During the 3 day weekend that America celebrates President George Washington, Black Panther (2018) came into theaters and is challenging the conversation of what it means to be an African American, the relationship between Black women and Black men, and the role of white allies in the conversation of Blackness. Black folks, it is time for us to talk.
We Dismiss the White Ally
Black Panther is dismissing the concept of a White Ally within the issue of dealing with Blacks and all of the African descendant communities around the world. For Everett Ross, we appreciate his service, and we acknowledge his assistance, but Ross represents the necessity of White people needing to sit back and just listen. For years, we, as Blacks, have had to listen and partner with Whites to help forward Blacks being able to gain Civil Rights in America and begin to live the Civil Liberties that are written in the Constitution and its Amendments.
The moment of Ross being in the presence of M’Baku and not being able to verbalize his analysis of the situation is what White Americans need to understand – your voice is no longer necessary or wanted. Black America needs to deal with these issues amongst Black Americans and other people of African descent around the world without the input of White Americans.
The initial conversation between Black Panther and Ross reiterates how Ross does not even begin to respect Black Panther and his people. During the interrogation of Klaw, Ross was able to connect with Klaw (who is not an American) simply because White people around the world are able to connect based on one principle – as Shuri stated they are “The Colonizers.” Clearly, Colonizers around the world can connect even if Ross is a “good” Colonizer, his services are useful and we appreciate it.
Thank you for your contribution, but we got this.As African Americans, we have always been in search of our past and our ancestors, but we never paused to think about if they have been in search of us. Click To Tweet
What Responsibility Do African Nations Have to African Americans?
Dripped in the imagery of the newly revised Roots, we are reminded that Black Panther is willing to take us to places that we never imagined. As African Americans, we have always been in search of our past and our ancestors, but we never paused to think about if they have been in search of us.
Michael B. Jordan in his portrayal of Eric Killmonger, (and I would prefer to call him N’Jadaka), is deemed as an angry Black male. Why is he labeled as an angry Black male? Also, if he is an AngryBlack male, then why not? Doesn’t he have the right to be angry? He was the remnant of Africans who were left in America. His mother was American, and his dad was Wakandan. It is easy for people to see that he was abandoned from the elders of the Wakanda tribe, but let’s have a bigger question, “Why nations of Africa did you not come for us?”
We have consistently had the conversation of White people who enslaved our ancestors, but we need to start placing blame in another space – the nations of Africa. Not only did they contribute to the slave trade, but they also never came to retrieve us or align with us to improve our lives in America. Why did you not partner with us in our cities to help African Americans prosper? Yes, we are Americans, but we are your descendants. What is your responsibility to us?
So, N’Jadaka comes back to Wakanda with the notion that he should have the opportunity to sit on the thrown. Instead of entertaining that idea, T’Challa turns his back on him without giving N’Jadaka the opportunity to speak his truth and pronounce who he is. It is the elders that want him to declare his truth, so they can deal with the consequences. One would assume that T’Challa would want to give space for N’Jadaka because they are of the same bloodline, but after a lifetime of dreaming of “home,” it is “home” that turns its back on him.
When N’Jadaka sits on the thrown, he states that there are 2 billion people of African descent who are needing to be liberated. Fascinating idea, and yet we are to go back to the idea of What role does the African Nations have to the billions of people who are their direct descendants?
Black Women Matter
I have been explaining how Black Women are the backbone of Black men. We have seen how important Black women were in the elections of Donald Trump and the Senate race of Roy Moore, but we have also seen it throughout history. Why is anyone surprised that black women of Wakanda are strong and have some significance in with the leadership council, technology development, and the army?
Let’s be clear, wherein American history amongst African Americans have Black men thrived without the sacrifice and care of Black women? Even going through the history of African tribes, many of them were inherently maternal (before colonization). With that being said, it is pretty clear that I can firmly state – Where would the Black Panther be if it was not for women?
The technology is developed by a woman. He was nurtured back to health by three women. It was a woman who made the decision to fight for the nation as a way of service to the nation. In the end, women stood and fought for the installation of the Black Panther as the men sided with N’Jadaka. The men were for a more aggressive style of leadership that undercut women’s role within leadership and effectiveness within the governing that would eliminate their voice. The women sided for collaboration and strived to retain their voice in governing, as they fought for T’Challa.
It must be intentional to think of the strength of women in the Black Panther (2018) movie is in alignment with the Black Panther Party. Even though we know the leaders of the Black Panther Party were male, but the women implemented the programs. They were the people who lead the Hot Breakfast program that was the beginning of the Head Start Program that was adopted by President Johnson and still is active to this day.
