J. Cole was renting a house a in a wealthy (white) neighborhood in the ‘burbs. A SWAT team soon found its way there and kicked the door in. Having seen a parade of black artists and producers come through, Cole reasoned the neighbors thought he was selling dope. This is the sort of racism black people face daily but I only have a small degree of sympathy for Cole. He is like so many black people in America, that hate battling this type of racism but continue to confront it daily because of their need to always be near white people. Cole did not have to subject himself to constant harassment and the intrusion of a SWAT team. He could have easily bought–as opposed to rented–a much larger home in a black neighborhood for less or invested in several properties and had rent paid to him. If we as black people could ever free ourselves from the belief that we need to be around white folks all the time, we’d save ourselves a lot of headache and have a lot more money.
Kanye West is so gifted that he is insane. He has said that he wants to run for president and he just might be a black Donald Trump in the making: narcissistic, occasionally clever, obviously gifted but ultimately self destructive. Kanye said he did not vote in the last election but had he done so, Trump would have been his candidate. At a concert this past Saturday he compared himself to Trump and went on to give post-election analysis on why Hillary Clinton lost. His analysis validated the hurt feelings of the “white working-class,” who were privileged enough to endorse a blatant racist for president.
I saw “The Birth of a Nation” over the weekend. The movie had everything to do with race but in the months before its release the discussion around it was anything but. Blacks and whites in my circle united in their insistence that I boycott the film because Nate Parker was accused of rape 17 years ago. While my reaction to these individuals differed depending on their race, one thing is certain: all were asking me to boycott in an attempt to police the issue of violence against women because our criminal justice system does not police the issue well. For systemic change to occur, however, the energy and protests toward Nate Parker (and other individuals accused) must also be turned against a criminal justice system that does not value women.
Dear white people: this article is not for you. Continue to dig deep within your souls to find racism and perhaps we’ll connect later. Yes, racism exists. It has and continues to shape outcomes from housing and employment to police shootings rooted in white fear of “the darker brother.” Still, we should pretend Weezy is a genius and adopt his fantasy. Screaming about racism and posting articles on Facebook about the subject has never made you one dollar. Further, the most brilliant scholarship on the topic has seemingly not changed one thought in the collective conscience of white America. Toni Morrison said it best: racism is just one big distraction that “keeps you from doing your work.” The work is to ensure that our children no longer have to beg white people to be nicer to them.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand during the National Anthem on Friday, protesting the treatment of blacks and other minorities in America. The quarterback said, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” He went on to say that, “There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” If you agree with the American Revolution, you must agree with Colin Kaepernick. If you believe Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry and George Washington were justified in their protests, you must also concede that their grievances are minor compared to those Kaepernick is highlighting. Colon Kaepernick just completely shitted on the American Revolution.
I thought I had a cold this morning but I realized I was just sick of the fake tributes to Muhammad Ali. We hated his guts, just be honest. UNC professor Matthew Andrews points out that we hated him so much, we made the movie Rocky about a white underdog beating a faux Ali because no one could do it in real life. Ali had the audacity to say that whites were universally the enemy of suffering blacks. Ali delved further into race when he refused to fight in Vietnam because those “darker people” had never lynched him or called him nigger. As he is now being celebrated, our hypocrisy is on display and we must reckon with it–we still hate what he stood for and thus we should stop our insincere praises posthumously.
Saturday night was Barack Obama’s last White House Correspondents’ Dinner. It is customary for participants to tell jokes; however, Larry Wilmore went a bit too far. Attempting to praise Obama’s legacy, Wilmore ended by saying, “Yo Barry, you did it my n—a.” As a black man, I’m enraged. But I understand that some black people disagree with me–their vote counts in this matter. As a black man, I’m equally enraged that non-black people are attempting to police the word–their vote doesn’t count. Other groups are allowed to own their own wounds within their communities and treat them as they wish. But for some reason reason, the “N-word” is a cluster.
Beyoncé’s talent and success are undeniable. Hell, she drops albums in the middle of the night with no promotion and the whole nation stops. Impressive. While her talent is undeniable, so is the role of sexuality in her success. Even her latest project “Lemonade” features a decent amount of shots of her in revealing and/or suggestive clothing and as a bonus, Serena Williams shaking her ass like an average “video girl.” These women are two of the most accomplished humans in history and yet they still feel some need to sell something other than their artistry.
Jay Z purchased Tidal early in 2015. Since that time, he’s worked tirelessly to promote the company. Jay Z has also gone out of his way to point out the backlash to black ownership he’s experienced in the process. At his 2015 B-Sides Concert, he went so far as to call out his competitors and the inherent white privilege they receive, in contrast to himself.