Author Archive

Are You Gonna Have a To-Do-List When You Die?

by: Tim Lee

Are you gonna have a to-do-list when you die?

A list of things you wanted to do

But things you never tried?

Ideas that you never developed

Talents you never applied?

Hopes you never fostered

Goals that you pushed aside?

Are you gonna have a box of unkept promises

Addressed to only you?

And cases of imaginations

And dreams that never came true?

Will your life’s purpose and your reason for living

Be starved to death by drought?

And never seeing the light of day

Be trapped in the Valley of Doubt?

Will your insecurities survive to brag

Of how they kept you from breaking out

The prison of second guessing yourself

Preventing your blossom—your sprout?

Will your fear of failure meet your fear of success

And make babies of procrastination?

Will your proclivity for just getting by

Rob you of dedication?

Will inhibiting contradictions

Delay your second birth?

And the crippling desire to compare yourself

Paralyze your since of self-worth?

Will you see a void and not fill it

Destruction and not rebuild

Will you feel a desire to change your life

But choose to keep living unfulfilled?

Will you refuse to look in the mirror

(The man in there’s a real thing)

If you look into him deep enough

I guarantee he’ll bring

Some work and high expectations

Some suggestions to occupy

The time you spend upon this Earth

And must-do things before you die.

Will you have a to-do list?

Will you have a to-do list?

Will you have a to-do list when you die?

I don’t want to have a to-do-list

I don’t want to have a to-do-list

I won’t want to have a to-do-list when I die.

I will accomplish all I was sent here to do before my final goodbye.


My Historic Heroes | How My View Has Changed with Age.

As I get older, I am beginning to notice that pictures like this affect me differently. As a young boy, I remember looking up to Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X with wide eyes of admiration and reverence. They were on pedestals so high, they appeared to me as giants. I read their speeches and I read their books. I watched black and white documentaries about their lives. I hung posters with their images and wore t-shirts with their quotes. I internalized their messages and merged them with my own.

In this, my 38th year of living, I realize I am just one year away from the age they were when they were assassinated. They don’t look like giants to me anymore. They look like regular guys who not only had something to say about the plight of their people, but loved to eat good food and laugh with their friends. They look like young men who had families waiting for them at home with to-do lists on their desks and dates circled on their calendars and ideas for sermons and speeches on note pads in their pockets. They look like me; They look like my friends.

Headed into my 39th time around the sun this year, I can plainly see the youth in their eyes and hear the youth in their voices. I hear some trepidation about the future coupled with hope that what they are doing will matter in the long run… whether their choice to sacrifice their personal lives with their wives and children for the greater good of humanity generally and Black Americans particularly would  make a difference 50 some odd years later.

Time flies. And as I contemplate on my thoughts 50 some odd years after my historic heroes have lived and died, I am not seeking answers to the question of whether their sacrifices mattered. Instead, I find myself asking questions to the man in the mirror—who I also find myself looking at differently these days. I will end this post by sharing with you a few of the questions I asked him when I saw him last:

What happened to your fire?

What happened to your fight?

What happened to your passion?

What are you doing with your life?

For whom are you standing or speaking?

What societal ill makes you cry?

Where is your battle? What cause will you champion?

For what are you willing to die?

What I Know for Sure: “I don’t know” is not an acceptable answer to any of these questions. Not at this age. Not in these times. Not for me at least. And though I may not know you, I venture to speak for you and say it isn’t acceptable for you either.


A Bizarre Turn of Events for Black People: My Thoughts (pt 2)

My Theory

The way I see it, a transition happening is happening in the world.  And we are being distracted with leftovers to keep us busy as the transition takes place. If we get too caught up in celebrating all of this capitalistic success,, we will be lulled to sleep. And when whatever is happening has happened, we won’t be prepared.

The Transition

You may notice an explosion in technology and other advancements on an artificial level. As we get farther into the new decade, you will see technology shift in drastic ways. We have already seen commercials connecting everything to the internet—like house lights, garage doors, heating and air conditioning systems, alarm systems, etc. Notice how connected everything is becoming… How connected we have to be to technology these days… How technology is creeping up to be an inseparable part of our lives?

It wasn’t a mainframe but it certainly had the DNA. On April 29, 1952 IBM demoed the
Defense Calculator which ultimately became the IBM 701 Electronic Data Processing Machines. https://www.arnnet.com.au/slideshow/541873/pictures-mostly-cool-history-ibm-mainframe/

Look at it this way: The first computer mainframe was so large, it took up an entire room. As technology advanced, you could fit computers on a desk (desktop), then your lap (laptop), then your pocket (phone), then your wrist (watch). Technology is so advanced now, that computers are on wheels (Tesla) and can get so small that they can fit inside of the body. As each advancement is introduced, we as humans take more active roles in becoming more dependent on it. Newer advancements have us getting used to keeping artificial intelligence always around us (phones, watches, glasses, etc.) and even inside our bodies (wireless ear buds). To the older/ more adepts citizens who may celebrate the fact that they still have their flip phones or don’t have many applications on their phones, or still write checks in Wal-Mart, Generation Z (the generation after Millennials) will do no such thing, as they have never known a world without the internet and will probably not consider a voluntary rejection of technological advancements as a realistic/ intelligent option. And the generation after GenZers, forget about it! They already have a name by the way: Gen Alpha[1].

The way I see it, all things artificial mimic the natural. And the network that is connecting computers to everything is modeled after the network that is nature. Neil deGrasse said it this way, “We are all connected; To each other biologically, to the earth chemically, to the rest of the universe atomically.” The Earth has a matrix so vast and so powerful, it would blow our minds if we really got in tune with it. And if you think that’s impressive, consider the network that is our (known) universe! It’s even more connected! This natural network is world more impressive than the technology that we are creating, but we don’t know it because the more and more advance technology becomes, the more time we spend with it and the less time we spend with nature.

You will find as this new decade unfolds, that we are naturally becoming more in tune with nature and the networks of the planet and the universe. 2020 will be packed with power and energy we have not felt in our lifetimes. Upon right use, we will create opportunities to change ourselves, our communities and the world in dramatic ways. You may have already experienced a bit of this power. You may be more in tune with your intuition; you may feel more endowed with insight; you may sense your powers of manifestation are getting stronger; or you may be seeing synchronicities and “coincidences” more frequently. Have you ever thought of someone randomly and within moments, they call you or in a matter of days, you may physically see them?[2]

I believe that the Earth’s network is making itself accessible to us. Something has switched on and we are now able to tap into a power that has been cut off for some time. Humans are graduating to a higher state of consciousness which comes with many rewards.  The activation of our higher senses is only a foretaste of what is to come. More children, for instance, will be born with advanced gifts and talents, and even super human abilities.[3]

Putting it Together

The matrix of the virtual reality (VR) world is being created as we speak. Soon, VR will be presented as an alternative reality for humans to live in which will ultimately coerce humans to voluntarily disconnect from this present reality and the matrices of Nature the Earth. Humans and machines will be merged and create a race of transhumans. I am still on the fence of what kind of impact this will have on the collective—as I believe transitions like this have been experienced before—whether a transition of humanity from Venus to Earth or a transition from the Garden of Eden to exile—from Heaven to Earth—from one dimension to another (however you choose to interpret it). For some reason, I am wanting to resist this move to VR because I think it will cause more obstacles that need to be overcome when trying to reach the spiritual realm. The same way we have to “quiet our minds” in order to meditate and stop thinking about all of the thoughts flying to and fro in our minds, we will have to traverse yet another layer once the VR matrix is fully established.

Personally, I connect Christ Consciousness to the natural/ earth matrix I’ve been referring to. Once we get plugged into the Earth Matrix, there will be an increase of Christ abilities/ powers in humanity today. In a sense, this will mark the “second coming” of Christ, which will be thwarted by VR. This way, according to my theory, the VR energy will fuel the anti-Christ energy which will be manifested in the person of a transhuman.   

Ultimately, a choice is being presented. On one hand, there is the Creator; on the other hand there is the created. On one hand there is nature intelligence; on the other hand there is artificial intelligence. On one hand there is God; on the other hand there is mammon. The masses will choose the latter—as most people are the walking dead/ asleep and controlled anyway. But the conscious who choose the planet will become the called who chose themselves (Matt 22:14).

Can you see how films like “Enemy of the State” (facial recognition technology/ tracking devices, etc.) and “iRobot” (computers/ robots in every home, VIKI compared to SIRI) are realities now? Soon, films like “Surrogates” and “The Matrix” and “Equals” will be the reality for humanity the longer we defer to machines/ computers/ artificial intelligence. Let me say that just like all information or power, A.I. is not evil. It is a tool. If we, as a collective, are not balanced or careful, it will be used to promote agendas that are other than good, and in a way that will attempt to destroy everything we know and love about our uniqueness as human beings and this planet we are experiencing that uniqueness on.

Honestly, this conversation is bigger than the lights in your house being controlled remotely—or a video doorbell. Have you heard about the conversations that are going on about the future of technology? Books and videos with titles like: Synthetic Intelligence and the Transmutation of Humankind, or What if Human Brains had A.I. Implants?, or Can Artificial Intelligence Tell What a Guilty Person Looks Like?, or The Final Creation of Man: Will Artificial Intelligence Become God? I am not interested in creating fear around this concept and the future use of technology. I am, however, wanting to convey that the conversation is worlds beyond where the common man or woman is. So to talk about being balanced is only meaningful when you see just how unbalanced the masses are related to their lack of knowledge concerning machines. We only know what we’ve seen in the movies—and that is the primary source of our imbalance. We think it’s fiction, when there are, in fact, elements of truth in fiction.

It may be hard for some to accept now, but we are not alone. In this decade, the US government will be crystal clear in its communication, interactions, relations (including treaties) with other life forms. Some entities want to help us, others want to make us slaves. Still others feed off of human energy (sexual, creative, emotional) and to keep us in a cycle that feeds and empowers them.

The Earth is responding by moving to the 5th dimension where the most negative of these beings cannot live. Understanding their fate, they are working diligently to survive. They have entered in co-creative relationships with humans who sold their souls (and attempting to sell ours) to advance an alien agenda. The only way these entities are able to keep us enslaved is to bind us to an artificial matrix that loop our souls in an endless (professional) reincarnation that feeds them and prevents us from graduating from the university that is this Planet.