In fact, it is there level of involvement within the Black Panthers that kept the organization moving as the leadership was in jail and on drugs. We can argue the complexity of the program and the involvement of the federal government dismantling the organization, but the role Black women played in that movement is clear and significant.
It is clear that we are now at a crossroads with this movie.
Should we as Black people demand more from our partners, fathers, brothers, friends, and institutions about respecting us?
Should we as Black Americans demand more respect and accountability from African nations, and in essence not ask for America alone to pay us reparations, but ask for these African nations to pay for the damage they have done to us?
Should we seek partnerships amongst a variety of leaders who lead nations that are predominantly of African descent?
Should we exile white allies completely until African Americans rebuild and start a “community”?
I don’t know, but this movie sparked a conversation and demands for us to respond.
Is This Cultural Appropriation or Nah?
Recently, the Grapevine TV caused quite the sensation online for its content related to cultural appropriation and Bruno Mars. In my humble opinion, this has been the best discussion about appropriation/critique of Bruno Mars that I have seen across the internet. Whether you call it appropriation or not, I think we all can agree that at the very least, Bruno absolutely swagger-jacked the entire New Jack Swing sound prevalent in 1990s music. Teddy Riley, Jimmy Jam, and Terry Lewis should definitely be cashing in on Bruno’s recent fame.
But I digress.
I will be honest, while I agree that cultural appropriation exists, I really don’t understand why some people are appropriators and some aren’t? It’s like our faves are appreciating and our not-so-faves are appropriating. What are the rules and regulations?
Here is my question – what do we call it when a major media outlet (usually owned and operated by the racially dominant group) inserts themselves in some Black shit and tries to spin it? Is that appropriation?
Recently, The Washington Post published this article online – “How White Nationalists are Trying to Co-Opt Black Panther.” Even though Black Panther is Blackity-Black, the Washington Post has managed to marginalize the beauty of that, while centering White Nationalists in a moment that distinctly ignores their existence. The fact that this is published in the Washington Post, which is still considered a “legitimate” news source, gives credibility to a ‘thing’ that I honestly don’t think is a ‘thing.’ They reference some “research study” but there are no statistics, no methodology, and nothing that even remotely feels like a fact. But, it’s on The Washington Post, so it must be real, right?What do we call it when a major media outlet (usually owned and operated by the racially dominant group) inserts themselves in some Black shit and tries to spin it? Click To Tweet
What is cultural appropriation? It is the representation of cultural practices or experiences by those considered cultural outsiders; this representation or cultural borrowing is usually performed by members of the dominant group. Appropriation usually comes in one of three forms: the performance of culture by cultural outsiders, the cross-cultural borrowing of artistic styles (as in Bruno Mars doing the wop to his 1990s New Edition-esque song), and the possession of cultural objects by outsiders. Cultural appropriation strips away the cultural autonomy of marginalized groups. The morally objectionable quality of cultural appropriation lies within the disregard of the rights of the cultural group to share and shape the origin and history of their culture. Within this context, cultural appropriation is only morally objectionable when the dominant cultural group appropriates from oppressed groups because the very nature of the dominant group is to dictate and force its culture on others while oppressed groups are often required to assimilate for protection and acceptance.
So, the question is – Is this Washington Post article cultural appropriation?
Think of it in terms of Beyoncé. Remember when she broke the internet announcing her pregnancy and subsequently, several articles popped up all over the internet (written by White women) critiquing her pregnancy announcement – ManRepeller, NY Post, and Refinery 29? In this way, they leeched off of Beyoncé’s media power, and profited it from it. Even though they don’t belong to the culture and they clearly don’t understand it, they all, in some way, inserted themselves and took ownership over the narrative. It’s exploitative.
I feel like this Washington Post article did the same thing. But again, I have to ask – is this cultural appropriation too?
Get Your Hashtags Ready: Cathy Hughes Calls the Ambush of Danni Star A Prank Gone Wrong
On International’s Women’s Day, popular DMV morning show The Fam on WKYS 93.9, proved that once again, men are trash, and evidently, so is the woman who supports them. I don’t know what it is about morning radio shows that breed toxic masculinity – The Breakfast Club, Steve Harvey Morning Show, Rickey Smiley in the Morning, and so on and so forth. Perhaps because radio is a dying platform? If that’s the case, then let it rest in peace.
