GlobalFusionPlaylist: Running Away & Crazy Baldhead -Bob Marley

There will always be someone who has it better or worse than us all. As Bob Marley said “Every man thinks his burden is the heaviest …Who feels it knows it not ” #CountYourBlessings .

I watched a 20/20 episode that reminded me to count my blessings.  Imagine never being able to be in a relationship or to easily and freely interact daily with people because certain sounds make it physically unbearable to be around them- and it’s a disease called Misophonia that turns a seemingly “normal person” into “Incredible Hulk” style fits of rage that requires a cure instead of just personal choice. Imagine only having the taste for rocks and it being a condition called Pica instead of just the personal choice of being a picky eater with an acquired taste. I personally had to mute the sound of the women eating rocks because I couldn’t physically take it -much like the man with Misophonia ; however he has to find a way to mute the world because most sounds make him physically unable to function. I guess we all have levels of diseases & conditions with triggers that we either possess the capability to control or not. It’s about finding that balance and knowing when not finding that balance gets too out of control for you not to ask for help. The mind and its balances and imbalances are very powerful and no matter what we do to curb and control our ailments we can never run away from ourselves.

On this same day I also watched NY1’s The Call with John Schiumo , which offers New Yorkers an opportunity to weigh in on the topic of the day. The topic of the day was the recent news that the NYPD had more than 685,000 “stop and frisks with over 40% being young Black and Latino boys/men.

In a passionate opinion, a federal judge granted class certification status in a landmark trial opposing racial disparities in stop-and-frisk policing, and put the New York City Police Department on notice that they might face court oversight by the end of trial…Every person who has been stopped by police since Jan. 31, 2005, without reasonable suspicion will become a member of the class as a result of the decision, a number that court documents indicate will likely include “well over one hundred thousand” people…A staff attorney from the civil rights group that brought the lawsuit said the decision showed that the court understood that stop-and-frisk policy implicated high-ranking city officials in civil rights abuses…”The Court has rightly recognized that illegal stops-and-frisks are not limited to a few rogue police officers but are the product of a program designed at the highest level of the police department and affect hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of New Yorkers,” said Darius Charney of Center for Constitutional Rights. “As a result of today’s ruling, all those for whom this practice is a daily reality will now have an opportunity to challenge it as a violation of their fundamental constitutional rights and to ask the Court to order real changes in NYPD stop-and-frisk policy.”…In contrast, a New York City Law Department spokesperson offered muted criticism….”We respectfully disagree with the decision and are reviewing our legal options,” Connie Pankratz said.” READ MORE

A White gentlemen called in saying that the politicians, activists and Black and Latino people who were against “stop and frisk” were trying to run away from the crime riddled past of New York about 20 years ago during the crack epidemic, which somehow in our NYC narrative has become synonymous with Black, Latinos and crime- which now “stop and frisk” was/is part of the law and order of our society to prevent those days from rearing its ugly head again by keeping a certain sector of society in order on the streets or in a cage -domesticated from their animalistic wilds as to not ruin society for the civilized masters/majority. Ironically in this same week, a study came out to say that White people in America particularly in places like New York are no longer the majority. The  caller went on to say that if young Black and Latinos boys to men would stop with the sagging of the pants and make themselves look respectable then the police would see them as people who respected themselves and in turn treat them with respect. It just so happens that this is also the anniversary of Sean Bell’s shooting. While I agree that as a Black woman I as just as offended by the sagging pants of young boys and particularly the grown ass out men who we would all think would know better in they way the carry and represent themselves; I surely am not naive to the fact that clothing choice alone will not have police giving respect to these same young Black and Latino boys to men because there are just as many stories of Black and Latino boys and men in designer suits who have been disrespected, stopped and frisked with no wrong doing or explanation by police as those shabbily showing their entire asses to the world.

A White woman called in and even challenged the host to stop saying it’s “stop, question and frisk” instead of just straight up “stop and frisk”.  She stated even the Supreme Court had stopped defining it as “Stop, Question & Frisk” because it makes it seem better than it is, as if the police are stopping these young Black and Latino boys/men at an alarming rate to just possibly “speak” with them. The show’s host replied her by saying he will continue to call it ” stop, question and frisk” instead of “stop and frisk” because that is the name of the law and as a proffesional journalist he had no proof that all the stops by NYPD came with frisks. Even without proof stating that some came as just “stops and questions”, he was convinced that some had to have come with just questioning without frisks, as he went along to say how he doesn’t care what the supreme court said. That statement to me from someone that just proclaimed that he as a young White boy in the 80’s growing up in Staten Island-wore his bright green fat laces in his Adidas which was a part of the hip-hop style of that era and was never stopped and frisked by the NYPD;  yet that same hip-hop style back then and now is blamed for the frequency of young Black and Latinos getting “stopped and frisked”. He had even proclaimed to the caller that made the wardrobe argument that the debate on wardrobe had already been argued on both sides- with one side proclaiming freedom of choice and the other side proclaiming change starts with the the victim -I mean the suspect. I was floored when the usually cool John Schuimo got flustered with the White woman caller telling him the “uncomfortable truth” to a point where he raised a few octaves in his voice to reply that she was not teaching him anything he didn’t already know. As a journalist I thought he would know that the supreme court was the highest court to judge laws of the nation, so he should care what they say. The White female caller went on to say that it is obvious that the majority of the people who would be for the “stop and frisk” law would be White and the ones that would be against it would be Blacks and Latinos because they are the majority on the receiving end of it.

