Thursday, June 28, 2007
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation - which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.
Later attempts to explain this two and a half year delay in the receipt of this important news have yielded several versions that have been handed down through the years. Often told is the story of a messenger who was murdered on his way to Texas with the news of freedom. Another, is that the news was deliberately withheld by the enslavers to maintain the labor force on the plantations. And still another, is that federal troops actually waited for the slave owners to reap the benefits of one last cotton harvest before going to Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation. All or none of them could be true. For whatever the reason, conditions in Texas remained status quo well beyond what was statutory.
General Order Number 3
One of General Granger’s first orders of business was to read to the people of Texas, General Order Number 3 which began most significantly with:
"The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from
the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer."
The reactions to this profound news ranged from pure shock to immediate jubilation. While many lingered to learn of this new employer to employee relationship, many left before these offers were completely off the lips of their former 'masters' - attesting to the varying conditions on the plantations and the realization of freedom. Even with nowhere to go, many felt that leaving the plantation would be their first grasp of freedom. North was a logical destination and for many it represented true freedom, while the desire to reach family members in neighboring states drove the some into Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Settling into these new areas as free men and women brought on new realities and the challenges of establishing a heretofore non-existent status for black people in America. Recounting the memories of that great day in June of 1865 and its festivities would serve as motivation as well as a release from the growing pressures encountered in their new territory. The celebration of June 19th was coined "Juneteenth" and grew with more participation from descendants. The Juneteenth celebration was a time for reassuring each other, for praying and for gathering remaining family members. Juneteenth continued to be highly revered in Texas decades later, with many former slaves and descendants making an annual pilgrimage back to Galveston on this date.
Taken from http://www.juneteenth.com/
I respect Tyler Perry and his work a lot; this is a man who came up from homelessness to millionaire status all by the grace of God. His plays and movies have always had a positive spiritual message in them, and they’re something you can go see with the whole family. Now I haven’t caught House of Payne yet, as I don’t really do much TV these days, but I must say I was kinda surprised to hear that he’s already getting criticism…for having fat people on the show.
Apparently the critics (why do we listen to them anyway?) feel as though Tyler is perpetuating the stereotype of the ‘big Black Momma.’ Does this sound ridiculous to anyone else? There are several things I could say on the sheer hypocrisy of it all, but I think Tyler does it best when, in an email to his fans he states (emphasis added):
One person asked why does the mama have to be a "FAT BLACK WOMAN" and said that I am perpetuating stereotypes by putting these overweight people on the show, as if there are no fat black women in America that are mothers. My mother and aunts are fat black women. And that upsets me to think that people, especially Black people, would say that I'm doing a disservice to America by putting them on T.V. Skinny does not make you beautiful. There are all kinds of beautiful women in this world. And if we begin to look at the heart of a person rather than prejudge then we would see that we are missing some of the nicest and most talented people in the world. I'm sorry but I had to get that off my chest. I just don't like to see good people hurt because of ignorance and intolerance. Amen, Tyler. Amen. To read the whole article, go here.
Monday, June 18, 2007
Along with the popular Three Six Mafia show "Adventures In HollyHood" and the
curbside game show "Hood Fab," MTV Networks offers another take on Hood TV with "Dances From the Hood." (more...)
Because we all know how America loves another Minstrel Show. So um...when is the majority of Black America gonna wake up and realize the absurdity of something like this? Who needs white people in blackface when you can have Black folks in blackface?? It's the ultimate irony of ironies, is it not? Only...I don't know that these folks realize...or even care...that this is what they're doing.
For some reason I have the sudden urge to go watch "Bamboozled" again...anyone wit me?
Take it all in…so I’m lookin at the page, and of course I had to share the absurdity of it all with you, my lovely readers. Out of natural curiosity I take a look at some of his blog entries…
and I become a lil more disturbed. I guess this is some kind of BDSM thing?? Seems like the poor chap gets off on have a dominant Black woman tell him what to do, how to do it, and when.
Now…my questions of course are…
1. WHY is he in my extended network??
2. WHY did the man try to "friend" me? Was it the picture of me in the head wrap and the shades that did it? I was goin for neo-soul, not Black Militant Dominatrix Queen of All Whimpy White Men….WTF?! CLEARLY that’s my OTHER myspace page (I bet you clicked on the link, didn’t you!).