By now, everybody has already rehashed the epic battle between radio host Danni Starr and random Instagram model who ‘pooched’ down to the radio station to represent for all the pretty girls in the world who have been oppressed in the babysitting field. This young lady went full tragic mulatto on the radio, and frankly, I am still trying to figure out how to respond to that.
After Danni Star stormed off the radio set and proceeded to finish her rant online, her male co-hosts DJ Quicksilva and…the other one, took to their respective social media platforms to first apologize and then to deny any culpability. What followed this event was an all-female morning show on the following day, a temporary suspension for the male co-hosts, and then finally, Cathy Hughes’ statement.
(In case you aren’t aware, Cathy Hughes, a Black woman, was the founder of media company – Radio One, now called Urban One. She pretty much owns Black radio.)
Cathy Hughes, in essence, used this statement to absolve the male co-hosts of any wrongdoing which puts Danni Starr in quite the pickle. If she decides not to come back, she can no longer be the ‘fun girl’ that these radio shows love to include in their all-male revue morning shows. If she decides to return, she is forced to forgive them, even though, they were absolutely wrong. Hughes focuses on the fact that the male hosts could not have ambushed Danni Star because they found out about the Insta-guest at the same time Danni found out she would be in the studio. Even if this is true, what about everything else they did wrong?
See, men do this thing where they gaslight you – they pick on you, using some ole’ reverse psychology emotional bullshit, and they get you riled up, and then when you explode – tick, tick, boom – they step back in confusion as if they aren’t aware of what they did, as if they won the battle because they made you emotional. Can you imagine what would have happened if Danni Star invited one of their side chicks to the show to confront them about how they’ve been lying to their wife? I feel like they would be ‘big mad’ too.I don’t know what it is about morning radio shows that breed toxic masculinity – The Breakfast Club, Steve Harvey Morning Show, Rickey Smiley in the Morning, and so on and so forth. Click To Tweet
But, back to Cathy – if this was a prank gone wrong, which part was the prank because I can’t tell? Were they pranking her when I could clearly hear them in the background taunting her, calling Danni insecure? Where they pranking her when they continued to talk to the girl in the radio station after Danni left the studio? Where they pranking her when one of them asked (in an annoyingly mocking tone) – Oh, you big mad? If this was a prank, why didn’t anyone say ‘sike?’ Where I’m from, that’s how we end a joke.
Government Rations Trying to Return
Sit down and have a conversation with people who never had to think about how to pay the car note, lights, rent, gas, and try to have a dollar to buy a .99 cent ice cream for yourself. Their perspective of life varies much from someone who needs to figure out what will and will not be paid this month but will have to wait until next month.
Donald Trump, The Colonizer, has made the decision to swap out some of the given food stamps for a low-budget box of food that includes the following: canned meat, powdered milk, and canned fruit and vegetables.
At first, I didn’t know where to go with this or to even respond, but then I thought, we are all so disconnected with reality. In fact, this idea strengthens how the rich view the poor.
There is a perception that poor people do not work. They are lazy. Therefore, they deserve only the bare basic since why should they enjoy life or even a simple thing like selecting food.
How dare those who are receiving food stamps make the decision to have something as basic as the food they actually enjoy.
So, we are to collectively be okay with them receiving unhealthy food that has a shelf life of forever because we collectively think that they don’t deserve the luxury of a real apple.
Whenever I think Trump has reached a new low, he comes along and reaches another low. This is a low, as it is dehumanizing and humiliating to claim that they don’t deserve the luxury of food that would nourish their bodies without the notion of high sugar or salt intake.
As people rationalized the idea and equating it with Blue Apron’s services, I am even more offended, as these people think that I am dumb. Let’s Google Blue Apron for those who have not used their services.
Blue Apron’s headline says, “Fresh Ingredients, Original Recipes Delivered to You.” The menu and pictures don’t have a canned item in them. In fact, they have a box full of fresh fruit and vegetables. In fact, for a family of just two. This service will cost me $65.94.
Commentators, do not tell me that this will be a Blue Apron service, as Trump is handing out canned meat, pasta, canned fruits, and vegetables with powdered milk. Nothing in that description is $65.94 per week nor is it gourmet.
In the age of Trump, let’s call a thing a thing. This is a proposal for rations. It is government rations that are ineffective and unhealthy. We are a nation that should treat even the poorest among us with dignity and respect. Serving them a box of crap and minimizing their choice with a basic necessity is just insensitive.
We are better than that.
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