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|Fri, August 4, 2017 at 7:53 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
It has been about a year since former San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick started his silent protest of the national anthem due to the oppression of Black people and police brutality. The protest went unnoticed in the beginning and it didn't gain notice until the third preseason game. Since then, Kaepernick's protest has become a national conversation about racism and has ultimately cost him a job in the NFL. Players and owners alike are having conversations about whether his presence would be a major distraction to a team. In the meantime, admitted woman beaters and drunkards continue to play.
Last year, Kaepernick donated $1 million of his NFL salary. He also donated all the royalties he received from his jersey sales. One hundred thousand dollars has been donated each month for the past 10 months. He also donated 100K to Meals on Wheels and Somalia Famine Charities. In January, he donated 25K to the Center for Reproductive Rights and 25K to the Coalition for Human Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles. One look at Kaepernick's website and you will see that this year he has benefited many organizations around the country with his most recent donation of 25K going to a group out of Chicago called Assata's Daughters. Kaepernick has also started the Know Your Rights Camp, a free campaign for youth fully funded by him to help raise awareness of higher education, self-empowerment, and for training on to properly interact with law enforcement in various scenarios.
The fact that no team has picked up Kaepernick is not only ridiculous but gives credence to the racism that is embedded in the fabric of our country. Kaepernick is not a bum when it comes to his skill. In 2012, he stepped into a starting position with the 49ers and led them to a Super Bowl that they lost to the Ravens. He has missed the playoffs for the past three years but is fully capable of being an NFL quarterback. The backlash is unwarranted but has proven beneficial to those on the receiving end of Kaepernick's philanthropy. His protest is due to the oppression of Black people and police brutality. He is directly affecting change with his actions and for this reason, I hope he never plays in the NFL ever again. The work is with the people. This is where he should be.
In recent news, Mike Vick, a convicted felon, said Colin should cut his hair to get back in the NFL. Ray Lewis who was once charged with two counts of murder had this to say to Kaepernick "The football field is our sanctuary," Lewis posted on his Twitter account. "If you do nothing else, young man, get back on the football field and let your play speak for itself. And what you do off the field, don't let too many people know, because they gonna judge you anyway, no matter what you do, no matter if it's good or bad."
Kaepernick met with the press early on during his protest to provide an explanation for his actions:
"I'm going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed. To me, this is something that has to change. When there's [a] significant change and I feel that flag represents what it's supposed to represent, and this country is representing people the way that it's supposed to, I'll stand. This stand wasn't for me. This is because I'm seeing things happen to people that don't have a voice, people that don't have a platform to talk and have their voices heard, and effect change. So I'm in the position where I can do that and I'm going to do that for people that can't.It's something that can unify this team. It's something that can unify this country. If we have these real conversations that are uncomfortable for a lot of people. If we have these conversations, there's a better understanding of where both sides are coming from. I have great respect for the men and women that have fought for this country. I have family [members], I have friends that have gone and fought for this country. And they fight for freedom, they fight for the people, they fight for liberty and justice, for everyone. That's not happening. People are dying in vain because this country isn't holding their end of the bargain up, as far as giving freedom and justice, liberty to everybody. That's something that's not happening. I've seen videos, I've seen circumstances where men and women that have been in the military have come back and been treated unjustly by the country they fought for, and have been murdered by the country they fought for, on our land. That's not right," said Kaepernick, addressing reporters at a 49ers preseason press conference
|Mon, July 3, 2017 at 12:25 AM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
Kodak Black needs a PR rep and media training immediately. He is still at the stage in his life where he thinks not having a filter is cool. He hasn''t grasped the concept of speaking your mind without offending others. Kodak has had his share of run-ins with the law and was just recently released from jail. I guess now that he is free he has decided to say what he wants. Social media has a way of giving you the illusion that you can say what you want. For example, about a week ago someone asked Kodak on his Instagram live what he thought about KeKe Palmer. "Keke Palmer, she straight, I''d bag her, but I don''t really like black girls like that, sorta kinda." Kodak said. Of course Kodak got destroyed on Twitter and because he was being attacked he went back to social media to clarify his stance right before he deleted his instagram "I love Black African American women its just not my forte to deal with a "darskin" woman I prefer them to have a lighter complexion than me #MyPreference #F**kYou," I''m sure that worked exactly how he wanted to, but just to make sure while he was at a basketball game and some publication gave him another opportunity to make things right he says "If [a man] can say he like skinny women, if he prefers skinny women more than a chubby or heavy-set woman, he can say that and nobody will get mad at him," he said. "I can say that I don''t like women with my complexion, I like light skin women, I want you to be lighter than me. I love African-American women, but I don''t like my skin complexion." Then he says "We too gutter. Black people, my complexion, we too gutter," he said. "Light skin women, they''re more sensitive. [Dark skin women], they too tough. Light skin women, we can break ''em down more easy."
