5 Things “The Have And Have Nots” Has In Common With “Scandal”

…elitists’ dislike of Popular culture came from their dislike of the common man. They attacked their taste and cultural preferences since they no longer could openly express their disdain for the masses directly. One may feel that “the people is a great beast” but one cannot say so anymore. There was also a lingering resentment on the part of many European and some American intellectuals who felt they were not accorded the prestige and status they merited in our egalitarian, bourgeois society…

 

Popular culture and elite culture are not that different, except, perhaps, at the furthest extremes of the arts spectrum: professional wrestling at one end and James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake on the other. If Hamlet is broadcast on network television, does this represent popular culture (since millions presumably see it) or elite culture, since it is a classic work of art? Postmodernist critics have taken the position that popular culture does not differ significantly from elite culture and in recent years, the development of what is now called cultural criticism has enabled critics to deal with all genres, forms, levels, and kinds of art.

 

Popular culture is just what it says it is–culture (the operative term) that has wide appeal and is enjoyed by large numbers of people…
–Arthur Asa Berger, “Myth Of Mass Culture”

Although, I have my qualms with both Tyler Perry and Shonda Rhimes, I have noticed a few things in common with both of their shows. I have also noticed the pattern that some of Shonda’s fans have expressed by demeaning Perry’s show as “low brow”. I do not think any subscriber of “Scandal” really has any room to demean Perry’s show. And with that in mind, I have decided to present:

Five things that Tyler Perry’s “Have And Have Nots” Has In Common With Shonda Rhimes’ “Scandal”:

1. Both are doing extraordinary ratings numbers for their respective stations

“The Haves And The Have Nots” as of July 31, 2013 generated 1.87 million total viewers. According to the same source,”The episode also was OWN’s second-most-watched telecast among women 25-54, behind the show’s May premiere.”

Further, “Following a series high for the July 30 episode, the one-hour series cracked the 2 million total viewers mark for its most recent broadcast. Thus far this season, The Haves and the Have Nots is averaging 1.7 million viewers and a 1.5 rating among women 25-54 during its Tuesday 9 p.m. period.” According to Madame Noire,”show pulled in a record high 2.6 million viewers on Tuesday for its fall finale, and because of that, it became the #1 episode in the series history”. Thus,the show debuts at 1.77 million viewers for the first season, and ends the season with 2.6 million viewers of the season finale.

Also,“Citing numbers from The Nielsen Company, the series has grown for eight consecutive weeks in the key female demo, propelling the finale episode to score its highest rating of the season with a 2.21 among women 25-54, delivering a 40% growth among women 25-54 and 44% growth in total viewers versus the season average (1.58 W25-54, 1.8 million total viewers).”

“Scandal” had a 6.7 million viewership for the season two opener, and a 10.5 million viewers tuned in to watch its third season opener. For comparison and standardizing factors, NBC’s Monday Night Football–the highest ranked television product for the week of Sept. 22, 2013 by Nielsen— had 20,493,000 viewers. Also, “The season three premiere of Scandal garnered a series-high 3.6 adults 18-49 rating, up 13 percent from a 3.2 for the season two finale.”

2. Both are prime time dramas

There is somewhat of an argument brewing on the labeling of both shows. While “The Haves” is billed primarily as a “soap opera” it is also billed as a “drama series”. The same with “Scandal”. The degree of political intrigue, and possibly its Washington, DC setting, also have given it reason to be labeled a “political drama” in the same genre as “24”.

Regardless of the labeling, I am more concerned with the dramatic emotional appeal that both shows obviously drive in a prime time slot. Prime time slots are gold to the television market, and that both shows have been able to create dedicated audiences in that time allotment speaks to their attraction. That these shows also are both heavily driven by themes of intrigue, class, and elitism in that particular time slot is reason for the media analyst and media communicator to study the impact and ascertain the formula of success.

3. Both are the story of Elite Whites And Socially Mobile Blacks

As stated in the last paragraph, both shows deal with themes of White elitism. “The Haves” is the story of three families: The Cryers’, The Harringtons’, and The Youngs’.

The Cryers’ are the established White family headed by the politically conscious Savannah criminal courts judge, Jim Cryer and his wife, Katheryn, an heiress and housewife. The Harringtons’ are a socially mobile Black family, headed by Veronica and David. The Youngs’ are the “Have Nots” of the series, with Candance Young having an extramarital affair with the patriarch and judge, Jim Cryer.

In the same vein, “Scandal” is the story of Olivia Pope’s crisis management firm, Pope & Associates. The clientele is upscale and elite in the same manner as “The Have and Have Nots” storyline. Olivia Pope is an Ivy League educated Black Woman her father, Rowan Pope, being the head of the CIA division of B613.

Both shows have appealed to its audience’s apparent desire for “Huxtablism”, which I am just going to refer to the writer that I borrowed it from and define it as the Black African American Bourgeois experience as represented in Black African American media. While there has been an online petition to have Tyler’s stage play turned television series removed from the OWN network, I only see production differences and a need for elite negroes to feel better than other US Blacks. Given any extra budget expenses allotted for production than these two productions would not have much separating them. The themes in the writing of both are based on Black exploration of upper echelons of White patriarchal capitalist space. The themes in the writing of both are based on Black exploration of capitalist control of government power. The themes in the writing of both are based on the ideas of the tragic mulatto, the overwhelmed Black woman of lower class stock enraptured by the White man of means.

Whatever the differences in how these themes are exhibited on the screen, they are basically the same themes.

4. Both have Black Women characters in interracial affairs with White patriarchs

Since I am doing pretty good with the segues as of late, as mentioned in the last paragraph, both shows deal with an interracial coupling of a White man and Black Woman. What is interesting from the perspective of US Black African American media analysis is that both story lines not only involve Black Women with White men, but the type of White men. In “Scandal”, Olivia Pope is having an affair with Fitzgerald Thomas Grant III–also called “Fitz”, the President of the United States of America and former GOP Governor of California. In “The Have and Have Nots”, Candace Young is engaged in an extramarital affair with the judge of Savannah’s Criminal Courts, James “Jim” Cryer.

Both show’s patriarchs are married to wives that are responding to their husband’s indiscretions similarly. Both wives are portrayed as knowing about their husbands’ cheating, as well as them being scripted to smile and “play the game” in public.

5. Both have White Women characters married to powerful White men who have Black mistresses.

(Am I not killing it with the segues?)

“The Have and The Have Nots” shows Katheryn Cryer as the White wife of Jim Cryer who is accepting her position as married to a White patriarch who is cheating on her as part of the game. “Scandal” shows Melody “Mellie” Grant, the First Lady of the United States Of America, as accepting her position as married to a White patriarch who is cheating on her as part of the game. Both women are stylized as being “cold and calculated”. Both are scripted to be accepting their husband’s two-timing due to their own political motivations.

I think it is important as a US Black African American media analyst to recognize not just the characterization of the Black women as mistresses, but also the White Women as manipulative and in some ways cold. Both shows use a very painful historical triangle of power as a fairly dominant theme, namely, the White Wife, The White Master, and The Black Woman as sexual toy. For whatever reason both shows just happen to use this theme, the usage by both shows, as well as the story line in “The Bold & The Beautiful” mentioned in linked article, make this theme one of the most predominant theme in shows involving US Black images.

