Saturday, August 31, 2013

Did You Wear Your Hoodie Today

no justiceAfrican American’s are a nation of people living in a nation without a nationality. Some will say, America has a black president, yet the condition remain. This speaks to the institutions within the context of a society that dictates the continuation of the system that exists within the country.

It is because of this system, which has been in existence from the founding of America that has caused the purposeful demise of people of color because the system is designed to protect the system. Now, let me speak to the concept of leadership: Dr. Carter G. Woodson who wrote the powerful novel “The Mis-Education of the Negro” in 1933, or there about, challenged his readers to become empowered by doing for themselves.

He said: “Regardless of what we are taught history shows that it does not matter who is in power… those who have not learned to do for themselves and have to depend solely on others never obtain any more rights or privileges in the end than they did in the beginning.” This speaks volumes.
If you can control a man is thinking you never have to worry about what he thinks. I will speak for me, no matter how messed up the world is and the minds of man; we must come together as a people! We must take responsibility for ourselves because life demands survival of the fittest, just like in all other parts of the animal kingdom. As a people, African Americans have waited far too long and become much too dependent on those who are in charge of the system.

Therefore, I say it is time to remove the shackles of bondage that remain mentally. Malcolm X once said, “We spend too much time singing and not enough time swinging”. Let me be clear, I do not repeat this statement to advocate violence. Rather to suggest that we have spent centuries believing, following, and listening to the messages communicated to us by those who control our destiny – making us believe that there is a better place for us when we’re dead. I say we have a right to live NOW!

I want to propose an idea that could be the answer to our salvation. There is about 38 – 40 million African Americans living in America. If each person contributed one dollar per week; it would add up to forty million dollars. Multiply that time’s fifty-two weeks; that’s over two-trillion dollars annually. We have people who run some of the world’s largest corporations who could manage that money – invest it and make more money and as such many of the problems we face would go away.

Overtime we’ve won many civil rights battles, which should never have had to be fought. Yet, we still must fight to have the necessities to survive. We just celebrated the commemoration of more than fifty-years of marching coupled with over four-hundred years of bondage in one form or another.

So I say, as tenacious beings, rise up you mighty people rise up. The time is now – if for no other reason than to continue the species. We are people of the mighty – act like it! And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective...

Have you worn your hoodie lately?

Legacy – A New Season 
Just a Season

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Nightmares Of Yesterday

obama-and-kingYesterday’s commemoration of the historic March on Washington should be an eye-opening reminder or a remembrance of what it was like and the horrible things that happened in 1963. To that point, did anyone notice the absence of a Republican contingent neither current elected officials nor the two living Republican past Presidents. It is clear that they were invited but declined. Instead, it has been reported that the GOP held their own commemoration, which reminds me of “Separate but Equal” like it was in 1963.  

A recap of the 1963:
  • January 14 - Alabama Governor George Wallace delivers his "segregation now, segregation forever" inaugural speech, penned by Asa Carter, the founder of a KKK terrorist organization.
  • April 12 – Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Abernathy, Fred Shuttlesworth and others are arrested in a Birmingham, Alabama protest for "parading without a permit".
  • April 16 - Martin Luther King, Jr. issues his Letter from Birmingham Jail.
  • May 2 - Thousands of African Americans, many of them children, are arrested while protesting segregation in Birmingham, Alabama. Public Safety Commissioner Eugene “Bull” Connor unleashes fire hoses and police dogs on the demonstrators.
  • June 12 - Alabama Governor George Wallace stands in the door of the University of Alabama to protest against integration, before stepping aside and allowing African Americans James Hood and Vivian Malone to enroll.
  • President John F. Kennedy broadcasts a historic Civil Rights Address, in which he promises a Civil Rights Bill, and asks for "the kind of equality of treatment that we would want for ourselves."
  • June 12 - Medgar Evers, an NAACP worker in Mississippi, is murdered by white supremacist Byron de la Beckwith.
  • August 18 – James Meredith becomes the first black person to graduate from the University of Mississippi.
  • August 28 - Martin Luther King, Jr., delivers his "I have a dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to the 250,000 people gathered for the peaceful March on Washington.
  • September 15 - The Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham is bombed by the KKK. Four African American girls die in the blast, sparking armed conflict between blacks and whites. Although bombings of black churches had been occurring throughout the Deep South and particularly in Birmingham since 1948, this tragic event galvanizes the Civil Rights Movement.
With regard to the Republicans not in attendance I will say it is telling! I would argue that their mindset is similar to that mindset of 1963. Remember President 43 did not attend any of the yearly NAACP Meetings during his presidency. I will digress and say that I was wrong. There was one Republican present for the fiftieth anniversary. It was Abraham Lincoln. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…  

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

When Your (Brown) Body is a (White) Wonderland

0004d99d-4db4-06a2-e727-69f79a4603f0_110Being desirable is a commodity. Capital and capitalism are gendered systems. The very form that money takes — paper and not goods — is rooted in a historical enterprise of controlling the development of an economic sphere where women might amass wealth. As wealth is a means of power in a capitalistic society, controlling this means of acceptable monies was a way of controlling the accumulation, distribution and ownership of capital.