Now the founder of "The Slut Walk" Amber Rose is all hurt because she was so pretty and light skin when she was younger that it ruined her life and we should all come together as one color and sing bad and bougie in unison. In all truth, I don''t have any opinion on how Kodak Black or how Amber Rose feels. I have more of an opinion on what makes them feel the way that they do. I take issue with people acting like all of this is brand new. Ummmm...we live in America, where according to the Guardian and data collected for The Counted, Black males aged 15-34 were nine times more likely than other Americans to be killed by law enforcement officers last year. This is the same country where Bill Maher''s mention of the word House Nigger stirs up controversy because he used the word Nigger, but let''s be real if Bill was black he''d be light skin and probably would be a House Nigger and he would be happy about it. This is the same country where certain Black Greek organizations would used what is called the brown paper bag test to determine who their members would be. You can scan social media on any given day and see someone being accused of being light skin meaning acting weak, or shady, or whatever definition fits at the moment. Those same platforms may say some one is acting dark skin meaning being aggressive, tough and mean. It''s all just jokes until a celebrity says it then everybody is all up in arms. Colorism did not start with Kodak Black. He is a victim of it. So much so that he doesn''t even realize how he is perpetuating self hate by sharing a preference for a skin tone based on how he thinks someone with a darker skin tone acts. Miss me with the fake outrage about what Kodak said and let''s deal with how racism how clearly made us so sick that we don''t even love ourselves and the skin that we are in properly. There has been a race of people in this world who have conquered, colonized, raped and pillaged and they would pass the brown paper bag test with flying colors. So who is really gutta?It''s time we deal with this head on. And in the words of Posdanus from De La Soul "I know this so I point at Q-Tip and he states Black is Black." -Precis
|Sun, October 9, 2016 at 7:25 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
The Birth of a Nation was not going to be on my list of must-see movies, based on the information exposed about the film's writer and director Nate Parker. I made an emotional judgment out of loyalty to the women in my life that I would not go and see it. It felt like the right thing to do. A woman committed suicide for many reasons we do not know, but this specific situation had to add to her agony. I feel for her and her family and anyone who is enduring the type of pain that would cause them to take their own life.Ultimately as the movie release approached, I re-examined my position. I could not allow my emotion to keep me from experiencing a film that is so important to who we are. So, on the same day that the first Black president was raising funds for the election down the street from Kanye's Saint Pablo tour, I decided to go and see the film with no reservations.The film begins with a vision rooted in folklore, religion, and ancestry. Nat Turner is destined for the journey that he is on. The film then becomes another slave movie, except this time you know there will be accountability on the part of those unleashing pain and suffering on anyone with Black skin. As it happened, I found myself unfulfilled, as if it was not enough. Watching interactions with overseers and slaves juxtaposed with interactions that Black people are having in 2016 was eye-opening and sobering, but not surprising. I'm not sure what I expected.I left feeling everything but happiness. As I walked out of the doors of the theater I felt empty, angry, and sad. In the background, I heard murmurings of "Look at what our ancestors went through, and we still moving backward." The brothers I lock eyes with are speechless. What did we just watch? What are we called to do, who can we trust?I'm glad I decided to go see the film despite the controversy surrounding it. It struck a nerve in me that requires reality to be addressed. What are we willing to die for? Now is the time to straighten out our backs.Nat Turner should be honored, as a man who decided it was time to do something. Now, what do we do?
|Sun, November 29, 2015 at 1:02 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
News travels fast, particularly bad news. People have the ability to share their responses as soon as the news is reported. Social media is leveraged as a way of showing sympathy and support for those involved in these tragedies. Recently, a synchronized assault was carried out in France and over 100 people lost their lives. Facebook provided the ability to overlay the French flag over your profile picture to show support. In a matter of 24 hours, timelines were filled with images of the French flag, with millions standing in solidarity with France. In this same 24 hours something else happened, pictures of the massacre in Kenya that happened earlier this year began to resurface. In April of this year, 147 Kenyan students were killed by Somali militants. Pictures of the massacre carried out by Boko Haram in Nigeria where it has been reported that 2,000 people were massacred in January of this year also resurfaced. In the face of all this death and destruction, prayer wars are raging on the internet.
