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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.