. Afkan women are molded into these images of the witch, the untamed shrew. They are bitched and whored into such a caricature of archetypical emotional intensity and ‘dark energy’ that the very reminder of a her being a mother, being abused, being worthy of protection by the State apparatus is unable to convince twelve jurors and a judge to treat truth as truth. The tortured Afkan woman is burned at the stake for her self-determined association with those worthy of freedom from abuse in her own home. She is convicted for expressing her love of peace. Marissa Alexander was convicted for believing that a woman, especially a Black woman, deserved a life without abuse from a controlling man.

My Thoughts On FatHood

Let me start by saying this piece is about fat, big bold beautiful fatty FAT. The term “fat” makes a lot of people uncomfortable because for too long it has carried stigmas about health, cleanliness, physical fitness, and character flaws like bad hygiene, laziness, over-eating, insecurity and low self-esteem. Those who appreciate fat prefer terms like “thick” or “big” because of the weight of stigmas around the word FAT. But fat is not an identity, it is a physical characteristic (like curly hair or long toes) and because of that fact, I prefer to use the term fat. The identity of fat (as previously mentioned) is one created out of prejudice. That’s not the kind of fat that I’m going to talk about, push out of your mind all the fat stereotypes and let me tell you about the REAL world of fat from the perspective of an ACTUAL fat woman.

 

I am a 22 year old fat black biracial woman; I have thunder thighs and cellulite, a stomach, flabby arms, a big ‘ol butt (say wah!?), a slight double chin, pretty feet, full breasts, smooth skin and a graceful gait. I have been encouraged to believe that my fat body is unattractive, that I should hide it every chance that I get. This message has been sold to me under the guise for concern about my health and by the media, the beauty industry, the diet industry, and society. I have been told that I shouldn’t wear bright colors or short dresses. I have been discouraged from wearing bathing suits in public by people who snicker or take pictures of me. The fact that I am so proud of my body makes people uncomfortable, they do not wish to SEE me and that is always made abundantly clear. But if I decided to see myself through the eyes of society, I would become someone that I am not. Besides, I have come to realize that my fat is beautiful. My fat is sexy. The way I throw my weight around makes some men drool and there is NOTHING wrong with my fat. My fat was meant to be seen, flaunted, touched, kissed, my fat looks good naked or underneath a man. I will not apologize for being alive, fat and in your face.

 

Well intentioned people will tell a fat person that it’s great to love your body but “you really should lose some weight”. As if the bodies of other people were there for policing as long as they seemed to genuinely care. There is a problem with that though, telling someone what you think they should do with their body, assumes that they don’t know (that they are stupid) or that they are dissatisfied with their health or size. It is perfectly possible to be fat, fit and healthy; in fact it is scientifically PROVEN (see Health At Every Size Research). So the health aspect of telling a fat person they shouldn’t be fat is entirely based on assumptions that they do not eat healthily or exercise…. There are plenty of thin people who do neither and are extremely unhealthy but there is something about fat that makes people get dominant and superior. Having said that, I do not entertain concern trolls. When it comes to my body, I AM AN EXPERT; my health is between me and MY doctor. So what does that leave us with? The constructs of beauty and attractiveness. When you strip down ideas about the health of fat people, all you have left is what you think of the way they look.

 

Fat Love

 