The Bottom Line

We, who have been the guardians of this planet, are being distracted. We have been tossed the hand-me down model of capitalistic success which will mean nothing once human labor is no longer needed, and education and religion obsolete.

10 Things You Can Do Personally

  1. Connect with the planet
  2. Study the elements
  3. Study nature
  4. Drink more water
  5. Cleanse your temple
  6. Quiet your mind, open heart, listen to soul
  7. Meditate and pray more and seek direction
  8. Look to natural solutions for healing and medicine
  9. Connect to a community that is focused on unity
  10. Get rid of fear, worry, anxiety

Part I: https://oneblackman.wordpress.com/2019/12/22/a-bizarre-turn-of-events-for-black-people-whats-really-going-on/


Footnotes:

[1] Isn’t it interesting that the first several generations were given names that described their generation. The past several have been letters—at the end of the alphabet—Generation X, Generation Y, and Generation Z. Gen Alpha signifies a new beginning. But of what?

[2] Contrast this with the random vacation you price followed by immediate droves of advertisements on Facebook and Instagram the next time you log on. Speak to the right person, they will tell you some of the things they talk about or think about begin appearing in the same types of ads!

[3] It will be the responsibility of the conscious community to train these children how to use their powers to keep balance. Otherwise with our current models of categorization, such gifted children will be labeled as mutations. Fear and jealousy will cause them to be looked down upon by larger society—similar to how mutants were looked down on in the X-Men series.


A Bizarre Turn of Events for Black People: What’s Really Going On? (pt 1)

“When we see a black man who is constantly being praised by the Americans, begin to suspect him. When we see a black man get honors and all sorts of decorations and the United States flatters him with fine words and phrases, immediately suspect that person Because our experience has taught us that the Americans do not exalt any black man that is really working for the benefit of the black man.” Malcolm X

Over the past several months, I have noticed a lot of empowering and inspiring stories highlighting Black achievement in volumes I don’t remember in the past. I mean good news, big wins, and long awaited comebacks. I read the stories and am proud. I share the stories and hope to spread inspiration. But somewhere in the back of my mind, I also wonder why mainstream media is embracing blackness so beautifully and aggressively all of a sudden.

In no particular order: Black Miss America, Black Miss Teen America, Black Miss USA, Black Miss Universe, Black Miss World, Black Miss France, Black Little Mermaid, Black Woman 007, Black woman and lesbian mayor of Chicago, Marsai Martin becomes Universal’s youngest producer and will produce feature comedy ‘Queen’, Black Superman possibly in the works, Jamie Foxx making history with first Black to star in Pixar Movie (Soul), Black women owned tea brand heads to New York Stock Exchange, Jay-Z reaching billionaire status, talks of All-Black Panel Show on CNN, Rumors of War Statue unveiled in Richmond VA- former capital of Confederate States of America, Mall of America hiring first Black Santa , New York City Ballet’s Nutcracker has first Black lead, Michael Vick forgiven, Colin Kaepernick’s Saga with the NFL reemerged (then ended), Cynthia Erivo is celebrated for role in Harriet Tubman (who as a subject matter, got a lot of attention lately, $20 bill, tv show, movie, etc.) Kennedy Center Honors inducts first African-American group: Earth Wind & Fire, Law Passed to make sure natural hair isn’t discriminated against, Grand opening of Tyler Perry Studios to rival Hollywood studios, Season 5 of Boondocks reboot with Aaron McGruder, Eddie Murphy returning to SNL, Coming to America II, and out of his “Hollywood Timeout”, Steve Harvey Talk show revival, Byron Allen v Comcast to square off in Supreme Court Kaiser Permanente has a new Black CEO, and Presidential candidates debate reparations for Blacks.

Don’t get me wrong, now. All of these named (and several more unmentioned) wins have been earned with hard work, long hours, and much sacrifice. Each is well-deserved and in many cases, long overdue. While Malcolm X encourages us to suspect the individuals being honored, I am suspicious, however, of the abrupt shift of American Industries honoring and exalting her former slaves in this way.

A transitory look at history will substantiate that we as a people haven’t always gotten the credit we deserved from the majority of the industries in which the aforementioned list represents (entertainment, financial, political, etc). We haven’t always gotten the recognition we deserved. We haven’t always gotten opportunities we deserved. We’ve been held down, pushed out, overlooked and unsung for generations. So while I celebrate and relate to the joyful feeling connected to finally getting “a piece of the pie”, I ponder at what cost and why now? Not to forget to mention the fact that if someone else is giving us a piece of anything, the power dynamics should raise an eyebrow or two—especially if we are interested in true black power.

Carter G. Woodson’s words from his Mis-Education of the Negro still ring true,“Negroes who have been so long inconvenienced and denied opportunities for development are naturally afraid of anything that sounds like discrimination. They are anxious to have everything the white man has even if it is harmful.”

I ultimately believe we’re being thrown hand-me-downs like pigs are thrown slop. And unfortunately for us (and the rest of the world) we are eating them like a gourmet meal. Anybody who knows anything about acquiring what other people have used, know that you only get access to the item once the original owner is done with it, can’t fit it anymore, done playing with it, has no use for it, or transitioning to something new.

Are these highly celebrated accolades leftovers? Why are we getting them now—as we turn the corner into 2020?

PART II: https://oneblackman.wordpress.com/2019/12/23/a-bizarre-turn-of-events-for-black-people-my-thoughts-pt-2/


Holiday Darkness

We are approaching some of the darkest days of the year. There are literally more dark hours than there are hours of sunlight. Around this time, we may experience feelings of being down, gloomy, or even depression. In many respects, this aligns with the “As without, so within” principle which would suggest that there is a sun inside of us (soul) just like there is a sun outside of us (El Sol in Spanish/ solis Latin).

Many cultures before us understood this correlation and had celebrations of lights and other festivals to illuminate us externally in hopes that it would have an effect internally. This is a large part of the reason why there are so many lights used during the Christmas season.

However, the more I think about darkness and its place in this existence, the more I realize that we run away from the darkness. We are afraid of the darkness. We think something is wrong with us when we experience dark and depressing times.

If we think about nature, light is not shining all of the time. There is day AND night. There is being awake (light) and being sleep (darkness). We even blink approximately 20 times per minute, giving us moments of darkness in our waking hours.

As I have been doing my year-end personal reflection, I have discovered that I have been severely imbalanced for a while. Somewhere along the way, I have adopted the notion that I am supposed to be happy and smiling all of the time—and any time I feel blah or like I don’t want to put on the mask, I ask myself, what is wrong with me?

Currently, I am in a place where I am accepting ALL of me: my good and my bad; my happy and my sad; my light and my darkness. I am learning to embrace it all—for that is the only way we can really know ourselves.

I always take everything back to nature. The trees outside have a part of themselves in the sun, but the other part is underground. And it’s said of most trees, that as high as they go up, they are equally or greater in length below—as the roots are what anchors the tree—giving it the foundation to stand up in the first place. The roots grow before the tree. It develops in the darkness before it ever sees the light of day.

If there are seasons in nature, why can there not be seasons in life? Does Mother Earth take a pill every time the winter comes to keep the sun out longer? Does Mother Nature go to the doctor every time it rains?  There is nothing wrong with a few bad days. Explore the darkness, the loneliness, the gloom. Observe the way it makes you feel. Observe how you feel when you come out of it. Note any lessons you learned from it. Appreciate it. But don’t punish yourself for being natural. Don’t medicate yourself for having a few rainy days. The sun will shine again.

#thatslife.

If you liked this article, you might like this video.:


Thoughts about Darkness

When I was younger, I used to be afraid of the dark. I remember wanting my mom to leave a light on in the hallway bathroom so that I wouldn’t be scared to go to sleep in pitch blackness.

These days, I understand the value of pitch blackness at night, and have gone to lengths of purchasing curtains that keep out light, and even an eye mask to make sure light doesn’t get in as I drift off to sleep or immediately when I wake up.

You see, I am starting to become more curious about darkness, how important it is to personal balance, and how it relates to spiritual growth and development. After beginning to reread the Bible the other day, I could not get past the second verse of Genesis chapter 1a. “And the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” Here are some of my thoughts.

To elaborate on some ideas I don’t think I completely expressed in this video: I am curious about the benefit of the symbolic meaning of darkness connected to not knowing (ignorance). I am not, talking about dark thoughts or dark entities. But what the conscious mind would refer to as ignorance and the hidden KNOWLEDGE we don’t consider from the higher part of ourselves to which we give too little attention.

I have two ways I use the word “know”. And while I understand the distinction in my thinking and communicating, when writing, I use all lowercase letters for one and all capital letters for the other. There is a “knowing” connected to the conscious and thinking mind and there is a “KNOWING” connected to your heart and soul—the higher/ greater parts of you (the true you) which KNOWS KNOWS best and KNOWS all.

So in the video when I mentioned how, ten years ago I was doing and now I see more evidence of me trying, I attribute my doing to me following my heart and listening to the KNOWING my soul which is in many times in conflict with the knowing of my mind. When the unction from the heart/soul came, I moved on it. I didn’t think about if it made sense or not, it I acted on it. I correlate this to acting blindly, in the dark, or in ignorance. This is different from what I’ve noticed in recent years, where I find myself “thinking before I speak”, or thinking before I publicly release something I’ve been working on—counting costs, calculating steps, and trying to predict outcomes.

For me, the power in “not knowing” is the product I create in the end. “Knowing” and wanting to know gets me stuck in a mode of thinking and overthinking where I am just left with a good idea on a piece of paper. Today, I am choosing more and more to explore what has been an unknown space and to trust the higher senses my mind calls ignorance.

FINAL THOUGHT: For me, the magic occurs when I step outside of my comfort zone and follow my gut. I experience power when I follow my heart and listen to my soul. Ultimately, I am elevating my heart and soul on the ladder of authority, and allowing them to lead. As I put my mind in its proper place, I sincerely believe I will ACT in a way that will make a difference and change the world.