Trust, Sex, Black Media, And Black African American Women

I never think it is wholly wise or critically prudent to assess an entire group by their media presentation. I also do not think it is wholly wise or critically prudent to drink alcoholic beverages while driving, yet it is done. And so is the use of stereotyped media portrayals as guideposts for one’s worldview. I recall being in class, some English literature class I had to take at Ranken, and the subject of race came up.

 

I cannot exactly remember how it came up, just that I felt the need to insert myself into the discussion. Of course, you say. So, the question of racial inferiority arose, and I asked the instructor her thoughts on the topic. Her response was something of the effect that she grew up in an all White town and had little contact with Blacks. Now, before the militant branch of my readership grabs bullets and bottles of explosive fluids loaded into a caravan heading to St. Louis, I do give her credit for being honest. A mildly subtle reflection of White supremacist thought masked in empirical consideration that caused me to literally bite my tongue to keep the “White bytch, what?!” from guaranteeing my expulsion.

 

I attempt to avoid letting one virus carrying mutt infect my thoughts on all mutts, but that can be foolish. It is similar to a trust issue in a romantic engagement. Trust in a relationship, very much like racial animus, is not a polar consideration. It has levels. Every lie is not the same, every betrayal has its portion of impact. Trust cannot be boxed into time constraints because trustworthiness is a dynamic that can be felt and read;some people earn higher levels of trust faster than others because they should. I feel the same way with racial trust.

 

So, Owl has been watching soap operas lately.

 

(Okay, hurry up with your laughter, your condescending “aawws”, and the like…)

 

I only watch the two that are both created by William J. Bell and Lee Phillip Bell for CBS and executive produced by Bradly Bell, namely, “The Bold And The Beautiful” and “Young And The Restless”. Now, once again, Owl would never use any market prepared stereotypical image, especially one contrived for daytime drama, but, levels. I want to consider levels here. Moving on, you have these two story lines involving Black Women and trust. In one, you have the sister who is seeking revenge for the death of her mother, and she is having sex with men to ruin their relationships to get closer to the person she holds most responsible for her mother’s death. In another story line, you have a sister, Maya, that is romantically involved with this well-to-do white guy, Rick Forrester. She allows an acquaintance to spend the night, and her white beau finds out, and he breaks up the relationship by sleeping with is his ex-fiancee.

 

(Yeah, I know, real dramatic and over the top story lines, yes?)

 

Now, granted, once again, any use of imagery from media is going to be labeled a stretch. Whether someone needs to justify why they watch soap operas, or a need to defend television viewing, or just media in general, there tends to be a response of ridicule and insult rather than critical address. And that is fine. These are the images of Black Women on television being transmitted to an audience that does not interact directly with Black women. These images are being transmitted primarily to an audience and through the production efforts of people that should not be trusted with these images. Levels.

 

It is not that I do not think White people cannot critically determine for themselves the range of accuracy a portrayal in a daytime drama should be given, history has shown me that I should not trust them on that level. Throughout media history, Black African American women have been portrayed as sexual animals. When they are not being the Bess, of the Sapphire, they are forged into masculine Sofia’s. It occurs so often, and in such an exploitative manner, that even the most inept Black media analyst is given more credit in my eyes for pointing at it. I do not trust White media producers and transmitters with the images of Black African American women!

 

(Editor’s note: I have not officially decided to make this a series, yet. But I do have a piece that is connected in scope to this piece here entitled,”The Ideal Of Media Trust And The Black African American Image”. Thank you.)

Dear Black American Sisters: A Response To @KolaBoof

“The spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social relation among people, mediated by images. ” – Guy-Ernest Debord, “The Society of the Spectacle”

“I’mma make it do what it do, baby!” – Colonel H.M. Stinkmeaner, The Boondocks

 

So, I read Egyptian-Sudanese author Kola Boof’s “Dear BLACK AMERICAN Sisters” earlier today. Given the Black African American media climate presently, with Russell Simmons releasing rape spoofs depicting Harriet Tubman and Twitter erupting in trending topics such as “#BlackPowerIsOnlyForBlackMen”, I felt Boof’s timing could not have been better. Actually, I thought her timing was much better than even Melissa Harris-Perry, who has decided not to use her national media platform to address the Black African American history revisions of ridicule and repulsion. Oh, well, I suppose…more Black Womenist traffic for Kola.

 

Not to make too light of the discussion, Kola’s scathing attempt at media sisterhood had as its main point a questionable, but worthy enough sentiment. Although, her justifications for her own hypocrisy, and furthermore agenda of pushing Black African American women into the arms of White men reeks throughout the piece like five day old pamper soil, I am glad the rant was published. While sipping French brandy on her Californian ranch away from the world, and reality in general, Boof makes the claim in her open missive that seems to be running to her continental African brothers in a very elitist and demeaning tone:

 

“And though many of you African men also suffer from self-hatred and adore all things European…it’s quite different with the Black American males. They literally hate their black mothers and do everything to undermine and dehumanize the image of their mothers. Listen to their Rap songs (bitches ‘n ho’s…I don’t like dark skin women) and their “hip hop cultural” language (she nothing but a hoodrat; she black) to understand me.”

 

I was truly surprised that Boof had not used “akata,” or her favorite epithet for US Blacks, “niggerstock” in her dedicated work. Instead, she just uses lofty generalizations to falsely frame a collective of Black men. Yet, as stated earlier, I am glad she publishes this depressing diatribe.

 

Sure, according to the US census, as recent as 2010, only 10.8% of all married US Black men were betrothed to a nonBlack Woman, and of that, 8.5% are White women, I do understand that some Black women feel left out of the Black male marriage pool. Yet, with numbers such as these, it is difficult to make the claim that “the Black American males…hate their black mothers and do everything to undermine and dehumanize the image of their mothers.” But, I do not want to be rebutted here with claims of strawman argumentation. It would be extremely easy for a writer of my caliber to pick and poke at a woman that reminds one of their drunken aunt rambling before a national stage. Fortunately, for her sake, I do find the notion of Black Women being presented as less than desirable in the media, and often in our expressed culture in more local spaces, to be somewhat truth.

 

I have written elsewhere(oh, and here as well) about specific Black men in my life urging me to date White women. I also realize that many Black men in the public eye date and marry along interracial lines. That, as a product of media enlargement, can mislead one to believe all sorts of damaging things about Black men. Now, Boof states she is privy to 26,000 years of history of Africans, yet she dangerously overlooks the trajectory of the slave master relations and impact on family. With all of her historical wealth, Boof somehow forgets to type between sips of wine purchased by her powerful Jewish White husband that White men raped Black women, causing lighter skinned children to be born that would also be privileged due to a familial political connection to the master. The color coded caste system that Boof refers to in her rant is based on the rape of Black Women by White men, the same White men Boof now presents to Black Women as saviors. Even with this social psychology, Black men are marrying Black Women at a rate of eight times or better percentage points than Black Men marrying any other race of Women.