For black women, that form of money was embodied by the very nature of how we came to be in America.

Our bodies were literally production units. As living cost centers we not only produced labor as in work but we produced actual labor through labor, i.e. we birthed more cost centers. The legendary “one drop” rule of determining blackness was legally codified not just out of ideological purity of white supremacy but to control the inheritance of property. The sexual predilections of our nation’s great men threatened to transfer the wealth of white male rapists to the children born of their crimes through black female bodies.

Today much has changed and much has not. The strict legal restriction of inheritable black deviance has been disrupted but there still exists a racialized, material value of sexual relationships. The family unit is considered the basic unit for society not just because some god decreed it but because the inheritance of accumulated privilege maintains our social order.

Thus, who we marry at the individual level may be about love but at the group level it is also about wealth and power and privilege.

Black feminists have critiqued the material advantage that accrues to white women as a function of their elevated status as the normative cultural beauty ideal. As far as privileges go it is certainly a complicated one but that does not negate its utility. Being suitably marriageable privileges white women’s relation to white male wealth and power.

The cultural dominance of a few acceptable brown female beauty ideals is a threat to that privilege. Cyrus acts out her faux bisexual performance for the white male gaze against a backdrop of dark, fat black female bodies and not slightly more normative cafe au lait slim bodies because the juxtaposition of her sexuality with theirs is meant to highlight Cyrus, not challenge her supremacy. Consider it the racialized pop culture version of a bride insisting that all of her bridesmaids be hideously clothed as to enhance the bride’s supremacy on her wedding day.

Only, rather than an ugly dress, fat black female bodies are wedded to their flesh. We cannot take it off when we desire the spotlight for ourselves or when we’d rather not be in the spotlight at all.

This political economy of specific types of black female bodies as a white amusement park was ignored by many, mostly because to critique it we have to critique ourselves.

When I moved to Atlanta I was made aware of a peculiar pastime of the city’s white frat boy elite. They apparently enjoy getting drunk and visiting one of the city’s many legendary black strip clubs rather than the white strip clubs. The fun part of this ritual seems to be rooted in the peculiarity of black female bodies, their athleticism and how hard they are willing to work for less money as opposed to the more normative white strippers who expect higher wages in exchange for just looking pretty naked. There are similar racialized patterns in porn actresses’ pay and, I suspect, all manner of sex workers. The black strip clubs are a bargain good time because the value of black sexuality is discounted relative to the acceptability of black women as legitimate partners.

There is no risk of falling in love with a stripper when you’re a white guy at the black strip club. Just as country music artists strip “badonkadonk” from black beauty ideals to make it palatable for to their white audiences, these frat boys visit the black body wonderland as an oddity to protect the supremacy of white women as the embodiment of more and better capital.

My mentor likes to joke that interracial marriage is only a solution to racial wealth gaps if all white men suddenly were to marry up with poor black women. It’s funny because it is so ridiculous to even imagine. Sex is one thing. Marrying confers status and wealth. Slaveholders knew that. Our law reflects their knowing this. The de rigueur delineation of this difference may have faded but cultural ideology remains.

Cyrus’ choice of the kind of black bodies to foreground her white female sexuality was remarkable for how consistent it is with these historical patterns. We could consider that a coincidence just as we could consider my innumerable experiences with white men and women after a few drinks an anomaly. But, I believe there is something common to the bodies that are made invisible that Cyrus might be the most visible to our cultural denigration of bodies like mine as inferior, non-threatening spaces where white women can play at being “dirty” without risking her sexual appeal.

I am no real threat to white women’s desirability. Thus, white women have no problem cheering their husbands and boyfriends as they touch me on the dance floor. I am never seriously a contender for acceptable partner and mate for the white men who ask if their buddy can put his face in my cleavage. I am the thrill of a roller coaster with safety bars: all adrenaline but never any risk of falling to the ground.