Jesus is King | Cover Art Colors

By: Tim Lee

I didn’t think that Kanye West’s cover art for his latest project, Jesus is King, meant anything until I visited a freshman English class at Howard University. The lecture, taught by Dr. David Green, the associate professor of English and Director of Writing, was about the importance of and techniques for using descriptive language. As an exercise, he asked everyone to look up one of their favorite artist’s Cover artwork for one of their albums and write a brief description about it using the knowledge from the day’s lesson. Since I have been working on a review of Jesus is King for the past week, I decided to look up Kanye’s cover art. To my surprise, I not only found that several people had already written about the cover art, I also found that Ben Blackwell, a Detroit music historian, had allegedly cracked the code to the cover art. After reading his findings, several questions came to mind. I will only ask and answer the top three.

  1. Is “AR 1331 A” the only code in the cover art?  
  2. What does blue signify?
  3. What does gold signify?

My questions lead me on a quest. Here’s what I found:

1. Of course not. Beyond cracking the code of the number significance, I haven’t seen much talk about the color significance. Perhaps a deeper dive into the meaning of the colors may at some later time open more doors of interpretation about the code.

2. BLUE: Water is blue. The sky is blue.

Psychological Significance: mentally relaxing, evokes feelings of calmness and serenity; described as peaceful, tranquil secure and orderly.

Biblical Significance: Heaven, healing power of God, the word of God, the presence of God

Spiritual Significance: depth, trust, loyalty, confidence, intelligence, truth and wisdom;

Chakra Significance: the throat chakra: associated with creativity and self-expression, listening and communicating; when open even negative experiences are transformed into wisdom; success and failure are determined by this chakra; guilt blocks it, meditating on it can bring about occult powers and visions

Occult Significance: occult power, expansion, Jupiter, abundance, long journeys, summon demons, used in spells, incite depression, sadness, helplessness, lack of sympathy, coldness and gloom

3. GOLD: Fire is Gold. The sun is gold. Gold is the precious and coveted metal into which alchemists sought to turn other metals. 

Psychological Significance: success, achievement , prosperity, affluence, material wealth  

Biblical Significance: glory, divinity, kingship, eternity, beauty, holiness

Spiritual Significance: purity, communion with the source of all being;

Chakra Significance: solar plexus chakra: golden yellow in color; associated with leadership, the power of fire, and transformation; considered to be the center of our power, self-esteem, self-discipline and the essence of identity; meditating on it can give power to save, change, or destroy the world, blocked by self-criticism and self-judgment

Occult Significance: one of the most powerful colors, divination, fast luck, magical power; Satan has a golden aura, Satanic alchemy, perfection of the soul, power

In literature and art, there are several meanings to everything. One of the reasons I like listening to music and interpreting art overall is to apply the various layers of meaning to see what the artist was intending beyond the surface of what the common eye is able to see. Based upon the above definitions, one could assert a number of meanings from the cover art of Jesus is King. It could range from one to ten, everything in between and beyond. One (1) signifying Kanye’s new relationship with Christ and the true healing and real peace he hopes to experience from his recent profession of Jesus’ Kingship. And ten (10) signifying that Kanye West is masking his worship of the planets, specifically Jupiter (planet/god of abundance that makes people rich)—casting spells on the listeners with hidden messages using satanic alchemy and magic disguised as miracles and the power of God.

I will not disclose what I took away from the cover art. I will, however, say that I am sure there’s more to it than what is on the surface. And way more to it than what’s in the letters and numbers on the side. Were the numbers a convenient distraction?


The Lion King: More than a Movie—A Message to the Black Man and Woman

the-lion-king

I love movies. Not because they are so entertaining, but because they are layered with so much symbolism—and I love drawing parallels and meaning from movies and seeing what lessons I can learn from the stories and what truths I can apply to my life. Isn’t that the purpose of stories anyway?

I am a Black male Millennial living in America on a quest to discover earthly purpose and understand the spiritual significance of my life. This is the lens through which I watched The Lion King this time. And seeing it as an adult and as a live action remake helped me to see many things I didn’t clearly see before.

With you, I will share three (One race-related, one spiritual, and one romantic).

  1. Pumbaa and Timon are NOT Simba’s friends. Pumbaa and Timon are self-interested, fear-ridden characters who seek benefit from Simba’s guilt, pain, and ignorance. They mask their fear as friendliness and tell all the animals that he is not like other lions (but is one of the “good ones”) and train against his nature. Pumbaa and Timon encourage Simba to reject the Circle of Life Philosophy of harmony and balance in exchange for a “meaningless line of indifference” philosophy where one not only worries about nothing (Hakuna Matata) but also does nothing. They change his diet, converting him from a carnivore to an insectivore, and even poke fun of his spiritual beliefs about his ancestors. Simba’s mis-education goes so far and deep that his only enemy was another lion which he was willing to kill in order protect those who are using him and duping into believing they are his friends and not his natural prey.
  2. Mufasa represents Simba’s Higher Self. Mufasa is depicted on the surface as Simba’s father, but on another level of interpretation, Mufasa is Simba’s Higher Self. Remember when Rafiki tells Simba that he can show him where Mufasa is? The chase that ensues represents the spiritual journey we must all go on to find ourselves. At the end of this chase, Simba learns that Mufasa never died, but lives in him. Here, we can learn that the separation (of spirit and soul) that occurred after the “fall of man” is also an illusion, and that the higher principle of ourselves is still up there, rooting for us and cheering us on. This truth causes Simba to remember who he is and consequently return home to reclaim his position in the Circle of Life. On this other level of interpretation, Simba reconnects with his higher self and the truths he learned from his higher-self before the separation. On after this connection is he able to be the “mighty King” he dreamed of being when he was a cub. His fear disappears. His focus becomes more precise. His roar is more ferocious and powerful than ever before. Simba becomes a fully realized lion to such an extent that Scar thinks Simba is Mufasa; which I argue he is (John 10:30). In this state, Simba is able to defeat Scar and the hyenas and restore balance and bring back order to the home he was born to protect.
  3. The Black women should be exalted. In my opinion, Nala is the most important character in the movie. She represents unconditional love, balance, power and unity. is the catalyst that calls Simba home. She is grounded, self-aware, and consistent (Simba’s number one fan since they were children). She sees courage in him when no one else is able to and literally enCOURAGEs him to be all that she sees. She puts courage in him. She calls out what she sees in him. She brings out the best in him. She demands that he is his best and does what is best for the family and the home. This process, for men, can be embarrassing, difficult, and even painful—the same way it was for Simba who hasn’t fully dealt with the puffed-up view he had of himself or the unprocessed pain and guilt he had from childhood. But Simba MUST find himself if he is going to be a suitable mate for Nala or a “mighty king” for Pride Rock. But because he is not ready, they break up. Nala leaves Simba. As much as she loves him, she intuitively knows that he has to come to the knowledge of the truth for himself. Her leaving, is not in vain though. It prompts him to think about himself in such a way it initiates his quest for self-discovery. He finds himself, finds Nala, and finds his place back in the Circle of Life.

Without Nala, Simba would have died in the wilderness. Her love for him and her belief in him saves Pride Rock and preserves the family that otherwise would have perished under Scar’s reign. Nala represents the divine feminine when, once joined to the divine masculine creates an enduring love that sustains life in magical and majestic ways.

I recently read a Facebook post that said: “Please stop putting all the problems of the world on the shoulders of Black Women.” For some reason I was hurt when I read this. It pained me because the truth is, the Black woman is the only human being that can handle such pressure. But the other truth is that she cannot succeed alone, the same way Nala couldn’t over throw Scar alone or Rule Pride Rock alone. Once they came together, and only then, was balance was fully restored.

For some reason, I was moved to stay in the theatre until the very end. The first song during the closing credits was “Never too Late” which, to me, speaks of the truth that it’s never too late to remember who you are, return to your home and reclaim you land and place on the throne. Compound that with the fact that when you reconnect to your higher-self, you have all of nature fighting with you to help you restore balance and restore order to the circle of life, the message to me was clear: 1) Disconnect from your enemies (within and without). 2) Reconnect with your higher self. 3) Connect with your woman. 

BONUS

My key to the characters and what they concepts they represented. I was probably distracting a few people around me trying to take notes on my phone during the movie. Messages were being downloaded like crazy and I didn’t want to forget them. The more time I have, the more I will unpack them, but here is what I have so far. Consider these when you watch the movie. See if they resonate.

  • Simba represents the Black Man.
  • Mufasa represents Simba’s higher self (truth)
  • Nala represents the Black Woman (unconditional love, power)
  • Rafiki represents Spiritual Guide
  • Scar represents Simba’s lower self (deceit, fear, guilt, death)
  • Pumba and Timon represent Foreign culture superimposed through education and religion (Colonialists)
  • Hyenas represent (western) culture of greed and insatiable appetite
  • Zazu represents guardian angel, order and knowledge (all seeingness (bird’s eye view) and all knowingness (messenger/snitch to King)
  • Pride Rock represents Home/ Paradise
  • Pumbaa and Timon’s home represents the Wilderness

Why We Should KILL the Idea of “Die-Ins”

I told myself that I would not participate in them—especially after I learned what they were called. But I ran into one accidentally the other day. Had I known what was about to happen, I would have never stayed around to witness it, for I was not prepared. Someone was speaking to a group of young protesters when suddenly, a young man walked in the middle of the circle and fell to the ground as if dead. Then faster than a domino effect, each person in the circle fell to the ground to mock dead too. I assume they laid there for a designated amount of time while others who weren’t participating walked the other way or perhaps watched the demonstration until they hopped up to do some chanting and angry talking. I can only imagine because once I saw what was happening I walked away as quickly as I could.

I wonder how the participants felt after this demonstration. Did they feel a sense of accomplishment based on the number of people who participated? Based on the number of people who watched? I wonder whether or not they thought their actions prevented a police officer from shooting another innocent human being. Did their actions stop a future grand jury from not indicting a corrupt officer who will murder a black child in cold blood? Or were they just parroting what other people around the world were doing just to say they did something–claiming to spread awareness about the issue of police brutality and the systemic devaluing of Black life in America?

The whole notion to me is silly.

