Futile Activism…

There is a belief in the lore and spirit of my people.

A belief so strong it has wiped its excrement releasing orifices on the religious cliches, poetry rehashings, and regurgitated proverbs passed from generation to generation of the Afkan(Afrikan Amerikkkan). It has ejaculated in emotional expression and spewed a dense reproductive covering of uncritical generality on most of Afkan philosophy and thought.

It walks through airports and rides trains carrying various identifications. Some id cards have it labeled,”Keeping It Real”;others “Being Your Self”. For the soul searching pilgrims of life, it might be garbed in the phrase,”Mastery Of Self”. And yet, how often have we questioned the impermanence of consistency in the human psyche? Is not our ideal of maturation a vote cast in the ballot box of change? How much is the notion of “staying in your lane” a call to “keep one in their place” as a slave master would their slave? How many of us can say that we found our niche before the age of 10 with a resonance so strong that we resolved to remain within it the entirety of living? How many of us languished throughout our adult years in jobs we detested because we felt “this was our lane”? How many of our people are held prisoner in urban ghettos by a warden wearing a name tag that reads,”Just Being Me”?

These thoughts and others visited your Owl with the strength of skunk flatulence as I considered the various reactions of my people to the murder of Trayvon Martin. Initially, my own basic life premise of any means necessary caused me to be visually disoriented as the bright lights of action takers oriented us all. And yet, how ill-advised is it to be overwhelmed by actions without purpose camouflaged in purposefulness? How often have Afkan people gathered in the name of a deceased friend or relative, discussed the highlights(and at times, low points) of that individual’s time on earth, and did NOT bury the body? No matter how much ceremonial and symbolic gestures are necessary to gather enough strong bodies to dispose of a decaying body, the end result of those actions should be a well buried cadaver. Thusly, no matter how many updates on Twitter, wallposts on Facebook, rallies throughout the country, empty Skittles bags, photography opportunities with professional athletes in hoodies, or hypothetical parenting by presidents we have, if George Zimmerman is not arrested, it has all been in vain.

 



 

In my most understanding and sympathetic nucleus of being, I get it. We all want to do something. We all have gotten rather bored with social media and those of us with our degrees in digital discussion deduce the power to character ratio that is an update or posting. We want to feel we have accomplished a thing. We are still enamored by the movements of the 60s. We wish to believe that we still live in a time where many of those objective forces and realities exist, and that we are really doing a major thing, yet…much of what we are doing is just inviting people to a club, a feel good moment that allows us to express our electric vibrations in a crowd. I have the utmost respect for organizers, but at the same time, I’m honest and analytical enough to recall the character traits of the high school children that threw the biggest parties when their parents were away. Popularity, on or offline, is not exactly a political movement for justice in actuality to a guy like me. Yet, for a group of people forced to be social during enslavement, and developed to be social as a survival art in urban confinements, this is often dubbed, “Us being us”.

 



 

I’m not exactly sure where the failing of comprehension stems from. An offshoot of slavery’s psychological victimstance, whereby we feel as though it has to be our fault and any action should be regarded as “revolutionary” against the weight of the omniscient and omnipotent “White man”. Possibly some sort of residue of being groomed to respect and honor all that is Anglo, treating issues of justice as one would treat their corporate and academic superiors. Conceivably, the remnants of opportunism gathered like crumbs underneath a couch cushion causing the most ardent loudmouths amongst us to volley for attention to their organization without a critical thought from the audience of college graduates to question exactly when the work of arresting George Zimmerman would ensue. From those that arguably have a lust for jail cells screaming about kills in public spaces, to those that are so myopic in their agenda propaganda that they can’t understand that the issue is about Trayvon being murdered by George Zimmerman and not being arrested — not Afkan on Afkan violence — I lost something for my people. A certain respect for the group of people that behaved so rationally and creatively politically once, has now become an unimpressed, depressed sentiment of incredulity at the sheer futility of activeness.

And no, I can’t think of anything redemptive about all of this. I’ve seen it all before from organizers that put together great get-togethers but bring your own justice. Bring your own hitmen. Bring your own legal authorities. Bring your own group of shortsighted minions. Keep it real, but help us put on this play directed by the same local characters pretending at powerful displays. Let’s not arrest George Zimmerman, let our make believe “Black President”(I hate to interrupt your re-election, Mr. President, but Bill Clinton at least used Vaseline when cast for the role) play the part of Captain Obvious while pulling on the heart strings of Afkans instead of pulling his executive strings and handcuffing George Zimmerman.