3. Is there something about me that’s particularly domineering?...scratch that, I know myself well enough to know the answer to that is a definitive and rather emphatic YES…but whatever, lol.
4. [childish whine] WHY does he have more friends than meeeeeee?!?!? [/childish whine]
So um…yea, random funny things that happen to me. Woot.
p.s. did I mention that our Black Power lovin friend Tony is a hair dresser? I wonder if I could order him to re-color my locs...my roots are lookin mighty black again...meh he might like that too much tho...
Friday, June 15, 2007
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
"I know of no group that is promising unless it's radical. If it's not radical it is in no way involved effectively in the present struggle."
"...the national leaders of the civil rights movement are out of touch with the problem and usually they are paid leaders....They are full-time leaders, they are professional leaders and whoever pays their salary has a great say-so in what they do and what they don't do, so naturally the ones who pay the salaries of these nationally known Negro leaders are the white liberals and white liberals are shocked and frightened whenever you mention anything about some X's."
"I've never heard of a non-violent revolution or a revolution that was brought about by turning the other cheek, and so I believe that it is a crime for anyone to teach a person who is being brutalized to continue to accept that brutality without doing something to defend himself."
"I'm non-violent as long as somebody else is non-violent—as soon as they get violent they nullify my non-violence."
"Revolution is like a forest fire. It burns everything in its path. The people who are involved in a revolution don't become a part of the system—they destroy the system, they change the system...the Negro Revolution is no revolution because it condemns the system and then asks the system that it has condemned to accept them into their system"
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Monday, June 11, 2007
"So for the past few years nearly every time I hear Black men nearing a point of emotional intimacy two words quickly have haunted the moment, "no homo." Picture this Sicily... err, I mean, so picture this, you've mentored a brother for the past 5 years, talked him through some major life issues: college, divorce, depression, women, etc. and he's about to take off for a far off land. He takes a moment to express his thanks for the love that you've showed him over the years and how you've improved his life and he punctuates his statement with "no homo." Not only has it happened once, but it's happened multiple times with the brothas that I've worked with. But the reason it urks me so much, is that so many of these brothas are the "good brothas", the brothas who have attempted to push on issues of gender, inequality at large and sexuality... well maybe not so much the latter.
The "no homo" movement seems to have grown directly out of Hip-Hop's obsession with hyper-masculinity. ( more...) "
I have definitely noticed this trend among Black men to use the words ‘no homo’ to downplay their display of emotions or affections. It bothers me. Namely because it gives the message that the showing of emotion or being kind to another man is a symbol of being homosexual, or that the outward display of emotion is clearly exclusive to homosexuals. Does anyone else find that to be ridiculous?
What is it about the Black man…yea, even the Black woman to an extent, that makes them SO damn homophobic? I surmise that perhaps it is because Black men tend to equate their masculinity to their penis – how big it is, how much sex they can get, and what kind of bodily orifices they are able to stick it in and how often. This juvenile mentality of “I am my penis” has hindered the Black male to really be able to come to grips with his own sexuality, and in turn has lead to womanizing, over compensating for a less than desirable penis size, and yes even homophobia.
Any real man will tell you that manhood is not the measure of your member’s size, nor is it tied to your sexual orientation. One of the best quotes I’ve hard about manhood reads as follows (emphasis added by me):
"A man, if he’s a mature adult, nurtures life. He does rituals that will help things grow, he helps raise the kids, and he protects the people. His entire life is toward balance and cooperativeness. The ideal of manhood is the same as the ideal of womanhood. You are autonomous, self-directing, and responsible for the spiritual, social, and material life of all those with whom you live." -Paula Gunn
Now where exactly does sexuality come into play with determining a man’s worth? I don’t think it does. Truly I think we have taken things too far when this ‘no homo’ catch-all phrase is being used to serves as some kind of disclaimer for Black men who feel like showing love, gratitude, or even appreciation of another male is somehow ‘unmanly.’ Furthermore, I believe that the use of said phrase automatically alerts me that the user of the phrase isn’t in touch with his manhood, and doesn’t have a firm grasp on his masculinity and what it means to be a man.
