Surely there's got to be more to life than this ish...
It makes my chest thump when I watch the video and just think about how we're wasting our time trying to live in the now. I'm not trying to bring anyone down or say that we can't even have a good time, it's just...well I mean there's got to be more to life than this.
I've been reading a lot lately, trying to keep up with current events and things that effect the 'community'...damn the world is depressing. I can see why people choose to remain blind to the ills of society - it's enough to kill your soul if you let it. I haven't written much lately for a couple of reasons, one being that all this ish I've been reading is just depressing.
All that we do and all that we are is all wrapped up and connected to the results of the slave trade in North America - no duh, right? Sure, we can all say we know it ties together, but to see it...to really SEE it, THAT is a mental trip. I can see why fear and complacency have taken precedence over activism and outrage - people want to survive, to make a way, to find some kind of grip on the situation. It's much easier to just ignore the big elephant in the room than to address the fact that the sucker's stench makes it awfully hard to breath. Whatever, we're self-destructing right before our very eyes and yet we do nothing.
And I could go on and on about this, but really...who cares? Truly there are those of you out there who might be writing or doing your own part to make the world a better place, and I applaud you....I even hope that I too am accomplishing some greater good by sharing my thoughts like this, but I digress. The point is, no one wants to be told they're doomed - it's a freakin kill-joy, right? Right. Even as I write all of this, my gut is saying 'so what?' Who cares? How can you get folks to do more than listen and/or discuss ideas? How can you mobilize people?
Black folks severely underestimate themselves. I think if we realized just how much potential we had...the power we have in this country, which we just allow to be manipulated at will by slick politicians and even some of our own Black 'leaders'...it's just going to waste! If only we'd move together...more than a march, a sit-in, a mock funeral...when are we gonna get sick and tired of being sick and tired? Handouts don't do us any good, neither does this false hope we cling to of a Black leader who will act as messiah to lead us out of the mess we've allowed ourselves to fall into. Responsibility and accountability need to find their way back into our vocabulary.
I understand why we live for today - we no longer believe we'll have a tomorrow; we believe that today is all we have. Longevity is a dead concept to us, and the here & now is all that seems to hold any weight.
Do you realize how depressing this shit is to me?
Today I offer no solutions, no words of encouragement; I'm just one solemn sista right now. How do you mobilize a people who don't want to be mobilized????
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Surely there's got to be more to life than this ish...
Sunday, May 13, 2007
After the fall-out over Don Imus's ridiculous comments and his subsequent dismissal from MSNBC and CBS, the Black community, lead by Al Sharpton and others, has taken on the Hip Hop community in an effort to lay the N-word and all other derogatory images to rest.
Now, I agree that holding our musicians accountable is a great idea. However, it does border censorship and is close to violating the 1st Amendment. I find that the problem isn't fully the fault of the Hip Hop community, but that of our own as consumers as well.
Artists make music that sells - plain and simple. It it weren't trendy or cool to portray these skewed and misleading images of Black women and Black culture, the artists wouldn't do it because we as the consumers wouldn't support it. The sad thing is that we live in a society where sex, profanity, and anything else that 'pushes the envelope' sells - and it sells very well.
Al and the gang have taken this war against rap and run with it. He's lead marches, pickets, and even mock funerals - yes funerals (http://washingtoninformer.com/A1ImusAftermath2007Apr17.html) in front of some of the big record headquarters. Even the NAACP has joined in on the crusade to bury the N-word and has announced it will hold a symbolic mock funeral of its own at an upcoming National Convention to mark the end of the infamous racial slur (http://www.eurweb.com/story/eur33189.cfm).
Perhaps it's the cynic in me...but a mock funeral? Is that supposed to move enough of is to stop using this word?
Words have power - far more power than we give them credit for. I don't think we as a people fully understand the gravity of using the N-word and the collective damage it does to us as a society. Yes, I understand the logic that we have adapted the N-word to take on a seemingly 'harmless' meaning...But if were truly harmless, then why are we so protective and choosy as to who can and can't say it and when, where, and why?
Whether we like to admit it or not, the N-word has the power to evoke pain, hate, and anger within all of us. In the 'wrong hands' it has potential to harm us and make us feel shamed as we recall a time in our history where we were treated inhumanely and were looked upon as being the lowest of the low in this country.
So why do we continue to throw such a potent word around so carelessly?