Beauty and attractiveness are two highly subjective things. What I find to be beautiful & sublime, another might find ugly. This holds true for every individual yet through the media we are taught to believe that there is a “standard” of beauty; that beauty is objective. This is a big problem because of the weight our society puts on physical beauty. We have been taught that if it’s good enough for the television, if they don’t sell a pill to fix it, then it is perfect. That is a lie of course but thousands of people accept this as true. Another component of this lie is the societal belief that women are symbols of status and power for men. We are taught that the most important job of a woman is to look good; beauty is what makes a woman worthy. So when you have a woman who doesn’t meet idealized standards of beauty she is seen as having less value than those who do. This creates a problem for fat women, especially in their romantic lives. “Thin is in” means fat is out, so what happens to all of the sexy, hunky, nerdy, professional, thuggish men who find fat to be attractive? They are caught in a catch 22 of sorts. That is, being attracted to fat women but being ashamed of that attraction because of the stigma that comes with fat. Other men will look at them and think they are weaker, less powerful because the woman on their arm is devalued in our society. Fat women do not make very good “trophies”. The stigma that comes with being fat (laziness, overeating, insecurity, bad hygiene etc.) will be attached to the man who dates a fat girl. The solution unfortunately has been for men to objectify and use fat women. Instead of pursuing relationships with fat women, men use them to gratify their sexual needs. They love our awesome curves, our jiggle, our bounce but they wouldn’t be caught dead with us. As a womanist/feminist I get a little bit aggressive when I’m referring to these types of men, I usually call them “slaves to white patriarchal standards of beauty” because these are men who put society’s standards before their own standards. They will put what their friends think about how a woman looks before their own preference and frankly it’s sad. And as a fat woman dealing constantly with men like this, it is extremely dehumanizing to realize that someone would find you as beautiful as you find yourself but be ashamed to express that outside of sex. The conditions for this behavior were created by these idealized & sexist standards of beauty. There are other standards of beauty like standards that declare black skin to be unattractive, that are even more sinister and harmful. These standards are built on white supremacy yet they are pervasive; just as the standards of beauty’s size are pervasive. As individuals we must start acting on our own attraction, our own idea of beauty because when we don’t, we allow other people to dictate subjective parts of our identities! And that is the truth, straight from a fat girl’s lips.

 

Fat women internalize messages about their inferiority every day, and to be a fat woman who is also black means you have to work hard to fight racial messages about your skin as well as those about your body. But that fight for self-actualization and efficacy is a worthy one and as a feminist and fat activist I make that fight a public one in order to empower women like me. I’ve said all of this to give you a little peek into my mind and hopefully to challenge some assumptions and even behaviors. Whether you are fat or thin, black or white you must always challenge stigma and prejudice, not only for yourself but for the sake of others as well.

On National Insecurity…

Insecurities are internalized fears. When we measure our Selves based on ideals inculcated by our social apparatus, and fear that we aren’t measuring up– we tend to project what are the recognizable portions of insecurity. For Afkans, or Afrikan Amerikkkans for short, this can be a slippery slope of sorts. Being that our social apparatus here in the United States was built intentionally with the thought of breaking the internal faith of Afkans, and thusly, creating the Afkan — our insecurities are grosssly multiplied. The ideals inculcated by our social apparatus are all outside of the range of realistic possession. Even a wondrously gorgeous woman like Beyonce is forced to alter her appearance to mimic more Anglo-Saxon features. Afkans in the United States are not permitted a stable and reasonable example by which to compare as an unfiltered baseline. Possibly, this is why, even in 2012, most of Afkan leadership across diverse sectors, are either members that are of interracial couplings, or of lighter hues. It is as though, our collective subconscious is wired to project this insecurity, that if we aren’t following those of our own ranks that possess Anglo-Saxon features, we aren’t going to be accepted socially.

Now, if Beyonce is having issues with her looks, what does that say for sisters that are even further away from the present United States’ standard of beauty? Vivica Fox has had a nose job. Vivica. Janet Jackson has had cosmetic surgery to mimic the features of Anglo-Saxon women. Ms. Jackson(only because I am ‘nasty’). It needs to be noted that insecurities are internalized as objective realities. The more a person depends on the reflections and approval of a social group, the more the internalization affects them. In the socialization of the United States, in the same manner that boys learn fairly early to judge other boys based on physical strength and bravery, girls learn that there is a pecking order based on beauty standards. Often, the way that society deems a woman to look, she deems her Self to look as well. Some women treat the romantic or even sexual approaches of men as foolish or predatory simply because they can’t believe that a man would want them. The treatment they have received from others based on their looks is now being projected.

“Generally, the idealized self or fantasized self refers to what the individual perceives or fancies himself to be, or what he would like to be, how he would like to be perceived by others, to be related to by others and how he relates to or would like to relate to others, in order to experience self-satisfaction, positive self-regard, peer acceptance, favorable personal and social distinction, as well as maximized feelings of pleasure, joy, power, security, and perhaps, feelings of superiority…It is these personally and culturally acquired ideal standards against which the individual measures and evaluates himself. If the discrepancy between the way he perceives himself to be and his internalized ideals– standards against which he measures himself– are not too large, then he may experience a reasonable sense of accomplishment, self-satisfaction, and positive self-regard. If the discrepancy is too large, then he may experience feelings of failure, frustration, and self-contempt…” — Dr. Amos Wilson, ‘Black On Black Violence’, pg. 97

As a collective, Afkans imbibe social intoxicants via the media and objectively through social interactions that are informed by a power structure built and commanded by Anglo-Saxon males mainly from the psychological and physical domination of Global Original peoples. There are no ways to absolve an objective reality without force or persuasion. Often, what occurs in the physical or even in the mind is an occurence. It happened. How we respond to occurrences as an albeit subjective response is where a strong desire for critical thought and pride in Self is necessary.