We get entirely too hung up on fitting into these neat little gender roles, and fail to realize that we are all made of the other. Every woman is feminine and masculine, and every man is masculine and feminine. We come to be as a combination of man and woman, and while a sexual gender is assigned to us and we are groomed to be one gender or the other, there are still those internal traits that society would consider as being of the ‘other.’ What I mean to say is that a woman who is ‘woman enough’ to show her strength and resolve in the face of adversity is no less of a woman than a man who is ‘man enough’ to show his fear or genuine sorrow in times of hardship.
Why are we raising our boys with this messed up mentality that encourages them to hold all feelings inside, and shuns true expression of emotions? Can’t we see by now that these boys grow up to become men who possess an inability to allow themselves to feel? Who are conflicted by their ineptness to display the very emotions that make one human? What is the deal my beautiful brothas? When will you learn that it’s ok to feel? To love? To hurt? It’s all a part of being human and has NOTHING to do with being ‘homo,’ so please let’s grow up and look inwards to address the real issues at hand instead of looking outward and allowing the general populace to determine the status quo.
Posted by CongoBrava at 10:31 AM
Friday, June 08, 2007
How am I feeling today? Well truthfully I awoke feeling a tad bit sluggish, but I recovered thanks to a good cup of Chai at work. All is quiet in the office today, so all in all I must say that I've done about 10-15 minutes of actual work today. Hey - it's Friday. :)
I'm looking forward to getting home soon and doing a lot of nothing for the rest of the evening. Consider it Lady's Choice; I might do some reading, tv watching, phone conversation, etc....like I said - Lady's Choice.
As I look around my desk I feel a lil bad since I really did VERY little work today, but you know what? Screw it - it's Friday. All in all this was a good week personally...I hope you all are able to say the same.
I'm feelin a lil generous today, so here's a poem:
the squared roots of 3Fifths
you don’t know we
of all flavors, shapes, and different packaging
are we but
you don’t know we
cause to you we’re only the collective
one ugly brown spot on your
pristine white distortion of history
you don’t know wewe’re the spawn of Ellison’s
invisible man and your gaze pierces
air as you stare right through us
focused on the animalized
primitive labels you slapped on us over the years as we built up
the country you claim as your own
you don’t know we
in your maladjusted eyes we all look the same
at first glance, which is all you can spare
as a second might reveal the fool
in you as you continually strive to put every
thing about we from external to innermost
into a file of categorized nonsense
stored in the core of your cranium because
you don’t know we
and we’re too
complex to digest
if we ain’t abstract so you
subtract parts from our whole to put
we in a box — rewind that
we in a box…
my people can’t you see we’re
in a box
conveniently filtered we’re like grinds
left behind in morning’s brew
we’ve been simplified, misrepresented, and
generalized by all mankind in hopes that we’d bend and
blend into this unnaturally homogenous
mix of manwomanchild to be force fed to kin
from generation to generation we’ve remained
the bastards of this nation cause not only do
they not know we
we don’t know we
Posted by CongoBrava at 4:15 PM
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Now with all of that aside…this young man is Trini – so I already figured he would have certain hostilities towards homosexuals, and he’s Rasta as well. Now my own faith believes that we are the one true faith and all others will perish. Did I throw that in his face? No…of course not, why would I? Especially since I believe that God is in everything, in all of us…and in the end only He knows those who are right and just, and no one religion can boast of that much at this point in our world’s history.
Anyway, so the texting continues and I realize that I’ve opened a can of worms with this young gent, simply because I said I was going to the Captial Pride Parade this weekend. Wow. He continues to go on to say some things that make my chest burn, but I can say I’ve kept my calm and just agreed to disagree with the man. Some things in life are not worth it, especially when you know at the end of the day you don’t decide a darn thing.
I know others might not agree with me, and that’s fine. My thing is this…God is love and He’s in all of us – like it or not. Even if you believe what a person does isn’t right or isn’t in line with your beliefs, acknowledge the fact that a person is not their actions – all of us are worth far more than that. None of us are perfect – even on human standards, let alone trying to measure up to the Almighty. So tell me why is it so hard to love a person, but hate that which they may or may not do? Why is our love and acceptance conditional, based upon how much like us that person is? Because face it, we don’t like/accept those who are different from us. Whether it be different beliefs, different socio-economic status, different race, class, gender, sexual orientation, religion – you name it…the human race is extremely intolerant at its core. Yet a great deal of us believe in and worship a higher power…one that advocates living right and just. Hate is not right. It is not just. It does not solve a problem. It will not heal a soul. Yet so many of us practice it on a daily basis, so much so that it has become ingrained in our mentality and settled into our spirits.