1. Make a sign that says Black Lives Matter.Protestors enact 'Die In' at Union Station in Washington

2. Play dead for a few minutes.

3. Get off the ground when ready

4. Dust yourself off

5. Run a personal errand

Beyond silly, the notion of a die-in is dangerous. As someone who believes in the power of suggestion, visualization, and other aspects of the law of attraction, playing dead is the first step to dying. It’s the same, if not worse, than rolling around in a wheel chair or playing cripple with someone’s crutches. We are encouraged not to do such things because going through the motions of walking with crutches or rolling in a wheelchair will attract a circumstance to your experience that will require you to need crutches or a wheelchair—in the same way carrying a fertility doll is believed to help a woman become pregnant. The reason why we need to kill the idea of the die-in is because the only thing it is attracting is people dying en mass.

What kind of energy is spreading with these demonstrations around the nation? What are we inadvertently creating?

Please stop it.


Fathers are Essential

Nonessential expressions in writing are words, phrases or clauses that are not necessary to the meaning or structure of the sentence.  It’s easy to determine whether an expression is nonessential by omitting the phrase from the sentence. If the meaning of the sentence is still conveyed and if proper sentence structure is preserved, the expression is nonessential.

Example: We reserved this section for their fathers, none of whom attended the program.

The bolded phrase is nonessential; but sometimes I wonder whether families today consider fathers as nonessential. This Father’s Day, in addition to celebrating fathers and father figures, I think we should spread the message that fathers are essential to the family unit.

ImageAs I thought about the purpose of Father’s Day and creative ways to thank and celebrate my father for being present in my life, I began to reflect on his influence on me. That thought snowballed into my thinking about the significance of a father’s contribution to his children (generally speaking) which then led, for some reason, into thoughts about famous African Americans and their fathers. I thought about Tiger Woods, Venus and Serena Williams, Michael Jackson, Beyonce, and even Oprah. Each of these people has dominated their field. They have risen to the top and succeeded beyond ordinary success. But each of them also credit their fathers as essential to their success. In fact, if you omit their fathers from the sentences of their lives, meaning and structure would not only be lost, we probably wouldn’t even know their names.

We can learn a few lessons from the practices of these African American fathers.

  1. They insisted upon their child’s excellence.
  2. They demanded discipline and practice.
  3. They were unwaveringly dedicated to their child’s success.
  4. They held their children to high standards and expectations.
  5. They also, in most cases, did not ask their children what they wanted to be when they grew up; they told them. 

Because of these essential fathers, the above-mentioned celebrities will be known for what their fathers dreamed they could be, as they are forever etched on the pages of Black, American and World History.

As we acknowledge fathers and father figures today, let us make sure we do our part to raise a generation of boys who will be fathers that will dream dreams for their children and gift the world with someone who will impact it in a significant and meaningful way.

Happy Father’s Day.    


To Vote or Not To Vote: Dilemma November 2012

It never fails. Every day since the Republican National Convention, my Facebook newsfeed has someone talking about the election in some capacity. Whether it’s a link to Samuel L. Jackson’s controversial ad for Obama encouraging everyone to wake up and vote, or a picture of Mr. Obama’s backside and a caption reading, “I’ve got my president’s back,” or some word of praise about Michelle Obama’s sophistication, or even a witty picture/quote pointing out an example of Mitt Romney’s so-called ill-qualifications, more than several of my Facebook friends are expressing their ideas about the upcoming election. As you may imagine, the majority of them will vote. Interestingly, someone’s status update recently provoked me to write my thoughts about voting. It said something like: “If I ever hear a pastor encourage people not to vote from a platform, that would be my last time at that church.” And while I understand and respect her sentiment, I don’t understand or respect dismissing people who choose not to vote without exploring their opinions. Since I have had such thoughts before, and am leaning toward not voting myself, l decided to explore them a little more fully.

Before I share them, however, I will share with you my understanding of the reasons people vote. I hear two the most:

1.     Have your voice heard

If you want your voice heard in a political setting, voting is the way to do it. Instead of complaining to people who have no power to address your issues, every four years or every two years, you can express you contentment or discontentment with elected officials by voting for them into office or voting them out of office. The vote is one of the main ways everyday citizens can be heard.

2.     Because people died for our right 

Especially relevant to African Americans whose history includes people being denied their basic rights of citizenship, voting becomes a moral responsibility—a way to express gratitude for the sacrifices of our forebears and ancestors. Many put their lives on the line for the right to vote and were rewarded with death. The least we could do is register and go to the polls.

A study was recently released documenting how the number of registered voters in Chicago has drastically plummeted since 2008. Although Chicago (and an overwhelming majority of Americans) were excited about Obama’s historic run, I don’t believe the aforementioned reasons are sufficient enough to keep people enthusiastic about voting in this upcoming election.  And though I don’t profess to know why people are not voting, I can imagine they feel similar to me: disenchanted because of the reasons I will mention below, or because the affect of the Obama Kool-Aid has worn off (probably a combination of both).

No. I haven’t completely made up my mind about not voting, but here are a few of the reasons why I am leaning toward not voting.

 1.     My vote doesn’t count

“He who votes counts for nothing. He who counts the votes, counts for everything.” – Joseph Stalin

When I first heard this quote sometime in graduate school, I had to read it a couple of times before it really clicked. But when it did, I was changed. Putting aside your personal feelings about Stalin and his philosophies, it is difficult to deny the truth of his quotation. There is, indeed, a veil between the voters and the declaration of the outcome of the election. That buffer is the counting process. It seems pretty flawless. If people can be persuaded to vote and then agitate the outcome to the favor of a predetermined candidate, the voters will have no idea of the corruption. They will go along with results because they have faith in the system. It’s interesting, people suspect cheating via counting in elections in high school, civic organizations, American Idol, and even churches who vote their pastors in and out, but the same suspicion appears to be absent in the people’s mind concerning the election of President of the United States and other local and national political offices.

Funny clip. But there is a message above that should not be overlooked. Electronic voting machines, though said to be more proficient, have the capability to swing elections. But don’t take my word for it; listen to a public testimony from a programmer who created a program that could fix an election.  In his testimony, he talked about the importance of receiving a receipt upon voting on an electronic voting machine. When I voted in 2008 on one of these machines in Indiana, I asked for a receipt and was told they didn’t give any out. I was encouraged to trust the accuracy of these machines that “nullify” the human error factor.  Knowing that the digital gas pumps are rigged, digital thermometers have been inaccurate, and digital scales just plain wrong (according to some women I know), I just shook my head and left wearing my “I voted” sticker.

2. It doesn’t matter who the president is, he is just a puppet

Since 1913 politics and politicians have been compromised. As we should know, The Federal Reserve is not federal at all. It is a privately owned corporation that operates independently of the government. As you research the Federal Reserve System, you will find that the bank creates our currency (Federal Reserve Notes) and that your and my income taxes go to the owners of the bank. This is relevant because the Federal Reserve loans money to the American government and the American people pay back the loans with interest (unconstitutional income tax).

“Give me control over a nation’s currency and I care not who makes its laws” (Baron Mayer Amschel Rothschild).

In summary, the president serves the Federal Reserve. As I see it, that drastically conflicts with serving the people. The Federal Reserve has controlled every president since 1913. And the ones who have gone against the directives of the banking elite have been assassinated.

 “I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is now controlled by its system of credit. We are no longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominate men” – Woodrow Wilson (1919)

So when I hear all of the many things “Obama has done” in his first four years touted as reasons he should be reelected, I get annoyed. Regardless, however, of the laundry list of successes or failures we attribute to Obama’s administration, I think acknowledging Obama with the credit is superficial. I sincerely believe that Obama (and any other president for that matter) makes no real decisions. The president is a parrot—repeating what he is told to say, and a puppet—doing what he is told to do. Whether the puppet tricks or treats, kisses or kicks, intelligent people direct their response of the puppet’s action to the puppet master. Don’t be confused, however. Puppets can puppet. In such a complex society, it shouldn’t be a surprise to find that puppets themselves can occupy the second and third tiers of the show. If you want to see the mind that facilitates the action, follow the strings—all of them.

 3.     Campaign issues are different from real everyday life issues

In my opinion, coverage of campaigns before a major election is huge distractions. The debates, news commentary, and commercials play on the emotional aspect of voters, getting them excited about irrelevant issues that have little to do with real decisions that affect citizens. In every election, issues related to Christianity (religion), abortion, homosexuality, gas prices, education, rights of illegal immigrants, etc. come up. The politicians give their usual campaign rhetoric about the matter, then the people who feel affiliated with a particular perspective vote en masse to support the candidate who professes to support the cause they are most passionate about.

This bothers me because it makes me feel like I am being played with. Many promises are made. Few are kept. I feel that the politician is fully aware of his impotence related to keeping promises. He is told to do or say whatever necessary to appeal to the masses. That way, whatever story is spun, the people will believe it. I am uninterested in being toyed with. I also uninterested in being promised something by someone who has no intentions on keeping the promise and/or no power to deliver it.

4.     Voting is NOT the only way to voice one’s concern/ express one’s voice

The main reason I voted in 2008 was because I was advised not to complain about the state of the union if I didn’t vote. You may have heard the argument that if you don’t vote, you essentially subscribe to whatever the outcome is, and therefore can’t complain. As a former complainer who wanted the space and place to complain, I decided to vote. After I voted, however, I thought about how I still couldn’t complain if my candidate didn’t win. If you vote, and your candidate doesn’t win, you can’t complain either because the process is such that your candidate may not win. He or she did not get enough support… the system works…so try again next time.

The way I see it, this cannot be the only way to express one’s discontentment with political matters. There have to be ways, in the meantime, to have one’s voice heard. Unfortunately, this is where Black people, in my view, have been stuck for the past number of years. We have participated in the system and have patiently endured the suffering that ensued from a decision we didn’t support or legislation handed down by a candidate we didn’t vote for. And we have also waited another four years to see which of several candidates would be the “least evil” to replace the one with which we are currently dissatisfied. Why are we so content with voting for the poison that will kill us the slowest? This is one of the reasons I supported the recent teacher’s strike in Chicago. They had been lied to for years and years and finally acted in a spirit of unity to express their frustration with being false hope and empty promises.

I feel that it is past time that we, as an American people, found other ways to make our voices heard in this society. Voting is NOT, despite popular opinion, the only way to express one’s voice. I lean toward not voting because voting makes us more likely to accept the status quo and go along with whatever happens during an administration. The vote has put us in a position of passivity. We are not complaining as much. We are not complaining loud enough… we are too compliant. Smh.