 

Instead of Boof addressing the concern of US Blacks, and thus a portion of the global African population being genetically reduced in a similar fashion as Blacks in Brazil and Argentina, she grabs her “powerful” White Jewish beau and begins her contribution to the White Male marketing campaign. In some sort of magical elixir induced(read: drunk or high) state of consciousness where cognitive dissonance is just a mist of fog, she claims that US Black Men are worse than White men for US Black Women. This is from a woman that in the same passage states she knows twenty-six thousands years of African history.

 

(Man, White Male privilege must be nice…that and rich African Woman privilege…)

 

So, yes, I do believe that Black Women deserve and in a practical social political sense, need a better media and cultural representations. In the same way that women in the west in general need better representations for beauty standards. However, there is no objective data stating that US Black Men are completely not desirous of Black Women. There is no credible data pointing to Boof’s allegations that deny the reality that Black Men marry Black Women at rates much higher than Black Men practicing exogamy. As much as I want Black people to focus on strengthening their numbers, this position that Boof presents is purely irrational conjecture seemingly conjured up for the sake of website hits and cheap book promotion.

 

Now that the spectacle of media has been not too lightly handed to us all in the form of “social media”, I do feel Black African Americans have to be even more careful of the images we present and forecast to one another. US Black Men need not scamper about in protest that White Men are stealing all the Black Women, and Black Women need not worry that White Women with “phat asses” are going to capture the hearts of all the Black Men. The numbers simply are not there, and the media amplification of a few images need not to be trusted. Stop letting people manipulate your fears. And get out of the house a little, y’all, it is a big world waiting for your brilliant Black beauty.

Interview With Slam Champion and Poet: B. Sharise Moore

Yesterday, Slam champion and poet, B. Sharise Moore and I discussed her career as a poet and her thoughts on poetry, slam, and rap. Here is the transcription of that interaction.

Owl: Who is B. Sharise Moore?
B. Sharise: First and foremost, I am a Black Woman. I am a product of New Jersey. I’m a dreamer, an educator, a writer, and a thinker.

Owl: What is poetry?
B. Sharise: Poetry is subjective. To some it is sunrise, to others, a sunset. I hope my poems are thoughtful, searching, gritty, and fresh.

Owl: How did you get started in poetry and spoken word poetry?
B. Sharise: I started writing poetry when I was 13. I was inspired by Countee Cullen’s poem “Yet Do I Marvel” and never looked back.I wasn’t REALLY inspired to do performance poetry until I was a Junior at Rutgers University. Twice a year, there was an event on campus called Poethic. It was an open mic in the Paul Robeson Cultural Center. Each event had an amazing feature. In 1998, Jessica Caremoor was the feature. I was amazed. She inspired me to perform my poetry. From there, I started competing in slams throughout the state of NJ and in NYC.

Owl: What is the difference between poetry and spoken word?
B. Sharise: Poetry & spokenword can be interchangeable. Poems meant for the page CAN be performed. Spokenword oftentimes doesn’t read well. This is why I tend to refer to myself as a performance poet. I am a poet who performs.

Owl: What is the difference between poetry and rap?
B. Sharise: Rap is an offshoot or byproduct of poetry, but it is influenced by oratory. Rap is also much more confined than poetry. Rap is dependent upon cadence, rhythm, and rhyme. Poetry can employ these devices, but it isn’t dependent upon them.

Owl: You have a poem in your new Chapbook, “How To Love”, can you discuss the impetus for writing that?
B. Sharise: My poem “How to Love” is a persona poem in the voice of Mamie Till Mobley, the mother of Emmitt Till. In the poem, she gives Lil Wayne a history lesson on her pain as a result of having to bury her murdered & disfigured son. I wrote it bc it was the only way I could accurately respond to Wayne’s deplorable lyrics comparing sex w/ Till’s lynching. Those lyrics really made me pause…they made me sick, they embarrassed me, and alarmed me. I wrote it in Ms. Mobley’s voice as I would have imagined her reaction if she were alive.

Owl: What do you see as your purpose for your poetry?
B. Sharise: This may sound strange, but it has always been very difficult for me to take ownership of my poetry. It doesn’t come from me. Not really anyway…I don’t write a lot of “positive” or “uplifting” poetry because I don’t see the world through that lens. I have seen and experienced injustice and that is what I write about. I try to write poetry that makes readers uncomfortable. If I’m not making my readers/listeners uncomfortable, I’m not doing my job as a poet. My poetry is very political. I question the system. I question my own choices. I question our collective reactions to oppression/adversity & I ask my readers to think. I hope my poems are vehicles for thought. We need to think about the ugly things and the magic we need to make them beautiful.

Owl: How has social media advanced your brand?
B. Sharise: Social Media has enhanced my brand by making me more accessible to networking with other like minds. I’ve booked shows, sold product, and discovered alternate avenues to publishing through social media. I’m grateful for it.

Owl: What is your advice to those that have not yet done what you have but would like to follow or emulate?
B. Sharise: I always tell writers to read. Great writers, read a lot. I also have a list of poets and books I can give them to research. If they are interested in performing, I’d say practice and observe. Look up different performance poets. Observe their styles. There are so many performance poets and no 2 are alike. Develop your style. Study your craft and start performing!

Owl: and what is the new chapbook about and how can people access it?
B. Sharise: The new chapbook is called “A Haunted House In Summer”. It can be purchased on B. Sharise Moore’s Haunted [Website].

Spoiler Alert:: Tyler Perry’s Temptation

It is entirely difficult for me to enter Perry’s Temptation without preconceived notions, assumptions, and a lack of suspended judgment. Perry introduces into most of his works a formulaic style, that –although seems to guarantee him financial success– doesn’t leave much for the imagination, nor does it leave room for those of us that like to be objective and neutral in at least a few of our Black media analysis. A Tyler Perry film critique is no country for unbiased review.

Perry is obviously devoted to his Black Christian/Baptist audience. In that regard, his plays, films, television shows, and interpretations of the works of others embodies the patriarchal, the conservative, the absolutist, and the traditional. Any media analysis or critique of his work that can only offer you a rehashing of how patriarchal notions meshed with Black vernacular(urban or rural) and cultural artifacts and western notions of romance is at best a superficial musing; at worst, another academic looking to take shots on the 4 foot rim. And yes, poking those particular holes in Perry’s work is just that easy. In that regard, nothing that Tyler Perry does should be unfamiliar: the ingredients of his secret sauce could be expounded upon by a 10 year old cartoon character in less than three minutes. More importantly, so much of Perry’s Temptation is the urban and predominantly Black cast version of “The Family That Prays”.

much of Perry’s Temptation is the urban and predominantly Black cast version of “The Family That Prays”.

I leave those initial statements there as disclaimer more for the sake of those that might choose to publicly analyze Perry’s Temptation, than for my own feeble attempt at political correctness. Any Black attempting a fair media analysis is beset by that gnawing reality that entertain and art are essentially subjective, thus no matter how disciplined or analytic the you or I might be, we still make a choice somewhere whether to like or dislike the movie based on criteria that is not always born by the content of the piece of entertainment or art. Moving on.

Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor written for the screen, directed, and produced by Tyler Perry is the narrative, or confession, of Judith, a middle aged marriage counselor.We are introduced to the story’s narrator, holding what appears to be marriage counseling sessions as she uses herself in anecdote as a moral story for not cheating, well, for not entering into an affair that has been suggested. The visual chronology is a bit off putting because initially we are given what appears to be a Black woman in her late 30s to 40s without any hint or subtitle of the date of the setting, but are told that she and her husband met 19 years prior to her meeting a social media guru at the age of 26 where the bulk of her narrative is set. Mark Zuckerberg didn’t become a household name until around 2009, but I’ll give Perry 2005, 2006, but it still is confusing because we are talking a good 20 years of physical age difference in the looks of the characters in the setting the narrator exists in. While I am on that note, the other glitch in production is that Judith’s mother, Sarah, looks the same age while Judith is supposedly 5 years old, a teenager, and 23-24 when Judith is marrying to her husband Brice.

Perry’s Temptation, although roughly 16 minutes short of two hours, left me wanting more for the initial age sequence built from what we find out is the span of 19 years. Perry’s Temptation toys at the concept of “show don’t tell” with the oft-mentioned rape scene, yet it fails to show us the burgeoning romance between Brice and Judith. One of the shortcomings of the writing of Tyler’s Temptation is that we are given very piecemeal portions of Brice’s character, and for the most part, we only know Brice in conjunction to Judith. This begs a question, sure, because we really don’t know that much about Judith. Also, we are made cognizant via dialogue, a luxury that Perry–as a playwright– often abuses, that Judith has attended and graduated from college, yet we don’t see her attending college during Judith as narrator’s depiction of her and Brice’s childhood romance. Tyler’s dependence on the voice of morality, Judith’ mother, Sarah, leaves a gaping hole in the overall character development and fluidity of Temptation as he needs to show us that her mother is always there watching over them. But, as far as whom these characters are is limited to a notion that Brice has been fairly clingy since Sunday School.

It probably makes 60 year old veterans of the Black Christian/Baptist matriarchy feel all warm inside, but for us Black media analyst that like a little meat on their fiction, it leaves Perry open for criticism on a level that Perry –a guy who has become the leading Black media producer and gatekeeper of the 2000s– should not be still dealing with. Given that Perry takes 30 minutes developing the relationship between Judith and Temptation’s antagonist, I would believe dedicating ten minutes of that for Temptation’s character evolution–maybe even just a full scene of them in high school, at least show her attending college, damn– would have gone a long way.

The antagonist of Perry’s Temptation, Harley, is injected into the story line while Judith is employed as a matchmaker working for Janise Wise portrayed by Vanessa Williams. Harley, supposedly the Black Shawn Parker, an urbane social media guru who is negotiating a deal with Janise Wise to build a dating site. Although, way too many minutes long, and a certain lack of chemistry between Jornee Smollet-Bell, who is cast as “Judith”, and Robbie Jones(“Harley”), I was captured by the development of their relationship.

Perry has a knack for squeezing various elements of Black culture into a plot cheesy enough to make your mother catch the holy ghost.

Perry has a knack for squeezing various elements of Black culture into a plot cheesy enough to make your mother catch the holy ghost. Although the subtly of a Perry script is Mother Goose meets King James–Temptation not being an exception–I chuckle and think to my Self, “yeah, I know a person like that” when Judith details why she does not like the idea of match making and online dating. It is not just a Southern Black perception of the online world, most Blacks across many subcultures of our subculture are prone to have issues with less than organic forms of social involvement, especially of the romantic sort. I was intrigued in a very reluctant manner with the alternating cuts and viewpoints regarding relationship via dialogue (this time it is complimentary) that was shared by the two. I was not happy with the plot device used to compare and contrast the archetypal “bad boy” with the archetypal “good guy”.

tyler perry's temptation

The cut scene from her just having a discussion with Harley to her rushing into her and Brice’s apartment and forcing him to be “passionate” with her sexually was confusing and embarrassing. This scene makes me wish Perry’s Temptation had spent more time developing the storyline of Judith and Brice’s earlier years because it feels as though this side of Judith comes out of thin air. It asks much too much of my imagination. The more salient point of this for the purposes of media impact is that works as foreshadow to justify a rape scene. Perry shows us that Judith wants to have an aggressive and spontaneous sexual experience that her husband Brice is too conservative to provide her with. Later, we are given the aggressive and slightly spontaneous experience in the form of a rape. The cut scene is not the only scene I have problems with, as I take issue with this entire discussion. I can almost stomach the Protestant era code of conduct propaganda as “morality play”, but, the “thug” versus the “choir boy” sans the streets and sans the singing is very much a Black cultural discussion that I am tired of insecure Black men having.

Beyond the need for Perry to use Temptation as a tacit standard pointer for what makes a “good guy” or a “bad guy”, Perry’s Temptation handles rape very irresponsibly. Judith is invited to a business trip to New Orleans with Harley. Due to Judith’s rural upbringing, she is counseled by her coworker, Ava ,played by Kim Kardashian, on how to dress. Not quite sure where Perry is pulling this archetype from as most rural and formally educated Black women that had conservative church going mothers would have been showing Ava how to dress in the same way Beyoncé would be teaching Kim Kardashian how to, but I do feel as though Kim is the voice of the “sexy standard” that Black men want in women as opposed to Harley who in Perry’s mind represents what Black women want from their professional Black men (I’m not totally sure he gets either right). With Kim as her guide into all things male libido, we cut scene to Judith arriving to a private jet and whisked away to lush lounges and strolling out with expensive daiquiris because that’s what you do in a Tyler Perry movie when you leave your husband at home and go away on a business trip to the bayou.

We are given about three minutes of nothing business related New Orleans and we are back on the private jet. With another relationship related conversation in tow, Harley tells Judith he wants to make love to her and forces him Self onto her. The major feelings of disturbance for me arose at the moment Harley breaks, makes the comment about her being able to say she resisted and we cut scene. I personally wish Perry would have just shown the rape because we already have the justification from the scene earlier, and now we have this gap in continuity that leaves a question in the air. The only reference we have for the rape is after Harley has dropped her off at home in front of her husband and mother with Judith smiling when Judith is in the bathroom mirror fantasizing about being raped. This is problematic.

Because we don’t discuss the reality that this is a rape scene in throughout the film, it impresses on the public conscious questions that are left unanswered. We go from a smiling Judith that just got raped, to a jealous Judith that calls Harley in the middle of the night and leaves to go be with him. We see Judith with Harley in a romantic setting being enticed to snort cocaine, which of course, she does. At this point, I’m left to say that Judith is a weak character, and that this movie portrays rape as a form of seduction. The “bad boy”, Harley–who is styled as “satan” through the symbolic coloring of his car and a daunting selection of burning candles where the smoke is more readily accessed than the fire—eventually moves Judith in, and they leave the life of rap stars. Although Harley is supposed to be a social media mogul, we do not see or hear of the business venture that they initially decide to embark on and that consequently caused Judith to quite her job. As Judith quits her job she makes a comment about the authenticity of her former employer’s accent, I suppose this is to show us how sophisticated Judith has grown. I suppose around this portion of the movie we get a climax when Judith and Harley go to pick up Judith’s laptop(of course Apple got the product placement nod). Judith walks in and her mother is in a prayer ritual a la Beloved. As Judith attempts to walk out with the laptop, she is grabbed by her mother and then Harley grabs the laptop and knocks Judith’s mother to the floor. This scene immediately made me state out loud, “Ah naw, in real life, they would have rushed that nigga…”

The crescendo occurs after Harley unable to find his cocaine after being slandered and attacked by Judith, beats Judith. Judith is left for dead until Brice, who is concurrently having a discussion with Melinda who tells Brice that her former husband who gave her HIV was Harley. The “good guys” always have impeccable timing in Tyler Perry’s worlds. So, Brice– mustering courage from some magical place that does not exist until this last chapter before epilogue—hits and kicks Harley, and grabs Judith and walks her to the car or whatever.

