The Revolution (2014)

by Elise Lockamy

tv

The revolution will not be available the next day on Hulu
You will not be able to download the podcast on your iPhone my brother
You will not be able to check it out from the Redbox my sister
The revolution will not be brought to you by Lebron James and the Cavaliers
The revolution will not be sponsored by Kia or Cadillac
There will be no social commentary on CNN or Fox News
There will be no “On the Run” concerts
Or inspirational words from Oprah and Iyanla
You can’t “Keep Up” with this movement on E
Or add “Love &” to the title and hope that everyone will tune in
There is no Olivia Pope for this scandal
Or Annalise Keating telling you how to get away with it

The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised
Will not be televised, will not be televised
There will be no DVR playbacks brethren
The revolution will be live…

For the original and authentic piece, listen to Gil Scott-Heron: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised ‪#‎peace‬

PSA: I don’t want to hear about TWERKING anymore

by Obehi Janice

(FULL DISCLOSURE: I wrote this last week Wednesday when the discussion was still high.)

I don’t want to hear about twerking anymore.

I italicize twerking because according to my Facebook timeline, it’s an exotic form of dance movement that defines the Black female race. The foreign, the exotic, and the unknowable deserve an italic.

I don’t want hear about twerking anymore from ANYBODY because every time it’s brought up, I feel like Black female bodies are under attack, whether we twerk or not.

Who are we, Black women?

I’d love to hope that we are all daughters of God.

I’d love to think that our righteousness is not found below our backs but within our hearts.

To the father, mother, artistic team, and deluded fan base of the little-White-girl-who-should-not-be-named: SHAME ON YOU.

Shame on you for supporting her exploitation of Black female bodies
Shame on you for allowing her to use her body as a tool for sex
Shame on you for permitting her to lick her lips
Shame on you for “re-defining” sexual power
Shame on you for fetishizing her youth
Shame on you for reducing her soul to a tacky base line

Shame.

Black Privilege

by Elise Lockamy

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Retrieved August 27, 2013 from https://www.google.com/#fp=e08be61500653123&q=define+privilege

Inhale. Exhale.

I actually took a moment to breathe it in.  The air was crisp and cool.  I felt refreshed.  I was standing on the campus of Milton Academy, the boarding school I attended for high school.  When I was there I did not appreciate it.  I was a gifted Black, Brooklyn girl thrown into a conglomerate of rich Others, all the while going through typical teenager angst.  It was a growing experience – tons of fun and a mess at the same time.

When I returned 8 years later I marveled at all I had access to.  There was an arts center, a well-manicured lawn (“the quad”), a cafeteria with loads of goodies, a student center, an observatory, modern gymnasium (complete with a weight room and ice hockey rink), expansive library, fabulous teachers, and great dorm parents. One year, Bill Clinton spoke at graduation.  (He is a close family friend of one of the legacy families at the school.)  There was a Kennedy in attendance when I was there.  Oh, you know the acclaimed writer Junot Diaz?  He visited after publishing his second work and had an intimate rap-session with the students of my English class.

o_O

When first pushed to explore black privilege I think about access.  Well look at all I had access to as a result of my academic talents .  The promise my teachers saw in me, the preparation Prep for Prep poured into me, and the support of family and friends propelled me to an echelon I could have never imagined experiencing.  I was living the dream, so to speak, and did not know it.  Is that privilege though?  Access to amenities and influential people?

I reflect on the results of my google query.  Privilege, it seems, is less about access and more about authority in a position of governance.  I maintain that we, the class of “firsts” – the first to go to college, the first to make it out the ‘hood, the first to travel and live outside of the U.S., the first to rub noses with millionaires – are living in a space where we are free to choose how to govern ourselves.

Let me philosophize a little more.

We, the post-freedom riders, are now free to choose whether or not to embrace diversity and multiculturalism, become the people who gentrify our historic neighborhoods, identify as Black, and vote Democrat.  We are free to choose whether or not we combat inequality and injustice, marry inside the race, or give back to community.

Pre-privilege, there was no choice.  You were Black (one-drop rule remember).  You lived in a certain neighborhood and sat in the back not by choice but by legal mandate.

But as we progress I ponder this – when we judge our brothers and sisters for voting Republican and marrying White (yea I said it), are we in fact putting our chains back on and revoking our privileges?  When we take back a person’s Black card have we in fact behaved as our former oppressors and stolen identity, as it was, because he or she does not resemble our Blackness?

(I think I may have just ripped off a scab.   I’ll follow-up when it gets itchy again.)

I went on to Georgetown University and fell in love with a life’s call there.  I even pursued a Master’s degree in a field my parents still do not know how to describe.   I enjoy my authority.  I chose to be the dream without becoming a doctor, lawyer, or investment banker.  I enjoy my friends from different nations who do not look like me and may not understand my cultural experience.  I defend those with low-incomes to those who have turned their noses up at them.  I enjoy my music… nice and loud… and will not apologize for doing so.  This Black privilege echoes the freedom I have found in Christ, to be exactly who he designed me to be without all the condemnation and apologies. Freedom rings here.