I am not surprised that so many overlooked this particular performance of brown bodies as white amusement parks in Cyrus’ performance. The whole point is that those round black female bodies are hyper-visible en masse but individually invisible to white men who were, I suspect Cyrus’ intended audience.

No, it’s not Syria but it is still worth commenting upon when in the pop culture circus the white woman is the ringleader and the women who look like you are the dancing elephants.
My friend, George Fraser, the deep-thinker, posted this article written by Tressiemc, a Doctoral candidate. This is an excerpt of a powerful message that I view as a must read. Go to her site to read the entire provocative artical.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

That Literary Lady Talks With Author John T. Wills

41475_1273248444_3897_nAuthor John T. Wills sat down with Yolanda Bryant-Johnson "That Literary Lady" for a rare interview. An honor indeed. I invite you to listen and get to know the author of Thought Provoking Perspectives.

“Knowledge is power and power produces an understanding that education is the single most important ingredient necessary to neutralize those forces that breed poverty and despair. You can change the world but first - you must change your mind”.

thank you
John T. Wills

The 21st Century Slave

jailI suppose everyone has an opinion on prisons and incarceration in America. Some view it as the New Jim Crow and of course there are others who see nothing wrong with the system at all. There are laws in New York City that clearly racial profile - “Stop and Frisk” – and the “Stand your Ground” laws are discriminatory which take us back to a time when the slave catcher had ultimate authority to take and maintain ones freedom.

The system of over incarcerating people who have spent years in tombs called prisons and in many cases for crimes they did not commit. Lest not forget the sad irony of people being put to death who fall into this category or more shameful executions of the mentally disabled and life sentences for minors. Moreover, there is the fact that once released the convicts voting rights are taken away forever - in most cases.

This could easily be compared to the slave catcher and the system of slavery; particularly, when little is being paid to those working during their time. There is a long history of lynching’s, chain gangs, and the free labor derived from this system, which has more people in prison than anywhere else in the world. It was not until recently that the disproportionate sentencing of powder cocaine and crack have been modified and shown to be unfair.  

A few years ago a Vermont man sued the state under the 13th Amendment for the labor he was forced to perform while awaiting trial. A one-time grad student was arrested for allegedly firing a gun in his home threatening to kill his family and an official at the university. In the lawsuit this man alleges that the state violated his rights under the 13th Amendment -- which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude after the Civil War -- when he was forced to work in the laundry for minimal pay as an inmate.

In his $11-million lawsuit pro se, the grad student said he was forced to work three days a week for six weeks washing other inmates' laundry. He was paid a wage of 25 cents per hour and developed a bacterial infection on his neck because he was not provided sanitation in the laundry room. He says, prison officials threatened to put him "in the hole," where inmates are shackled and locked up for 23 hours per day in solitary confinement, if he refused to work.

It is important to note that the man was released and all charges against him were dropped. A panel of judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit overruled the lower court's dismissal of the case, arguing that inmate did not have to prove that his experience was akin to those of African slaves before abolition.
"Contrary to the district court's conclusion, it is well-settled that the term 'involuntary servitude' is not limited to chattel slavery-like conditions," Appellate Judge Barrington Parker wrote in the court's opinion. "The amendment was intended to prohibit all forms of involuntary labor, not solely to abolish chattel slavery."

Supreme Court precedent has established that the constitutional rights of pretrial detainees are distinct from those of convicted inmates, because criminal convictions can justify certain punishments, Judge Parker argued. "If you haven't been convicted at all, your pretrial detention is not a form of punishment," said Columbia Law School professor Jamal Greene. "The degree to which his liberty can be restricted is directly tied to the needs that required him to be detained. So if he was detained only to secure himself for trial, he can't be detained for punishment."

While all inmates may be expected to clean up their cells or wipe down tables in the mess hall, Greene said, the poorly paid, unsafe work the inmate alleged he was forced to do may have crossed a legal boundary. Let me say clearly that it is not my position that laws and punishment are not necessary. What is disparaging is that it disproportionately affects the minority population of the citizenry.

This is just one case from a few years ago but the overcrowding, twenty-five to life, draconian sentences imposed for minor drug offenses, and three-strike laws are akin to chattel slavery. This system has run amuck mainly because of privatization and it’s time to end the “War on Drugs” and find a better solution to the problem instead of throwing away the key.

