Tag Archives: Black

The Lessons I Learned From Hip-Hop

I’ll rape a pregnant bitch and tell my friends I had a threesome – Tyler the Creator

I am not a hip-hop aficionado but this has to be said…

Hip Hop has lost it’s significance. Social context has been dumbed down and depleted to a narrative that is only about the bitch/queen binary, homophobia, money, and violence. This critique is as old as time, once described as “Black noise”, but now the trajectory has veered so far left that it is unrecognizable. When Nas released Daughters, it was rather nostalgic. For that brief moment, I thought the essence of hip-hop and responsibility rappers once held would return swiftly. Then, 2 Chainz trended for a week straight. With that said, rappers are professors and this is what they taught me or rather this is what messages somehow crept into my subconscious.

1. The Bitch/Queen binary has plagued hip-hop discourse since women began accepting this reality.

Overly simplifying women sexuality/roles is very problematic to impressionable minds that take Hip-Hop to be gospel. Women are either bitches or Queens. They are either unappreciated or placed on a pedestal. Hip-Hop taught me to define, idolize, glorify, and hypersexualize women sexuality and distort gender roles. We aren’t the only ones complicating sexuality. Mainstream wise, nobody complicates feminism more than Nicki Minaj. Feminist Joan Morgan said, “In between the beats, booty shaking, and hedonistic abandon, I have to wonder if there isn’t something inherently unfeminist in supporting a music that repeatedly reduces me to tits and ass and encourages pimping on the regular.” That is an ironic dilemma that can be often confused with hypocritical. Speaking of hypocritical notions sexuality…

2. Homophobia/Xenophobia is the blueprint to a successful mixtape or album.

As confused, problematic, and misguided Lil’ B might be, he came out with an album entitled I’m Gay. After receiving death threats he added a parenthetical notation of (I’m Happy). There is a formula to fit within this genre so stepping outside of that is inherently dangerous and considered “inauthentic”. Who gives us the right to disenfranchise and isolate any other minority group? Just a few years ago, we were being persecuted. Insecurity, religion, and peer pressure plays a huge role in homophobia/xenophobia, especially as it relates to the Black community. We fear the unknown. Supposedly, homophobia (gay marriage) threatens the Black family, something we’ve been fighting to keep sacred after a dark past of separation and abandonment.

3. Be ignorant and be proud of that!

In 2008, Soulja Boy thanked slave masters because without them he would not have all his ice and tattoos. Looking at hip-hop without the proper historical context can have you as ignorant as Soulja Boy. At some point, rappers have an obligation to their constituents. Our ancestors did not get murdered, raped, castrated, separated, beaten, burned, and lynched for us to thank their oppressors for tattoos and ice. These are the same figures that are mentoring the youth. Hip-Hop taught me that there is a crisis of the black intellectual. The solution of this crisis depend on the speed with which we accept and/or reject these standards (the way Spelman College protested the arrival of Nelly on their campus). Take a listen to this reworking of Niggaz in Paris by Mos Def: Poorest in Paris.

These cats drink champagne and toast to death and pain like slaves on a ship talking about who got the flyest chain – Talib Kweli

4. Prison is the black man’s university.

Prison is a badge of honor. It is romanticized, idolized, glamorized, and fetishized. Ignore how systems are in place to perpetuate the disenfranchisement of black and brown bodies as it relates to the prison industrial complex. Lil Wayne constantly brags about this, “prison in February and I aint in no rush”. Tupac uses prison as a FORM of death, “I’d rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6”. He knows the horrors of prison all too well and told the Black youth that prison is not somewhere they want to be.

5. It’s just music.

It’s never just X, Y, and Z. That’s a common misconception because you can’t disconnect these messages from reality. Their messages become reality because the power music has in society. Hip hop is not supposed to be here to destroy us. It was once described as the Black man’s CNN and we have the power to get back there.

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Blacks Are Over That First African-American President Thing

Herman Cain is a professional code switcher.  Cain, recently, has addressed race as it relates to the political process.

In an interview with Fox news, Cain said, “I think that they’re over this first African-American president thing. I think that is behind them.”

During an interview with CNN, Cain said Black voters have been “brainwashed” to vote for Democrats.  He said he is receiving heat because he is a conservative and a Republican.

In an interview with Jeffrey Bloomberg, Cain admitted that he is an “American. Black. Conservative.” He said he doesn’t consider himself African-American.  He can trace his ancestors to those that are in America.  Therefore, he is a Black man in America, not an African-American.