This all comes at a time when Trayvon Martin Vs  George Zimmerman is in the news with the same ideas of wardrobe, color and suspicion as a reason to “stop and kill” disguised as “Stop, question and kill when necessary to save the life of the aggressor”. This has brought the same divides in right and wrong depending on which side of the pedulum your deepest fear lies; whether it is in the victimization or being the victimizer- where we either  choose to put color aside or make it the focus in defining the victimization or the victimizer. Either way we can never run away from ourselves no matter how we paint the picture in our favor.  The same period in time when a young Black man makes world news for being killed because he looked suspicious in a hooded sweatshirt , a young White man made world news as the youngest self made billionaire with his signature wardrobe of choice being his Black hooded sweatshirt without any suspicion. When do we become a society or a world that truly faces our own truths. As Bob Marley said “Every man thinks his burden is the heaviest. Who feels it knows it not“.

As I was processing all of this last night, I saw these back to back tweets on my twitter timeline which said a lot to this very narrative going on not only in New York, but all over the world. Some of us are able to face our truths and demons and survive attempts to take away our lives like Abner Louima, Rodney King and  Chamique Holdsclaw and some like Amadou Diallo, Trayvon Martin, Mary Richardson Kennedy and Junior Seau are not. When racism and mental illness toppled with life hits you hard- your talents, your poverty, your wealth, your race or geographical location can not save you if you can’t attain the faith and tools needed to lift you out of the hood of darkness. This made me look differently at the horrific Basketball Wives bullying incident last week that had social media in such an uproar that it made the usually abrasive “I ain’t never scared” Tami Roman forced to deactivate her usually busy twitter account because she could not take the backlash any longer. As horrific as the incident may have been in seeing one woman break down another woman in such an abusive manner -I also realized that many of us failed to see that we watched Tami Roman literally have a mental breakdown on national TV with no recourse outside of serving as entertainment. If the rumors are true that this was all scripted then they all deserve an academy award and to have this train wreck of a show laid to rest as petitions have come out demanding before it ends up being the cause of someone’s life being taken away mentally or physically.

All I could think after seeing these  tweets was-Wow -Language is a powerful weapon. Something that has been coming up a lot lately in how we address one another and issues and how once again color/culture plays a role in the allocation of the address even when they are the same words.

I was at an African design forum the other day once again discussing and defining this idea of Re-Branding Africa and what New African Fashion is, when one of the panelist who happened to be half German and Ethiopian but raised all over Africa with Peace Corp parents – went into an argument with such conviction that somehow “Luxury” could be found in Italy or France, but not in the entire continent of Africa; Even though she makes and sells product that she brands as 100% Made in Africa to luxury retailers in the West -while having convinced her “fellow Africans” that they do not make nor represent a globally recognized aesthetic of luxury products worthy of luxury production charges. Is it any worse when the same put down of the value of your worth comes from those who proclaim themselves as kin with an obligation to help you rise rather than from those who have built their reputation on keeping you stagnant or making you fall in order for them to rise?

What makes Ankara fabric designed in Africa any less luxurious than when Burberry designs it in London? What makes organic cotton grown in Uganda and made into a t-shirt in Uganda any less luxurious than the same organic cotton shipped to Italy, France or the USA and made into a t-shirt warranting the luxury label charging often 100 times more than their African counterparts? If Luxury is defined in fabrication and artistry of design and we start with the same source of luxury fabrication- all that is left is artistry. When your belly is empty  and craving to be fed- the luxury of waiting to indulge in a meal that will take all day to prepare in its finest artistry in taste becomes an unattainable luxury to indulge in for many African artisans. We all can agree that there is a lack of good paying jobs in Africa and that more often than not because of this there is only one income taking care of entire families which opens the door for exploitation in labor, not so much different from many parts of the world including Italy, France and USA which the panelist dubbed as known for luxury in a way that Africa has not arrived at yet. Much too often Africans are too busy with little choice between demanding real partnerships of investments in their labor or just being the laborers serving but not participating in the luxury market because of lack of opportunity, lack of information, financial circumstance in the fact that it takes money to make money with Africans always never having money to make money, or being held back by the fear of change for the worse in rocking the boat and an unshakable pride in admitting that we often grow generation after generation never having been taught how to own our own, demand partnerships and just even knowing our worth. All of these things keep Africans stagnant in never attaining the luxury of being artisans with the luxury of time in the details it takes to attain the type of perfection where even imperfections add value to what is wanted and warranted in art. When you are automatically devalued because of geographical location, how can one attain that higher value unless they take themselves to a more geographically valued place?