“Now they departed and came back to Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the children of Israel in the Wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; they brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. Then they told him, and said: ‘We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan.’

Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, ‘Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.’

But the men who had gone up with him said, ‘We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.’ And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, ‘The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.'” Numbers 13:26-33

The response mechanism for Afkans is dangerously insecure. If an Arab in Iraq defecates too loudly around an Anglo-Saxon presence, they are a terrorist. You can not whisper a thought about a thought regarding anti-Anglo-Saxon empires without being labeled, packaged, and shipped off into marginality. Their ability to forge quick and cohesive propaganda has gotten so robust that they don’t even worry about vocalized threats that don’t offer a capital gain. You are not a terrorists for attacking White people– White people kill thousands of White people regularly. You are a terrorist when you threaten White people and you have something worthy of being stripped for profits.

This is not to say that Afkans are sensitive. In fact, Afkans are not sensitive enough. Afkans are the only ethnic group formed in the West that hasn’t warred protractedly with their oppressors without a sizable reparation given from Western Allied Powers. Hell, the IRA is still incensed with the Catholic Church. Afkans must develop a response to any and all attacks that reflects pride in their people and a love for Self strong enough to wish to exist beyond the reservations of prison plantations. This pride in Self doesn’t have to be an arrogant, substance lacking posture. It can come from a genuinely humble place, but it must come. No one can make the world love Afkan people enough to redistribute the wealth in this country to the proper owners — the land laborers of slavery, and the workers– but the Afkan better have enough love for them Selves to recognize and create means of redistribution them Selves without their insecurities of not being capable crop up.

“…humility means two things. One, a capacity for self-criticism. And this is something that we do not have enough of in the Black community, and especially among Black leaders. The second feature is allowing others to shine, affirming others, empowering and enabling others. Those who lack humility are dogmatic and egotistical. And that masks a deep sense of insecurity. They feel the success of other is at the expense of their own fame and glory.” – Cornel West, “Breaking Bread”, pg. 50

Who is “Black”

Discussions of negritude are pretty commonplace in my slice of Black twitter but no discussion is a contentious as the discussion surrounding Hypodescent or as it is more popularly known, The One Drop Rule.

Hypodescent mean that in a place when one group is deemed superior and another is inferior should one from the “superior group” have a child with someone from an “inferior” group the child is deemed to be of the inferior group hence “One drop of black blood” makes you Black (as in noun form denoting a distinct group of the African Diaspora).

Historically this concept was codified into law in the Racial Integrity Act of 1924 and similar laws abounded elsewhere in this nation. White Folk were serious about protecting strict standards of who was white and who was not for the purpose of providing privilege and preserving group power structures. Authenticity was and continues to be essential.

The one drop rule is without a shadow of a doubt is rooted in a legacy of white supremacy. Thus we have to ask the question does the practice of accepting those denoted Black by the one drop rule an act of self hate.

This discussion becomes particularly relevant in the light of Fanon’s comment regarding the necessity of oppressed people defining themselves outside of the logic of their oppressor as the first step of liberation. As a practical example many religious groups or philosophies stress a name change as symbolic of locating oneself out of the logic of one’s oppressor or oppression. Also if we consider the history of Black folk so many of the folks we consider our greats have grappled with the idea of who we are due in no small part to the cultural losses we have sustained, the pieces we retained, the hostility of the society that formed around us, and our creativity in the attempt of making sense of it or least live in spite of it.

The way I was introduced into the Hypodescent discussion was through a discussion regarding confronting Colorism and light skinned privilege. Colorism being the practice of using Light skinned capital “B” Black folk or “mixed” (I put that in quotations b/c its fairly idiomatic given that most people that identify as Black have some non Black heritage and even among our African heritage we are the product of many different ethnic groups) identifying folks to represent all of the different shades that we consider to be Black people. Light skinned privilege being the favorable treatment given to those with fairer skin because of the racist top down color structure that conveys value on how to close to white you are. The problem even though we may see lighter complexioned or mixed folks as kin that darker Black folk are being erased and devalued because of the standardization and pursuit of whiteness.

