Now what?

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There’s been a lot of prayer lately.
Prayer for officers. Prayer for the victims that were killed by officers. Prayer for the families that have lost loved ones, both officers and black and brown men.
We’ve marched. We’ve had community forums. We’ve blocked highways, called for blackouts and held town halls that have held the ears and eyes of thousands.
People black, white and blue have begged for some type of reform but yet nothing has been done.
So do we give up?
Do we decide that our opinion doesn’t matter?
Do we say that we can’t change the perceptions and narratives that beget fear on both sides of the fence?
Do we go home and give up or do we continue the mission even after we’ve picked up and bagged all of the bullets?
Throughout all of this did we come up with solutions? That’s what we need. Let’s look past the police interactions gone wrong. Let’s not ambush police in retaliation killings. Let’s use our power.
Let’s do what’s necessary to make sure that things like this no longer happens. That starts at the root of the problem, whether it’s systematic and institutionalized racism or sheer lack of knowledge. Call your senators and representatives and let them know what you want. Call your local leaders and ask them what they plan to do to combat the inequalities and injustices that are carried out on a daily basis on in education, employment, housing and government politics.

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I had a conversation about a march that was held in High Point on Sunday. Someone observed the lack of city council members in the crowd. As in zero. Don’t like it? Call members of High Point City Council and ask them why they felt that it was unnecessary to stand in solidarity with the African-American community.

Editors Note:  I’m told that Chris Williams walked with the marchers. Jeff Golden came through on his way to work.

The bottom line is that there are people who can change some of the more legal issues we face on a daily basis. There are laws that can examined, policies that should be reformed and initiatives that could be taken seriously. Our paid representatives are supposed to act on our behalf. If they’re not doing what you feel should be done let them know. They work for you. Not businesses, corporations or the wealthy only. Especially when they accept a stipend from ALL of our tax-payer dollars.

If they can’t do that then perhaps you should look at voting them out so they can focus on doing what that small percent wants them to do. Without taxpayer’s dollars.

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Source: Facebook

Let’s be 100 percent transparent – There will still be people who will hate you because of the color of your skin. There will still be people who fear you because of the color of your skin. You can’t change that. You can make it so that if they act on that hate they will have to face the consequences.  You can show them that no matter how much they hate, it doesn’t run your life and decisions. You can show them that their hate doesn’t drown out your voice.

So again I ask, what will you lend your power to?

It’s easy to call the plays when you’re not in the game.

It’s easy to explain what you would’ve done if you weren’t in the situation?

It’s just as easy to place the responsibility on someone else when you don’t feel like it’s your job.

Want to see change? Be the agent of change. Because standing around twiddling your thumbs does nothing to make sure things these shootings don’t continue to become the norm.

So again I ask you, what will you lend your power to?

I’m Just Saying.

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Jesse Williams: A loud voice among whispers

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Did you catch the BET awards?

I’m sure if you missed it you’ve seen plenty of clips from the episode or heard about it by this point.

It was a great show, fulfilling its promise of a great tribute to the legendary Prince. (Billboard have a seat and take plenty of notes) Of course there were moments that made us question the state of Hip Hop but there were other moments that allowed us to poke our chest out, glad to be a part of a culture that stays woke.

One of those moments was a speech that snatched eyebrows back and demanded the attention of all those listening as Jesse Williams boldly spoke to his people, cameras be damned, when he accepted the 2016 BET Humanitarian award.

Missed it? Get you some of this right here:

http://www.bet.com/video/betawards/2016/acceptance-speeches/jesse-williams-receives-humanitarian-award.html

Did you hear that greatness? The knowledge that threw itself out into the atmosphere? Not for shine or recognition but simply because someone has to voice what the majority is thinking. Not the majority that want to loot and burn down buildings but the majority that wants to do credible work in an effort to move its culture, society and communities towards the future and a better life. It was freaking awesome but unfortunately it’s not new.

People of Color (POCs) have been woke for quite some time in this country, attempting to make sure their voices are heard in the wake of increasing injustices, police brutality, racist rhetoric in political speeches, systematic and institutionalized racism that has become as common to us as breathing. So in reality, Williams basically got on television and spoke to the brothers and sisters as if we were at the crib enjoying dinner and a game of spades.

And there’s nothing wrong with that. Some of us needed another wake up call (because there’s been plenty before) to show us that even though the road is hard we can’t give up now. Some of those who are content to carry on with the way things are needed to know that they need to get out of the way and stop blocking those who actually want to crate change. Did you hear that Stacy Dash? And yes that includes those who are innocent bystanders that watch the abuse and injustices go down and do nothing to stop it. You have to pick a side. Saying you’re not racist but being a proponent of white privilege is just as bad as attending a Klan meeting without the sheet.