Cut scene back to Judith the narrator’s time and office. Judith concludes the story and her client promises to end the affair she is in. Judith walks, or limps ( actually, it is more of a nice paced stroll), to the pharmacy where we see that Melinda is still stocking shelves and has not gotten her half of Harley’s estate, and Brice now owns the pharmacy and is with a woman who we are able to assume is the mother of the child he is picking up and calling “son”. The credits cue with us watching Judith hobbling (oh, no confusion there) towards the horizon.

Because the redemption of the movie rests on Brice, I take issue with Perry’s Temptation being a public conference on what makes a man a “good man” and what does not. Perry’s Temptation presents a one sided discussion whereby the man that doesn’t say anything when the woman he is walking with is disrespected is redeemed and qualified as the “good guy” versus a man that immediately becomes physical even in the event of an obvious accident is “satan”. There is a not so subtle discussion occurring through Perry’s Temptation that feels like locker room or barbershop banter regarding what Black women “really” want from men, and what Black women “should” want from men. In contrast, we are presented with a Black woman that represents Judith’s opposite in Melinda played by Brandy, who gives us Moesha as a 30-something year old, but I am going to leave that all alone!

I am a little disturbed because we are, once again via dialogue, given this character Melinda that is the ex-wife of Harley. Nothing about Melinda suggests Harley at any point of either of their lives, though! Why is the ex-wife of a social media guru that owns a private jet working at a pharmacy? I understand that women in abusive relationships often need to put distance between them Self and their abusers, but divorce is divorce and I can’t buy into that aspect of Perry’s Temptation. The agency of the women in the movie with regard to retribution is lacking. On one hand there is a woman that has been raped and no cops have been called, on the other hand there is the divorcee that doesn’t collect any money from her annulment and has somehow been diagnosed as having HIV but her high profile former husband can scour the land spreading HIV with no legal ramifications. No one calls the police in the movie. I almost wish Perry would have donned grandma-ma pajamas and wig once more and brought the gun totting matriarch that is really a patriarch in drag, Madea in to rectify these loose ends.

Melinda is supposedly all that Brice wants in his Judith, or has lost. The danger for me with Melinda is that she does not offer any redemption. Whatever moral symbol she is to play in Perry’s Temptation is lost on me. She is presented as a wholesome, yet sophisticated, woman who could be the “right” woman for Brice, but, she has HIV. As most critics of this movie I’ve read have suggested, I too believe that Perry is using HIV to represent “hell fire and damnation” and in that regard, Melinda doesn’t provide a redeeming image for the women, especially the young women, watching this “morality play”. In the moral world of Perry’s Temptation, a Black woman is damned if she gets raped and damned if she gets married. There is no message that a Black woman could walk away from this movie with as moral guidance if I am to follow the vein of patriarchal, Protestant values. For the male characters in Tyler’s Temptation, there is no true “punishment” for doing what the Black women do.

Brice is well rewarded for being the “good guy” husband, although he has known Judith since they were 5 or 6 years old and fumbles on her birthday, does not know she periodically likes rough sex, in fact, I will stretch out my analysis and say the guy does not know who Judith is, let alone should he get the husband of the year award. In the world of Perry’s Temptation, a man should be dubbed “good guy” because he is passive, authoritarian, and apparently absent minded. Yet, Brice is able to attempt to kiss Melinda with no compunction while he is still depressed about losing the love of his life. In Perry’s Temptation, being raped is punishable by HIV, and being married to the wrong man is punishable by HIV, but as long as you are either rich or the “good guy”, or hell, A MAN, you are exempt from the punishments faced by the women of the movie.

There are no resolutions for a man who we are to assume is just passing HIV out like candy on Halloween. I am left to believe that the Black man, a dark skinned brother at that, who is touted as being the next best thing to Mark Zuckerberg in a setting that is supposed to be circa 2006– eh, give or take a few years for good measure and hopes that you can play on the imagination, or ignorance, of the audience on the timeliness of what would the present setting(that is, how far in the future is the narrator’s setting)– can go around giving women, plural, HIV? I am supposed to elicit a moral proponent – albeit sexist, protestant, and naive as hell– from a world where a high profile, Black social media programmer can have HIV and no one know about it but the spouse that contracted from him?

There is no resolution, or at least no redemption, for the two women who are now living with HIV. In Tyler Perry’s world, Black women with HIV aren’t able to move on with committed relationships although I personally know couples where one party is HIV positive and a Black woman. In Tyler’s world, why can’t Black women find love after HIV? Why is it that only the Black women are left single and stuck in the purgatory of dead in jobs while we don’t know what happens to Brice, and her husband is now happy with child and what appears to the owner of the pharmacy we are told in the beginning is his dream?

In the end, we sort of get more preaching to a familiar choir from a familiar preacher giving his familiar sermon. The icon of the film poster is a snake that wraps itself into the form of an apple giving further nod to Perry’s Christian/Baptist ideology and understanding of temptation, namely the story of Adam and Eve. And in Perry’s Temptation Eve not only walks away from the Garden of Eden, Adam gets to stay, so she walks alone.

 

Video: Miss Little Lunch Lady(Do You Know What Your Children Ate For School Lunch Today?)

 

 

Bridget(B. Sharise Moore{ @BshariseMoore follow her on Twitter} wrote a piece some years back that resonates with many of the conversations surrounding education, public schooling specifically, and the layered connections of poverty, prison sentences, and publicly provided education, as well as the food industry. The audio production was done by David (DWest) West of the Indiana Pacers and Zeke, and I provided the visuals. The poem is rich with discussion worthy lines, and I do expect that you will leave a comment.

 

 




 

 

This poem, (as well as B. Sharise Moore’s “Violins & Bullies”), is featured on B. Sharise Moore’s “Peacocks Feathers & Ruby Slippered Souls” which can be purchased via Paypal by clicking the image above.

And Why Should We Be Alarmed At Lil’ Wayne’s Sacrilege?

Not always sure about the word “perfect”. I am even less sure about terms like “sacred” and “sacrilegious”. And yet, although the abstractions leave me in an abysmal wonderment when framing practical application, from time to time in my life, those words have hit me hard as the only practical solution for certain situations.