Some argue that this is grounds for reorganization in who we call kin. I agree that we need to codify what it means to be us but I do not agree with the idea that the only Black (ethnic group) people are black (skin color) people. I find that the United States African Diaspora is its own ethnic group descended from the many African peoples that were brought here. As we well know those identities were stripped and in favor race terms which I find to be illegitimate and inaccurate and existing within the same logic of white supremacy that we would seek to avoid. So adhering to race identifiers doesn’t make sense to me. So that puts us in the unique position of not only choosing a new name but also trying to find a new answer to the historical question that every generation of us have had to grapple. To me benefitting from colorism doesn’t eliminate one’s negritude and after all not everybody we would identify as “light skinned” or “redbone” are mixed. And of those that are mixed what role should a person’s should a person’s identification play in whether they are a part of us are not? If that’s not a factor what are our standards of negritude? How are these standards communicated from one generation to the next? How do we even begin to implement such a thing? What happens to the folk who are left out?

The more I investigate the issue, the more questions arise that I am not prepared to deal with and yet I am not satisfied with the solutions presented thus far. This is a difficult question that members of the United States African Diaspora must begin to deal and eventually answer.

Breaking The Silence :: The Rekia Boyd Story

“Just watching the news story about that 22 year old woman who has been shot in the head, and I’m like,’I feel sorry for that family’…” – Martinez Sutton, brother of Rekia Boyd

 

On March 21, 2012, 22 year old Rekia Boyd was killed by Chicago cops after visiting with friends on Chicago’s W. 15th place. According to attorney James D. Montgomery, Rekia was with friends as an off-duty Chicago Police Detective Dante Servin told a neighboring group to “shut up” and opened fire after the ensuing exchange of acrimonies. During an attempt to flee, Rekia was struck in the head and died a little over 24 hours. Her friend, Antonio Cross was struck in his hand.

 

The defense of Servin rests on Chicago Police Department’s allegations that Antonio was brandishing a weapon and that Servin felt his life was in danger. According to witnesses and a thorough investigation of the scene, no weapons had been found. Some proffer the notion that Cross’ phone may have been mistaken, to this Cross mentions that he had the phone to his ear while he was talking in it.Cross asks, “How the fuck you think my phone was a weapon?”

 

 

The family of Rekia Boyd have filed a lawsuit for this unlawful death.

 

Her murder comes after the sentencing to 40 years in prison of another slain Afkan(afrikan amerikkkan), 61 year old Howard Morgan. Morgan shot 28 times after being pulled over by Chicago Police on February 21, 2005. The former police officer was said to have shot at the officers that attempted to p’d roll him, but no evidence of such has been found.

 

It is awfully trying to be Afkan in this country with such incidents amassing at alarming rates. It can also be even more trying to keep up. With the media fiasco that has burst forth like an alien from Sigourney Weaver’s stomach after Trayvon’s slaughter, it can be overwhelming to channel one’s energy in so many directions. According to Ohm and his law, intensity of a charge is reduced by the resistance to flow on that charge. Interestingly enough, the resistance on the charge of the attention span of most of us, is too many murdered innocent Afkan people. Yet, the mainstream media murmur surrounding Rekia’s name has elicited a response of sexism from certain sectors of the Afkan community.

 

As a writer that spent a considerable amount of time following the murder of Aiyana Jones by Detroit police, I believe the accusatory remarks of gender bias to be akin to a mark on a pregnant elephant. That is, it’s an enormous stretch. The cause of Rekia Boyd has traction, but two other considerations beyond her gender might be better fit for the researcher without an agenda to begin answering the question why hasn’t this been discussed more.

 

Firstly, Trayvon Martin’s admitted murderer, George Zimmerman, is walking free and doesn’t have a badge. This case sparked an outrage due to the elements. Now, I will never be accused of defending mainstream media, I’m sure, yet, the manner in which the details of the incident trickled down to the public caused it to garner our attention in a way that most media outlets would be fools not to bite. A young boy is murdered holding a can of tea and a bag of skittles. He was Afkan. He was wearing a hoodie. His assailant is recorded on a phone call being told by local authorities to stop following him. The killer was not charged and much of the country was made aware of a little known statute referred to as the “Stand Your Ground” law.

