I, myself, have to admit there are certain aspects of life I struggle with personally. Even with all that I know about my faith and what my Maker has employed me to do while on this Earth and even with all that I know about this wicked system called racism black people were born under, I struggle to let go of certain habits and practices.
One of those bad habits I contend and strive with to improve upon daily is nothing other than pure and unwarranted envy. All black people, specifically in regards to how we perceive one another’s success, have been taught to be jealous and bitter toward the progression another black person is making in any area of society.
Under the system of racism, black people are largely ignored and isolated from the rest of the society. That is unless they are of benefit to white power’s interests and unless they can prove they are no threat to the white status quo.
Take Oprah, Common, Barack Obama, Michael Jordan, Beyoncé, Serena Williams, P. Diddy, Van Jones, and Tyler Perry for example. When have these individuals, on a daily basis, consistently spoken out against the system of white supremacy in terms of calling people out by name who are the practitioners of it? And, when have they consistently funneled resources to grassroots organizations or media apparatuses that were erected organically by the black streets? And, them putting money into Black Lives Matter doesn’t count because they’re a Democrat front group who doesn’t even call “white supremacy” by its name.
White society only lets “a few negros in at a time” in terms of who they prop up as “black symbols of success” but only after they’ve vetted them to make sure they’re not going to do anything to help other black people, as a collective, achieve any kind of meaningful power. And, it matters very little how talented or skilled someone is or isn’t. The dominant society has no problem propping up and putting a spotlight on mediocre black talent or superficial notoriety as long as it “serves their purpose,” as I mentioned earlier, of keeping black people distracted and of keeping their daily energy diverted and focused on trivial matters.
For instance, the one-hit-wonder Lil Nas X had the catchy single “Old Town Road,” but, for the most part, he has no singing or rapping capabilities. He is a largely talentless performer, but, yet, he has been featured on Time Magazine and the Times NY Magazine, he’s been given Super Bowl commercial airtime, and he’s received a plethora of “prestigious” music awards, including a Grammy, a CMA award (which is damn near impossible for a black person to do), and an MTV Video Music Award.
This man no one has ever heard comes out of nowhere with a cool little jingle–and manages to land Billy Ray Cyrus as a feature mind you–and is, all of a sudden, being given the most reputable of musical accolades. Meanwhile, you have incredibly talented artists like Dee-1 and Rhapsody out here who’ve openly spoken out directly against white supremacy, and they don’t receive any iota of the recognition and acclaim he’s gotten. Not to mention, both of these talented and seasoned artists have over a decade in the music game and have consistently put out conscious music during that time.
This isn’t a personal attack on Lil Nas X nor those who listen to him. The point I’m hitting home is far bigger and more important than music or any individuals. My focus is, look at how this guy is being propped up for no real reason. Or, at least it’s not a reason many black people would easily recognize.
If they can use someone like Lil Nas X as a tool to convince you, a black person, that becoming a student and a master of your talents, your crafts, and your skills is pointless by propping up someone who hasn’t done that but is still getting worldwide attention, they can persuade you to stop competing with white society and to stop striving to achieve excellence. They can coax you into putting all your focus and energy on living to get and attracting attention through any means, no matter how pathetic, ridiculous, or superficial the act you have to do to get it is. And, they know we’re an attention-starved people, so they play on this.
If they can use someone like Lil Nas X to get you to focus on your sexuality as a black person more than the actual force trying to wipe out you and those who look like you, on the basis of skin color and not sexual orientation, your focus will be diverted into an area that has nothing to do with the existential threat to your very survival.
If they can use someone like Lil Nas X to overshadow artists who are actually out here trying to alert the people as to what is going on around them, through soulful, skillful, brain-nourishing, and innovative music, they can intellectually starve you, kill your thirst for knowledge, kill your passion to create art that speaks a constructive message, and dim the rebellious fire in your spirit.