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Of course you can’t really say anything without some getting in their feelings. Of course, I don’t think there would’ve been as many in their feelings if the show had not been aired on Viacom’s sister channels. Don’t believe me? Check the receipts:

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You see boys and girls this is exactly what Williams was talking about. The pure unadulterated hate that lives online. Of course they wouldn’t have said anything if their own children hadn’t seen it. I have receipts for that too. Ignorant phrases like this popped up across the web:

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And this:

https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video;_ylt=A0LEV1zyp3ZXEiQA6QxXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTB0N2Noc21lBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNwaXZz?p=jesse+williams+tomi+lahren&fr=hp-ddc-bd-tab&fr2=piv-web#id=6&vid=28d828c26f0ec4c2fa19a42fee35f7e3&action=view

#Staymadabby! #SitdownBeckywiththegoodhair. Next time make sure the ENTIRE video plays because as a journalist you should know that context is everything.

So you want me to believe that you’re not racist after saying things like this? Not only do I think you’re racist I also think your ignorant. Anyone that has Twitter fingers could also use them to do a Google search and see that Viacom is owned by an old white man, not black owned. Also that BET has no control over which sister stations air it’s programming. That also happens at the top. The question you should be asking is why the top executives at Viacom felt that you sweet, innocent little children would gladly tune in to that program.

That just brings us a whole different beast that the View touched on:

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FTheView%2Fvideos%2F10153600358446524%2F&show_text=0&width=560

See what I mean?

I think Williams was another loud voice in the crowd that hit home for both POCs and non-POCs. He inspired you to think about the actions and decisions made on a daily basis that lead to brown and black bodies in the street, whether they’re dead or homeless. He invited you to search your consciousness and decide whether you would be part of the problem or the solution. He reminded you that the struggle is far from over and that there needs to be people courageous and selfless enough to lead others toward solutions.

Most importantly he reminded you that humanity should come before money and I’m okay with that.

I’m Just Saying.

 

Hate is real and Discrimination is alive

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As Americans we have the right to feel anyway we want about things we don’t agree with. That being said, the key word there is feel.
Not act.
This morning we wake up to the horrible news that someone has done just that in Orlando.
A man, Omar Mateen, decided that he would enter a known LGBQT club on Latin night packed with 320 people who were looking to have a good time. At 2 p.m. he walked in and opened fire on the attendees with AR-15 eventually taking 30 people hostage.
A total of 50 people are reported dead and 53 others injured.
We can say what we want.
It can be called “domestic terrorism”, it can be called a “hate crime”, it can be called an assault of free will.
We don’t know why he did it despite his father saying that he was angry about seeing two men kiss.
I, for one, don’t care what his reasoning is for this senseless act of violence. I do care that we have become so desensitized to mass shooting that the world barely pauses.
I do care that, as the political season has showed us, there are Americans who hate, despise and loath other Americans.
So much so that they attack others who don’t believe or act as they believe they should.
Descendants of so many who came to America looking for a place to practice free will, free speech and democracy.
Ironic isn’t it?
Imagine what would happen if the same energy put into hating and discriminating against different groups of people was applied to the issues that plague America the most.
Like poverty.
Like food deserts.
Like educational disparities.
Like the unemployment rate.
Like health care disparities.
I could go on and on but you get my point. If that negative energy was put into something positive, America would be a better place.
At what point do we begin to question our policies (both institutionalized and systematic) and laws that continually allow Americans to be killed? Even by other Americans.
Without changing these I believe we’re sending a message to the rest of the world that we as Americans don’t even value each other.
We’ll send troops overseas when those from another country attack Americans. When an American attacks other American’s we spend weeks talking about what to do about it, never really getting down to the root of the problem.
The hate is real. It’s time to stop ignoring it and start rectifying the issues we have right here at home.
I’m Just Saying.

Trump vs. Women: Who wins?