Every single drop of blood that is spilled as a result of an act of injustice against any group of people should be widely reported and memorialized. We should pray for their families and well-being. If we have the means, we should actually provide financial assistance when possible. I'm sure most people feel this way, but now people are gangbanging for compassion.
If we are honest with ourselves, we would admit that many of us did not know or had limited information about the massacres that happened in Kenya and Nigeria. This is because of lack of coverage and exposure, and one of the main things that is essentially wrong with mainstream media and their reports having to do with people of color around the world. People of color are upset about this lack of coverage and feel a personal affront when a tragedy happens on the same scale in a predominantly White country and the coverage seems endless and prominent.
People genuinely take issue with this for good reason, however, to diminish the loss of life because they are not of your race and culture is not acceptable. There are these groups of people who latch on to a tragedy and shame others who are not supporting what they are supporting. These types of individuals are reactionary sheep and post information without research or any context. These are the most irresponsible people. They present this façade as if they care and are concerned with what is going on, but really have no clue.
The energy that we use tripping over tragedies should be redirected to create an energy that is conducive to changing the world as a whole. It is time to heal, truly a time to pray for the end of war. If you really care, then do something about it. Changing your profile picture is like wearing a bracelet for a cause that interests you. It looks cool, but what does it really change
|Sun, November 29, 2015 at 12:56 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
The name Chiraq just kind of popped out of thin air. No one staked claim to it. Based on statistics as it relates to the deaths of soldiers in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it made sense. Chicago, which is compared to Iraq in the popular moniker, has always been riddled with violence. "Chiraq" is not some new phase that is happening because of the youth. It is in the nature of the city; it is in the nature of many cities across America.
When I first heard the term Chiraq, I didn't like it. I knew what it meant to the city as a whole and what it means to the inner-city more specifically. The term promotes visuals of war, flying bullets, fire, fear and destruction. I was one of the individuals speaking against this moniker because I didn't want people thinking those types of thoughts about my beloved city. Fast-forward and Chief Keef becomes the newest rap music sensation promoting a new genre of rap music called Drill. Drill comes off as a dark and eerie form of production with tales of murder, drug use and oddly enough celebration ("turnin' up"). So, the marriage between the terms Chiraq and Drill seems natural, especially with rates of murders and shootings escalating everyday in Chicago. It truly is a war zone, not in the sense that you would say people are fighting for some political end, more in the sense that disenfranchised people and misguided and impoverished youth are at war with who they are with regards to their identity. They don't know who they are at the core, so the thought of taking the life of someone else seems trivial and almost acceptable until it hits home.
Recently, Chicago's violence has been especially polarizing. Tyshawn Lee, 9, was lured into an alley on his way to his grandmother's house and killed. He was shot multiple times in the back and the head. Rumors are circulating that this is the result of something his father did. Tyshawn suffered the consequences. The same day, Kaylyn Pryor an aspiring model was shot and killed near the same neighborhood where Tyshawn was killed. The very next day, Spike Lee dropped the trailer of his newest film, Chi-raq. The internet caught fire. Many thought Spike was making light of the situation in Chicago. Spike has since made a public statement saying that this film is not making light of the current situation in Chicago. He also released an alternative, more serious trailer.
I had to ask myself a few questions after witnessing all of the uproar directed toward Spike and the lack of action with regards to Tyshawn and Kaylyn. When is it time for us to take responsibility? When is it time for us to remove any thoughts of fear and reclaim our neighborhoods? When do we start exercising economic empowerment? These are real questions and really it's up to us to make a move. The Black community can no longer point the finger at scapegoats and wait for saviors. It is up to us.
They call the neighborhood I grew up in "The Wild Hundreds." There is another neighborhood called "Terror Town" and another called "Murder Town." The list can go on. The point I'm making here is that no "name" is going to make us who we are. We make this choice as to who we are and how we are viewed.
I live in Chicago, affectionately known as Chi-town. Some people know it as Chiraq, because between the years of 2003-2012, 4,265 citizens were killed in Chicago, almost identical to the number of American soldiers who were lost at war during that time. We are at war in Chicago right now. It is a war of social standing, economics and equality. Spike Lee created a movie to shine a light on this battle zone. This battle zone exists, he did not create it, but we can fix it