 

Is this to say that Rekia’s murder is less important? Why ask stupid questions? The human filter is not always made active by quantified salience. Sure, we do live in a patriarchy. Sure, this does imply certain hegemonic psychological conditioning. However, for one to automatically assume that the reason Rekia Boyd hasn’t gotten the same media attention as Trayvon Martin is due to her gender simply lacks breadth. Rekia Boyd didn’t get the same reaction as Trayvon Martin’s murder, partly because of the image presumed of Travon Martin. And also because the Chicago Police Department is not the Sanford Police Department.

 

Much of the information surrounding Rekia Boyd is unfortunately one-sided. We have a police officer we know very little about being protected by a department in a political machine notorious for corruption and cover-ups. The situation should be understood thusly, Antonio got shot in the hand and charged with a misdemeanor assault on a police officer. White terrorism with a bit of propaganda as garnish. However, it makes the story less chewy for a media sponsored by corporate bottom lines, whether the bias is white liberal or white conservative. The initial media presentation of Rekia’s murder was that of an innocent bystander being shot as a police officer defended him Self. This is what trickled down to the public. The reaction of most to the story was to wait for more details to surface. There wasn’t much for an outburst to develop from. George Zimmerman didn’t take the initial steps to make him Self look justified as a citizens killing what at that times was a 17 year old that much of the world thought looked like a 14 year young child by the images of Trayvon we were presented.

 

As stated, this piece isn’t to defend the mainstream media, I don’t get paid enough to defend any established structure. I am simply addressing those that may be soiling Rekia’s name by limiting their thoughts to a prescribed agenda reaction. There is a genocide happening in the United States and Rekia is just one of the many victims of this ethnic wipe out to go without a large media presence. It hurts to read that the reason for her lack of attention is such a small detail when there are more obvious reasons she hasn’t been spoken of more largely. Furthermore, when the media doesn’t work in the way you wish it to, take the media into your own hands. Ask President Obama why he hasn’t spoken about a murder of such appalling circumstance in his own city, he is the only one that owes you that.

My Response To Porgy and Bess On Broadway(2012)

Editor’s note: Before we delve into this piece, would like to take the time to thank Nikki for such an eventful weekend in New York City. Asylum will always be indebted and I’m sure I would have never been exposed to much of what I have been if it had not been for your extended loyalty and commitment to our family.

 

 

An understanding must always be undertaken when discussing figures of history: I’m discussing what has happened and was recorded of a person. Often, in Afkan discussion, we mistake what we have heard of a person from source 1082 and not what we may have actually witnessed for our Selves or known of someone from primary accounting methods. I never met Dubose Heyward, I may have liked him. I never knew Malcolm X, may have disliked him. So, in my efforts to write critiques regarding historical figures, I attempt to be objective for the sake of my ignorance, and subjective with regard to my complete knowledge of Self. That is not saying I have complete knowledge of Self, for my Self is a dynamic, subject to change; I am, however, referring to those elements that have remained core components that I can be sure of in as much as I’m sure the Sun will remain in a fixed enough position for the Earth to round about its axis.

 

A part of this Self, I speak of and know of is my need to bond with those of my Afkan heritage. The romantic element of any nation, tribe, religion, any grouping of humans, is exactly that which that unit’s cohesive agent is. We are all bound by emotional strands, physical ecological realities, or we are not at the same time. Logic allows for a cold, or objectifying treatment of life, yet it doesn’t remove the fact that all of life is living and that all of the living are dependent or interconnected in some way. It is the romantic ideology that compels the will to act in a manner suitable for sacrifice and commitments that cold logic cannot always clone. The cowardly can be logical; the cowardly cannot always be faithful to the trust of those that need them to be in the face of ominous circumstance. When the braves of a people are limited and must resort to the employ of cowards to do that which even the brave flounder, it takes an emotional appeal that extends into the imagination, not the analytic recesses. In this regard, it is always necessary to know what every imagination, what every creation, and thus what every artist and creator, has in their mind and what is the response to these creations on the collective mind. It must be remembered that the phrase “Uncle Tom” originated not in the sphere of objective reality, but in the imaginations of a White woman for a white male audience. Yet, how often do we hear White males using the phrase colloquially? How often do we hear or read Afkan peoples using it?