5.     Our ancestors fought for our right to choose.

I may get in trouble for this one, but people who say that our ancestors died that we may have the right to vote, or the right to sit in the front of the bus, or the right to eat in a segregated restaurant or sit beside white people in a waiting room are only partially right. As I see it, our ancestors died that we may have the right to CHOOSE to vote or not to vote, to sit in the front of the bus or the back, etc. They fought to have the restrictions that limited the Black man and woman’s right to determine for themselves. Our ancestors fought for true freedom and independence (as evidenced in the right to choose) and I think it is misleading to superimpose manipulative thoughts like these on our youth. I think our ancestors want us to do what is best for us in this day and in this time, not attempting to repeat what they did in their day and in their time.

Ultimately, I feel that the political system is corrupt—very corrupt. I believe that it’s a huge illusion designed to make people believe their concerns matter when, in fact, the government will almost always carry out their agenda despite what the people want or need. It is structured in such a way that gives people a sense of hope during times they would express themselves in rebellious and even violent ways because of feelings of hopelessness and powerlessness.  The way I see it, American democracy, American justice, and American politics are just ideas paraded around as realities until the government becomes so powerful, nothing can be done to stop it. In an ideal society, I would vote. It would be a legitimate way to voice one’s concerns about the state of the union and the issues that are important and relevant to elections. It would be fair and honest. Everybody’s vote would count. But sense we are not living in an ideal society, I have a dilemma: to vote or not to vote. Help me decide.

Thanks,

Tim Lee


Addressing Black-on-Black Violence

Black-on-Black violence is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. I have been personally frustrated for some time concerning this matter because I feel that we, as a people, are waiting around for someone else to pass a law or install a camera that will end it once and for all. Though they are easier to do, and may even seem like good things to do, the aforementioned suggestions will do little to solve the problem. This piece will explore the problem, the source of the problem, and suggest solutions toward addressing Black-on-Black violence.

 

The Problem

Over the last 15 years, the statistics concerning Black-on-Black violence have gotten worse. And in these years, efforts to stop the violence have not worked. Curfews have failed. More police patrolling the streets of high-risk neighborhoods have failed. Metal detectors in the schools have failed. Surveillance cameras, with their flashing blue lights, mounted atop telephone poles have failed.

Despite the fact that these attempts to solve the problem have not worked, our communities are still flooded with police and cameras. Public schools have security guards, surveillance cameras, metal detectors, mandatory student uniforms, and transparent book bags. Every year there is a new idea that supposedly will be the one to stop the violence — but just like the radical ideas from all the other years, they fail.

Two years ago in Chicago, there was an idea to call in the National Guard to help the police stem the rising tide of urban violence. Is the only way to stop violence in Black communities to infringe on the privacy of all community members and intimidate them with a military-like presence?

The truth of the matter is that the aforementioned efforts have not worked and are not the best answers to the violence problem. The surveillance cameras do little to deter or solve crimes, and the police seem to occupy our neighborhoods rather than protect them. These efforts only add to the hostility, tension, and frustration that serve as a spark for much of the violence in the first place. If we really want to prevent the violence, we have to attack the cause. If my shoulder is bleeding, a Band-Aid on my forearm will not help. Neither will a Band-Aid on my hand or leg. But that is what seems to be happening in the case of violence in our communities. Much of the attention to curb violence has been misdirected and does not address the source of the problem.

The Source

Not long ago, I picked up a used social psychology textbook. After reading the first chapter, I was reminded that violent behavior has long been a topic of interest among scholars. The various theories that have been tested over the years have revealed that the problem of violence is not one of inherent delinquency. What follows is a short excerpt from the textbook. As you read, consider the solutions being offered up by today’s politicians and so-called experts. Do blue-light cameras, more policemen, metal detectors, etc. address what this book identifies as the source of the problem?

“… frustrating situations make people angry and increase their tendency to act aggressively. This is called the frustration-aggression hypothesis. It predicts that when people are blocked from achieving a desired goal, they feel frustrated and angry and are more likely to lash out…. The frustration-aggression hypothesis can also explain how large-scale economic and societal factors CREATE [emphasis mine] situations that lead to violence and crime. For instance, people who are poor and crowded into urban slums are frustrated. They cannot get good jobs, find affordable housing, provide a safe environment for their children, and so on. This frustration may produce anger, which can be the direct cause of violent crime” (Social Psychology, Prentice Hall, Eleventh Edition, 2006).

In our cities, people often commit crimes because they are frustrated, because they are poor, because they feel there’s no other option. People do not commit crimes, violent or non-violent, based on the absence of a surveillance camera or law-enforcement officer. People don’t steal because they want to be cool. People don’t join gangs because they don’t have a family. People don’t sell drugs to pass the time. People do these things because they’re hungry — both physically and spiritually. They do these things because they’re poor, because their angry, because they’re afraid.

This vantage point is important because, as I said before, if you don’t address the right source of the problem you will never arrive at the right solution to the problem.

To be honest, I am no longer convinced that the attempts of the government are well thought out or even submitted with the expectation to truly solve the problem. More often than not, the “solutions” are offered as quick fixes to keep voters placated or to keep certain public officials gainfully employed.

So, what do we do now? What can we do to rebuild, strengthen, and protect our own communities?

The Solution

We have to do something. We cannot let news reports cause us to feel overwhelmed and powerless. We cannot push aside our responsibility to the youth in our community because we think someone in a high place is working on a solution. We have to do something. Here are a few suggestions for actions we can take ourselves:

1. We must seek help from higher sources. Seeking wisdom through faithful and consistent spiritual practices help to discipline people and to provide them with a healthy outlet for venting frustration. Additionally, many problems are spiritual in nature. Everything that happens on the visible (physical) plane was birthed on an invisible (mental, emotional, spiritual) plane. We must ask ourselves and the Most High God/ Creator of universes known and unknown to reveal what needs to be addressed in higher spheres so that we can see a shift in the material sphere where we perceive reality.

2. We must educate ourselves. We cannot respond to our problems with frustration. We must learn more than what the media is telling us about these problems. We must also learn our history so we can see what methods were effective under similar circumstances in the past. We can use this knowledge to think creatively about how to address current and, in many cases, worsening conditions.

3. We must downsize. We cannot get sidetracked by American consumerism, teaching our children and younger people to purchase expensive materials and possessions to the point of going into debt, or robbing and killing to get what they want.

4. We must respect each other. Unity and community are not a thing of the past. In fact, African Americans coined the phrase “unity in the community.” We have to make a concerted effort to instill in our youth (whether we know them personally or not) that there is certain behavior that is unacceptable — and that killing your brother or sister is an extreme example of this unacceptable behavior.

5. We must fight poverty and we must fight any system that allows poverty. This is one of the chief causes of crime and violence. We cannot passively accept, or participate in, unjust economic systems that thrive on keeping a certain segment of society below the poverty line.

6. We must focus on better parenting. Many of our youth have little to no idea of what is right vs. wrong because they do not have responsible adults guiding them. As younger children they are taught that mischievous behavior is “cute” or worthy of being overlooked or handled lightly. This only perpetuates the misbehavior and adversely affects the structures/rules set by schools and greater society. This inevitably leads to trouble and the aforementioned frustration. We must learn to reprimand our children fairly and effectively and not be “scared” of DCFS or police intervention for being an active parent. Remember who the adult is and who the child is.

7. We must stop making excuses. The fact that we have multiple jobs, or work at night or on the weekends, does not exonerate us from being active parents to our children. In fact, it requires us to work even harder to be present and involved with our youth. The connection to our children, now more than ever, is of grand importance.

School is starting. Let’s pray that it’s a safe and positive one for our youth. And let each of us ask ourselves: Will I be a part of the solution or the problem?

 

An earlier version of this post appeared on UrbanFaith.com.


Chick-Fil-A Protestors: Please Stop Acting Like Morons

by: Aaron P. Taylor

…Okay, so I didn’t want to write a note about this. In fact, my goal was just to stay out of it altogether. But then I started reading more and more stupid comments from people about this issue, and felt the need to make my opinion on the subject heard.

There’s been a recent bru-ha-ha about comments the President of Chick-fil-a made during an interview with the Biblical Recorder in North Carolina (later reprinted by the Baptist Press). Prior to reading the actual comments made, the only thing I heard that could be gathered from it was that Dan Cathy and the Chick-fil-a company were against gay marriage. Frankly, I wasn’t surprised at this – Chick-fil-a’s been a company running on Christian values since it opened. What, you think their “closed on Sunday’s” policy is just to give the chicken an extra day to marinate?

What I couldn’t understand was why someone would come out and blatantly state this, knowing full well that gay people may actually go to their restaurants.  So, rather than listen to what everyone else was saying, I decided to find the actual article that started this whole thing.

And, as it turns out, my suspicions were correct: that’s NOT exactly what was said.

For those of you who don’t care to hear second-hand info, here’s a snippet from the article as it was written (click here to read the entire article):

Some have opposed the company’s support of the traditional family. “Well, guilty as charged,” said Cathy when asked about the company’s position.

“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.

“We operate as a family business … our restaurants are typically led by families; some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that,” Cathy emphasized.

“We intend to stay the course,” he said. “We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”

Let’s get a few things out the way here: first of all, nowhere in the ENTIRE ARTICLE do the words “gay,” “lesbian,” “transgender,” or “bisexual” appear. So, anyone who’s been saying that Mr. Cathy stated he was against gay marriage has been misquoting him.

Mr. Cathy’s statement was made when he was being interviewed by the Biblical Recorder, which one can assume is a CHRISTIAN organization. The website that posted the article, the Baptist Press, is also a CHRISTIAN organization who’s motto is “News With a Christian Perspective.” The Christian view of gay marriage is that it’s wrong. Therefore, companies built by Christians are going to have the same viewpoint.

Furthermore, nowhere in his answer did he say he hated or had any animosity towards the gay community. In fact, he didn’t even go into discussion about his company’s position on marriage – one that’s been well-known for YEARS – until he was asked about it. And even then, it wasn’t as if whatever answer he gave was going to be that shocking. Can all of you who are now suddenly against Chick-fil-a seriously tell me, based upon how they’ve operated all these years, that you’re really, REALLY all that shocked that Chick-fil-a would support what they consider to be the biblical definition of a “family unit?”

I’ll just come out and say it: gay people take comments WAY too seriously sometimes.