I guess it was sometime last week, the #Her(oh, yes, I do love how we imbue our significant others with these simple titles), Bri, and I were in a discussion, and in mid-sentence, she evokes the qualification,”although I don’t want to be charged with sacrilege, Harriet Tubman…” and she continued her point. Often, it can be missed that our most sacred ideals do not have to fall from the imaginary scope of myth, and although there is a legend surrounding the personage of Harriet Tubman, given what we do know as objective history about the saint savior of our ancestors, her name does deserve a spot in our cerebral reservoir held in honor for that which is best noted as, “sacred”. In a world where even my most light-heartened critiques of President Barack Obama or Beyonce or Jay-Z are received with a snarl and a defensive reaction, it worries me that our most responsible group of Blacks to carry the future, our youth, do not quite understand the necessity of honoring those that through physical courage and moral indignation carried us to these moments we now refer to as “the present”. And yes, the abstract notion held within the symbol of the term, “sacrilege”, even for a seasoned black media analyst, can immediately open up debate mostly grounded in semantic foray. Yet, when she paused to consider my reaction to her evoking the name “Harriet Tubman”, I understood. I am glad that she has the sensibility to hold our ancestors in that regard in a time when popular Atlantic writer Ta-Nehisi Coates has decided that Harriet Tubman’s legend is too much for him to chew, to the point where he has written an article for “The Atlantic” entitled, “The Myth Of Harriet Tubman”. I suppose somehow the numbers are just too much for the writer, not sure how that might have hurt him, but whatever.

While I was a member of an organization whose job it was to host guest speakers in a prison facility, one of the leaders was upset by the lack of consideration given to the clean up process and duties of other leaders and active members. As we both walked around the staging area after the guest speakers had left cleaning up, he made a statement,”Sometimes, somethings, have to be treated as sacred”. I was in or around my earlier 20’s at that time, but even then, he did not have to lecture me on the principles or delve into some lofty explanation. I understood him. Although, yes, the term “sacred” holds its own voluminous weight, and easily leads to those sorts of circular debates mentioned in the last paragraph, in that extremely practical context, I was able to grasp his meaning in seconds. In a world where any shortsighted error of action, or lack thereof, can cause the best things to be infringed upon, it is the better choice of action to treat that which you enjoy with a degree of evaluation worthy of such appraisals in real time.

Growing up in a culture that has often taught me to place twenty dollars above the respect I have for an elder, I have learned that our dollar signs– or our belief that we can accrue in some ways more dollars behind the dollar signs written upon our balance sheets–tend to be the only understanding of value we have in this society. As much as I would love to lambaste any person that does not hold sacred those same ideals that I do with regard to race and ethnic origins, I do understand how easily we are socialize to put the child of a White woman and Kenyan man raised light-years away from the Black community above those thinkers and leaders that took police knee and dog bite building Black organizations decades before even the first “Black president”, Bill Clinton(who initiated measures that contributed to the most vast building of prisons to incarcerate an imbalanced number of Black men), was ever elected. The esteem given to such personages, did not make it surprising to me that Lil’ Wayne would vocalize his lack of understanding of our collective sacred space by rapping,”I beat that pussy up like Emmett Till” over a DJ Smallz produced remix of Future’s “Karate Chop”.


And why should we be alarmed?

The majority of Black men in the USA felt Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” was redemptive. This means that a fictional character with very loose connections to anything historical was capable of making Black men feel as though they no longer had to defend or fight for the legacy of psychological trauma, economic inequality, social injustice, or even political disenfranchisement that came as the impact of US Slavery and is significantly highlighted by the slaughter of Emmett Till. Does not take much to appease these niggaz, right? If US Slavery as an institution cannot be held to the utmost critical assessment when adapted by White people for monetary gain, where do those that obviously do not understand the degree of sacredness it should be held in learn to hold it in such esteem?

And why should we be alarmed when they do not?

Comic turned Civil Rights spokesman Dick Gregory felt it necessary to attack Spike Lee for depicting Malcolm X in a zoot suit in the eponymous film production. Spike attacked no one in his interview explaining that he thought it would be disrespectful of his ancestors to watch Tarantino’s “Django Unchained”. Mr. Gregory, however felt it was a tarnish on the image of Malcolm to accurately detail the accounts Malcolm asked Alex Haley to scribe in the only authorized account of Malcolm’s life. Yet, Mr. Gregory thought that “Django Unchained” was redemptive and Spike Lee worthy of epithets for not wanting to watch it in honor of his ancestors. If the elders cannot get it right…

And why should we be alarmed?

In a country where Barack Obama can be toted as the “first Black President” with no previous connections to the Black community before his romantic relationship with Michelle Obama…

In a culture that has a difficulty asking Barack Obama to stop his manipulative and incessant evocation of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who took the US Government to task for its involvement in the destruction and imperialistic measures in countries such as North Korea(where Barack Obama as head of the US Executive Branch is NOW presently sending more US soldiers outside of the border in South Korea in preparations for war) and the US Government’s failure to address the unfair compensation practices of its own Black workers(while Barack Obama has consistently since before he was even elected as President of the United States given Billions of dollars to rich corporate and banking interests while making lightweight gestures and nods at raising minimum wage to a measly nine dollars an hour)…

In this sort of social sphere, where in the hell do we expect Lil’ Wayne to know that his words are not only offensive, but work to damage the power of the culture he him Self is a direct representative of?

This is not to defend Lil’ Wayne. It is to take all those upset with him to task. Emmett Till, murdered, beaten, eyes plucked, shot, tied with a barb wire to a cotton gin fan, his body tossed into the Tallahatchie River with what can only be assumed where hopes of his body never washing up. Emmett Till, who came from Obama’s political stomping ground(although, I’m sure Emmett did not have the same support from the Jewish Community as Obama!) to Mississippi, his only crime whistling at a white woman that probably looked much like the mother of EVERY US President that has ever been, including the one dubbed, “First Black President”. Emmett Till, whose mother, in sheer socio-political strategic elegance, decided that, when her son’s body had finally been returned to her, to have an open casket, a decision that allowed the human atrocities of the US Black Holocaust(naw, “holocaust” ain’t strong enough of a word to describe our historical plight in the USA) for not only the world, but for history to see. Emmett Till is a US Black prophet. But in a world where Black academics are paid to urinate on the names of our prophets for their own self-aggrandizement, who are going to be the teachers of those that apparently do not know?

And why should we be alarmed when they act out of that which they do not know?

Why should we be alarmed at the disgustingly misogynistic lyrics of Lil’ Wayne when Michelle Obama, the first Black woman to have sexual relations with a US President and it not be a rape or adultery, answers the question of “who is the one person in the world she would be if they could trade places”, it would be Beyonce? Beyonce’s who’s husband’s first public response to their nuptial arrangement is to call her a “bitch” at not only her performance but on his shared track with Kanye West, “That’s My Bitch”. According to some feminist ideologues, this is the empowerment of Black Women, and it is not my place to speak to who one chooses to empower them, but do not ask me to suspend my local logical ability to overlook glaring hypocrisies. A movement saturated in ideological doublespeak and even more contradictory actions where it is more important to justify sexual indulgences than to ask Florida why Marissa Alexander cannot defend her life from an abusive spouse or why Obama has not seen fit to introduce a bill less reformist than the Lily Ledbetter Act probably cannot be asked to address the layers present in the socialized psychology of a celebrated figure such as Lil’ Wayne.

And why should we be alarmed?

