When I see articles like “Some blacks insist: ‘I’m not African-American” & “Beyoncé L’Oreal ad controversy inspires black community backlash”; I thank my ancestors & the Almighty- which for me are one in the same- for keeping me from this mental slavery of the confusion of not having a solid foundation in knowing who I am to build from. I am proudly 100% African born in America & to be specific 100% Ghanaian born in New York. A dual citizen by passport & passage of paperwork of two nations, but a human being & a global citizen by mind, soul & freedom in knowing that no matter where I may place my feet or lay my head- there is no confusion in who I am in never denying Africa. I used to be angry at what I saw as the ridiculousness of Black Americans teasing me for being African then years later adopting the title of African-American amongst themselves as some sort of pride in the foundation of their long lost roots, which I was somehow supposed to be ashamed of until it became as fashionable as wearing kente cloth backpacks & Ankhs. We love to call ourselves the purveyors of style so much so that we even take it down to the point where we play identity politics amongst ourselves to make fashionable or not who we are as people. We sell ourselves at every point as some sort of commodity to the world that can change with the time & color of the hour like a chameleon or the fashion week color of the season; yet we put on our faces of shock & disdain when others treat us just as we sell & project ourselves.
As a young girl who endured the teasing of Black Americans simply for claiming my Africaness proudly, all I could think of when the “African-American” name change came along was being quite annoyed & just thinking to myself…ummm did anyone check with Native Africans to see if they wanted to reclaim you back since all I ever heard was how they sold you into slavery with some even being thankful that they did so to give them a better life than living in the so called backward jungles of Africa. I learned how to laugh through my sadness & anger at the ignorance of those who would never know & often chose not to know their true history or who they really are from soul, root to fruit. I had to humanize those who often chose to dehumanize who I am as an African– those whom I called lost Africans-in seeing them just simply as children of adoption who held deep seeded anger toward the parents who sold/gave them away because they had no choice but to hold all allegiance to the parents who bought/took them in love or hate, in freedom or enslavement, but nonetheless kept them alive with bountiful or minimal nourishment, while making sure they withheld all the documentation of the traces of their past that would allow them to know if they were sold/given up by choice or by force. The older I get, all I can do is feel sorry for the lost Africans who continue to pledge unwavering allegiance to everywhere else in the world but Africa, possibly the only place on earth that will ever fully accept them as their own in the true foundation of self & freedom.
It seems every year particularly around Black History Month, which is supposed to celebrate our history as global Africans, we find a way to end up desecrating it. As John Henrik Clarke said “Black tells you what you look like , It doesn’t tell you who you are” & clearly many Black people still are having issues figuring out & defining who they are. It often feels like many Black journalistic outlets own some sort of stock in constantly talking about how this or that institution is racist or biased against Black people & that stock may fall if they go a day without buying or selling that verbal & written stock for their consumers. Every fashion week, every Oscar show, every damn awards show period- given by institutions that were not built for nor by Black people, we talk about the lack of inclusion as we fight for & await inclusion while celebrating some sort of validation every time one of us makes it thru the coveted White promise land palace of glory, such as in the case of Red Tails & George Lucas getting the honored Vanguard award from the NAACP this year, which goes to a person whose groundbreaking work increases understanding & awareness of racial and social issues. This man did one movie & brought up a topic about Hollywood not running to green light any films with predominately Black casts or Black based strory lines, which was nothing new to anyone who has eyes & ears; yet he was able to use this well known fact to get Black folks hyped to go & see a mediocre film with the threat of no Black based & casted films ever being made again by anyone in the Hollywood establishment if we didn’t all run to go see it in order to make sure he turned a profit for throwing us this bone. As much as I think George Lucas had good intentions- the entire PR machine & holding the Hollywood nonsense over the heads of Black people was just too over the top for me because a good film is a good film & should be able to sell itself, but as usual Black people bought the hype & threat of never again hook line & sinker to a point where even though Ava Duvernay became the first Black woman to win a best director honor at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival & prior to that her establishing the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement in efforts for greater focus on the writing, producing, directing & distribution of Black Films in setting the foundation to bypass the nonsense that George Lucas used to get Black folks to go & see his film; she seemed to have been not only completely overlooked for her individual efforts by the NAACP, but also by her own community in not recognizing that she has done more for the future of the collective of Black films & Black filmmakers than George Lucas’s 58 million dollar investment in Red Tails can ever do. Somehow in our praise for our “White Jesus” who gave us poor Black folks long overlooked by Hollywood a glimpse into the promise land of big budget mediocre filmmaking to bring us one step further to reaching that mountaintop, which we couldn’t possibly get there on our own because Dr. King’s time in taking us there had already come & gone; we completely looked over someone in our own community who represents our future in the excellence & self determination it has & will always take to get us anywhere, something that seems to be greatly missing in our constant dialogue of what “the white man or hollywood ” won’t or does not do for us.