Did you know the clothing worn by our soldiers are made by the cheap labor of the incarcerated? In closing, let me suggest that you read Michelle Alexander’s book “The New Jim Crow”. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

Saturday, August 24, 2013

A Great Show!

marchToday all eyes were on Washington as a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the “March on Washington” for Jobs and Justice took place. August 28, 1963 marked a pivotal moment in America as the March on Washington, dubbed the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of the United States. No question a historic event which attracted more than 250,000 Americans demanding equality in jobs and civil rights.

Off the top, let me say that I think it was a great day back in August 1963 where people of all stripe came to Washington trying to obtain equal treatment under the law. Just in case anyone may have forgotten - America’s extreme racial practices were worst than the system of Apartheid in South Africa or anywhere else in the world.

Comes now, on this day, August 23, 2013, most have proclaimed “how far we [Blacks] have come.” I can agree in some sense but I will say that if we have come so far – why are we marching? Also, in my opinion, marching is a strategy not a solution. The few adjustments to the laws, overtime, have been taken away. We face the same issues the original organizers who marched fifty-years ago. As I see it “just as sure as things change they remain the same”.

I called the march a great show because there was much collective talk about the need for a continued effort to seek what should be granted in the first place. Therefore, I fear the same show will return to the same venue in fifty-years.

I will start and end the discussion of what was meant by the so-called dream right here. In the all mighty living document - the Constitution - it says clearly that Negroes are 3/5’s human and to this day no amendment has been added to change that to make blacks whole and thereby full citizens. Therefore, the so-called dream will never be realized unless and until this is done. So the cause of truth and justice should start there!

On this day that most are celebrating and singing “We Shall Overcome Someday”. The question is “what day and in whose lifetime”. I will leave you with this and pray that in fifty-years there will be no need for a March for Job’s and Justice. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Godfather Of Soul

james brown
The untimely death of James Brown in 2006 of has left a void in what was once called “Soul Music”. Young people today don’t realize the relevance of Mr. Brown’s accomplishments, although I doubt if Brown himself ever doubted his own significance as a historic figure and an undeniably game-changing artist. His showmanship and art altered the music world but James Brown didn’t bring blacks to the mainstream; instead, he brought the mainstream to blacks and made them appreciate and internalize black music and culture.

Everybody who has ever heard a song by Mr. Brown has attempted to tell his story and try to dissect his complex and multilayered life. Regardless of the varying opinions most have failed to fully capture the depth of value that Brown and his music played in transforming American life.

A New Year Times reporter RJ Smith wrote a book a few years ago titled “The One: The Life and Music of James Brown where he said:

“Smith not only effortlessly highlights James’s unmatched musical career, but also provides a well-studied historical context for the basis of his artistic expression. Chronicling the legacy of resistance through music, Smith explains how James’s artistry was closely linked to the struggle for civil rights as well as the cultural expression of blacks, from Africa through slavery and the journey into the 20th century. It would after all be impossible to discuss 20th-century music and the civil rights/black power movement without putting James Brown at the top of that list. And “The One” is the first serious book to explain precisely why.”
“When you reflect on the life and legacy of James Brown, it cannot be explained without taking into account the period in which he was raised and the experiences that shaped his identity. But just as important is how he incorporated his social/political views into his music in a way that was soulful and entertaining beyond belief.”

James Brown was an enigma and I would imagine by his own design, which could very well be the price of fame. Brown who grew up in the harsh and segregated south could not have been born into the multitude of success obtained throughout his career. This was accomplished by hard work, grit, and dogged determination. His life by virtue of being in the entertainment business was made up of constant challenges and hurdles, but his perseverance and tenacity — coupled with sheer talent — provided the world with a lens on the American black experience.

The article stated that “The One” thrives in highlighting how James’s irrefutable genius and artistry transcended social blockades and eventually drew audiences from all sectors of society. The funk originator never compromised his roots and never sold out in order to be accepted; rather, he made the world revolve around him. But despite his tremendous achievements, his success was still limited.”

The ­hardest-working man in showbiz not only made us “black and proud” but he also possessed a soul rooted deeply in equality and justice for his people. I will not attempt to rewrite a story that has already been well written nor have I read the book but I am suggesting that to understand the greatness in a man that so many have tried to tarnish - maybe we should read the book.

I don't believe there are any perfect men but there are men with perfect intentions. Therefore, I’m going to overlook any faults or frailties the man may have had and just say as Mr. Brown said so boldly in a recording at a time when he could have ended his career - “Say it Load I’m Black and I’m Proud”. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Make It Plain

obama-and-kingAs I remember the times in which we’ve lived with thoughts of our history and I will say again that “Our story is the Greatest Story Ever Told”. I always pay homage to the ghosts of the greats who paved a might trail for us to walk to which I think we have a responsibility to march on. I was blessed to have had the privilege to live during the civil rights era to witness groups and individuals fight to end racial segregation and the unequal treatment of African-Americans.