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We are in election season Ladies and Gentlemen and the claws are coming out.
I can’t help but notice the many Donald Trump 2016 bumper stickers and the “Make America Great Again” signs. Again I’m not against either the Republican or Democratic Party. This is just about the individual himself.
Now, I’m not one to tell you I told you so, so I’ll just prove it to you. See below:
http://wp.me/p4rgtT-2f
Again, it was all fun and games until it was realized that Trump’s bigoted and misogynistic rhetoric was somehow hitting home with a large majority of folks.
Now the RNC is scrambling.
Let’s be clear about a something…
America never was great in the beginning without a little assistance from different races and from different countries. I’ll beat that horse on a different day.
What truly concerns me about those who drink Trump’s Orangeade are the women who blindly follow this man without thinking about where his political platform and policies will eventually lead them.
For years, women from every race have fought for gender equality. To be equal to peers or male colleagues in education, rate of pay and voting rights among other things.
We’ve worked hard, shoulder to shoulder, to fight for the rights we do have and in a blink of an eye they can be stripped away because we’re thought to be “hormonal.”
Trump has a long history of disrespecting women and flat out being a sexist bully who has a habit to speak before he thinks.
Is this the man you want to make America great again?
If the answer is yes, then that’s your constitutional right and I commend you for using it despite the side you may be on.
Speaking of sides…
Think about this the next time you go to a Trump rally and actively spew hate against African Americans, Hispanics and protesters – Once the wall is built and Trump has put everyone on the other side just like he campaigned ask yourself this:
When will it be my turn?
Because after all, a three-time divorcee who happens to hold tight to his misogynistic ways couldn’t possibly think of women as second-class citizens could he?
Although you have to think about everyone else he’d labeled as second class citizens.
You remember them right?
The Hispanics
The African Americans
The Anchor Babies
So if they’re consider second-class and you’re considered second-class as women, doesn’t that put you in the same boat?
I’m Just Saying.

Sipping Lemonade in the Purple Rain

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Okay, I know I’m late but I’m just now coming out of the Purple Rock’n’Roll Haze of mourning.
Barely.
However, I did notice that Bey dropped her visual album the Saturday following Prince’s ascension and sometime within the following two weeks I was able to watch it despite my tears.
While “Formation” had me on the fence, the visual video pushed me over the edge and I can confidently say that I am here for the new Bey.
Whatever her reason for dropping knowledge to her fans, I applaud her for using her social status and celebrity to make a definite stand against the injustices in America that most celebrities are afraid to openly speak on.
Now I’m not saying that I’m going out to buy the album but I respect the hard work and creativity she infused into her work to bring social consciousness to topics that are often ignored or overlooked from African-Americans in the industry.

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I could care less about her and Jay-Z’s marital problems. My mama taught me to stay out of married folks’ business. I do care about her finding herself and putting it into an artful arrangement that encourages others to step their grown woman up, celebrate the wins of life and mourn the losses without staying down too long.
I care about her using her work to portray that while African-American’s, both men and women, get the dirty end of the stick from significant others, employees and employers, police, the government, and the world they still rise to the top.
With this work, she’s shown us that it’s okay to work out and let go of our Daddy issues, we don’t have to conform to what’s deemed trendy to be beautiful, and that sometimes we have to break down in order to rebuild ourselves. She’s showed us that there’s a lesson in the pain that we as African-American women have endured as an undervalued, under-appreciated sub-category of human beings.
She doesn’t stop there.
Bey then turns around and shows us that there’s strength and rejuvenation in numbers. Her video shows our need as a people to become slave to the money and the conventional working environment, and why we should make investments into ourselves and our community while calling for a change.

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She reminds us that no matter what happens we can turn the sourest lemons into lemonade. Honey, I’m always up for a tall pitcher of iced cold lemonade, with a shot of something strong on the side.
She’s showing us something that we’ve hadn’t seen in a while and that’s evident from the responses that those from other races have had in regards to her Super Bowl performance all the way down to her Lemonade album and tour.
She’s highlighted that our potential as woke African-American’s scares and intimidates many even in 2016. That the change that could be made invokes fear, bigotry and is downright terrifying to some.

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Yeah, I here for the new Bey.
In the front row, with popcorn, a Mountain Dew and a plan so that when the time comes I’m already in formation.
Who knows?
I just might be a black Bill Gates in the making so I have to keep running cause a winner doesn’t quit on themselves.
I’m Just Saying.