There is an unknown identity gap.  It’s a confusion that many African-Americans face today.

However, Obama didn’t earn his presidency by insulting his constituents.  Reverse psychology is only insulting to us and won’t gain our votes.  Herman Cain’s superfluous remarks regarding race only serve to complicate his candidacy.  It is insulting to group us together as if we support one ideology.  There are plenty of Black conservatives and plenty of Black Republicans.

…And he believes he can gain one-third of the Black vote…

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The Decline of Patriarchy in the Black Community

The history of the American Negro is the history of this strife,–this longing to attain self-conscious manhood, to merge his double self into a better and truer self. – William Edward Burghardt Dubois

Power. Dominance. Respect. This, among others, is what was stripped from us during slavery.  This is what turned men into boys.  This is what turned Kings into the lumpenproletariat. These issues affected us for generations to come, and affects us today.  What defines a man? What does it mean to be a Black man today? Our manhood is threatened everyday and is defined by our brute strength, insecurity, and paranoia which in turn causes us to “homoeroticize” a heterosexual man.  We have always searched for that status of MANHOOD, while referring to our friends as “BOY“.  We have always searched for that status of EQUALITY, while referring to our friends as “NIGGA“.  We have always searched for that status of RESPECT, while demeaning the homosexual community and saying “PAUSE” to an, otherwise, heterosexual moment.

We must redefine masculinity and patriarchy in our community.  How can we abolish these epidemics that, more times than not,  leads to the demise of the men in our community? The same ones that are failing out of school, disrespecting our women of color, living at home with aspirations of being a rapper (at the age of 40), and the ones that father 4 or 5 kids with no intent on paying child support.

Divide and conquer.  This phenomenon described above is another form of separatism.  The gap between Black males and Black females have widened over time.  This is referring to economic, educational, and employment.  We are in the same struggle.  The absence of patriarchy teaches our men it isn’t important.  A single mother can’t teach a boy how to be a man.  With this absence, who are teaching our boys to be men? Turn on the TV. Open a magazine. Listen to Watch the Throne.

What does it mean to be a Black man today?

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Who Influences Black America?

Each generation has its challenges; it’s leaders; it’s era that distinguishes this generation from the previous and the following.  Each generation has it’s defining moments, it’s ups, and it’s downs. During the 1950s and 1960s our leaders were Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Kwame Ture (then Stokeley Carmichael), James Farmer, Malcolm X, Langston Hughes, and so forth and so forth. Who does our generation look up to now?  Where do we get our news from and who decides what is important enough to talk about and take action?  Some of us wouldn’t know there is a drought in East Africa if it wasn’t for the ending of Jay Z and Kanye West’s Otis.  Beyoncé defines femininity while Lil’ Wayne complicates the idea of masculinity. I have compiled a list of the TOP FIVE Black leaders that deserve notoriety.

5.  PRINCIPAL STEVE PERRY is  mostly known from his segment on CNN Black In America.  He is a principal at Capital Preparatory Magnet School.  One Hundred percent of his graduates go on to a four year college.  Education is a hot-button topic within the black community and he takes it upon himself to not only educate but also prepare his students for life after.  His new book, Push Has Come To Shove, tackles education reform and inspires the next generation of educators to do the same.  He has been described as the “hardest working man in education”.

4.  BENJAMIN JEALOUS is the youngest CEO and President of the NAACP.  Also, he is the author of Threat and Humiliation: Racial Profiling, Domestic Security, and Human Rights in the United States.  During his collegiate career, at Columbia University, he led boycotts, protests, and pickets for homeless rights.  As the national leader, he is leading the NAACP to seek justice in the case of Troy Davis.  Additionally, he is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated.

3. DR. CORNEL WEST is one of the leading and most profound intellectual and a professor at Princeton University.  He has appeared on numerous albums (as a spoken word artist), films, and weekly on Tavis Smiley’s radio show.  Additionally, he is the author of Race Matters.  He can be seen occasionally on CNN, Colbert Report, PBS, and C-Span.  More recently, he launched a poverty tour with Tavis Smiley and traveled to nine states and 18 cities to highlight the plight of the poor, despite the “political cowardice.” Additionally, he is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated.