 

Now, in mentioning all of that, what are you preparing us for, eh? I don’t mind White writers writing whatever they choose; I just don’t wish to allow it to pass without a critical eye for symbols and messages that are born of the taints of White privilege born of European global domination that allows Whites to continuously feel comfortable crafting pieces about Afkan of all eras and periods. Media images have defined movements and cultural behaviors since the written word appeared, and it should be the effort of any Black(Afkan) media analyst to regard all works composed by other than Afkan about Afkan to be held as propaganda that could spark mass gas chambers to be filled. If I am to be applauded for critiquing the works of Tyler Perry or even Aaron McGruder, I shall not be of the type of rat’s bastard spawn, filled with insecurity of my own culture and skin, that I can’t critically assess those that helped to forge the stereotypes and shallow witticisms that plague the works of the aforementioned.

 

 

I tend to hold this view especially when applying my sword and monocle to period pieces. Especially period pieces written by Southern Whites born during the late 1800s (any hundreds really, but those really get the McNulty treatment). Such a piece is Dubose Heyward’s Porgy, which is the book that became the play that became the operetta, that became the wonderful and entertaining Broadway production my sister from another sex act entirely treated me and Brie to the past weekend. The production of the Broadway performance was superb in execution. David Alan Grier’s “Sportin’ Life” was vivid and captured the essence of the trickster beyond even the work it Self through his use of obvious stage contraptions that were not actual props(i.e., his constant leaning on stage scaffolding, a device that lesser skilled talents might abuse to the detriment of a convincing performance). The colorful clothing arrangements complemented the rich vocal assortment, which, like that blending of cast costumes, cascaded in a harmonizing that captured you from the opening act to the last. It truly was an event to behold. An experience worthy of all that vibratory magnetism that surrounds much of Broadway, and those works which come to represent it in real time.

 

Porgy and Bess, the Broadway musical, is the story of a crap game gone bad when a local drunken dope fiend, Crown, loses and kills the fader, Robbins. Without telling too much of the plot, although you should expect spoilers, Porgy, a crippled beggar gives the drunken dope fiend’s lady, Bess, a place to hide after she turns down the offers of the local dope dealer, “Sportin’ Life”. And although the production is awfully compelling, I couldn’t resist the urges of my analytic process when watching a musical rendition of a crap game of Afkan gentle folks acted in front of me in a sea of predominantly White ticket buyers. I immediately thought of Ice Cube’s “What They Hittin’ Foe?”(Amerikkka’s Most Wanted(1991)) and other Hip hop mentionables that have often gone under fire by the same class of Afkan that will most likely be defending the White Heyward and Jewish Gershwin. As an Afkan (Black) media analyst, it is has become an almost impossible task for me not to question the motives of why a particular cultural artifact, whether well meaning or not, actual or just practical for storytelling purposes, was used. This is especially the case for productions with cultural Afkan overtones and predominantly Afkan casts. I have a right to question anyone outside of the Afkan experience, I don’t care if your mother sucked fifty Afkan penises in the back of her father’s car while she grew up in an Afkan neighborhood; all Afkan can’t tell the Afkan story, why should it be so easy for those other than Afkan to do it?

 

 

It often needs to be thought about, who trained Afkan film writers, other Afkan film writers, or other than Afkan film writers? Was it not other than Afkan peoples that had their hands on the development of film first? Did the Afkan somehow fund a movie production to teach other than Afkan people how to write for film and film going audiences before other than Afkan people wrote for film and all other than Afkan audiences? Have I somehow confused you here? Do you need to read this all over? Please, I’ll wait right here…

 

Where did the mammy caricature originate? Although the depiction of women of an imaginary small Gullah village named, Catfish Row — symbolized in the Broadway performance by nine (my numerologists readers should have a field day with this play given its use of complete and incomplete notions {the play starts with a child’s birth} used throughout the scripting) planks of wood holding up the wooden set where the thespians performed– these women are very much styled as the mammy. In fact, all of the Afkan women in the play would easily fit into that type with the exception of Bess, played by a very alluring and just damn fine Audra McDonald, whose type is the whore, the loose and easily accessible licentious dark woman, or Jezebel/Sapphire, a caricature often associated with Afkan women. The male characters, although slightly more robust, still capture elements of the slave narratives as sold to European American audiences. We have the Buck exemplified by the drunken Crown. This savage rapist image that allowed for Ku Klux Klan memberships to swell, oh wait, that could have possibly allowed(yes, I’m moving my right hand closed around an open circular space in a jerking up and down motion), after the release of D.W. Griffith’s ‘Birth of a Nation’. Although the trickster image appears heavily in Gullah and Yoruba lore, in the character of Sportin’ Life it takes on the elements of “slickster”, not buffoonish in any manner, but the sophisticated fast talking caricature spoken of in J.A. Rodger’s “From Superman to Man”.