It would be my hope that all of us would take this opportunity during the upcoming March on Washington this week to reach one – teach one. Share the stories of our struggle with your children. History unknown and its unlearned lessons are as ominous as death.

I have added a few of the many significant events and some of the brave and courageous solders in the army that changed America or dare I say the world.

Events in the Civil Rights Movement
Solders of the Civil Rights Movement
I am reminded of Malcolm X who used to say “Make It Plain” which meant in essence to bring forth the knowledge. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

To Serve

History is a historical clock that tells a people use to tell the historical time. More importantly history tells a people where they have been and where they still must go. As we approach the Resurrection of the famed March on Washington I want to share a profound message from Dr. Martin Luther King that if taken to heart – will change the world.

Please listen to the video and make that change. I once heard it said that “I may not be the one to change the world but I can change the mind of the one who can”. And that’s my thought Provoking Perspective…

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Black Holocaust

John Henry Clarke the Unsung Voice of Our Times
Dr. John Henrik Clarke an intellectual genius, and my hero, gives a powerful lecture on history, factually, concerning world events that changed the world forever. This is an empowering lesson delivered powerfully with facts that all of should know.

Please listen and be empowered! And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

Sunday, August 18, 2013

In The Shadows Of The Dream

Fifty years ago the March on Washington became the crowning achievement of the Civil Rights Movement. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has been remembered with a memorial on the National Mall. A major accomplishment for his legacy and a testament to his living spirit. I am very proud and honored to have live long enough to see the first man of color to receive such distinction and to have a president of color unveil the monument to this great man. 

Dr. King now has reached his place of immortality and as marvelous as this is I wondered if anyone knows the man whose shoulders he stood. One person in particular would be the chief organizer of the March on Washington, who some have called the man behind the dream. I thought it would be fitting to give props to the man responsible for making the historic March on Washington a reality - Bayard Rustin. He was one of the most important leaders of the civil rights movement from the advent of its modern period in the 1950s until well into the 1980s.

Although his name is seldom mentioned or received comparatively little press or media attention, while others' were usually much more readily associated with the movement. Mr. Rustin’s role was a behind-the-scenes role that, for all its importance, never garnered him the public acclaim he deserved. Rustin's homosexuality and early communist affiliation probably meant that the importance of his contribution to the civil rights and peace movements would never be acknowledged.

Rustin was a gifted and successful student in the schools of West Chester, both academically and on his high school track and football teams. It was during this period of his life that Bayard began to demonstrate his gift for singing with a beautiful tenor voice. He attended Wilberforce University and Cheyney State Teachers College. In 1937 he moved to New York City, where he was to live the rest of his life.

It was at this time that Rustin began to organize for the Young Communist League of City College. The communists' progressive stance on the issue of racial injustice appealed to him. He broke with the Young Communist League and soon found himself seeking out A. Philip Randolph head of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and at that time the leading articulator of the rights of Afro-Americans.

He soon headed the youth wing of a march on Washington that Randolph envisioned. Randolph called off the demonstration when President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order No. 8802, forbidding racial discrimination in the employment of workers in defense industries. Randolph's calling off of the projected march caused a temporary breach between him and Bayard Rustin, and Rustin transferred his organizing efforts to the peace movement, first in the Fellowship of Reconciliation and later in the American Friends Service Committee, the Socialist Party, and the War Resisters League.

In 1944, Rustin was found guilty of violating the Selective Service Act and was sentenced to three years in a federal prison. In March 1944 Rustin was sent to the federal penitentiary in Ashland, Kentucky. He then set about to resist the pervasive segregation then the norm in prisons in the United States, although faced with vicious racism from some of the prison guards and white prisoners, Rustin faced frequent cruelty with courage and completely nonviolent resistance.

On release from prison, Rustin got involved again with the Fellowship of Reconciliation, which staged a journey of reconciliation through four Southern and border states in 1947 to test the application of the Supreme Court's recent ruling that discrimination in seating in interstate transportation was illegal. Rustin's resistance to North Carolina's Jim Crow law against integration in transportation earned him twenty-eight days hard labor on a chain gang, where he met with the usual racist taunts.