A Tale of the Cowardly Zimmerman

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Photo Credit: The New York Daily News
Let me tell you why I’m over George Zimmerman and his gun.
It’s not because he has one. Technically, it’s his second amendment right as a citizen of the United States of America.
I don’t even have a problem with the U.S. Department of Justice sending it back to him. Again, it’s his right as an American citizen even if it is similar to giving a klans man his rope back.
My problem is with Zimmerman’s audacity to think that someone would want the gun he used to kill 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
Really dude?
I also have beef with the guy who co-signed on this horrible idea. At this point the gun has been removed from the auction site Gunbroker.com and the bidding halted but that doesn’t matter.
Since when has selling death been so acceptable that no one bats an eye at an online auction that garnered an opening bid of $5,000 and over 50,000 views?
I’d say it’s been 400 plus years but I don’t think the price of slaves (you know human beings who worked their owner’s land so that then owner could become rich) was set that high on the auction block those days.
Even more disgusting is the “description” listed for the item that was up for sale. Zimmerman wrote:
“The firearm for sale is the firearm that was used to defend my life and end the brutal attack from Trayvon Martin. Many have expressed interest in owning and displaying the firearm including The Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C. This is a piece of American History.”
American History, huh?
Well, it would seem that America got the dirty end of the stick on that one. A place where a man can kill a teenager because they’re beating them up. Which wouldn’t have happened if the man had listen to law enforcement and not approached him. A place where after killing said teenager and getting acquitted you decide to sale the weapon used to kill him.
Mr. Zimmerman, you didn’t think about just turning it into one of the gun buyback programs? Or did they not offer enough money for you?
Thank God history has followed a trend of being rewritten. The four years following Martin’s death has brought about unification to a culture that was divided on many issues. It’s allowed the voiceless to be heard, the young to take charge, and justice, even if in only small doses, to be handed out to people who feel that a certain race is substandard to another.
American History. Ha!

America – home of the free, home of the brave,
Where they sell sex, where they sell slaves,
Where little brown and black boys and girls
Are gunned down for being outside and carrying toys.
An America that says they value me
But allow men like Zimmerman to walk around free.
America.

Mr. Zimmerman, you’re not American History. You’re a man that is trying to find purpose and opportunity in the one thing that made him famous: initiating unnecessary contact with and then getting beat up by a young black man so badly he needed a gun to defend himself.
You’re a coward.
A broke one at that.

I’m Just Saying.

For Girls with Melanin …who forget to dream

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(Inspired by “For Colored Girls” by Ntozake Shange)

Funny we are ruled by color.
The melanin in our skin dictates our treatment by others and by ourselves.
“Is my skin too dark?” or “Am I too light to fit in?”
Funny thing about color. Because everyone asks about the colors on the outside. The color of your hair, skin, nails and toes. The color of your clothing, purse and the car you drove.
Color.
No one asks about the colors within.
The Red you see from watching so much violence you’ve become accustomed to the rich, thick liquid staining the streets as yet another falls victim.
Orange, the once bright and vibrant color, has changed into the color of rust. The rust you see every day in your poverty stricken environment. The same one that will go so long without being taken care of that eventually it blends into the drinking water that the government says is clean.
The Yellow that cautions you to slow down. To tap the brakes on your hopes and dreams because of the societal and economical constrictions placed upon you by antiquated men that know no different and antiquated women who’re raised not to care.
Green represents the bile raising in your throat as you think about the injustice you’ve been dealt at the table called life. Nope it’s not new but it still disgusts you how the race doing the oppressing can think there’s no oppression when the oppressed race can’t move forward.
Blue is the broken and unfulfilled dreams that we hold deep inside and only think of when we’re trying to carry our crippled souls to another place. It is the deep-seeded depression that creeps up like a snake to wind its way around our brains, slowly killing us. It is the sadness that we fight so hard for others to see but work so hard to keep hidden away. It is the moment that we break down, just for a minute, so that we can shed all the dirt and negativity before rebuilding ourselves again.
Then there’s Indigo. A light at the end of the tunnel if you will. A transformative color that flickers in and out of our reality as we transform into whatever the hell we are forced to be that day. It’s a mask. It’s as public as a Michelangelo painting at the museum. It’s our cover and our cloak. We must not let everyone know our feelings and the colors they evoke. They could take advantage or worse, try to appropriate them.
Lastly there’s Violet. When we melanin-laced girls go through these colors at some time in our lives we’re often reminded that we come from royalty. We come from Kings and Queens who lived their lives in colors. They were broken and discarded but carried more dignity for themselves then those who owned them.
So this isn’t for everyone. And that’s alright.
It’s for melanin-laced girls who thinks it’s the end of the road.
It’s for melanin-laced girls who want to give up.
It’s for melanin-laced girls who don’t know which way to turn.
It’s for melanin-laced girls who need hope.
Stand strong!!! Deep inside the colors on that dirty palette you’ve been given is your Queendom. You have the power to change your hues without changing your official hue.
Even the finest pottery begins as a dull mono-toned piece of clay.
I’m Just Saying.