 

 

I do not in any right feel the need to be “fair” to a writer’s work who has direct descendants that not only owned slaves but apparently lived pretty well-off because of them, so I’ll write this out rightly, the women are shown as the unifying force of the story, very much like the mammy caricature is shown as the leader of the Afkan people. Whether objective reality supports this or not, and whether I support this or not, this is the continued message throughout the piece. We see a much respected Porgy being chastised by the women who will not give him his cane as a means of keeping him immobile to convince him towards their thinking. It is also the women that alienate Bess and instruct her not to seek Porgy for a rest haven. It is also the women that embrace her and invite her to the community picnic held on the island where she is left to be raped by Crown (a rape scene on the stage was very impacting given the level of groping by the actor Phillip Boykin). I was happy to see a media production where an Afkan man is seeking to not only commit to an Afkan woman, but also to defend her, sure. I’m also pleased to have seen a performance whereby a group of Afkan women that are married to Afkan men come together to defend an Afkan man. I’m also pleased to point out a production that points to the historical reality of the Gullah. I do believe I’ve been kind enough to this child of Afkan slave torturers.

 

It should noted here that Heyward wrote Porgy based on an actual Afkan that was considered to be a criminal. As an informally trained White writer whose family had fallen from grace after the Emancipation Proclamation and subsequent fall of the South, Heyward had been persuaded to write a piece about Afkans that would allow him to compete with the more sophisticate White writers in the community of writers that he belonged to. As stated before, I probably would have really liked this guy. But, I have to ask, if Heyward were an Afkan understanding how powerful imagery works in writing as well as how imagery transcends cultures, would he have gone with an Afkan story of a criminal and whore? It is a compelling story. Porgy and Bess is much more intricate than its critics have allowed it, and much more complex than Gershwin’s adaptation, replete with inconsistency after inconsistency, frames it. I do agree with Langston Hughes, Heyward was able to do what most of his White counterparts crafting the Afkan experience elegantly and poignantly. However, I still must wonder if he were forced by conscientious responsibility to pick a storyline, would it have been that of a crippled beggar forced to defend an Afkan drug addict from her murderous and rapist lover? Porgy, and its variation, Porgy and Bess, is an ugly tale. It is a very dark piece. Heyward’s ethnicity and his family’s background only makes the piece more dark for me.

 

Certain questions ought to be raised. Why is it when an Afkan portrays Afkan women as needy, drug addicted, and weaker than enamel dentures soaking in lemon juice, they are attacked for being born Tyler Perry? Yet, those descriptions were written with Porgy and Bess in mind. Has it become a part of our culture that only White Jewish males are allowed to go unquestioned with depictions of Afkan (Afrikan Amerikkkan) women in roles stereotypical or demeaning? Had Tyler Perry been the director of “Color Purple” instead of Steven Spielberg, would we have demanded the lynching party we usually rally together behind films that display women in no different manner than the Jewish film maker? We laugh when White women attempt to exhibit our styles, yet we let a White Jewish man tell us how our “Girlfriends” should act?

 

I don’t mind anyone doing whatever with media. I do have a problem when I can’t ask questions in the same country “Birth of a Nation” and “Colors” were filmed. I know what impact images can have on the lives of individuals and thus communities. Afkan pretend to endure for the sake of artistic value, and yet, the Anti-Defamation League would have their balls deep down Tyler Perry’s esophagus if he crossed the same lines we allow his Jewish counterparts to cross since the early 1900s in media. I am appreciative of classic works such as Porgy and Bess. I thought the imagery of an Afkan community coming together against White terrorism in the form of brutal and draconian police detectives was refreshing. But White Jewish liberals have always had a soft spot when it comes to violence in their exploitation; ask an NAACP member. However, I would ask anyone reading this to consider whatever facts and accurate insights or perspectives I provide with this piece.

 

I also don’t have any extra fucks to give with those that might label me filiopietistic here. As known, I am an Afkan loyalist and my works aren’t of the academic type constructed by intellectual cowards hiding behind objectivity for the sake of grants, loans, tenure, or appearances on some news anchor or political pundit’s couch positioned just so precisely for camera purposes. Excuse my existentialism, but every human is at war, and every collective formed due to warlike circumstances either of environment, animal, or other human collectives. Good writers don’t toss words on pages and make classic literature no matter how much Western theories of evolution might suggest such goofy notions. A lot of thought goes into a masterpiece, and a lot of impact occurs with collected thought. My job is to ask the questions that you don’t when thinkers hope you aren’t.