Everyone speaks of how George Lucas spent his own money to make a Black film that he didn’t have to do- well that Black woman that loves & supports him didn’t have to choose him either & all those Black people that campaigned for him & got their Black booties in those theater seats so he could make a profit didn’t have to do that that either, so I would call us all even with a win/win situation except a better movie had already been made on the Tuskeegee airmen , so if Red Tails was the best we could do to honor the stories of our national heroes on a big budget platform then I won’t be shocked if Hollywood continues to not come calling.
This cycle of woe is me, the White man never gives us opportunities & goes out of his way to exclude Black people from every industry is like the screeching sound of nails on a chalkboard freezing you into a stagnation that never ends until someone goes over the deep end enough to push the screecher down from creating the useless insensitive noise that serves no purpose, but to rile up the mind & soul to agitation without much change. We are our own worst enemy in the profiteering off of our pain & woes which we seem to want to keep going in order for intellectuals & writers to keep writing books & articles, to keep having televised & un-televised conferences & platforms of debate, to keep NGO’s afloat to help us poor folks who can’t do it without them & worst of all to give us excuses for lack of self determination in getting over the hump that many before us refused to let be a deterrent in their personal achievements & achievements as a collective community. All of this talk generation after generation is nothing new, but we keep thinking we are reinventing the wheel or discovering a dialogue that has never been had before, instead of just merely going around in circles constantly missing the point to jump off the fast moving amusement park circular ride in order to be able to move forward. It often seems as if we would rather hold on to dear life to the ultimate go to crutch generation after generation, either out of plain insanity or fear of what will happen on the other side of emancipation from letting go of that mental enslavement which we seem to be so attached to as Blacks/Global Africans. We are the ones that keep the so called debate about colorism going amongst ourselves because frankly most White people in the world could careless about light or dark amongst us because for them Black is Black no matter your hue when it comes to whether they will hire, fire or give you acceptance or not & often the main factor of acceptance has more to do with the social class & wealth that one brings to the table or one can potentially bring to the table in order to be allowed a seat at the table.
Those whom came before our generation already found that out, yet we sit around kidding ourselves to think anyone with prejudices or race issues cares or will give preferential treatment if your coloring is closer to White than not, or whether you have any admixture of White or not. Anywhere in the world you go, you are still Black & for most people educated or not that means you are of African decent- they don’t care if you are from America, Jamaica, Colombia, Brazil, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts, Trinidad, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Seychelles, Libya, Nigeria or wherever –you are Black of African descent period- so you can’t run away from yourself no matter how hard you try. At some point in life global Africans will have to come to accept who they are on a global scale or continue to be at the bottom to perish in denial & disunity just as it was planned & written first by our slave masters & colonizers then by us for us!