Between 1947 and 1952, Rustin traveled first to India and then to Africa under the sponsorship of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, exploring the nonviolent dimensions of the Indian and Ghanaian independence movements. In 1953 Rustin was arrested for public indecency in Pasadena, California, while lecturing under the auspices of the American Association of University Women. It was the first time that Rustin's homosexuality had come into public attention, and at that time homosexual behavior in all states was a criminal offense.

In 1956 Rustin was approached by Lillian Smith, the celebrated Southern novelist who authored Strange Fruit, to provide Dr. Martin Luther King with some practical advice on how to apply Gandhian principles of nonviolence to the boycott of public transportation then taking shape in Montgomery, Alabama. Rustin spent time in Montgomery and Birmingham advising King, who had not yet completely embraced principles of nonviolence in his struggle. By 1957, Rustin was busy playing a large role in the birth of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and in the Prayer Pilgrimage to Washington that took place on May 17, 1957 to urge A. Philip Randolph to enforce the Supreme Court's 1954 ruling that the nation's schools be desegregated.

Arguably the high point of Bayard Rustin's political career was the A. Philip Randolph for Jobs and Freedom which took place on August 28, 1963, the place of Dr. Martin Luther King's stirring "I Have a Dream" speech. Rustin was by all accounts the March's chief architect. To devise a march of at least one-quarter of a million participants and to coordinate the various sometimes fractious civil rights organizations that played a part in it was a herculean feat of mobilization.

By 1965 Rustin had come to believe that the period for militant street action had come to an end; the legal foundation for segregation had been irrevocably shattered. Rustin's steadfast opposition to identity politics also came under criticism by exponents of the developing Black Power movement. His critical stance toward affirmative action programs and black studies departments in American universities was not a popular viewpoint among many of his fellow Afro-Americans, and as at various other times of his life Rustin found himself to a certain extent isolated.

Although Bayard Rustin lived in the shadow of more charismatic civil rights leaders, he can lay real claim to have been an indispensable unsung force behind the movement toward equality for America's black citizens, and more largely for the rights of humans around the globe, in the twentieth century. His personal philosophy, incorporating beliefs that were of central importance to him: that there is that of God in every person, that all are entitled to a decent life, and that a life of service to others is the way to happiness and true fulfillment.

So you see all of us stand upon the shoulders of someone be it great or not; So Sing – Sing Celebrate!!! The Dream will never die. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

“Just a Season”
Legacy – A New Season 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Harriet Tubman Sex Tape

I really don’t like calling anyone out because I understand that no one is perfect and as human beings all of us are naturally designed for errors and mistakes. But the mental challenges and disrespect from some of the otherwise respected and so-called leaders, and what they do to our ancestors are deplorable. Russell Simmons could only wish he had done something or anything as significant as our Lady called Moses. Russell you know better!!!

Have our culture digressed to such a low state of discussed where the likes of a Hustle Simmons or a Little Wayne, who disrespected the legacy of little Emmitt Till, would do such deplorable acts of disrespect. Have they forgotten that these legends were at least partially responsible for both being in the position they are in today.

I won’t go so far as to compare them to the “House Niggers” Brother Malcolm X referred too but I will call them sell-outs for money that caused their disrespect to the legacy of our past. Tubman spent nearly 30 years as a slave before escaping in 1849. She led hundreds of slaves to freedom as part of the anti-slavery resistance network known as the Underground Railroad.

The 55-year-old Simmons, founder of Def Jam Records, is old enough to know better and should be ashamed. I am one who will call his actions a DISGRACE! Although he wrote Thursday that he “can now understand why so many people are upset… and that he’s “sincerely sorry” to those offended by the clip”. Simmons should know that although he removed the video, it still lives online.

Russell I HAD some measure of respect for you and some of the things you’ve done – BUT THIS has removed all or what little respect you earned from me. I will not purchase anything connected to you or your entities ever again. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Legendary Sam Cooke

I love to write about the ghosts of the greats or rather pay homage to those great artists who influenced and changed the world. None were better than the singer, songwriter and entrepreneur Sam Cooke who was considered to be one of the pioneers and founders of soul music. Sam Cooke was commonly referred to as the King of Soul for his distinctive vocal abilities and influence on the modern world of music. 

Cooke’s pioneering contributions to soul music led to the rise of greats such as Aretha Franklin, Bobby Womack, Al Green, Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, and the Godfather of soul James Brown Cooke was also among the first modern black performers and composers to attend to the business side of his musical career. He founded both a record label and a publishing company as an extension of his careers as a singer and composer. He also took an active part in the African-American Civil Rights Movement.