 

As always, thanks for reading this…

An Examination Of Rape Culture

First and foremost I want to give thanks to Owl for once again allowing me the pleasure to contribute to the Asylum.

 

Owl asked me to write this article after a bit of a tangent I had on twitter regarding the lack of critical focus displayed by some over a video on WorldStarHipHop.com (WSHH) referenced on twitter by the hashtag #HerschelwoodBustdown. The video depicted some men running a train on a woman (please note I have not actually watched the video so I am going the reports on my twitter timeline. I will refer to the participants as adults for the purpose of writing this post however if they are in fact not adults WSHH is liable for child porn distribution and should be reported).

 

As I watched my twitter timeline and the hashtag, there was this consistent chorus of disgust
surrounding the events in the video for all the wrong reasons. People were speaking on their distaste for the particular form of group sex depicted, for the woman’s sexual choices (slut shaming, misogynist), or they were questioning the sexuality of the men involved for having their dicks out around each other (heterosexist, and considering that being gay requires there to be some same sex attraction, quite stupid). The men involved utilized some very derogatory misogynistic language in reference to the woman they were having sex with. That reality transforms this scene of indiscretion, (which is misogynistic in its own right- due to the betrayal of that woman’s trust), into a scene of Rape Culture.

 

Now when I say Rape Culture I refer to the violent regime of sexual violence perpetrated primarily against women.

 

We arrive at what is called Rape Culture through the patriarchal masculine hegemonic imperative that demands men exist as dominators and controllers applied to the sexual sphere. Patriarchy makes sex a place where power and domination are expressed as the basis of the act, where pleasure is only a factor with respect to the man involved and thereby reinforcing the potency of one’s manhood. To groups of men who may find themselves oppressed by a particular social order, finding themselves locked out of political, economic, and social spheres of power as well as the sites of domination and control within those spheres the imperative for control and domination become concentrated in the body especially sex. The function of the body because it is the last site left where one can validate the potency of their manhood lest ego collapse or a rearranging of the concept of manhood occur.

 

I can’t recall, whether it is bell hooks or Patricia Hill Collins that illustrates this point by examining prison rape. Men in prison fit the description of being lock out of places of power perhaps better than any other group. Given the abysmal soul murdering conditions one is force to exist in while incarcerated acting out a patriarchal rubric is condensed into the body. In prison settings often the less violent, less aggressive “weaker” men are preyed upon and victimized by the more violent, more aggressive “stronger” men for a variety of purposes including the sexual. In a space where there is no access to women, “women” are created; objects to be dominated controlled and used at the whim of the strong men.

 

To return to the #HershelwoodBustdown, the misogynistic denigration of the woman involved by the men involved make this act not about a wild sexual escapade that should have never made it to the internet, but about trashing women as pleasure on the level of if not superseding that of penetration.

 

Take a moment and think about what it means for a man to vocalize his misogyny as a part of a sexual act with a woman. To do such a thing is to say that as a man, “sex is a site of power for me and you, the woman are merely the masturbatory tool that I use to assert my dominance and because of it you are trash. You are nothing to me. You are utterly disposable. You are and object for me and my friends to treat as we will. You are not human.”

 

This is sexual violence, and because this mindset of sex as power is systemic and based upon a desire to express domination and control it forms a culture of rape.

 

According to The New York Times a recently concluded study shows that 1 out of every 5 women reports being raped. According to Most Estimate 80-90% of rapes go unreported. 50% of the time the victim knows her rapist and that people from marginalized communities are at higher risk for rape due to their societal vulnerability. One would think with such disturbing numbers people would be vigilant and aware of preventing rape. However, the lack of critical thought on this event and the subsequent failure to link it to patriarchy and its culture of rape provides the consent for sexual violence in all of its forms to continue. Not to mention how the seriousness of rape is devalued by victim blaming and the casual usage of the term rape in indicated a level of intensity or to make joke. Even the strategies that are employed to combat rape are tainted by our rape culture as they teach women how to avoid rapes(implying that they bring it on themselves) rather than teaching men to not be rapists. The fact of the matter is that our patriarchal rape culture and its adherence created the men in this video it created the impetus for their misogynistic actions, and the environment that sanctions it. This is how rapists are made and our failure to recognize it means only more victims down the road.