Somehow, someway, in all of our Skittles eating, hoodie wearing, praying to White Neighborhood Watch Gods that reside over the rainbow, social media organizing and rallying like it is 2099, somebody forget to bury a body. In the process of finding our Selves, we forgot to be conscious of the changing of environments. We left the banquet hall with smiles and merriment, a glee brought about from our pride in “doing us” fills the air–as the pungent odor of hubris confuses our collective sense of smell allowing the stench of George Zimmerman’s freedom escape from our “real” arses.

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…

Would You Take A Bullet For Your Homie?

 

So often we get our principles confused with our public display of propriety. Where some stand alone in their displays of courage and loyaly, we often overlook their contributions to allow those that would never save us to save face. There is a grace to the proper word, and the forgiving glance;there is a more valued glory to the look that need not words to kindle eternal gratitude and a remembering heart. During our moments of breathing we can place an appraisal on expectations that far outweighs reasonable perfection given the default rules of such.

 

To be of service to any group of humans can be a daunting task. To be a comrade, a fighter alongside those that have chosen or have been enscripted in some sort of fashion to form the blocking hands and attacking fists, the sneaking eyes and encouraging tongue of a group, is a life of obligations and sacrifice. And yet, neither of these is the summit that is being a Friend of The People.

 

I rose from my slumbering angle half an hour ago with the thought of Malcolm and Martin wrestling for my Asylum, escuse me, Our Asylum’s attention like a teenage crooner outside his romantic interests second story window. I don’t believe in Harry Potter, but I do believe there is a vitality of personality in all things. The discomforts of war and warlike conditions often force us to choose which lifeforms will be respected as such. The feeding lioness and her hungry cubs are more objectifying than the Western educated chauvinist pig in a stripper’s den. The passing of wartime into peace can often afford us self-righteous creeds that don’t exactly match the objective realities they are supposedly designed to guide us through. That all being written, I don’t want to neglect Our Asylum any fruitful ventures of thought that I might have had to overlook in worse conditions, nor do I want to become a moralizing prick that has forgotten the ways of the walk.

 

How easy is it for us to call Omowale an ex-con(and all the stigmas that implies) that was a horrible father and possibly even more horrible husband? How easy is it for us to point at Dr. King, Jr. and call him a womanizer and unfaithful to Corretta’s bed? Now, how many of us reading(and writing) this piece can say they walked out of a prison and built Elijah Muhammad’s Nation of Islam, taught Brother Louie how to be Minister Louis Farrakahn, won the respect and honor of revolutionaries of Fidel’s caliber, and inspired the Black Panther Party? How many can say they died being a Friend of the People? How many of us have our sock and t-shirt drawer organized let alone have organized a successful boycott of the one means of transportation within a citywide area for working Black women, organized a March on Washington before it was ever done and during a time when Whites would pull your wig back because of it? How many reading this(and writing this) have ever faced a dog down for more than selfish reasons? What about a water hose on full blast? Yeah, me neither…

 

Is this how we treat our friends? By backbiting them? Slandering them? Digging through crates and garbage cans for information to defame their character? Is this how we treat our friends? Is this how we want the people, especially our children, to treat Friends of the People? If we treat Friends of Ours that have taken bullets in front of their children, who else will be willing to sign up for that job? “Would you take a bullet for your homie?” Don’t you people know how to treat your friends? Did they brainwash that out of you, too? No, wonder why we don’t have any.

 

I would sincerely hope that we don’t afford our children the misconceptions of Western analysis and progress. That limb that you are about to chop off for the sake of a seeming “growth”–or as Marable might put it with his writing arse,unfreeze a “stage of development”– is the same limb you will need to hold on to if you fall. Better yet, who the hell is allowing you to cut branches from Our Afkan Tree any damn way? There is nothing perfect without perfection in a dynamic such as life. We Afkan have a serious reality to face and that is that we are a people. Sure, forced through the labors of a raped mother and murdered father, sold by our own family to the enemies of the house of Our ancestors–we still are all we know. I can only speak and mumble a few words of Akan, Kiswahili, and Yoruba. But I can walk through the hoods of any Afkan neighborhood nationwide and reach out to my own kind. With all of my legal issues and urban traumas, I can walk on any college campus and hold my own intellectually. Our good friend Malcolm taught us that. Although I don’t believe in a personal godhead, I know how to sup amongst the Baptists, and give a good word to the homeless and the poor. Our good friend Dr. King taught us that.