Hearing the conviction behind the flawed arguments of  Africa not representing “Luxury” just made me wonder if the panelist making the argument had any real connection to the roots of Africa to categorically bypass its past- hailed to the highest of luxury with images of Emperor Haile Selassie I or Ashanti Kings and Queens long before she came to valiantly proclaim an obligation to pick up the pieces from their fall. She chose even to bypass the reality of Africa’s present, where just recently the Huffington Post had an article with the headline Luxury Brands Target Nigeria As Boom Economy Creates New Class of Elite“. The use of words and descriptions in language is so important and powerful in its impact on the psyche of human beings. As Nelson Mandela said “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” All I can say to my fellow Africans constantly faced with this burden of language reaping havoc on our psyche and forward movements is that the time has come to know our worth- defined by us and not by the rest of the world outside of us.

Scholars and scientists now conceive that Africa is the first place of mankind
Africans were the first builders of civilization
They discovered mathematics, invented writing, developed sciences
Engineering, medicine, religion, fine arts, and built the Great Pyramids
An architectural achievement which still baffles modern scientists’

[INTRO VOICE 2]
The 225th Emperor [echo] direct descent from Solomon and The Queen of Sheba [echo]
He is the “King of Kings, The Lion of Judah [echo]”
The name Haile Selassie I means “Power of the Trinity”

[Verse 1: Stephen Marley]
Educate yourselves, of Africa
To liberate yourself, Africa
Keep your heads up high
No more will we cry
Eeeeyh

Our history that they stole, Africa
Is written in our souls, Africa
Oldest nation on this earth
Know just what you worth
Well well

Ships that sail to distant places
Robbed us of our rising worlds
History says that you’ve betrayed us
Talking of the Gods you serve
Hear the rambling in the sky
Tears that our fore fathers cry
And today we’re still in chains
Take the shackle from our minds
You’re the corner stone
The king upon the throne

How beautiful are thou, Africa
Our nation have to bow, Africa
Don’t you fall from grace
You’re that secret place
Aye! Aye-ah-aye!

[Verse 2: Wale]
Power to the people, Motherland representa
I’m on trial with the man she my co-defendant
And I demand her attention, can you focus women?
I’m getting closer to the sky errytime I hit it
Haile Selassie I, “Power of the Trinity”
Soul made in naija, my voice made in Italy
White mans world that I’m livin’ in, some say
But it was Africa the continent we all came from
Can’t nothing come between me and you
So before I have seeds gotta understand my roots
Gotta understand the truth. We is all king’s ’round here
Lifes not all fair, work till we fall dead
Paul goin’ hard ’till I urn like a Pall-Bearer
Although my body’s in the U.S my heart’s there
I can never be ashamed of her, I got my features and my name from her
Mama Africa

[Verse 3: Stephen Marley]
The richest place on earth
Know just what your worth
Talking about the God you serve

Keep your heads up high

No more will we cry
They infiltrate our homes, Africa
They claim it as their own, Africa
Now we must stand tall
To break down all these wall-alls
Well well

Our children must be taught, of Africa
The science and the art, Africa
Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah Nahhh!

Educate yourself, Africa
To liberate yourselves, Africa
Keep your heads up high
No more will we cry

Beautiful are thou, Africa
A legend have to bow, Africa
Oh Oh!

Made in Africa, We share Africa (We share Africa)
Made in Africa, We share Africa (We share Africa)
Made in Africa, We share Africa (We share Africa)
Made in Africa, We share Africa (We share Africa)
Made in Africa, We share Africa (We share Africa)
Made in Africa, We share Africa (We share Africa)
Made in Africa, We share Africa (We share Africa)

Just this past week, New York Post writer, Phil Mushnick wrote a “racially condemning” or just “the uncomfortable truth” about Jay Z and his minority ownership of the new Brooklyn Nets as Brooklyn’s native son who would possibly be defining the style/marketing direction of the Nets with a suggestion of renaming the team “The New York Niggas/Niggers” in his usual cultural popularization of the word through the music that allowed him the luxury of being a minority owner of The Nets.

…why not have him apply the full Jay-Z treatment? Why the Brooklyn Nets when they can be the New York N—-s. The cheerleaders could be the Brooklyn B—hes or Hoes….