As I see Beyonce claiming her roots as African-American, Native American & French & intelligent Black people who would most likely claim amongst their heros people like Malcolm X, W.E.B Dubois, Che Guevara, Marcus Garvey, Bob Marley & even the Black hero of our times President Obama, who made/make no qualms nor division amongst themselves as Africans, saying things like: “I don’t like African-American. It denotes something else to me than who I am,” said Smith, whose parents are from Mississippi and North Carolina. “I can’t recall any of them telling me anything about Africa. They told me a whole lot about where they grew up in Macomb County and Shelby, N.C.”…. & “That act of calling me African-American completely erased their history and the sacrifice and contributions it took to make me an author,” said Morgan, a longtime U.S. citizen who calls herself Black-Caribbean American. All I can say is Ummmm Black people FYI…no French nor Native Americans are claiming you & your America which you will fight for before Africa has let it be known for generations before you & continues to let it be known to the world that even after centuries of citizenship that you have less claim to opportunity, the American dream & all the riches & privileges that come along with it than a newly minted American citizen of European descent when you go to buy a home, get a job promotion, get your films made or get stopped & frisked by the police. After decades of celebrating Black History, still most Americans particularly our youth know very little about Black history in America because we continue to drop the ball with the lack of our own knowledge of self & the inconsistencies in our collective message. We’ve been playing with this romanticized history of rape & enslavement to make us feel somehow better & superior just as it was planned for the offspring of many of our slave master’s conquests who were told that…Yes you are so much more special & beautiful than the descendents of the slaves that weren’t chosen to be raped or the ones that got away or the savage Africans that were never sold into slavery-so sing a joyful noise & rejoice about it!
Even us proud Native Africans are about to disown you if you can’t get it together with your varying pledges of allegiance & constant name changes: Black, Caribbean, Latino, Negro, African-American & whatever else. As Bob Marley said “You can’t run away from yourself”, so if I see another article with Black people talking about how they don’t want to be called African or that they are not African & prefer to be called Black, Negro, Latino, Caribbean & everything under the sun except African, while in the same breath getting mad at White people who refuse to believe the science that humanity & language was started in Africa; therefore claiming Africa does not deny allegiance to other but rather embraces all allegiance; I am going have to defend my Africa by letting these lost Africans know that us proud Africans are not your “Bitch” to use & discard at whim nor are we hungry to claim you by any means either because we Africans have work to do in reclaiming our Africanism strongly implanted & made in Africa along with our continuous fight for sovereignty, unity & freedom in claiming Africa for Africans. We don’t need nor have anymore time for confusion with people who could careless about investing in Africa & who can only talk about how we sold them into slavery or how their ancestors far removed from them may have been Africans; yet they choose & prefer to pledge allegiance to those who actually tortured & enslaved them & still until today see them as other or second class citizens no matter how many generations removed from Africa & assimilated into America & the rest of the Diaspora that they now claim.
“On Monday the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court decided to terminate the tribal citizenship of nearly 3,000 Black descendants of freedmen–former slaves who had been owned by Cherokees. The ruling comes several months after a district court granted equal tribal citizenship rights to descendants. Monday’s 4-1 decision, overturned the district courts ruling, citing that the judge did not have the right to overturn an 1866 Cherokee constitutional amendment.” READ MORE
Go to France & find out just how French you are , go on a Native American reservation & find out just how much claim you have to Native Americans & their land & please come back & let me know how your multiple allegiances & claim to citizenry turns out. Beyonce has already proven in the past that her talents & attributes rest in her singing & beauty rather than her high level of intelligence or firm grasp of history, so she can do whatever she wants, as can any of you who would like to have Africa as far behind you & your list of claims as possible, but know that the joke around the world will always be on you. It is a disgrace when Jennifer Lopez is claiming 100% Puerto Rican with no need to breakdown her admixtures in the same advertising campaign as Beyonce who is claiming everything under the sun, when Jennifer Lopez probably has more admixtures than Beyonce just from the known history of Puerto Ricans alone, yet she claims that pride with an understanding of who & how she represents a people who need not be confused in declaring themselves to the world because there is & has always been power in numbers. The powers that maybe when they need you for their numbers will use you & discard you as needed, much like Ethiopian Jews today who had an open door policy from Israel at one time when they needed them to build their numbers, but now that they have claimed their power in the occupation of Israel with little use for who they have & always will see as the same lesser than them Africans who they once profited off of the selling & trading of- the same way they continue to do so until today under a different name to the point where their so called fellow Jews of Ethiopia are now fighting for their freedom in Israel. Even President Obama refused to play the admixture game in clearly declaring himself as African-American on the American census without a need to check extra boxes because he knows that is how he is perceived all over the world & there’s a certain level of stock in that power of allegiance.