 

 

My socio-political hypocrisies, or Saul Alinsky’s “political schizophrenia”, provides me with enough good sense to know when to cover my friend’s nakedness while photographing the nakedness of my enemies for proper propaganda. My intellectual pursuits as an adult didn’t begin on the quad of academia, it began in the alleys of St. Louis where I was taught by a partner of sorts somewhat older than me that no matter the dispute, we agree with each other in public, and hash our disagreements out when we are alone. No matter how western my logic might unravel, I never forgot my Afkanese. And one thing the Afkan knows for sure, good friends are a damn struggle to find. So, Afkans, treat your friends good…

 

“They accuse us of what they themselves are guilty of. This is what the criminal always does. They’ll bomb you, then accuse you of bombing yourself. They’ll crush your skull, then accuse you of attacking him. This is what the racists have always done–the criminal, the one who has criminal processes developed to a science. Their practice is criminal action. And then use the press to make you victim–look like the victim is the criminal, and the criminal is the victim. This is how they do it.” – Malcolm X, Feb. 16, 1965

 

“There are all too many people who, in some great period of social change, fail to achieve the new mental outlooks that the new situation demands. There is nothing more tragic than to sleep through a revolution. There can be no gainsaying of the fact that a great revolution is taking place in our world today. It is a social revolution, sweeping away the old order of colonialism.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., June 1965

The Suicide Contract

In light of the choice of Don Cornelius to unplug, I’ve decided to highlight my thoughts on suicide.

 

Initially, my thoughts on suicide would be formed by much of my childhood and partial scenarios passed to me by my mother. Although she was suicidal her Self, I’ve never dealt with her removing her energy pack from her body. In fact, in many times that I felt she should have left, she remained a while to fight it out with the rest of us. A choice that I am grateful of. However, had she so opted out of a life she didn’t ask, or her ego — the only part of us that matters to most of us when the discussion of suicide arises — doesn’t recall if birth is ours to ordain, I would have honored her decision. Our hypocrisy tends to peak from the foxhole of lies told for reasons unknown when we discuss topics such as this. While homeless, even my closer family members hinted at their philosophy that it was my choices that led to it, and yet the choice of death shouldn’t ever cross my mind. It is considered cowardly to kill one’s Self, and yet most of us live day after day, year after year with decisions made for us by others afraid to take to task those that are most responsible. Suicide is just another choice.

 

How I frame which suicides I would like to pattern my own after can reveal much of my own conformity, however. I am endeared greatly by the tales of the Igbo women of Nigeria that would jump overboard when captured by what then were European traders offered up humans by elite Afrikans. This is a noble suicide. It is suicide as a weapon. It is suicide as a message to the world that registered with me best as being translated as,”Enough is enough”. It is the martyr’s creed beyond romantic martyrdom. Martyrdom as an actual objective and necessary response to human oppression gone polar. If placed in a similar situation, I deem such a suicide as honorable and in deed, quite worthy of repetition.

 

I’ve publicly noted that I don’t believe all suicides should be during the dark hours of our lives. I once took a blade to my wrist during a period of bleakness. In that sort of condition, I do think it is much easier, as to be respected as a choice, yet and still, however, an easy one. For me, my life is not the life of easy decisions. I believe in the harder choices and the riskier agendas. This is a belief like much of Asylum: written more in blood on your minds than in electromagnetic ink.

 

That being said…

 

Don Cornelius opted out of the game of social existence earlier today. I frame suicide in the phrase,”social existence” because life is more than my interactions with people. We claim that suicide is “selfish” and yet most arguments against suicide are the apex of selfish thinking. Who did Brother Don owe? Did he owe you? Did he owe me? Had he owed somebody, would it be any less his choice to avoid payment than the many payments you or I have avoided in life? At what point can I be liberated from the clutches of entitled immature minds and decide that my life is indeed mine, and I’d like to place a final period in the manuscript? I see the vibration rippling through the Afkan(Afrikan-Amerikkkan) mental space and I embrace it fully. It is noble for one to choose to leave when their days could easily be lived out in rote formation.

 

I’m not totally convinced of the events of today regarding Brother Don, but I do see the vibration of the thought that has grown a body, and I pick it out like fabric shed from bedding and entrapped in the sleeper’s hair. I hold it above my eyes and I even save it in a jar for later appraisal. The liberated mind, or the mind aware of what liberation should be, does such with every notion and possibility on the plane of existence.