It's obvious we are still sensitive to the word's meaning, yet we somehow justify its usage amongst our own. That's not only hypocritical, but it's also rather illogical. With so many words in the English language, why do we choose to use that one to communicate brotherhood or a communal bond? Have we really short-changed our intelligence so much that we've actually convinced ourselves that a word that used to degrade us is now somehow acceptable for us to use when addressing one another?
Irregardless of how you say/spell it, the word is dangerous and we need to understand why...why we shouldn't use it, why it does us more harm than good, and really why we thought it'd be a good idea to use it to begin with.
H. Lewis Smith wrote a good article on the 'N-word Syndrome' as he calls it, and I encourage you to read it (http://blacknews.com/pr/burythatsucka401.html). We need to stop pretending as if the N-word doesn't have weight and begin to hold ourselves (and one another) accountable.
If we want to be heard and to move forward in our struggle for equality and self-respect, we as a people need to grow up and stop turning a blind eye and deaf ear to language and actions we know to be detrimental to us as a community. It isn't just the rappers who ought to be changing for the better, it's us too. Each one of us needs to make a conscious effort to move away from the negative images and stereotypes that plague us, and move towards taking steps to uplift one another.
It's time for us to wake up and lay the n*gger to rest once and for all.
Posted by CongoBrava at 7:36 PM
Mothers are truely God's gift to the wrold. There's something marvelous and awe-inspiring about the love and strength one finds in mothers. I realize not all of us have been blessed with an extrordinaryrelationship with the one who gave birth to us, but recognize that mothers and motherly figures are everywhere.
There is something special and somehow just unexplicably beautiful about a nurturing and loving mother figure. I've been blessed enough to have an extremely loving mother and an extrodinarily strong grandmother...the both of them have set standards that I look forward to upholding when I have children of my own one day.
For those of you who don't have a mom or motherly figure, I say...look around you. It's crazy, but we are all related...all kin to one another through God's love. That woman down that lives down the hall, the lady at the grocery store, the women at your church/place of worship - all of them are your mothers, sisters, aunties, grandmothers...we as women need to see that in one another and treat each other accordingly.
In a world as cold and unforgiving as this, it benefits no one to make this journey alone. We are only as isolated as we allow ourselves and one another to be. I say, reach out to one another and show each other the love, respect, and honor befitting of your brethren and sistren. What harm can it truely do you to offer a little bit of kindness to someone else?
You never know how one might benefit from your small act of kindness.
So I guess on this Mothers' Day I thank God for all the women who have crossed my path, for they have all mothered and nurtured my spirit in some way. And I hope that you out there might be blessed and appreciate the women in your own lives.
Posted by CongoBrava at 7:28 PM
Thursday, May 10, 2007
I feel like I’m trying to re-teach myself how to think…that all the information and perspectives I thought I ‘knew’ were really tried and true. I realize now, that while I had an earnest desire to make a difference, to be a part of the solution, that I didn’t (and to an extent still don’t) fully understand the problem.
I’ve said for some years now that I’ve felt as though our community has become complacent; it’s a subject that would oft appear in several of my poems. I feel like we’re approaching a point where the next generation coming up won’t give two sh!ts about the ‘struggle’ because we keep telling them that we’ve made it – we now perceive the ‘struggle’ as a romanticized version of what should be viewed as fervent and extreme activism. We don’t believe in the ‘struggle’ anymore; it’s just a buzz phrase. Now that we can drink from the same fountains as whites, get the ‘same’ (think vaguely similar) job opportunities as whites, and we can sit wherever we please on the bus, we think we’ve made it.
We fail to recognize and really take a hard and honest look at the disparities that still plague our race. We’re still shorted in equal pay and promotions for equal work, it’s hard for us to get proper health care and insurance, we’re killing one another, unsupportive of our own Black businesses, we’re seldom heard in political arenas, and the list goes on and on…we’re a joke to the rest of society.
We don’t want to think for ourselves…we’ve convinced ourselves that we can’t and that it’d be much easier if we’d allow others to do the thinking for us.
If our ancestors were alive, they’d whoop our asses for not daring to be Uppity and challenge authority and policy…for shunning the idea that we can (and need to) work together in order to overcome some of the ills that plague our community.
I’ve oft thought that maybe something bad needs to happen – like something really bad that threatens to wipe us out or will drastically change for the worse the mediocre quality of life that we continuously con ourselves into thinking we enjoy. I don’t know what kind of event…but what I do know is that extreme tragedy and hardship…the persecution of a people/group, will inevitably result in the unification of the oppressed and the uprising of that same group.