The conversation I had with that young man, brief as it was, served as a reminder of the close-mindedness of the human race. Now I realize that all this might be sounding a little Kumbaya for some of you, and no I’m not suggesting we hold hands and skip happily in fields of daffodils. What I am saying is simply, that we are so quick to judge, so quick to hate, that we oft forget that we have a Lord who will judge us all in the end. Should we all perish today, where do you think you will end up for the rest of eternity? I thank God that I am still here, because I know I’m not perfect. Yet and still I know my Master loves me and I Him. Now if the God of All Creation…the One who has names too numerous to count…the One who spans millennia and precedes Time itself…if that most Supreme of Beings can love and care for one as flawed and scarred as you and I – then why is it that we, the lowly ones who are unfit for His grace, mercy, and love find it so hard to simply love, respect, and accept our brethren? We all carry our own crosses…our own burdens…our own faults and shortcomings. I would much rather carry all of those with love in my spirit, than to allow the venom of hate emanate from my being.
God is Love…and it is He that I aspire to be like.
Peace Be With You Always,
Posted by CongoBrava at 1:06 PM
Monday, June 04, 2007
He’s not playin around folks…Reverend Al Sharton is rather adamant about his campaign to clean up the hip hop music industry, and has decided to take it to the next level (see here). He and his cohorts will be cleaning up hip hop one mouth at a time, as they are in Detroit collecting bars of soap to shove down the misogynistic throats of rappers as we speak!
Well ok…he’s not really going to wash their mouths out with soap, once they’re done collecting all the Dove, Dial, and Irish Springs they can lay their hands on, Rev. Al will be donating the bars of soap to shelters and halfway houses. This little ‘demonstration’ is a part of his ongoing crusade to save the Black community via cleaning up hip hop….I still think my idea of actually going old school with it and washing out a few potty mouths with a nice big bar of Dial would be the better idea – just imagine 2 Quarters getting his shark toothed behind getting the b*tches and ho’s washed out of his mouth. Pure comedy. Alas, Rev. Al has decided to take the passive route…whatever.
My question is this: what kind of god-awful protest/demonstration is this??? This is 2007, not 1957 – that ish doesn’t fly round these parts anymore. What is the deal with these passive, pansy ass demonstrations that both Rev. Al and the NAACP (see this article) are conducting? I think it’s indicative of just how out of touch some of these civil rights leaders/organizations of old are with the times – and their own people. No one is going to be moved by a mock funeral or a bar of soap. That’s not gonna solve anything at all! Where are the more progressive activists at? I’m tired of sideshows, gimmicks, and jingles…this whole Black activism thing is looking like one big ole minstrel show to me right now. Can we stop soft-shoeing for a minute and seriously get down to some business?
Posted by CongoBrava at 2:53 PM
Ten-year-old Zainab Ali, a victim of a mini bus bomb explosion, look on in the Shiite-dominated neighborhood of Amil, Baghdad, Iraq, on Sunday, June 3, 2007. A parked minibus packed with explosives blew up in a busy section of central Baghdad, on Tuesday, May 29, 2007, killing 17 people and injuring 53 others. Zainab, was in her home the time of the blast and is one of many residents made homeless by the bomb attack. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
Photo Credit: AP Photo
This is ridiculous...this was somebody's baby girl right here, and she's scarred for life. Granted, at least she is still alive, but I just don't understand how we can continue to 'play war' when you are hurting innocents? This picture broke my heart, and my prayers go out to this little one, her family, and all those in Iraq who are dying/being injured everyday. This is sheer madness, what gives us the right to do things liek this to one another? For the sake of Democracy? For oil? To distract the American public from the fact that we STILL don't know where Bin Laden is and the fact that the idea of waging a war on a concept as intanglible as terror is a long-shot @ best? It just isn't right. Lord have mercy on us all, because truly we have lost our minds - and our hearts.
Posted by CongoBrava at 11:34 AM