What do you do with your Black privilege (free will)?  Do you try to fit the mold or do you live free?  Do you oppress or do you edify?  Leave your reflections in the comments section.  I would love to hear your thoughts.

Value and Worth: Hip-Hop, Trayvon Martin, and a Message to the Black Boys of America

by Elise Lockamy

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“Canaan, what do you want to be when you grow up?”

Without hesitation, he stood up gleefully and shouted, “I am going to be President of the United States!”

In this post-acquittal era of the George Zimmerman trial and the wrongful death of our martyred son Trayvon Martin, I’d be just as delighted if my elementary school-aged cousin had said, “Alive.  I want to be alive.”

Here’s what I can’t swallow, or seem to be able to have non-Black peers acknowledge, and that’s that if Trayvon was White, he would be alive today.  Zimmerman found him suspicious because he was a young Black male walking around the neighborhood, fitting the same profile of a former neighborhood burglar.  That other guy – Black. Trayvon – Black. Trayvon – dead. Killer – free.  I weep.

Trayvon’s unidentified body lay in a morgue for hours.  He was just another one of “them”.  Another Black male profiled and deemed unworthy of life.  I weep.

Trayvon Benjamin Martin was shot and killed on February 26, 2012.

I maintain that he died on February 5, 1995, the day of his birth, the day he was born a Black Boy in America.
_____________________

I sat in the congregation, afro in full force, as the Black missionary from Cameroon relayed all the wonderful things the church was up to.  There were healings and trips to heaven.   Ministry students were powerfully walking in their spiritual gifts.  The school was becoming the equipping ground for nation-changers.  The missionary acknowledged the congregants who monetarily supported the ministry and thanked the rest of us for our spiritual support.  She told anecdotes of her cultural re-adaptations to the United States.  She went on to mention that she was appalled by the music and television shows she saw on VH1. And then my sister, this sister with beautiful dreadlocked hair who had captured the ears of the mostly White congregation said, “Hip-Hop is killing this generation.”   I cringed as most in the audience nodded and clapped in agreement.  I still cringe.

Art, in its unmodified form, is an outward expression of the meditations of the inner-man.  Worshippers know that when Kim Walker-Smith or Richard Smallwood begin to use their instruments (vocal and otherwise) to exact adoration to the Father that it’s coming from a rich soul, and anointed with the Father’s presence that’s able to transcend time, space, and mode of hearing.  See it’s coming from the spirit.  When I listen to Hip-Hop, sometimes filled with meditations of bigotry, sexism, self-hatred, pain of the fatherless, and a dearth of hope, I know it’s coming from a broken spirit, a lost inner-man.

Hip-Hop is not killing this generation.  A lack of identity, value, and self-worth, rooted in the Father, is killing this generation.  We #Coolikans like to say that somebody lied to us.  Well somebody not only lied to our brothers, he or she stopped speaking to them altogether.

Ponder this – if people only paid attention to you when you achieved on the basketball court or the football field (and pushed your body to its physical limits in the process), wouldn’t you too only see value in another’s body?  I am not surprised that many songs feature the sexualized female form.

Ponder this – if the only opportunity you had to engage society’s influencers occurred when you had as much money as they did, wouldn’t you too want to equate your worth with your earnings and flaunt what you have? I am not surprised at the stronghold of materialism that is heard throughout popular music today.

Ponder this – if your father never came home and you never saw an engagement of fraternal love (between him and his intimate circle), wouldn’t it also be easy for you to slander a brother in a song?  I see how easy it is for some songs to drudge up imagery of murdering another person.

I have to ask – what have we (women, fathers, the education system, the jails, the ghettos, society-at-large, and dare I say the church) been telling our Black boys about themselves that drives them to the continued oppression of themselves and those around them?

Hip-Hop is not killing this generation.
___________________________

A couple days after the verdict was announced, a radio personality challenged listeners to call in and share what they will now tell their sons as a result of the tragic death of a beloved son and the acquittal of his killer.

A fierce mother called in.  She was angry. She was hurting.  She told that she will now tell her son that he is a member of an endangered species with a target on his back, viewed as a threat by all who manage or bother to see him.

I want to tell our fathers, sons, uncles, brothers, and cousins something else.2115162_orig

You don’t wear a target.  You wear a crown.  The Father says that you are kings.  Don’t look in the mirror and see a reflection of a workhorse, a mere athlete or entertainer, or a slave.  See a reflection of a Son of God, worthy of the calling of leader and lover.  For generations, your power, gifts, and talents have been feared.  I do not fear you.  I celebrate you.  Deaden your ears to the evil whispers of those who envy you and want to see your demise.  Awaken to the promise of abundant living and the esteem of a Father who sees incredible value in you.  Charge into Fatherhood and take back your families.  Charge into the boardroom and rip the price tag off your back.  Take it all back and stand firm.  He, the glorious Father, is with you.  

The songs of life (not fear and death) that will be sung, once the truth about His sons is revealed and celebrated, will shake the Heavens and draw us so close to the presence of God that we’ll be able to smell his fragrance.  That’s where Trayvon is, in His presence.  That’s where we all belong.