We used to be a culture that was community-based. I’m not saying that there was no room for individuality, but when we were stolen away to this continent we realized that we had to overcome language and cultural differences among one another to work together and fight to survive. It wasn’t a ‘he’ or a ‘she’ or a ‘them’ thing…it was an 'us' thing. I think we as a people have been here for too long. We’ve forgotten ‘us’ and what it meant to be a community. We’re so intertwined with the American ideals of individuality and monetary gain that we fail to realize and accept the fact that when a people are still severely behind in the race, that trying to play by their rules and going solo will not work. When you’re a part of a system designed without your best interests at heart, and you’re still trying to recover from the @ss whooping that was the slave trade and Jim Crow, you need to get together with your fellow man and work through the system as a team – as a community.
Why can’t we see that? (a rhetorical question…think on it)
We can only see what we allow ourselves to see. That which we convince ourselves we’re ready to see.
The problem with using force to get us to move collectively is that we will resist. It’s like a mother forcing her child to eat veggies…yea it might be good for the child in the long run, but they will resist just because it’s being forced upon them and they cant see the future beneficial nature of their mother’s present actions. I agree with the thought that there is a need for taking action, but I don’t believe that force is the way to accomplish people to move.
Think about the movie The Matrix. We, in a manner of speaking, are caught up in our own pseudo-reality. Now, Neo and Morpheus couldn’t very well go around unplugging just any and every body. They sought out those who were ready to be shown the truth. Even Neo…he had to be willing to seek the truth and question things on his own before he could be brought out. So it is and must be with us.
One of the most dangerous weapons we have is our minds. An educated (not college educate, but life educated) Black person can be a fearful thing.
That is what we need. We need more folks willing to ask the questions, to seek the answers, and to act upon them.
Forcing the truth down peoples’ throats is a surefire way to have them latch onto the very lies that have been keeping them in bondage. It’s like some perverse Stockholm Syndrome – you can’t rush in and save the victim, because they refuse to even acknowledge that their abuser is abusing them. The victim has to be given the rationale and snap out of it on their own for the bond to truly be broken.
To get free you have to not only desire freedom, but be willing to admit that you are part of the reason why you aren’t.
Posted by CongoBrava at 10:57 AM
Thursday, May 03, 2007
I don’t know where to start…I guess the main thing is that with all this new technology and constant influx of news and blogs and web magazines…there’s just TOO much information for me to process right now. I stopped reading blogs and newspapers for awhile. Not out of disinterest, but more so out of necessity for my sanity. There’s just too much to comment on…too much to think about…to many things to be concerned about. It’s hard to pick and choose what’s worth enough to blog about or to discuss with those few people in one’s circle that can handle intellectual conversations.
Dear Lord my head is swimming right now.
I had a wonderful conversation with a college buddy last night about my generation. Long story short, it left me feeling revived and encouraged to hear a peer, someone I know, doing positive things on a global scale. Talking through the various issues in the news now…we covered everything from Imus to Iraq and STILL had room for more convo, and had it not been for our own schedules I’m sure we could have gone on…but I digress.
I came to work today with the intent to get back into the swing of things. To see what people ‘out there’ are saying, to find the voices that I can identify with and issues that I also have an interest in. I spent the larger portion of my time at work today surfing the web, reading blogs, reading various news bytes…and THAT is why my head is swimming. In a world like this where ‘information’ is so readily available (albeit sometimes biased), it’s hard to pin down that one story, that one instance that you really want to take a deeper look at. Where does one truly begin?
And THAT is why I get stuck.
I’ve got a bad case of I-am-every-woman-it’s-all-in-me. I want to do it all, save everyone, comment on all things, and just…bleh. It’s not smart, feasible, or healthy, but nonetheless that is where I’m coming from. I’d even stopped writing poetry for awhile. I haven’t written since November, and that’s a long time for me. I’ve just stopped because I told myself I wanted to ‘listen’ and to absorb all that’s going on in the world. While there is truth in that I think that I also stopped because I was waiting for something, anything to give me fuel to say/write something that was worthwhile. Like I needed someone else to validate my own thoughts and emotions…I ought to slap myself for that mess. But now that I’m coming out of that quiet stage…I realize that these days it’s tough to discern which causes we support…there are so many to choose from. Part of what I came away from last night’s conversation with my friend was this: in spite of the desire to ‘heal the world,’ we can’t do it all in one smooth swoop. What we can do is find that one cause that really hits home…the one that strikes down to the core of our being, and make an effort to focus our energies in that singular direction.
