Tag Archives: black culture

Rap x Trap = New Message

Entertainment and art are two very important spheres that can transcend and define a movement. Right now, our generation needs positive vibes and we need positive, uplifting music. The new tracks I’m hearing in 2016 are a lot more mellow, sensitive and open-minded than the tracks that were out say in 1998 or 2000, like Ruff Ryder’s Anthem or 50 Cent’s What Up Gangsta, or a number of any other gun-slinging, hoe-slapping “hits”. These are truly hits, hits to the Black morale, to the Black collective, to Black unity–they were hitting us like bombs–because it’s not the message we needed back then and definitely not what we need now.

Instead, I’m hearing more about the beauty of the Black female and more bars discussing the tragedy of police brutality against our brothers and sisters. Future, Drake, Kanye West are showing that healthy relationships are not only attainable but desirable, even though we still hear the “H” word and “B” word. What I want to see is a call from these artists, both locally and internationally, to unite and uplift the people. We need messages of hope, cohesion and encouragement. Not encouragement to stay in the traphouse and grind, but to work on that degree, get married to a brother or sister and focus on what is truly important which is not chains, trips around the world or cars with heavy artillery.

I still don’t think I’m at a point where I’d allow my son to listen to rap music. I feel the overlying message is still very destructive to a young psyche. But at the same time, the face of rap has changed. It’s not about pimps and macho guys in bullet-proof vests. As we evolve and reach a certain collective consciousness about our reality and what obstacles we face, I hope our music can reflect that and offer a portal of entertainment but also a sense of empowerment and exclusivity. We need music by us, for us, that is relateable. The struggle is always relatable, but it’s time to take the conversation to what happens when we are ready for a new Black identity and how to fabricate that into our music. That needs to be our new message.

 

 

Inside Out

To dream of Black liberation is to dream a fantasy. Even if we, our children or our children’s children one day taste sweet, carefree liberated life–we must always have a revolutionary spirit. There is much work to do, on a micro level and internationally to free the African people from oppression, from white supremacy and capitalism, from genocide, exploitation, slavery in the Motherland and in prisons, and from racism. Dismantling the system won’t happen overnight.

  And we mustn’t waste time. In order for emancipation, we must organize and preach like freedom is the Gospel. We must wake up our brothers and sisters in the ghetto; we must wake up our brothers and sisters unknowingly on the oppressor’s side doing the oppressor’s work and oppressing their own people! Our views must be militant. Our lives must be Afrocentric and resistant to white domination. We never know who we might inspire when we are proud to be African. We must never bow down, accept an inferior role or allow ourselves to accept discrimination and racist behaviour. We must vocalize and we must be courageous. It is by awakening the masses of angry, Black people that change will occur. It is a change that begins on the inside and changes the world around us, every village, city and nation. 

Black Support

   It is one thing to see the call for social justice rung on social media, but another to experience Black unity in my own city, my own community. I have never in my life experienced that here in Toronto and I want to share with you my experiences of Black unity.

   Yesterday evening, casually sitting on a bench at Dufferin and Bloor Street in the dying sun, I notice a throng of beautiful, Black women around me. Slim, natural Afro hair in simple but stately styles, and bronzed skin gleaming. Today, a spritely Black woman shakes my head and introduces herself and continues along her way. A few feet away, two young Black men stop to talk, both business owners and with obvious respect to one another. I watched all this with an incredulous smile, watched as a Black mother nursed her baby openly at the park and as a West Indian father chased his daughters with their adorable braided pigtails.

    I have to go buy injeera on Dufferin and King St, and as I do, my friend tells me to go support Plentea, a hip tea bar up the street that just opened and owned by two, strapping young Black men. We have coffee at Jal Gua Organic Cafe, owned by South Sudanese philanthropist Emmanuel Jal on Queen Street East. I try the delicious sorghum soup. I take a picture with Jal.

   I pass a homeless Black man lying filthy under the bridge that divides poorer Parkdale from trendy Queen West. I give him a silent prayer. Our people are coming together, we are uniting and supporting each other and in doing so strengthening ourselves collectively and powerfully. We are lifting each other up, opening shops, salons, working on Master  degrees and ditching the perm. We will not forget our brothers in the prisons, our unconscious brothers still in the slums, our sisters stuck in the cycle. Right now it is quality over quantity, but soon it will be the masses. Montreal may have been the Black Power movement of the 1960s, but Toronto is pushing, pulling and fighting it’s way to Black liberation through the support of our own people. This light, this is the light we must hold on to.

Black Love Action

   When you become awoken, you will be in a state of anger most of the time. And anger can be very beneficial, it can be the fuel to keep you going; but it can also be tormenting to be in a negative state of mind. It can leave you feeling defeated, miserable and dismal. We may even avoid facing consciousness because it attracts such strong emotions.

   If you feel overwhelmed by the injustices and wickedness done to the Afrikan people around the world, then attack it from a different perspective. Attack it with positivity.

   Growing my son’s locs is something I’m doing as Black Love action. I wear a headwrap as a Black Love action. I smile and seek out Black people as a Black Love action. I buy from Black businesses and individuals as Black Love action. I read Afro-centric books as Black Love action. I celebrate Jankanu and Kwanzaa as a Black Love action. Black Love actions are more powerful than any rhetoric, any theory, any meme, any lip service paid to Black liberation.