On December 11, 1964, Cooke was fatally shot by the manager of the Hacienda Motel in Los Angeles, California at the age of 33. At the time, the courts ruled that Cooke was drunk and distressed, and that the manager had killed Cooke in what was later ruled justifiable homicide. Since that time, the circumstances of his death have been widely questioned.

My question: “Why has there not been a bio-pic of this man’s story?” "A Change is Gonna Come", which became a kind of anthem of the civil rights movement. Sam Cooke is the man who invented Soul; imitated but never duplicated. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

To know the legendary Sam Cooke – watch his story. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Does Race Matter

th (22)Since the G-Man got away with murdering Trayvon Martin or should I call it an assassination or the court’s decision regarding the controversial “Stop and Frisk” polices and surely the recent Supreme Court decision that said black voters don’t count begs the question or at least consideration of thought – “Does race matter?”

This is a conversation most Caucasians struggle with, at least openly, whereas most seem afraid to talk about the subject of race and view the topic as “nothing to see here”. They said the same thing in 1963! They know and clearly understand racial inequity is an issue that needs to be addressed but based on a biased they believe is their right to have control and an inherent privilege to be superior the clock is being turned back every day. Then maybe the hands of time, in their mind, never really moved.

The stories based in fact of oppression, racism, segregation and even slavery are very real. Most African Americans have experienced it in one form or another and know it is real. Of course, slavery was not physically visited upon African American people today by law but the tactics used mentally and institutionally is “slavery and by any other name is SLAVERY”.

You cannot view the history of America and not see that race has and still does matter. The obvious differences can be found in neighborhoods, employment, schools, and surely in every aspect of the legal system – causes one to ask why. I read a poll recently that said the Trayvon Martin story differed tremendously along political and racial lines. Many said, the murderer had a right to kill this child (white-conservatives) and others say absolutely not (Black-liberal). Personally, I side with the sane and not insane.

More to the point, there was a time in my life where I saw police trample peaceful protesters on horseback, marchers beaten in the streets, and fire hoses turned on people. During the Civil Rights era African-American citizens, who were called Negro’s at the time, where only asking for and in most cases begging for the basic human right to live. Then a few years prior to that, in the first half of the last half century, black men where lynched by the hundreds for entertainment. Yet, most of white America believed and supported by law these actions as just.

Was this colorblindness that dictated these policies that allowed justice which is blind to permit the wretchedness of racism to exist in the hearts and minds of people? You may realize that whenever the conversation of race comes up; there is the usual quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “we want to judge people not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” If the issue of race was only that simple – the world would be a better place, but it’s not. So let’s talk about it – honestly – and take the necessary steps to correct the wrongs.

The historic March on Washington for jobs and freedom occurred fifty-years ago and another march is planned in commemoration in a few weeks asking for the same thing fifty-years later. African Americans see matters of race from a completely different perspective. When you’ve felt the brunt of this wretched ideal you know it and see it.
Look at it this way, there was an old man who was bent over. Someone told him to stand up. The old man had been bent over so long – he said, “I thought I was!” Most minorities today do not wish to wait another fifty-year’s for that promise to be realized. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

Monday, August 12, 2013

Still Marching 50 Years Later

th (17)In just a few weeks August 28, 2013 will mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. A mass protest that helped energize some of the most critical social legislation in the nation's history and inspired a generation of activists focused on ending poverty, racism and violence. I remember where I was on the day of the historic event as a small child and as time pasted I never thought 50 years later we would need to march for the same things - ending poverty, racism and violence.

But over time I have learned that as sure as things change – they remain the same. Attended by more than 250,000 people that was said to be the largest demonstration Washington had ever seen at the time. The march reached a galvanizing high point with Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, which stands today as one of the best known and most beloved speeches in modern history.

The backdrop for the march was the outrage sparked by media coverage of police brutality in Birmingham, Alabama where attack dogs and fire hoses were turned against peaceful protesters - many of whom were in their early teens or younger. Martin Luther King, Jr., was arrested and jailed during these protests, writing his famous "Letter From Birmingham City Jail," which advocates civil disobedience against unjust laws. Dozens of additional demonstrations took place across the country, from California to New York, culminating in the March.

th (21)The March represented a coalition of several civil rights organizations, all of which generally had different approaches and different agendas. The "Big Six" as they came to be known organizers were James Farmer, of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE); Martin Luther King, Jr., of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC); John Lewis, of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC); A. Philip Randolph, of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters; Roy Wilkins, of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); and Whitney Young, Jr., of the National Urban League. There was only one female speaker that day, Josephine Baker, who introduced several "Negro Women Fighters for Freedom," including Rosa Parks.