“He may be the world’s foremost mixed-race leader, but when it came to the official government head count, President Barack Obama gave only one answer to the question about his ethnic background: African-American. The White House confirmed on Friday that Obama did not check multiple boxes on his U.S. Census form, or choose the option that allows him to elaborate on his racial heritage. He ticked the box that says “Black, African Am., or Negro.” Read More
As Marcus Garvey a man born in Jamaica who had no doubt in his mind about claiming Africa said: “Black people will never know themselves until their Back is Against the Wall. I have no desire to take all black people back to Africa; there are blacks who are no good here and will likewise be no good there…A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”
We need real tangible growth because everyone knows a tree without solid roots can never bare fruit! Hence the state of Black America today, where we constantly debate about the desire to somehow reclaim the use of the language of our slave masters in calling one another niggers/niggas & being all up in arms to get any White person fired for calling us out of our names, while we ourselves use the same abusive language on one another on a daily basis in our communities. We will protest & boycott to get Don Imus fired for calling young Black girls “Nappy Headed Hoes”, yet bop our heads & pump our fists in unity with Nicki Minaj doing the same thing while donning blonde hair & calling herself a Barbie. We are quick to claim someone like Jay Z as somehow being father of the year just because he wrote a rap about loving his 1st born daughter, while defending & reclaiming his right to call everyone else’s daughter a “Bitch”, yet somehow someone like Too $hort who has always claimed that his favorite word is “Bitch” somehow represents everything that is wrong with hip-hop & our society because he took the foolishness of the same misogynistic culture that is spread by far too many of our Black men of hip-hop -with many of our women cosigning- to an extent where he suggests young grade school boys molest/abuse & even rape young grade school girls unwelcomed or not -the same nonsense that they have been seeing in hip-hop videos for most of their lives with older girls being sprayed with Champagne, being man handled, being pushed into pools & sexualized at every level to let the world know that Black men of hip-hop are big pimpin‘. Needless to say Too $hort was only giving the blueprint for his up & coming brothers in hip-hop arms to know how to treat the “bitches” they all talk about. I think it is all foul & all part of the same stream of toxic waste that has been seeping into our communities & culture, which has gone unchecked or sometimes half way checked for so long that we often focus on just getting the foulest odor out instead of cleaning out the entire septic tank. . Too few Black men & so called lovers of women stand up against this toxic culture when it happens right in their presence. As Ghandi said : ” To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest.…” & as Martin Luther King Jr. said “In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends“.
“In a Daily News exclusive, Jay-Z scoffed at a recent report he wrote a poem to his newborn daughter vowing to drop the word “b—-” from his vocabulary. “That poem and story are fake,” Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, revealed.” Read More
“Being black is not a matter of pigmentation – being black is a reflection of a mental attitude. Black Consciousness is an attitude of the mind and a way of life, the most positive call to emanate from the black world for a long time. The most potent weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed. Black man, you are on your own…” Steve Biko
We are at a time when the world is truly global with all eyes & ears watching, listening & consuming our shared global culture in good & in bad, so there is no sacred hiding place anymore where we can claim exceptions to any rule of right & wrong. We are all complicit in the collective destruction of our culture because at every level there is confusion & constant inconsistency in the message of the change that we all so badly desire & claim to be fighting for directly in what & how we consume what we like & regurgitate what we don’t like. We all need a closer look at the man/woman in the mirror in order to ask him/her to change his/her ways because we have become so conditioned in our conditioning that more times than not we find it difficult to determine right from wrong. As a proud African-American, I have seen the destructive ways of being Black in America & as an African I am seeing this behavior seep into our culture more & more on the motherland, where at one time no matter how poor or rich nor how bad or great our circumstances were -there was always a level of respect & self determination that was upheld as an unwavering backbone of our culture -one that is quickly eroding with the over indulgence of hip-hop & western culture. Thank goodness African youth looking for western examples from abroad have a slew of great Afropolitans to set us back to right.