 

I do enjoy life. I’ve walked through the cages horrible men make when attempting to confine the horrible men they’ve defined as ‘horrible men’ and I called it ‘Alma mater’. I smile with every stigmatized person in my country and I call that smile, ‘camaraderie’. I’ve shared my life story in a manner so candid that I inspired others to be open about them Selves when most would have simply gone about their business hiding behind “professional decorum”. I opened my hand to life and waved a clenched fist as I struggled with the ceremonious ritual of being Afkan during the fall of western capitalism. What I owe, and whom I owe obligation and responsibility to should be remitted in a fashionable manner. And when my debts are done, I shouldn’t be held by ties that I did not choose, but should be liberated as a human to make the choice to cut my own damn umbilical cord from the mother of all mothers.

 

I didn’t run when my number was called, but carried a flag through the fray with my heart exposed to all the elements a group of people nurturing the trauma of being born Afkan can hurl at you. I am not a coward. I am Owl of Asylum. I do enjoy life with all of her funny ass ways and idiosyncrasies. And in that I have loved her, I have no compunction when the time comes to love death. Let’s hope we have a gross amount of hours and years before such a romance should begin, yes?

Concessions, Applause, and Book Plugs…The Black Agenda Conference…

Nothing makes my day better than spending it in the neighborhoods of the black community, listening to arguments about Jay-z, and brothers from St. Louis reminiscing about how the bloods and crips first came here. The height of the day was hearing brothers discuss the murder of Hitman-T at eighteen, and his body being expunged from the ground, and left on his mother’s doorsteps. Yeah, great way to start your day off on a positive note.

So, once I returned home, I was excited to read my e-mail (we might as well just start calling it g-mail…it is coming) and my DMs (Direct (Private) Messages from my twitter account), and find a set of videos left by a good brother of mine, and a sister asking me to watch The Black Agenda that was recorded early today. From listening to old gang bangers, to listening to older black politicians and academics. Yeah, my life, right?

The theme was “We Count”, and Tavis Smiley was sitting at a round table(enough of the subtle gestures already guys…) with the likes of Rev. Jesse l. Jackson, sr., Minister Louis Farrakhan, Michael Eric Dyson, Cornel West, Angela Glover Blackwell, Michael Fuantroy, Dr. Julianne Malveaux. They were affectionately referred to as Tavis smiley and the Panelist…I thought they were going to dim the lights, and drop a few highlights on them while the music began to play…instead, Tavis asked everyone to hold and pray. Thank you. I didn’t know if Michael Phleger would be able to hold a note. Oh, yeah, Michael Phleger was the one who gave the invocation, yeah, the white Michael Phleger gave the invocation for the Black Agenda…yeah.

It was hosted by Wayne Watson president of Chicago state university(affectionately known as CSU…Geez, guys…who’s writing this stuff…), and before the marquee guests appeared he asked the students to participate in the 2010 census. Now why would he bring that up? When have you ever heard someone talk about the census? He states that participation in the census will help the federal government allocate funds to the black community…

I was so glad that Jesse L. Jackson was the one to make the comments about the moral center, and the black agenda being the moral agenda…I’m not going to say it…well…maybe the good Christian monogamous brother believes he is Abraham…

The gist or the overall theme of the conference and much of all the panelists’ discussion was that the American Black Agenda was the American agenda. I ultimately understood the dialogue, and was glad the dialectic was pronounced. However, I also would like to state that every time American Blacks attempt to depend on the state of White America to heed their call, nothing but concessions amount from the talks. This is still planet earth, and rule number one among the living seems to be the need to demand power, and not ask for it. The hope of better treatment for the millions of American Blacks in this country from millionaires is very strange to me. And ultimately, those who say let your work show, I’m in the belly, and I have been here for the most of my life, and I have never seen you.

I see the gangster discussing how they have shot people and how the organizations of young men in the streets of St. Louis has grown. I hear the pain of the brothers and sisters when referencing work and jobs. I hear them when they talk about the various prisons across the state of Missouri, and how one can avoid the traps. I believe they have taught me more about the black agenda than those who live comfortably working at such institutions as Prince George University, Georgetown, and Princeton, Bennett College for women. I have no compunctions with them discussing moral codes because they also discuss their moral dilemmas. I trust them. And because they see me striving for this degree, while living among them, they trust me as well.