April 25, 2016

Prince: Art Activist

Preeminent multi-instrumentalist, other-worldly lyricist, consummate composer, master recording artist, incredible vocalist, maestro on the stage, and astute businessman.

I have come to terms with the fact that nothing, no news or theory purporting to explain his death is going to satisfy me. I am okay with this.

2005 Vanguard Award Video  Photo: NAACP Image Awards
What I am certain of, tho, is this: If Prince had lived, let's say, another 5-10 years he would have moved beyond changing the direction of music, he would have changed the business of music.

His successful stance against predatory music streaming practices supports this.

Prince was not the first black artist to own all of his masters, Ray Charles did too. Perhaps there were/are others. But this kind of power in the hands of a revolutionary and activist committed to securing not only his creative liberation but guiding others toward theirs is extremely dangerous from an industry perspective.

Setting precedent that other artists would have tried to follow could have brought the record  industry, as we know it, to its knees.

So there's that.

April 21, 2016

Harriet Tubman: Icon of Resistance

I got joy; I got reluctance; I got questions.

Having been denied full rights to too much for much too long there is the tendency to celebrate any and every recognition whether it genuinely validates my beloved people or not. Resisting requires my deliberate energy.

Photo: Getty Images

I will agree representation matters sometimes. I agree entirely that accurate representation matters every time.

Would abolitionist Harriet Tubman, who "would have saved even more" from slavery's auction block, want her image on an instrument used for said purpose? Would she consider being in slave-owning Andrew Jackson's stead a dethrowning, a victory? Is this decision a response to national push-back against anti-blackness? Is it pandering to our unrest? Giving that blacks have little economic power in America, could the move be read as an insult? Won't Jackson's image, to be move to the back of the $20 dollar bill, suggest  an equivalency, a shared worldview between the two for those unfamiliar with Tubman's uncompromising activism? In effect, does the system's positioning our beloved heroine in this way reflect meaningful change?

I got joy; I got reluctance; I got questions.

Such is the nature of the pathology of white supremacy and anti-blackness.

April 11, 2016

The Girls of Chibok, Nigeria: Never Forget

Remembering the girls of Chibok, Nigeria who, two years ago, were abducted by terrorists Boko Haram.  

Aisha, Dele Jegede

“Aisha is a haunting voyage, a kind of omen, a dark, brutal omen that leads without hesitation to the damaged psyche of Nigeria’s decaying collective humanity – the Chibok girls. Aisha exists fearfully in a range of bestialities. The bestialities of rape, slavery and misogyny wrought by fanatical men who descended upon whole schools of girls in Nigeria’s current history. jegede weaves the terror into a ruthlessly direct symphony of self-assessment that Nigeria badly needs.

There are no celestial possibilities in Aisha’s hollowed stare. Her demeanor is of foreboding intensity, her eyes a bewildered pair of deeply internalized terror. She gazes across and beyond the canvas, her broad forehead wrapped in red burqa as if hiding a bleeding hole at the centre of her cranium. Her mouth is clenched as if trapped in the middle of a prolonged hiss at an adult world that forsake her. In waves of green, white and of course red,

Aisha harbors a horror now squelched in the harrowed passage of her throat. In her dark visage, one could almost hear her terrorized scream from here to eternity. This is the one that haunts.” ~Excerpt from Prof. Segun Ojewuyi's essay on Dele Jegede's exhibition 'Transitions' at Terra Kulture, Lagos, Nigeria, starting January 10, 2016.

April 6, 2016

Unseen Scars

Black person: This process, program, policy is racist.

White person: I'd like to think that what is happening and what they are doing is not intentional.

Translation: I am quite comfortable with the way things are. I'd like for you to believe and behave like it is unintentional too. The only change needed is your attitude adjustment.

Note: There is nothing sweet, cute, endearing, or lovable about racism, patriarchy, or any form of oppression.

Let me say that again: There is nothing sweet, cute, endearing, or lovable about racism, patriarchy, or any form of oppression.

The expectation that responses to any of the above should be "respectable," "politically correct," sweet, or palatable produces the unseen scars of emotional and psychological violence.

April 2, 2016

To Be Human

Women are the bearers of culture. Patriarchy will be strangled when we refuse to perpetuate that shit. We are not the cause of it but can assume a major role in its demise.

No. I am no longer interested in patiently awaiting the end of patriarchy, racism, colorism, ageism, classism, divisiveness within and among "minority/ethic/tribal" groups. What it looks like to walk this gauntlet is what you perceive of my lived experience. Imagine being exposed to trauma from all of these domains. In which domains are you traumatized: none, fewer, more?

To find the beauty, locate peace, search for and find joy, give and experience love is what it is to be human.

Let's not traumatize each other in our quest to be.

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