“Young, urban and culturally savvy, meet the Afropolitans — a new generation of Africans and people of African descent with a very global outlook. Something of a buzzword in the diaspora, the term “Afropolitan” first appeared in a 2005 magazine article by Nigerian/Ghanaian writer Taiye Selasi. Selasi wrote about multilingual Africans with different ethnic mixes living around the globe — as she put it “not citizens but Africans of the world. “An Afropolitan is someone who has roots in Africa, raised by the world, but still has an interest in the continent and is making an impact, is feeding back into the continent and trying to better it“ READ MORE
I say all this to proclaim that if you don’t want to be African or claim Africa then that’s perfectly fine with me as a proud African because I have seen what both sides have to offer in the bigger picture of life & legacy! Africa & all of us who claim her are here to loudly & proudly let it be known that we are not your “Bitch” to claim or not to claim at your leisure. #That’sAll
“And you and I have to make a start and the best place to start is right in the community where we live. So our people not only have to be reeducated to the importance of supporting black business, but the black man himself has to be made aware of the importance of going into business. And once you and I go into business, we own and operate at least the businesses in our community. What we will be doing is developing a situation wherein we will actually be able to create employment for the people in the community. And once you can create some — some employment in the community where you live it will eliminate the necessity of you and me having to act ignorantly and disgracefully, boycotting and picketing some practice some place else trying to beg him for a job. Anytime you have to rely upon your enemy for a job, you’re in bad shape. When you have — He is your enemy. Let me tell you, you wouldn’t be in this country if some enemy hadn’t kidnapped you and brought you here. On the other hand, some of you think you came here on the Mayflower. So as you can see brothers and sisters, today — this afternoon, it’s not our intention to discuss religion. We’re going to forget religion. If we bring up religion, we’ll be in an argument, and the best way to keep away from arguments and differences, as I said earlier, put your religion at home — in the closet. Keep it between you and your God. Because if it hasn’t done anything more for you than it has, you need to forget it anyway. Whether you are — Whether you are a Christian, or a Muslim, or a Nationalist, we all have the same problem. They don’t hang you because you’re a Baptist; they hang you ’cause you’re black. They don’t attack me because I’m a Muslim; they attack me ’cause I’m black. They attack all of us for the same reason; all of us catch hell from the same enemy. We’re all in the same bag, in the same boat. We suffer political oppression, economic exploitation, and social degradation — all of them from the same enemy. The government has failed us; you can’t deny that. Anytime you live in the twentieth century, 1964, and you walkin’ around here singing ‘We Shall Overcome,’ the government has failed us. This is part of what’s wrong with you — you do too much singing. Today it’s time to stop singing and start swinging. You can’t sing up on freedom, but you can swing up on some freedom. Cassius Clay can sing, but singing didn’t help him to become the heavyweight champion of the world; swinging helped him become the heavyweight champion. This government has failed us; the government itself has failed us, and the white liberals who have been posing as our friends have failed us. And once we see that all these other sources to which we’ve turned have failed, we stop turning to them and turn to ourselves. We need a self help program, a do-it — a-do-it-yourself philosophy, a do-it-right-now philosophy, a it’s-already-too-late philosophy. This is what you and I need to get with, and the only time — the only way we’re going to solve our problem is with a self-help program. Before we can get a self-help program started we have to have a self-help philosophy. Black Nationalism is a self-help philosophy. What’s so good about it? You can stay right in the church where you are and still take Black Nationalism as your philosophy. You can stay in any kind of civic organization that you belong to and still take black nationalism as your philosophy. You can be an atheist and still take black nationalism as your philosophy. This is a philosophy that eliminates the necessity for division and argument. ‘Cause if you’re black you should be thinking black, and if you are black and you not thinking black at this late date, well I’m sorry for you. Once you change your philosophy, you change your thought pattern. Once you change your thought pattern, you change your — your attitude. Once you change your attitude, it changes your behavior pattern and then you go on into some action.”
“We will never survive as a group until we get into communities & not neighborhoods…We’ve been so busy dealing with the hurt & pain & the misery & glamorizing a hand few that have made it, that we have never really looked at like the say your role model ..if u haven’t got a role model in ur house then u should fall on ur knees & pray to God because something is wrong” #ItTakesAVillage….