Why should we think what Lil’ Wayne has presented to history as his sexual prowess in hyperbole is so disgusting when we attack Lupe Fiasco for ‘policing the sexuality of women’ when he pens a piece discussing his understanding, no matter how limited, regarding the contextual presentation of the term, “bitch”, specifically as it is used in the phrase, “bad bitch”, and yet we proffer a proverbial ghetto pass to 2 Chains(whose “Birthday Song” which contains the lyrics,”All I want for my birthday is a big booty hoe” and has as a guest on the song the same guy that is on the Jay-Z song calling Michelle Obama’s fantasy personage a bitch, Kanye West)? Where is the logic? When does the thinking find some sort of cohesion, let alone coherence? When do our demands on one another begin to makes any sense? When we place more value in celebrity and defend those we deem as highly touted beyond the realm of our most principled display of integrity, we open the door for anyone to trample over our sacred rooms.

And why should we be alarmed?

Why should we care when we continue to elect a president that has shown more concern for Zionist Israel than he has for Inner city Chicago? Israel knows how to hold every nanometer of neurological strand of every brain across the globe regarding the White western Jewish presence historic or otherwise as sacred to the point of demanding that the US and its Allies be held responsible for its holocaust against Palestinians because of the holocaust in Germany. What the West pejoratively refers to as “Arab spring” was further ignited by a Christian making a straight-to-Youtube movie handling the image of Prophet Muhammad in a less than sacred manner. US White media will protect every one of its young men who kill en masse under the auspice of “bullied”, “troubled youth”, and the like, but if one Black man is even thought to have behaved in a minuscule fraction of that, he is labeled as a “domestic terrorist” and hunted by man and predator drones.

But why should Blacks– who love to announce just how much of a monolithic people they are not while every other group of nationalized peoples on Earth is loyal to a common heritage and represents a diverse yet unified conglomeration– care? Why should US Blacks be so alarmed, now? Where was this collective angst when Tarantino called you “niggers”, when Ted Danson showed up at a date with Whoopi Goldberg in blackface, when the killers of Amadou Diallo where given promotions, when…wait…when the hell have you all ever really protected your sacred spaces?

So, why are you so damn alarmed that one of your celebrated did what the world showed him he could?

My Love/Hate Relationship With Twitter

It’s official—I hate Twitter again.

 

For quite some time I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Twitter, manic tweeting one minute, closing my account the next. I’ve been trying to figure out why I hate Twitter since early 2012. I think I may have finally figured it out: Groupthink.

While I cannot say Erykah Badu is the originator of the concept, I can thank her for this word’s rise in popularity; but maybe this is also why the act of “Groupthink” is also at an all-time high, especially on Twitter. With the “13 Holy War,” and the perpetually repetitive and depressing topics discussed via #BlackTwitter (amongst the many other volatile exchanges happening daily), it’s no wonder why I’ve left a shell of an account on Twitter. It’s all starting to remind me of church….and I cannot stand the concept of church (although I’ll visit if the mood calls for it).

 

“Don’t say that!” “You should speak on or fight for this cause.” “That’s too abrasive!” “You shouldn’t feel this way.” Really? How should I feel? Should I feel like you? Would that make you feel better about yourself, to have someone agree with your thoughts? Perhaps this is a form of insecurity, the desire to have others agree with your logic.

 

There is no longer room to just breathe and be on Twitter. Everything one says can be twisted, turned against a person, and is up for debate. But here’s the problem…I don’t feel the need to debate, nor do I feel the need to “explain” my feelings. I am beyond explaining myself to motherfuckers who are so offended and filled with anger that they wouldn’t understand my explanation anyway. I’m over it. I’m over the obligation Twitter, especially Black Twitter, places on people to be an “example,” a role model, and all of the above. I am no damn saint, I am no one’s role model, I am no one’s teacher, mentor, spokesperson or any of that shit.

 

Yes, you’re a Vegan, but you’re still an asshole.

In possession of a degree or two? Congratulations! You’re still an asshole.

You can spell, and must constantly prove your prowess by correcting the spelling and grammar of others. The only thing this proves…is that you’re an insecure asshole.

Yes, you have thousands of followers, but guess what? You’re still an asshole…a closed-minded asshole with dingle berries hanging from your anus.

And please, tell me, does being an asshole via Twitter pay well? I certainly hope so.

 

Ever feel that pit in your stomach when someone on Twitter starts a beef with you and calculate how long it takes to let that “upset” pass through your system? THAT angers me. Allowing a person on Twitter—who I’ll likely never meet, who hasn’t bought my music, supported my business, and may be a degenerate, little dicked dweeb or a low-budget crack whore in person—to have an effect on my mood angers ME more than anything, because then I am wasting energy and time trying to get back to my happy place, talking myself down with “it’s just Twitter.” But it ISN’T just Twitter! It’s people, from all over the world, clinging to your every word, adding meaning where there is sometimes none, and wanting to lecture you on how you should express yourself; and there is nothing I hate more than people trying to control my self-expression. Like I said, I don’t do church.

Loyalty To Rich Niggas: The New “White” Man

 

I swear, if it ain’t one thing, it’s another. I’m starting to give up on you people and get my stuff together like those doomsday preppers because I’m sure one of ya’ll are bound to kill me before the government does.

 

Why do I say this?

 

Because “Black” people have lost what sensible mind they had left. When 2008 came, people lost their freaking mind because of an identity crisis. I’ve come to learn that this state of emergency will not be televised but perhaps realized when your sons or daughters threaten your life for correcting them or something weak like that. This loyalty to rich niggas has to stop. Straight up. Its killing us. All of us. Everybody. From Barack Obama to Lil Wayne and everybody in between that you put up on a pedestal but don’t want to hold accountable for their speech and actions, this has to stop.

 

Listen, “Black” people, “African-American,” people of color…whatever you want to call yourselves, this trying to find identity in others that are your shade that continuously throw shade at you is getting beyond ridiculous. The timely pacification of each generation is terribly noticeable and the ignorant bellowing of “that’s racist!” because someone makes a critic of one of your beloved gods continues to kindle my anger.

 

How do you defend somebody that continues to make a fool out of you? Huh? How do you do it?

 

I don’t get that. The pride that I inherited from my people throughout the centuries ain’t go for that. Do you not know about the dignity from which you came? Do you not know about the past mistakes that your forefathers committed so that you could learn and not repeat the same foolishness. I’m wondering, with all the information we have out here, readily available to us and the percentage of us who can read the American Standard English Language being greater than it was in 1849, why is it that you don’t know better by now?

 

Why is it that the most culture you recognize is what is captured on 50 minute increments on VH1 and the 28 days allotted for “Black History Month?” Why did our history have to start in 2008 when a nigga ya’ll never heard of swept you off ya’ feet like he was Disney’s monarch Prince Charming? Why do our “model citizens” have to be people that emphasize selling drugs to our own, that gyrate their vaginas or speak of beating the lining out of one?

 

You degenerates. You cry for ten minutes when they kill one of our children in the streets but then shake your ass when the dead child’s name is dropped in the newest club record (Shout out to William Leonard Roberts fat ass for that disgusting Trayvon Martin plug while the boy was fresh in the ground.) And now, add Lil’ Wayne and his oh-so-clever use of Emmett Till’s face (who, might I add, none of us would have never known the depravity of how beaten and mutilated he was if his mother didn’t have the courage and strength to show the world what those mongrels did to her child.)