The stated demands of the march were the passage of meaningful civil rights legislation; the elimination of racial segregation in public schools; protection for demonstrators against police brutality; a major public-works program to provide jobs; the passage of a law prohibiting racial discrimination in public and private hiring; a $2 an hour minimum wage; and self-government for the District of Columbia, which had a black majority.

President Kennedy called the leaders of the big six to the White House because he want discouraged the march supposedly for fear that it might make the legislature vote against civil rights laws in reaction to a perceived threat. Kennedy demanded that language was changed and that the voices for justice were toned down to almost meek words. Once it became clear that the march would go on, he stationed troops “on the ready” around the city while publically he claimed to support the march.

The AFL-CIO remained neutral and outright opposition came from two sides. White supremacist groups, including the Ku Klux Klan, were obviously not in favor of any event supporting racial equality. On the other hand, the march was also condemned by some civil rights activists who felt it presented an inaccurate, sanitized pageant of racial harmony; Malcolm X called it the "Farce on Washington," and members of the Nation of Islam who attended the march faced a temporary suspension.

Lewis represented the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, a younger, more radical group than King's. The speech he planned to give, circulated beforehand, was objected to by other participants; it called Kennedy's civil rights bill "too little, too late," asked "which side is the federal government on?" It declared that they would march "through the Heart of Dixie, the way Sherman did" and "burn Jim Crow to the ground—nonviolently." In the end, he agreed to tone down the more inflammatory portions of his speech, but even the revised version was the most controversial of the day, stating:

The revolution is at hand, and we must free ourselves of the chains of political and economic slavery. The nonviolent revolution is saying, "We will not wait for the courts to act, for we have been waiting hundreds of years. We will not wait for the President, nor the Justice Department, nor Congress, but we will take matters into our own hands, and create a great source of power, outside of any national structure that could and would assure us victory." For those who have said, "Be patient and wait!" we must say, "Patience is a dirty and nasty word." We cannot be patient, we do not want to be free gradually, we want our freedom, and we want it now. We cannot depend on any political party, for the Democrats and the Republicans have betrayed the basic principles of the Declaration of Independence.
th (20)King's speech remains one of the most famous speeches in American history. He started with prepared remarks, saying he was there to "cash a check" for "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness," while warning fellow protesters not to "allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence.

Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force." But then he departed from his script, shifting into the "I have a dream" theme he'd used on prior occasions, drawing on both "the American dream" and religious themes, speaking of an America where his children "will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." He followed this with an exhortation to "let freedom ring" across the nation, and concluded with:

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last."
justiceIt appears Brother Martin was wrong! The KKK now wear black robes, justice is still denied, we see James Crow Esq. the son of segregation, a new Citizens Council called the Tea Party, poverty, and joblessness is worst than it was in his day. Now, for a man of peace who fought, struggled, and died for equality; he has been reduced to a four word phrase – “I have a Dream”.

Maybe they were right when they said what he preached was just a dream! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

Sunday, August 11, 2013


th (16)In November of this year the assassination of John F. Kennedy with mark fifty-years (50). This was one of those seminal moments in time where everyone who was a live can remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news. Or what you think you know – did you know this:

Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846.
John F. Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946.
Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860.
John F. Kennedy was elected President in 1960. 
Both were particularly concerned with civil rights.
Both wives lost a child while living in the White House. 
Both Presidents were shot on a Friday.
Both Presidents were shot in the head.
Now it gets really weird.
Lincoln's secretary was named Kennedy.
Kennedy's Secretary was named Lincoln.
Both were assassinated by Southerners.
Both were succeeded by Southerners named Johnson.
Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln, was born in 1808.
Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded Kennedy, was born in 1908.
John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated Lincoln, was born in 1839.
Lee Harvey Oswald, who assassinated Kennedy, was born in 1939.
Both assassins were known by their three names.
Both names are composed of fifteen letters.
Now hang on to your seat.
Lincoln was shot at the theater named "Ford."
Kennedy was shot in a car called "Lincoln" made by "Ford."
Booth and Oswald were assassinated before their trials.
And here's the "kicker":
A week before Lincoln was shot, he was in Monroe, Maryland.
A week before Kennedy was shot, he was with Marilyn Monroe.
Lincoln was shot in a theater and the assassin ran to a warehouse...
Kennedy was shot from a warehouse and the assassin ran to a theater...
For months I have been working on two articles (1) The Kennedy Assassination and (2) The March On Washington. You don’t want to miss either! And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…