Many black people see others who look like them getting attention and stardom, and, unfortunately, whether secretly or openly, we desire to have that same appreciation because the society we live in largely ignores us for our natural-born talents, our honest-earned accomplishments, and our monumental, societal contributions. That is, unless, we’re willing to divorce ourselves from the fight that comes with being black.
And, even if a black person is willing to sell out, they only allow a few black people to the level of Jay-Z or Oprah at a time. Also, selling out doesn’t guarantee you a seat at the table with white society, and, as a matter of fact, the majority who choose that route don’t ever make it white people’s good graces and definitely not permanently should they happen to slither their way into a slot.
The majority of black people–and I’ve been guilty of this myself–covet the positions that the Kanyes and Tyler Perrys of society hold, and we attribute the financial level they’ve achieved strictly to their talents and skill alone. We don’t take into account who issues Common and Stephen A. Smith’s. Jemele Hill, who found out the hard way after calling Donald Trump a white supremacist, and Gaye King, one of Harvey Weinstein’s best buddies, understand which side their bread is buttered on and what they’re not allowed to speak out against if they hope to continue receiving their daily bread.
If they genuinely and consistently make a spirited effort to call out the system plaguing the existence of the children of the former slaves in this country, they know that means no more access to the white, red carpet affairs, no more scores of white rounds of applause at whatever book signing these sellouts are trying to make a dingy dollar from, no more cushy jobs insulated from general black society (aka black people who actualy stand up to white supremacy), and no more hopes and dreams of having a white boyfriend or girlfriend.
All that said, black people as a group must realize the reality that speaking out against this system is unpopular and that people of all races will hate and despise you for doing so. We must understand, more than likely, we WILL NOT be rewarded directly for having the guts to speak out against white supremacy. Hell, Malcolm, King, Hampton, Newton, and Evers were all assassinated for doing so, and there should have been a thousand of those types of individuals who arose out of their demise and took their place. Unfortunately, there weren’t.
However, the work those slain brothers put in is starting to bear fruit because, more and more, there’re brothers and sisters starting to talk the way I am in this piece. The reward for bringing truth to power on behalf of black people might not be lavish parties with white people or throngs of screaming fans when you make a public appearance, but there’s a reward far more meaningful and impactful than that–the enlightenment, empowerment, prosperity, and insurance of the well-being of your children and the generations after us.
This “I’m just going to do my own thing and get out here and get it all my own” mentality has to be taken into the woods by black people shot in the head. White-funded rap music and reality TV force-feeds black people the notion “It’s all about me, and I’m just gonna do my own thang and do whatever it takes to come up on my own so I don’t have to ever give anyone else credit.”
When it comes to white people, the Asians, the Latinos, the Arabs, the Jews, and every other ethnic group, they don’t think like that. They understand that they, as individuals, can only be empowered when they seek to empower their group. For, it’s the group that will, in turn, empower them as an individual.
Speaking out against white supremacy is NOT popular. You will lose friends. Heaven knows I’ve lost pretty much all of mine. Even members of your own family will hate and despise you for speaking out against it. They’ll call you radical, militant, or extreme simply for speaking the factual and verifiable truth of what is happening to black people in this country and around the world. No other group labels their men militant or extremist simply for properly identifying and articulating the nature of their group’s reality or for speaking up for their group’s best interests.
We, as a people, must start rewarding those who genuinely and successfully champion our issues and those who specifically call out white supremacy and the specific individuals who orchestrate it. Also, when I say “rewarding them,” I mean supporting them with actual dollars. Black people need money to finance an effective revolution, and giving someone well wishes, prayers, and a one-time donation isn’t enough to combat white supremacy.
The people in white society are playing a group sport economically against us every single minute of every single day, and we must do the exact same thing, especially when it comes to those who constantly champion our issues, such as defunding the police, having a sovereign nation, and reparations in the form of financial compensation.
From the Heart,
Published Works: http://tiny.cc/nyquiz & http://tiny.cc/codeblack
The Eye Wall – Literary Art, Racism Awareness, Social & Lifestyle Enrichment Commentary: https://TheStormyPoet.com
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