They assume Mr. Cathy’s comment is just about their community. It’s not. Look at the way it’s worded: “traditional family.” Their stance is not about NOT supporting gay marriage (though I’m sure it’s not exactly something they’re looking to throw money at to support either). It’s about supporting the things and values they feel make for the healthiest family environment.

Their statement, if delved into more deeply, means they’re also against the following:

*Kids growing up in single-parented households

*Parents wanting to get divorced

*Families that constantly abuse themselves, each other, or others

*Incest relationships

*Families where the parents live together but aren’t married to each other

*Devil-worshipping families

It would be against the mission statement of the company – not to mention their image – if they decided to say “screw it” and show support for any and everything that goes against the nature of what their actual values are. If they are claiming to be a company based upon Christian values, supporting certain things – like the list above, as well as gay marriage – would be more harmful to them in the long run.

This is not to say these types of elements are not allowed to enter their restaurantsHowever, if their vision of what a “healthy family unit” is consists of households with a mom, a dad, a few kids and some grandparents, they have the right to support that vision.  They’re not discriminating against other types of families who come into their restaurant, but at the same time they shouldn’t have to feel the need to bend and/or change their views of what they feel a healthy family unit is just to make one group of people happy. In fact, if they DID do that now, it would be worse.

Before I finish this article up, I feel I should add something: I know someone is going to read this and want to comment with the response: “But Aaron, you’re Black! You should empathize with how gays would feel about this issue! How would you feel if they said they only support the idea of White marriages?”

First off, please stop comparing the gay struggle to the civil rights struggle. It’s not the same thing: Blacks were taken from their homeland, sold into slavery, separated from their loved ones, whipped, demoralized, pit against each other, and had to fight to get even an ounce of freedom and recognition as citizens. Tommy having to “struggle” about whether to tell his friends he likes boys is NOT a comparable situation.

More importantly: a company’s opinion about what they view a true marriage to be doesn’t concern me. What concerns me is how they treat me when I go into their establishment. Reality check: many, MANY businesses in this country were started and/or still ran by people who have views on things that are against my viewpoint. If I stopped supporting each one who had an “opinion” different from mine, I’d be walking around butt naked with no electronic devices or apartment to speak of.

Bottom line: if you liked Chick-fil-a before, don’t let Mr. Cathy’s sudden “shocking” statement about his company’s views on marriage stop you from eating there. You were eating there the day before you heard about him making the statement, but the company’s opinion has been public knowledge for YEARS. Suck it up, get your eat on, and make sure you order their lemonade when you do.

Aaron P. Taylor is a graduate of Hampton University. He currently resides in Los Angeles, CA, where he works as a film editor, creative consultant and writer. You can read more of his articles at www.1001ThingsToBeThankfulFor.com


Normalizing Homosexuality (pt 3)

Examining the Drastic Changes in Public Opinion—The 2000s

When Rosie O’Donnell came out in 2002 and became a spokesman for gay rights, public opinion shifted again. More people felt liberated by the caliber of celebrities coming out and the people started coming out of closets everywhere. The philosophical discussion around homosexuality also shifted. Do gay people have rights? Should they be allowed to marry? Should they be allowed to adopt children? Is homosexuality the civil rights issue of the new millennium? Interestingly, can you see how such questions subtly imply the acceptability of homosexuality generally, but the specifics within the “lifestyle” are up for debate?

We can’t forget JL King’s book, On the Downlow in 2004. “Down low” was no longer associated with the R. Kelly 1996 hit song talking about a secret (heterosexual) affair, but became a new term used to describe the anomaly of “straight” Black men who secretly had sex with other men, but didn’t classify themselves as gay. Society considered him as an authority because he was a Black man living the secret life he wrote about. As a consequence, the level of suspicion rose among different sects of the Black community against Black men.

Perhaps as a response the heightened suspicions, during this time period phrases like “pause” and “no homo” became very popular. “No homo” was used to preface a statement that may sound or be interpreted as homosexual, but is not. “No homo” is like a disclaimer people used so they would not be mis-taken as homosexual based on their comment. Soon after “no homo” came on the scene, “pause” was erected…no homo. LOL! If a man said something to another man that sounded homosexual in nature, the man hearing the message would have to say, “pause” to encourage the speaking man to think about what he said and say it another way to remove the homosexual suggestion. They not only showed a concerted effort of people attempting to distance themselves from being associated with homosexual before making a statement, it also indicated how homosexuality colored and influenced the mentalities of the masses.  Language and definitions changed. Symbols changed. The general sense of humor changed. Popular culture changed. Advertisements changed. Everything, in a real sense, has been affected by homosexuality.

In 2006, I distinctly remember controversy surrounding the book, King and King by Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland. An elementary school teacher read the book to her class in Lexington, MA when talking about weddings. There was an uproar around the fact that parents were not notified and that children were being influenced to accept homosexuality as normal. But parents would not be able to stop the other forms of media as it injected ideas of homosexuality to an impressionable generation of children.

From the middle of the first decade in the 21st century, to now, so much has happened. I don’t know everything, but here is a short list of things that I remember. Feel free to comment and add what you remember and I have left out.

In 2004 Governor (New Jersey) James McGreevey resigns over gay affair.

In 2006, pastor and spokesman against homosexuality, Ted Haggard, is involved in a mega-scandal where he is accused of sexual relationships with a male prostitute.

In 2007, at the MTV Video Music Awards, Brittney Spears and Madonna. Also in 2007, John Amaechi made history as being the first (former) NBA player to be an admitted homosexual.

In 2008, Wanda Sykes came out of the closet (rather loudly) at a rally in Las Vagas protesting Proposition 8. Katy Perry, A preacher’s kid, became an overnight sensation with her hit “I Kissed A Girl.” Clay Aiken came out later in the year.

In 2010, there was a lot of talk about My Princess Boy—a book inspired by real events about a 4-year-old Black boy who enjoys dressing up like a princess (to see more books similar to this, click here)

Late in 2010 and into 2011, Eddie Long, mega pastor and outspoken preacher against homosexuality faces accusations of sexual immorality with teenage boys.

In 2012, GLADD demands that CNN fire Roland Martin over controversial tweet that “encouraged violence against gay men.”

In May, President Barak Obama made headlines when he openly affirmed his support for same sex marriages and more recently Josh Dixon trying to make gay history by becoming the first out male gymnast on the US men’s Olympic gymnastic team, and the coming out of Anderson Cooper and Frank Ocean.

Next post: Formula to Normalize Homoxexuality


Normalizing Homosexuality (pt 2)

Examining the Drastic Changes in Public Opinion—The 1990s

In the early 1990s, I remember RuPaul getting a lot of attention in entertainment news. While I had seen Jamie Foxx portray “Wanda” on In Living Color, and Martin portray “Sheneneh” on The Martin Lawrence Show, and even heard about Flip Wilson’s portrayal of “Geraldine,” I never knew of any Black men so serious about dressing up like a woman they would make a career out of it. RuPaul’s appearance in the 1990s introduced the concept of a national figure (in my day) who didn’t care about what other people thought about his choices. While his presence was liberating to some, for the most part, homosexuality was still seen as unacceptable.

Later, during my high school years, I remember philosophies starting to change. I don’t know if I can put my finger on why, but it seemed like people were becoming more open-minded. In the black community, when rumors surfaces that certain celebrities were gay, I remember people saying they didn’t care what others did in the privacy of their bedrooms, as long as they didn’t approach them… For the first time, I also remember there being an intellectual debate around homosexuality. Where as in the past, the Bible was enough evidence to support the immorality of homosexuality, it became insufficient in philosophical  debates that argued that homosexuality was natural, and that animals exhibited homosexual behavior. The argument that homosexuality was nature and not nurture was prevalent and talks of a “gay gene” promoted the idea that people are born gay. It was also during this time that homosexuality became a “lifestyle.” Historical Black figures like James Baldwin, Bayard Rustin, and Angela Davis were presented as evidence that homosexuality had been in the Black community for a long time.

I think Ellen Degeneres was one of the first famous people to come out of the closet. And when she did, she made waves. As I recall, the waves were not all waves of disapproval. Yes, her show was canceled later (some may say because of her falling ratings that resulted in her sexuality), but her coming out had a ripple effect that did not only influence other celebrities to come out of their own closets, it also shifted public opinion as a whole. We will see more of this as we make our way into the new millennium.

 

What do you remember about the public opinion of homosexuality from the 90s?

Next post: Examining the Drastic Changes in Public Opinion—The 2000s


Normalizing Homosexuality (pt 1)

You see evidence of it everywhere. You can’t miss it- even if you try. You may like it, hate it, dismiss it, or even applaud it; but one thing you can’t do is ignore it. The campaign to normalize homosexuality is real.

Let me be clear: I do not aim to be offensive. I use the word normalize to convey the dramatic shift in public opinion about the matter in just a few decades. My intentions for writing and sharing these ideas are four: 1) to examine the drastic change in public opinion, 2) to explore the potential motivation of the unseen parties behind (what I’ll call) the gay agenda, 3) to publish One Black Man, Inc. survey results on homosexuality and 4) to introduce (insert) my personal thoughts into the discussion about homosexuality and Black manhood.

Whether one agrees or disagrees with the notion of same-gender sexual relationships, we can all agree that there are more people today who identify themselves as homosexual than 20 years ago. We can also agree that media depictions of homosexual relationships have increased exponentially and that upcoming generations are more tolerant of “alternative lifestyles.”  Upon noticing these observations, I wondered what other people thought of the matter. I decided to conduct some research of my own. Before we get into the results, however, I want to take a quick look at the morphing of the views of homosexuality in my short lifetime.

Examining the Drastic Changes in Public Opinion—The 1980s

When I was growing up in the 80s, homosexuality was taboo. People accused of being gay were ridiculed with names like sissy, faggot, and queer. There was a degree of shame and embarrassment associated with homosexuality, and nobody wanted to be linked with such behaviors or labels. AIDS was also connected with homosexuality on a large scale. Looking back at Oprah’s 1987 coverage of AIDS in Williamson, West Virginia, one can not only see how ignorant the American public was concerning the disease, but how vehemently opposed to the homosexual lifestyle most Americans were at the time.