 

Your loyalty to niggas because of their color and monetary status is sickening and disturbing. Disturbing in the fact that what will be defended will be Lil’ Wayne’s use of…whatever the hell he uses to put those basic, monotonous entendres together. Because I’m a master of double-speak and all things bull$#!+ (I’m burdened with this task, for ya’lls sake) I know a person’s spoken intent and their true intent. And with this, the intent is simple: to unforgivingly feed you another “hot line” to another “hot song” of another “hot album” that’ll be embedded in your mental file cabinet and probably in your iTunes at the cost of $9.99.

 

You will be more ready to defend Lil’ Wayne over the memory of Emmett Till. Why? Because Lil’ Wayne is your culture. Lil’ Wayne is your role model. Lil’ Wayne is the example of the exceptions, not the rule so people have ruled this as acceptable because they too, aspire to be the exception. Emmett Till is not your culture anymore. Lil’ Wayne is. Throw Kanye in that bunch too as he was one of the last rappers to allude to the deceased, comparing his swollen face to a young boy who was MURDERED for whistling at a “white” woman. I’m sure his drop got a pass, as in retrospect, an inflamed jaw is not comparable in disrespect, as say, a half-mutilated vagina.

 

“Yo, at least that nigga got money, he can say whatever he want…what you got? What you doing?”

 

Well, if it was certain that “gettin money” would excuse me of my moral and ethical responsibility to this society, well, I’d probably wouldn’t be snitching on my constituents by this piece I’m writing here. I’d probably be lauding you with reasons as to why this should be excused and the “positives” of a drug-induced rape culture and then clicking champagne glasses with the President and the rest of his JeWISH flunkies. Because, rest-assured, they aren’t getting money with you. They’re not even getting money like you. They’re getting your money (and energy…and mind…and comprehension) like “whitey.” Because “white” means “right.”

 

I bet Emmett Till, although young and inexperienced in matters of commerce as he was just fourteen when he was brutally murdered, knew that “whitey” had his hands in all the pots and pans. He witnessed this racism, as racism is the impeding of someone to attain status, wealth, acquiring of land or participation of government due to the color of their skin.

 

Now, if applied to today, the niggas you are so dedicated and loyal to, and base your culture around are racist. They sell you stories of how they “started from the bottom” (the new “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” slogan); they find any kind of avenue to make money off of you, they employ methods to keep you from investing and educating yourself about the things that matter such as the components to community and nation-building which include: law, economics, town infrastructure, agriculture, etc; and they promote media bonanzas that push propaganda that encourages you to continue participating in a beat-you-til-you’re-dead system.

 

Now if that doesn’t sound like some mid-20th century “white man” shit, I don’t know what does!

 

$#!+ ain’t changed. But hey, it doesn’t matter because as long as they’re a rich “Black” “African-American”, “person of color,” they deserve rose petals thrown on the street like these niggas is “King Jaffe Joffer” or somebody huh?

 

So much for culture. The most culture you people know is the filth that continues to spread to the next generation. You people ain’t leaving nothing for these kids but some mixtapes and an “I voted” sticker, smh.

 

I’m disgusted. Get real and get right. Sick of this stupid shit.

 

– The Former “Blackness”, Not the Latter.

(Sasha Vann)

Are We Prepared If George Zimmerman Never Gets Arrested?

I remember the apathy after many of us realized that Oscar Grant’s murderer Johannes Mehserle was not going to be tried for murder. I remember the sense of loss many shared when his slap on the wrist came down from the judge. I can still feel the streaming tears as the video tape of Aiyana Jones was never released. Often Afkan(Afrikan Amerikkkans) are forced to swallow bitter realities. Realities such as Trayvon Martin’s killer possibly never being arrested.

 

We are now picking up on the message from The New Black Liberation Militia to seek a citizen’s arrest of George Zimmerman. This could possibly be a costly measure given Zimmerman’s penchant for hurling fragments of burning metal into Afkan bodies and calling the police on him Self in defense from grand juries. Yet, I realize that there isn’t much else in the matter of Ma’at(human enforced justice for human enforced injustice) that anyone is volunteering. My Asylum salutes their efforts.

 

Afkan peoples of an above and beyond the blindness of naivete sort of upbringing and/or adulthood may ask why such measures would be applauded and supported here. Well, frankly, something has to be done. Many of us have called into the Sanford Sheriff’s office to be redirected to the State’s Attorney’s office, only to be told of limited resources in the matter of arresting George Zimmerman. In fact, it could be weeks before a charge is given. Trayvon was killed February 26 of this year. The date of this writing is March 19. You figure out how upset you should or shouldn’t be.

 

I am pleased to see so many media outlets investing energy into reporting of young Trayvon’s murder. I recall the lack of support from most in information dissemination after a Detroit Police Officer sent a slug screaming through the cranium of Aiyana Jone’s sleeping head and out through the base of her chin. Unfortunately, the Afkan community can join together and help Obama corner a bloc of voters unified enough to push him past the Democratic primaries, but his vocal thoughts on the murders of Aiyana, Oscar, and now Trayvon remain disloyally silent. Tonight, a message from Obama’s administration that they wouldn’t “wade” into a human rights travesty that demands international attention on the grounds that it was a local law-enforcement matter. The violation of the Afkan community’s trust in Obama can’t be fully gathered in vibrations bouncing around pupils to form symbols of expression. The surface of my disappointment’s now breathing body is tempered only by the foreknowledge of the regret his family will face knowing Barry was the father that dropped the ball, time and time again. To enter the office as the Black president, and to leave as the half-Caucasian one that could be compared to an overseer of some grand plantation should hurt. And yet, that sweltering prophecy in my emotive heart will not replace the deep seated notion that every Afkan child around me must be reminded that we can’t trust anyone in this war for our removal from this place, this Earth.

 

As I read through countless digitally captured thoughts in the social web, I notice the emergence of self-hate revealing it Self like a tumor of Afkan psychic pulses. Afkan men are blamed for Trayvon being killed while walking down a pathway. Children ask their teachers how could Trayvon have prevented a failed lawman from slaughtering him. Those that seek to rally to bring attention to the event are labeled as misguided; those that seek blood writ are labeled as foolish. Instead of everyone involved and concern doing their part and allowing others to play their position, the whole movement for Justice for Trayvon is imploding.

 

So, as I sit and ponder how a two time felon who has just been saved from homelessness can assist the best he can in raising awareness and training of young Afkan males, my lovely Lifeline asked me,”are we prepared if George Zimmerman never gets arrested?” And all I could do for an answer was ask you…

 

Are you ready to accept what you’ve known within your most original and Eastern mind? That a half-blood prince can’t save your children from Herod’s wrath on your boys. Are you prepared? Are you prepared to accept that George Zimmerman- not Crips or Bloods, or drug dealers, or aliens that look like lizards underneath their manufactured skin- killed Trayvon Martin. Are we ready to understand that Afkan on Afkan violence is only a subset of the power structure created as White on Afkan violence crystallized into a system of society. Can we accept that a killer will be walking the streets of Florida with the confidence of a lion after feeding that he has privilege enough to murder when he chooses?

 

On the bus ride from the urban war zones to the rural concentration camps, there is an understanding shared from the veterans to the rookies,”if you ain’t ready, get ready. And once ready, stay on the ready…”