2. OPRAH WINFREY is credited as the first black woman billionaire.  In addition to hosting her own nationally syndicated talk show from 1986 to 2011, she gives back to her community through numerous philanthropies.  Following Hurricane Katrina, she created Oprah Angel Network – Katrina and raised over $11 million dollars for hurricane relief.  She helped 250 African American men complete their education at Morehouse College and listed by Business Weekly as one of America’s 50 most generous people (given an estimated $303 million in 2007).  Additionally, she gave 50,000 presents to children in Africa that live in poverty.

1. BARACK OBAMA is the first African American president of the United States of America.  Previously, he served as an Illinois Senator.  He was the President of the Harvard Law Review.  He was a civil rights attorney and taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School.  As commander-in-chief, He authorized a “surgical raid” of infamous terrorist, Osama Bin Laden.  In 2009, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples”.  More recently, he authorized the Justice department to investigate police discrimination and brutality to achieve a judicial reform.  The election of President Barack Obama is not equivalent to a post-racial society but it’s a step in the right direction.  This moment is a culmination of millions of African-Americans that fought, walked, sat, boycotted, and protested.

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North Carolina: The Resegregation of Public Schools

In 1896, Plessy v. Ferguson established “separate but equal”.

In 1954, Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka decision was passed and declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students are unconstitutional.

In 2009,  David and Charles Koch fund organizations (such as the Tea Party) that are pro-privatization and against large public schools.  The Wake County School Board began to implement a neighborhood school plan that would re-segregate schools. The Koch brothers founded Americans for Prosperity (2004) and utilized hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Wake County School Board Elections.  This jeopardizes the diversity policy.

Wake county uses a system of integration based on income.  You can’t talk about class without discussing race.  Under this program, no more than 40 percent of any school’s students could receive free lunches (mostly minority students). The NAACP has filed a complaint and argued that this plan is unconstitutional.

In October (2011), Wake County elections will decide if the schools will become re-segregated.

Is this unconstitutional and is it fair to make the connection of race and class?

Take a look at this short clip:

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Black Privilege

A recent study at Tufts University’s School of the Arts and Sciences and Harvard Business School reveal that Whites believe they are the primary victims of racial discrimination. America is constantly attempting to change and/or evolve into a post-racial society. This is just code to downplay the disparities African Americans face everyday. Racism is less overt and more covert against African Americans.  The article marks this era as “reverse racism”. Since when is racism defined as Whites believing in their superiority over any other race? If these findings are true, it’s still a racist society.

Think about the media coverage during the Casey Anthony case.  If Casey Anthony were to be a normal middle class Black woman, the media wouldn’t give her the time of day.  If “reverse racism” existed, as they have so eloquently put it, then Anthony would have been found guilty and received a harsher punishment that wouldn’t get reduced to less than a week in jail.

The media is always an easy route to go to when discussing race.  However, studies like this is proof we are far from a post-racial Utopian society.

Is it strategic to be an African American rather than a White American in this contemporary era? Who are the victims?

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What Makes A Black Girl Mad?

Milford Sound in New Zealand

Generalizations! Twitter has a funny way of making racist generalizations.  Some popular trending topics have been #thingsdarkiessay #ChineseBreath #blackpeoplemovies and RIP Black Folks.  In every joke is a little bit of truth. Again, African-Americans aren’t making it easier by participating in these trending topics.

#WhatMakesABlackGirlMad being left for a white girl

When is it okay to generalize an entire group of people? For example, am I an inauthentic African-American if I despise watermelon? We are in a dangerous moment in history that we are becoming content with racial profiling and discrimination.  It’s rather comical to constantly joke that Black Girls get mad if their hair gets wet. Most of these generalizations are true if you completely take the race out of the statement (If you consider Black to be a race and not a color).  If another race were to participate in this trending topic, we would have a problem.  History is making a full turn back to the days of Amos and Andy. We are so much better than this!

Why Halle have to let a white man pop her to win an Oscar. – Jada Kiss

TIME OUT! Yall take a chill. Ya need to cool that shit out!

This ideology that racism is cool to joke about as long as it’s “in-house” is enough to make it okay for others to get involved. It’s one of our greatest tragedies as people to make other races believe we live in a post-racial society.  I guess this is what should really make  Black Women Mad.

African-American women are not angry, nappy, Jezebel, heauxes that lack moral implications to their being. African-American women have been thought of as inferior in our society for too long. It’s not only other races perpetuating this stereotype, it’s African-Americans as well. It’s time we support and appreciate them as much as they have supported and appreciated us.

It’s time we kill for our women. Time we heal our women, be real to our women. – Tupac

#WhatMakesABlackGirlMad ?


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