 

 

Next post: The 1990s

 

 


Remembering Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson died on June 25, 2009. It was a sudden and almost abrupt exit that literally shocked the world. There have been conspiracies surrounding his death and even speculations circulating about him faking his death. Unfortunately, there have also surfaced rumors of some activities that he engaged in during his life. Among them are the ideas that Jackson, a purported follower of Alister Crowley, conjured the spirit Cybele – the goddess of the nature/ fertility. Some have said he worshipped her and that some of his love songs are written to her.

For the sake of where this post is going, let’s say that these accusations are true. Let’s say Jackson, through rituals and other methods, got in touch with the Spirit of Nature. Let’s say they communed with each other. Let’s say he wrote songs to please her and to make the world aware of how she is hurting and in need of healing.

Michael Jackson’s message was one of love and healing and taking care of the planet. At the end of the movie, “This Is It” I heard something that was VERY interesting. Right before they prayed after one of the rehearsals, Michael Jackson said something to his team to inspire them. “We have four years to get it right or else it’s irreversible to manage what we’ve done…”

If Jackson was in communication with Cybele, did he know something that we didn’t know? Was he a messenger? What do you think he referring to? What can we do to reverse what we’ve done? What are the consequences?

I don’t have the answers, but I do have a few thoughts. The weather has been changing drastically over the last few decades. Biblical predictions seem to be coming to pass. Did Jesus know more about the Earth than we give him credit? Is our planet really unintelligent? Over the last 6000, we have done so much to hurt the third rock from the sun. Our lifestyles have become so demanding and are based on so much ignorance that they now require the destruction of the Earth. Perhaps nature is responding to us in some way. A warning? Or have we already received warnings?

As we remember Michael Jackson on the anniversary of his death, let’s not reduce him to a mere musician. Let’s remember him as a philanthropist and one who had a heart toward humanity and taking care of the planet. Let us hear anew the songs and follow the advice given in them… before it’s too late.


Lauryn Hill Speaks Truth

I respect Lauryn Hill. Not just because she is a great actress, or a talented musician, because she is a gifted poet, or a committed mother. Above all this, I respect her because she speaks truth. I think this is what made so many people resonate with her work. Her spiritual journey is inspirational to be (being on one myself). She is conscious, unapologetic about her authentic expression, and unafraid to shine the light of truth on corruption, illusions, and lies.

Recently, the public was made aware of Hill’s failure to file tax charges. I was sickened to see how the public tried to slander her character and make her look like a villain (or at least an incompetent citizen)– especially since I have accepted the argument that income taxes are unconstitutional. But I was not surprised because the true villain always depicts the victim as the villain in an attempt to distract the masses from opening their eyes to the reality of the true villain’s identity. Although Hill does address the argument concerning the corrupt history of taxing labor and where the money from taxes go, her statement is captivating and full of truth about the music industry and the bullying and manipulation that goes on behind the scenes. I dare not paraphrase or summarize. Read her words for yourself.

On her Tumblr page, Lauryn Hill spoke the following truth:

“For the past several years, I have remained what others would consider underground.  I did this in order to build a community of people, like-minded in their desire for freedom and the right to pursue their goals and lives without being manipulated and controlled by a media protected military industrial complex with a completely different agenda.  Having put the lives and needs of other people before my own for multiple years, and having made hundreds of millions of dollars for certain institutions, under complex and sometimes severe circumstances, I began to require growth and more equitable treatment, but was met with resistance.  I entered into my craft full of optimism (which I still possess), but immediately saw the suppressive force with which the system attempts to maintain it’s control over a given paradigm.  I’ve seen people promote addiction, use sabotage, black listing, media bullying and any other coercion technique they could, to prevent artists from knowing their true value, or exercising their full power.  These devices of control, no matter how well intentioned (or not), can have a devastating outcome on the lives of people, especially creative types who must grow and exist within a certain environment and according to a certain pace, in order to live and create optimally.

I kept my life relatively simple, even after huge successes, but it became increasingly obvious that certain indulgences and privileges were expected to come at the expense of my free soul, free mind, and therefore my health and integrity.  So I left a more mainstream and public life, in order to wean both myself, and my family, away from a lifestyle that required distortion and compromise as a means for maintaining it.  During this critical healing time, there were very few people accessible to me who had not already been seduced or affected by this machine, and therefore who could be trusted to not try and influence or coerce me back into a dynamic of compromise. Individual growth was expected to take place unnaturally, or stagnated outright, subject to marketing and politics.  Addressing critical issues like pop culture cannibalism or its manipulation of the young at the expense of everything, was frowned upon and discouraged by limiting funding, or denying it outright.  When one has a prolific creative output like I did/do, and is then forced to stop, the effects can be dangerous both emotionally and psychologically, both for the artist and those in need of that resource.  It was critically important that I find a suitable pathway within which to exist, without being distorted or economically strong-armed.

During this period of crisis, much was said about me, both slanted and inaccurate, by those who had become dependent on my creative force, yet unwilling to fully acknowledge the importance of my contribution, nor compensate me equitably for it.  This was done in an effort to smear my public image, in order to directly affect my ability to earn independently of this system.  It took a long time to locate and nurture a community of people strong enough to resist the incredibly unhealthy tide, and more importantly see through it.  If I had not been able to make contact with, and establish this community, my life, safety and freedom, would have been directly affected as well as the lives, safety and freedom of my family.  Failure to create a non toxic, non exploitative environment was not an option.

As my potential to work, and therefore earn freely, was being threatened, I did whatever needed to be done in order to insulate my family from the climate of hostility, false entitlement, manipulation, racial prejudice, sexism and ageism that I was surrounded by.  This was absolutely critical while trying to find and establish a new and very necessary community of healthy people, and also heal and detoxify myself and my family while raising my young children.

There were no exotic trips, no fleet of cars, just an all out war for safety, integrity, wholeness and health, without mistreatment denial, and/or exploitation.  In order to liberate myself from those who found it ok to oppose my wholeness, free speech and integral growth by inflicting different forms of punitive action against it, I used my resources to sustain our safety and survival until I was able to restore my ability to earn outside of it!

When artists experience danger and crisis under the effects of this kind of insidious manipulation, everyone easily accepts that there was something either dysfunctional or defective with the artist, rather than look at, and fully examine, the system and its means and policies of exploiting/’doing business’.  Not only is this unrealistic, it is very dark in its motivation, conveniently targeting the object of their hero worship by removing any evidence that they ‘needed’ or celebrated this very same resource just years, months or moments before.  Since those who believe they need a hero/celebrity outnumber the actual heroes/celebrities, people feel safe and comfortably justified in numbers, committing egregious crimes in the name of the greater social ego.  Ironically diminishing their own true hero-celebrity nature in the process.

It was this schism and the hypocrisy, violence and social cannibalism it enabled, that I wanted and needed to be freed from, not from art or music, but the suppression/repression and reduction of that art and music to a bottom line alone, without regard for anything else…(Read More)


The Dangers of Simplification

We are living in a time when everything is simplified. The thought is that if one can grasp an idea reduced to its simplest form, the person will be in a place to understand the complexities of the matter. Truth, knowledge, and information presented in this idea over a period of time, however, causes the receiver to become a simple thinker, virtually incapable of handling complex notions and profundities outside of surface level to which they have become accustomed.

My point: everything is simple and complex at the same time. Don’t settle for the superficial. There is merit in the journey considering the complex. If one never takes this journey, which most minds (in public education) have been trained to resist, thinking will be forever underdeveloped and thoughts will not come to full maturity. Critical and independent thought, therefore, are skills few will really possess.

Solutions:


1)    Read more. Don’t become like a sheep and do everything that everybody is doing and neglect what should be done. The mind (as little as we know about it) is truly a terrible thing to waste. Mental energy is squandered far too often on activities that have become normal in present day society.

Tangent: books are the best things to read. The screens on computers, ipads, phones, etc. are not good for the eyes.

2)    Teach yourself. Don’t be content with information acquired though formal education. What one teaches him/herself is remembered to a greater degree than what one is forced to learn, and what one learns on his own is the area where he/she will eventually develop expertise. Remember: words don’t teach; experiences do.

Tangent: don’t sleep on the power of the media. TV seeks to provide a second hand experience as a teacher where the viewer will live vicariously through the story. In reality, TV/movies don’t teach, they program. Too much media has a stupefying affect on the viewer. Expressed in another way, formal education (in my thinking) is not limited to what one learns in school, but anything that perpetuates the system in which we live, or feeds to the masses in order to keep them “in line.”

3)    Ask questions. All knowledge is birthed from questions people pose to themselves.

Tangent: the answer is not more important than the quest to find the answer. The quest will be useful, even if the answer/ conclusion one reaches is found to be wrong/unbeneficial over time. I say this because truth is stumbled upon during the quest. Truth is higher than knowledge and comes through revelation/inspiration from upper realms after reflecting on or in the midst of a first hand experience. In summary, knowledge comes from the answers to questions asked and truth comes from the quest to find the answer. They are not always the same. Knowing truth is preferred over having knowledge—even though knowledge is a step in acquiring truth.


Video

Black is Power


Honoring by Remembering

We don’t have many things think to remind us of how things used to be. Because we don’t have anything to remind us of how things used to be we are not sensitive to the past—and because we are not sensitive, we unconsciously disrespect the past. When we show no regard for the past, we jeopardize our standings in the present and the future. We remain in a blinded state because we choose to ignore the light that the past sheds on the present and the future. I believe that if we had reminders here and there, we would be more focused—we would be more inspired and more inspirational. But when we forget, we lose something… we lose innocence and wisdom. We lose the hopeful naiveté that accompanies the potential that comes with being inspired by the past—the nervous energy that is comforted when we find strength in our story. We also lose the wisdom that the past teaches and the insight that hindsight brings. I believe that if we had reminders of the past, we would be so lost in distractions now. We wouldn’t be as caught up in acceptance because we would have a basis or foundation on which we could stand—our esteem of self and race would be higher because the innocence and wisdom of a knowledge of the past would ever be before us. In other words, knowledge of history builds confidence. It builds esteem, it lifts spirits and tears down fears and doubts that lies produce. that ignorance produces. We cannot stay frozen in a state of recall, or paralyzed in a posture of looking back, but we must move forward in true progress—making history while remembering it… moving forward while looking back. Sankofa.