I couldn’t really understand the point of this article outside of exposing the Jay Z we already knew and being yet another White person looking for an excuse to publicly use the word Nigger in his social commentary on how Black people using the word Nigger/Nigga has somehow been the downfall of modern society, poisoning even little White children like his own who had never heard the word used until they heard rappers like Jay Z say it. Oh Please Mr. Mushnick -you are full of shit and you know it- I would bet anything that your children heard that word long before they knew who Jay Z was. The crazy part is that White people don’t see the justifiable anger by Blacks to stick by Jay Z in this condemnation as making millions on polluting his own people and society at large with illegal and bad behavior, but yet they don’t see anything wrong with holding up the Kennedys as American royalty for doing the same thing. If the Kennedys can erase their past illegal activities and bad behavior that also polluted their own people and society at large  from the history books to become glorified as American royalty in making their wealth legit- then why can’t Jay Z?

According to Mushnick, Jay Z will basically define the same Brooklyn and New York of Showtime’s Girls, caught up in the same race baiting or telling yet another side of an uncomfortable truth of not just Brooklyn, not just New York and not even just our nation, but seemingly the entire world in the way we use language and perception in seeing and speaking to and about the same contexts. We either face the elephant in the room head on constructively or run away from it. Partly because of Mushnick and others’ statements this past week -the question came up for social media consumption and debate saying “When Do We Allow Whites To Criticize Blacks?“,  as if any clear conclsuion outside of race baiting was going to come out of posing a question like that in the race baiting Root. Yes I said it- there are Black focused news and information outlets that are just as much race baiters as their White counterparts. The definition of race baiting (the unfair use of statements about race to try to influence the actions or attitudes of a particular group of people) does not change because of color, the same way that Nigga/Nigger ‘s definition does not change because of color. We all have to stick to one concise definition to keep a society from constant confusion in division.

I believe that faith in knowing there’s a higher power who creates miracles can save those who believe. The idea of a God that kills when faced with disobedience and non-believers, when one of the fundamental teachings of most faiths and humanity is “Thou shall not kill” is extremely ill-conceived to me and very UnGodly. I always hear people talking about they are “God-fearing” people, but I saw this quote that spoke to what I feel in my heart when I hear “God-Fearing”.

After seeing the images/words below in the form of a chain letter in hopes of being granted miracles by passing it along and by making one fear God in knowing that questioning or denying the power of God in anyway can eventually get you killed is very unGodly to me as well . This type of ideology makes me wonder about the teachings of religious fear mongering, which is far from the love from and of the higher power that I have come to know in my spirituality and faith.

We all should take a moment in prayer and reflection to really look deep within ourselves as we go to our selected places of worship on Sunday to truly decide if we are praising God in fear or in love, for by his/her deeds shall a man/woman be known because we can never run away from ourselves.

Ya running and ya running
And ya running away.
Ya running and ya running
And ya running away.
Ya running and ya running
And ya running away.
Ya running and ya running,
But ya can’t run away from yourself
Can’t run away from yourself –
Can’t run away from yourself –
Can’t run away from yourself –
Can’t run away from yourself –
Can’t run away from yourself.
Ya must have done (must have done),
Somet’in’ wrong (something wrong).
Said: ya must have done (must have done),
Wo! Somet’in’ wrong (something wrong).
Why you can’t find the
Place where you belong?
Do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do (running away);
Do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do (running away);
Do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do (running away);
Do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do (running away);
Do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do (running away).
Every man thinketh his
Burden is the heaviest (heaviest).
Every man thinketh his
Burden is the heaviest (heaviest).
Ya still mean it: Who feels it knows it, Lord;
Who feels it knows it, Lord;
Who feels it knows it, Lord;
Who feels it knows it, Lord.
Ya running and ya running
And ya running away.
Ya running and ya running
And ya running away.
Ya running and ya running
And ya running away.
Ya running and ya running
But ya can’t run away from yourself.
Could ya run away from yourself?
Can you run away from yourself?
Can’t run away from yourself!
Can’t run away from yourself!
Yeah-eah-eah-eah – from yourself.
Brr – you must have done somet’in’ –
Somet’in’ – somet’in’ – somet’in’ –
Somet’in’ ya don’t want nobody to know about:
Ya must have, Lord – somet’in’ wrong,
What ya must have done – ya must have done somet’in’ wrong.
Why you can’t find where you belong?
Well, well, well, well, ya running away, heh, no –
Ya running away, ooh, no, no, no,
I’m not (running away), no, don’t say that – don’t say that,
‘Cause (running away) I’m not running away, ooh! (running away)
I’ve got to protect my life, (running away)
And I don’t want to live with no strife. (running away)
It is better to live on the housetop (running away)
Than to live in a house full of confusion. (running away)
So, I made my decision and I left ya; (running away)
Now you comin’ to tell me (running away)
That I’m runnin’ away. (running away)
But it’s not true, (running away)
I am not runnin’ away. (running away)

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