    So, the next time you feel you are personally fighting a losing battle, do what you are doing out of positivity instead of anger or vengeance or defiance, or indignation. That culture is wicked, they feed on our Black suffering and oppression sadistically, they can feel it and they salivate victoriously. Do them a big one. Use that anger constructively. Build upon the knowledge, the unity and the growing self-love you are creating and make all your actions one of Black Love.

THE Speech 2016

Full Video AND Transcript of #JesseWilliams #BETAwards ❤

"Peace peace. Thank you, Debra. Thank you, BET. Thank you Nate Parker, Harry and Debbie Allen for participating in that .

Before we get into it, I just want to say I brought my parents out tonight. I just want to thank them for being here, for teaching me to focus on comprehension over career, and that they make sure I learn what the schools were afraid to teach us. And also thank my amazing wife for changing my life.

Now, this award – this is not for me. This is for the real organizers all over the country – the activists, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers, the students that are realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do.

It's kind of basic mathematics – the more we learn about who we are and how we got here, the more we will mobilize.

Now, this is also in particular for the black women in particular who have spent their lifetimes dedicated to nurturing everyone before themselves. We can and will do better for you.

Now, what we've been doing is looking at the data and we know that police somehow manage to deescalate, disarm and not kill white people everyday. So what's going to happen is we are going to have equal rights and justice in our own country or we will restructure their function and ours.

Now… I got more y'all – yesterday would have been young Tamir Rice's 14th birthday so I don't want to hear anymore about how far we've come when paid public servants can pull a drive-by on 12 year old playing alone in the park in broad daylight, killing him on television and then going home to make a sandwich. Tell Rekia Boyd how it's so much better than it is to live in 2012 than it is to live in 1612 or 1712. Tell that to Eric Garner. Tell that to Sandra Bland. Tell that to Dorian Hunt.

Now the thing is, though, all of us in here getting money – that alone isn't gonna stop this. Alright, now dedicating our lives, dedicating our lives to getting money just to give it right back for someone's brand on our body when we spent centuries praying with brands on our bodies, and now we pray to get paid for brands on our bodies.

There has been no war that we have not fought and died on the front lines of. There has been no job we haven't done. There is no tax they haven't leveed against us – and we've paid all of them. But freedom is somehow always conditional here. "You're free," they keep telling us. But she would have been alive if she hadn't acted so… free.

Now, freedom is always coming in the hereafter, but you know what, though, the hereafter is a hustle. We want it now.

And let's get a couple things straight, just a little sidenote – the burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander. That's not our job, alright – stop with all that. If you have a critique for the resistance, for our resistance, then you better have an established record of critique of our oppression. If you have no interest, if you have no interest in equal rights for black people then do not make suggestions to those who do. Sit down.

We've been floating this country on credit for centuries, yo, and we're done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight and out of mind while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil – black gold, ghettoizing and demeaning our creations then stealing them, gentrifying our genius and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit. The thing is though… the thing is that just because we're magic doesn't mean we're not real.

Thank you."

Kraka Kraka

    

African champions must break the chain that links African ideas to European ones, and listen to the voice of the ancestors without European interpreters. 
                                                 -John Carruthers
                                                   “Mdw Ntr”

  I have put the Akan language Bambara aside for now in favour of Asante Twi, which is far easier to learn and more fun. I don’t know why my heart wasn’t into Bambara, but when I began learning Twi, I felt alive. I felt as if my ancestors were telling me this is right, this is for you to learn. I honestly felt a spiritual connection to the Asante Twi language, despite the fact it is unlikely my ancestors were Akan. Only 3% of the Akan tribe arrived in my Caribbean island via the slave trade. 67% arrived from Southeast Nigeria (Igbo) and Cameroon. So I should probably be learning Yoruba. But Twi is so fun and I love Ghanian culture and music!

    It is super easy for me to teach my son. His favourite Twi word is “kraka kraka” meaning “small small” or “a little”. We watch @goldcoastdebuty on YouTube, Gloria is amazing and vibrant. We also use the Junior Twi app for Android, and I have created an Asante Twi notebook with phrases, words, song lyrics and the national anthem, which you should listen to because it’s in your face awesome.

   Our ancestors want us to continue where they left off before those European slave ships arrived. We are indoctrinated with European ideas but Africa is inside of us, we just have to listen to the voice of our ancestors. It doesn’t hurt to learn their language. A’se, sisters and brothers. Mendase!

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Don’t Get Comfortable

   Ali’s death today only serves to remind us of the pain of White supremacy and that we need to be militant in our own Black struggle for liberation. We must not get comfortable when one or two laws or social norms change. Strike the iron while the iron is hot, Bob Marley said. He is a prophet. He is talking about it us, about now. We must stay militant in upholding Black self-love, Black love, Black unity, Black peace amongst each other, Black healing and unity so we can grow together spiritually, emotionally, socially and politically and economically. So we can create laws and a system that looks out for our best interests, as human beings with every right to a just and equal life.

  We must push the envelope against white supremacy. We must topple it over, because as long as white supremacy is in place, we are not winning. We are settling. We must look at everything from a Pan-Afrikan perspective, and shun everything Euro-centric. We must build ourselves up apart from them because we don’t want integration if it means assimilation. We don’t need equal if our history tells us we are worth so much more. Don’t get comfortable because you discovered Black love and Black knowledge. My brothers and sisters, you’ve only just discovered a few weapons. We haven’t even started yet.