I’m trying…really I am.
Still haven’t nailed it down, but I’m in the ball park. I know that God blessed me with certain gifts/skills – He gave them to each of us. I think I know what some of mine are, but I’m still at that point where it’s like…’Ok…now what?’ Even without an answer, I know what I want to and need to do…I need to read more. As much as I find myself being overwhelmed by all the opinions and stories floating out there, I’ve gotta get back into the habit of keeping up with what’s going on in the world…of what’s pertinent to my own interests and will help me to grow.
Like I said…I’m trying…but it still makes my head hurt to think of all that’s going on, and the desire to catch up on it all exceeds the human capacity of being able to process all that information. Even now the words on the screen are starting to look a little weird and I’m getting that funny little lump in my throat and the throbbing at the front of my forehead that let’s me know I’m on overload. It’s time for a dose of Mother Nature…I’ve got to get away from here for a minute.
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
I’ve taken up wine collecting as a new hobby. I still don’t know the in’s and outs, but I read about this place called Grape Legs over on 9th St, NW in DC. It’s a small spot, that you really wouldn’t know from any other liquor store, but I must say it’s a great place. Franco, the owner, knows a whole lot about wine and has opened up the store to carry inexpensive QUALITY wines, champagnes, and cognacs. He’s tasted about 2,000 different wine labels and the collection he has in his store represents the best and most unique of those he’s come across in his travels. He usually has a couple of bottles of wine open on a table in the store for people to taste and talk, which is great for folks who want to get a feel for the taste of a certain kind of wine before they plunge in for the buy. Last month a friend and I went to Grape Legs for the 1st time, and spent a good hour or so just talking with Franco and enjoying the wine. I came away with a $9 bottle of Savannah Cabernet Sauvignon from West Africa…LOVED it from the 1st sip I had in the store, it’ll definitely be a staple in my little collection. I’m planning to go back this weekend to snag a couple of bottles I liked when I was there last. Nothing better than a nice warm bubble bath and a good glass of red wine…*sigh* lovely ;)
As I sit here at work, I really have to take a moment and reflect upon how good God is and how wonderful He has been to me. While this world is in disarray and people are going mad and killing and doing all kinds of horrible things to one another…in the midst of the madness I have found my own peace and joy in my growing relationship with my Creator. It is all alright y’all…He’s got it under control and all things work according to His divine will – the good, the bad, and yes even the ugly. If you don’t already, try talking to Him about whatever is on your mind, He’s the only one I know who is always available and always willing to listen.
In other news…my dreads are kinda awesome. Freeforming is such a liberating experience…I just let my hair do its thing. I posted some updates in my fotki: http://public.fotki.com/congobrava For a lil bit I’d been fretting because my locs don’t do the cute little curls any more since they are growing, but I’ve gotten over it. I realize that as my hair grows, it provides me with an opportunity to experiment with different styles outside of curls. Example…today I managed to pull off a cute little flip (will post a picture later), and I think I’ve found another style that suits my hair at its current length. I’ve found that some of the locs I’ve combined a few months ago are growing in flat, and I’m excited about seeing them grow. Some of my thinner locs are doing well. For awhile I was concerned that they would fall/break off because they are so thin, but after looking at the locs of others, I figure I must be ok. Should they happen to break off (which I doubt), then oh well…I’ve been blessed with a head ful of locs, so no need to stress over losing a couple, right? Right. Now that the weather is getting nicer by the day (praise God for that) and the sun is out shining I can really see just how red my locs are, lol. I like it…it fits me. I’m beginning to see the color difference as my new growth comes in, but it doesn’t bother me. I cant get hung up on stuff like that, but I do think I might either re-color my head OR just do some highlights in the next month or so…we’ll see.
As an update on my marathon training…lol, um…yea, my bad on that. I still plan to run a marathon, and actually I’m thinking of joining this Team-In-Training (http://www.teamintraining.org/) this month to train for the Marine Corps Marathon in DC this October. I’ve been trying to get out there and jog every now and again, but alas…the lady has been rather tired lately. I think it might be that my energy level has dropped since I stopped going to bootcamp…booooo. But I’m gonna work it out, no worries.