Get It Together and Stop Reacting!

by: Melinda N. Gainer

For the past few days, I have watched my newsfeed flood (almost assaulted) with video, written stories, and pictures regarding the heinous murder of this baby-faced, seventeen year old, black male. I’ve read the banter among my Facebook friends and their friends, I’ve witnessed the support for rallies and have read numerous blogs all surrounding this injustice…I’ve said nothing. Not because this situation is not worth talking about, but because this situation is nothing new to Black America. While many are outraged about Trayvon’s death, I am outraged because of a much bigger picture.

Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr.,  citizens of Florida, Roland Martin, college students, Facebook users, are forming rallies, signing petitions, and are writing blogs every single day, but where was everyone almost 18 years ago when a black man in the South was ambushed, chained to a truck and dragged to death, dismembering his limbs, by white supremacists? And now in the age of Facebook, where were the FB posts, last year, when 7 drunk white teenagers, went on a hunt to “find a nigger” in Brandon, Mississippi; they beat a 46 year old black father and ran overhim with a F-250 truck? Where were the FB posts, when Michael Vick went to jail for participating in a dogfight (his worth was compared to that of an animal whenhe was jailed)? Where were the FB posts, about 6 years ago, when Marcus Dixon was put in jail for having sex with his white “girlfriend” but her parents called it rape? Where ARE the FB posts, when black children are being kicked out of school for minor offenses such as using cellphones? Where are the FB posts, protesting these Southern Governors who are creating Bills to make voting extremely difficult for minorities, on the brink of a Presidential race to re-elect a Black man? Where are the FB posts, protesting the disrespect this country has had for Barack Obama, even by often omitting his title President? Where are FB posts when Rick Santorum makes statements during his GOP primary rallies that suggest the country needs to stop giving everything to blacks?

The issue I have with OUR people, is it takes Trayvon Martin for us to go bonkers, but all of the other underlying racism and hatred we seem to miss. I even read sophomoric posts that somewhat scrutinize the “Black President” for not doing more. Our president is under an immense level of stress and while he has wrongfully addressed other state issues in his federal capacity, this may not be something he needs to speak about just yet, but for the sake of this conversation, say he hasn’t said or done enough…nor have our Black congressmen, black governors, black mayors, black lawyers, black presidents of sororities and fraternities, black doctors, black professional athletes and entertainers, black teachers, black union leaders, black mothers, black fathers, black preachers said enough either.

We are such a reactive group of people. This is why our race will continue to be 30 steps behind. At one time, blacks were at least second-class citizens in America today we are being outpaced by every other race. Even this Hispanic Zimmerman has more rights as a partial immigrant than a black man. We are being outpaced not because all other races are any better but because of situations like this. We react in the wake of something…they plan decades down the road. If we were to band together and fight for justice, fight for equality, and fight to improve our brothers and sisters who are clearly making a mockery of every struggle our ancestors had, we would not be able to prevent senseless murders, but we would be able to ensure we are receiving more than adequate justice.

We think we have arrived and we are owed something by this government. We are content with being able to share filthy water fountains and social space with white people so much so that we forget about everything that still needs to be done for our race. Half of us are so radically black that we miss everything sitting in front of us and others of us are so radically blind thinking “some of my best friends are white” that we have missed the continuous struggle that has in essence gotten worse. Our people are too focused on being rappers, video vixens, and welfare recipients or highly religious, extremely militant, or obsessively upper middle class. We are failing because we are a reactive society. We just sit back and wait for something to happen to be outraged.

So, you black people who have suddenly become so black…and so outraged, open your eyes. This has happened, will happen and will continue to happen as long as we protest WHEN things happen instead of plan BEFORE they happen. In a few weeks, FB posts, pictures, and videos about this young man will fade away, you will not post about the work that needs to be done by our leaders or even those of us who sit quietly in our homes or at the Ritz Carlton having brunch on Sunday’s with our friends…you will be back to posting statements, pictures, and videos about your food, your natural hair process, your cars, Dancing with the Stars, your outfits and makeup, your Black Girl Run marathon shots, your vacations and maybe even your children getting dressed for Easter but you will not address the ongoing issues that are plaguing this race and our people. Get it together and stop reacting!

 

Melinda N. Gainer is a freelance event planner. She recently re-launched her
event-planning company Eventually Yours, after leaving her alma mater, Hampton University. Prior to this new opportunity, Melinda was the Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admission and an Adjunct Professor in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications. Melinda is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and has served on the board for Girls, Incorporated of South Hampton Roads. In her spare time, she enjoys entertaining for friends, gardening, and writing. To reach Melinda, contact her at Melinda.gainer@gmail.com

 


Why I Will Not Wear a Hoodie

I thought there was momentum.

I thought people were angry enough to do something.

I thought the world would finally see the younger generation in action.

I thought wrong.

Instead of meaningful, power-shifting action, we got a bunch of silly instructions on how to “honor” Trayvon’s life, or express discontentment for Zimmerman freedom.

 

  • Use a black magic marker to make a cardboard sign that says, “I am Trayvon Martin.”
  • Take a picture of yourself holding the sign and wearing a hoodie. Be sure you have a sad or defeated expression in the picture. Post it on your Facebook wall. Hashtag “Trayvon Martin.”
  • Buy a pack of skittles.
  • Eat them and save the wrapper.
  • Send the wrapper and a strongly worded letter to the police station in Florida that didn’t arrest Zimmerman.

 

I will not buy skittles and send a letter because I will not make Skittles® rich trying to make a statement that no one will hear.

 

I will not wear a hoodie because Trayvon was not killed because he was wearing a hoodie. Trayvon was killed because he was black!

I will not wear a hoodie because wearing a hoodie will not put an end to ideas and systems fueled by white supremacy that gave birth to the racism that killed Trayvon and a countless number of others!

I will not wear a hoodie because it shouldn’t take a million people wearing hoodies for Black people to get justice!

 

I am becoming annoyed.

What are we doing? What are we accomplishing?

I wonder if people really think that displaying unity by wearing a hoodie will get to the root cause of Trayvon’s death.

I wonder if people really think that Obama’s acknowledgment that his son would look like Trayvon will not ensure that such a flagrant disregard of justice will not happen again.

Why is it that our people are limited to such ineffective means of protesting? Whatever happened to the notion of never forgive, never forget, never again? Why not create a strategy that will empower those in society who are unprotected by the same laws that protect racist murderers?

 

 

Are we afraid of revolution? Are we afraid of our own power? Are we afraid of success?

I think so. But if not, let’s get on with it!

 

 

 

 


Crying for Help: Parallels between Trayvon Martin and the Black Community and What We Must Do

I listened to the 911 call that records young Trayvon’s last moments before he was premeditatedly murdered in cold-blood.  A neighbor, after hearing repeated cries for help, did her part to help by calling 911. If you listen carefully in the background, you can hear Trayvon desperately pleading for anybody to step in and do something to help him and save his life.

It’s heartbreaking. It’s frustrating. It’s angering.

The reason it’s so angering is because when you contrast the main characters, you can easily see how uneven the match is. On one hand, you have an armed racist who is carrying out a perverted interpretation of an assignment to keep his neighborhood safe. On the other hand there is a defenseless and unprepared youth who had no idea of the trouble he was in, or the mentality of the person he was up against. And when I look at it in this way, I see this as a lot bigger than Trayvon. This whole situation parallels Black people, and if we don’t learn lessons from this tragedy, we will be cold bloodedly destroyed just the same.

I will not use this space to present the whole case of how there are a groups of people who have taken on a perverted and sinister assignment to cleanse/ purify the human race while drastically decreasing the world’s population. I don’t want to spend too much time talking about how, like Zinnerman, lies are being perpetuated by the media about the victims before the murder that will justify and protect the actions of the murderer.

I do, however, want to briefly show how we, as a people, are in the same position as Trayvon Martin, unaware of who our enemies are, and unprepared to defend ourselves once we are attacked. Whether you agree with violence or not (and I am not necessarily advocating it), you cannot disagree with the natural inclination to protect and defend one’s self in times of trouble. You also cannot deny the physical, emotional, economic, and other kinds of violence that is inflicted upon Black people daily.

What is our response to such violence? We march and protest—yelling for someone else to help us. Why can’t we help ourselves? Don’t we know that if we leave it up to the people who are designated to help us, we will find ourselves in the position of Trayvon and so many others—screaming for help as a dispatch officer asks Good Samaritans a bunch of unnecessary questions?

Even after this tragic event, there is a united outcry for help. But as admirable as said unity is, I question the efficacy of such outcries. For instance, Trayvon’s parents are crying for help. “All we want is justice for our son.” To whom is Mr. Martin directing his statement? The governor of Florida who said that he will look to see that “justice prevails”? I hope we don’t think that he means that Trayvon’s murderer will be prosecuted. All that means is that the structure will carry out its process.

It’s funny. We can look at movies like A Time to Kill (1996) starring Samuel L. Jackson and Enough (2002) starring Jennifer Lopez, sympathize with the character who is denied justice and celebrate when the main character takes justice into their own hands but when it comes to real life we make signs and beg enemies to give us justice and cry when they do not. Smh.

It’s funny. We can be in agreement with the government when they hang Saddam Hussein and “kill” Osama Bin Laden or other enemies of America, but when it comes to dealing with our enemies we are limited to forgiving them or calling some big time preachers to hold press conferences so we can demand that a corrupt system run by our historic enemies use their resources to lift us out of our rut of defenselessness and powerlessness. The presupposition with such a cry is that the justice system works for us! But it doesn’t. Once we accept this truth—that Black people have never been tried by a jury of their peers or been given a fair trial in America, or that white people are permitted to murder Black people with impunity, we will stop begging America for it. If you want justice, you’ve got to secure it for yourself!

Trayvon’s mother should not have spent the last month of her life and the first weeks of her grieving period to call for the arrest of her son’s murderer. The family shouldn’t have to ask Americans to sign a petition. Shm. I am sorely disgusted.

Let us not get consumed with getting Zimmerman arrested. Zimmerman is just one of many. Let’s not get consumed with seeing that Trayvon “get’s justice.” He, too, is one of a slue of others who have not and will not in the present system. Instead, let’s use our energy to organize ourselves and empower ourselves so that we are not dependent on any other entity to protect us, defend us, or give us justice.

The time is now!