Tag Archives: happiness

We GOT Our Reparations…

If we ONLY knew what we were capable of...

If we ONLY knew what we were capable of…

 

It’s all in your mind.

We’ve been free since 1865, and REALLY free since 1965. Stop begging for reparations, because you are asking a THIEF to pay what he stole–he won’t. God has given us reparations, but you’re spending it on bull shit. Stop asking White Jesus for it; he’s ordained your pastors to live in million dollar mansions and to drive Bentleys and shit, so HE won’t give it to you. We already have our reparations: $1.1 Trillion worth.

If I hear one more brother or sister say we are not free, I’m going to fucking BUST. No one is stopping us from taking our money and doing what we need. But you gotta budget it. We are too wasteful, too foolish with our money, for God to hand you a check like he was fucking Santa Claus. If Negroes got $100,000 each today, by the end of the summer, 99% of us would be broke and the Koreans, Jews, Chinese, White folks, you name it–would be flossing with our fucking money. But that doesn’t mean we can’t write our own ticket to success and full freedom. Most of us sign away our wealth as soon as we have the credit to do so. Each time you drive a nice car on a car loan, you use your credit card to go on vacation, you finance jewelry or a house you really can’t afford–you are STEALING your children’s inheritance, in basically pissing away your reparations. The thing is, everyone knows it, and that’s why they put check cashing places, buy-here-pay-here, liquor stores, and everything else we don’t need right in our neighborhoods. I predict on the Day of Judgment, when black folks ask God why He didn’t give us reparations, He will have to put out a memo that He did, but we spent it on bullshit.

We are a hell of a lot freer than we were when slavery was legal. The Black community is like a lion in the circus, or better yet–a lion raised since a cub in someone’s back yard. We are Lions who think we’re puppies and this is why the white man has his foot up black asses. We have enough financial power. manpower, voting power to build or destroy any institution in this country. but as long as we keep thinking we’re still slaves, every ethnicity will pass us in social status and political power. we are worth 1 trillion dollars, and still begging for reparations. we have made damn near every industry in America rich, from nails to movie theaters to Nike to thrift stores to the aftermarket wheel industry to jewelry to education, yet we can’t keep a damned black owned corner store in our neighborhoods open 6 months.

We need to stop acting like ex negroes and take our place in this community. You know, when white folks say we cry, they have a point. invoke the struggle–but don’t use it as a reason for failure or worse–inaction. We are POWERFUL and we are FREE. we just need to act like it. we need to stop waiting on White Jesus or Uncle Sam to make it right, they won’t. God has already opened the door. We just too busy throwing chrome doorknobs on the mother fucker instead of walking through.

Take a look at his picture. It illustrates us well. We just don’t know what we are capable of.

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Where We Messed Up… (I, Too by Langston Hughes)

This may be considered blasphemy by some of you, but I have to say it.

I believe that during the Civil Rights Movement, Black folks made a grave mistake which cost us the lives of many of our leaders–as well as severely hampered the success potential of the movement. When the conscience of the nation began to chip away at the national value called “White supremacy”–the media launched an attack on the Civil Rights Movement by characterizing Black people as impatient, ungrateful and everything else they’ve traditionally called us. The repulsive actions of American leaders, law enforcement, and citizens turned many against the existing system and support for the movement grew so America had no choice but to support the movement. This is where the nation’s leaders learned to use the media as propaganda to influence the masses.

There were two approaches to the Civil Rights Movement. One philosophy assumed that most of White America were good people, or deep inside them was a good person who just needed to hear the demands of Black people in order to make the right decision. This side of the movement sought to appeal to the conscience of the nation. It sat in, it gave speeches appealing to the “Christian values” that White folks held dear, it talked of fairness and doing what was right. On the other side, we called it like it was:  An evil, violent (or apathetic) people who cared less about the plight of the Black man in America or our suffering. This group understood that America would never do right by the Black man until he was forced to do so by law or gunpoint. It didn’t ask of anything of White America; it demanded equality and gave consequences if those demands were not met. It did not pander to the arrogant notion racists Whites projected that they were good people who were trying to do right; it pointed out the hypocrisy of a nation that claimed to be God-fearing but did nothing that God instructed them to do within their own religions–as well as its own Constitution. The Black Church stood on one side, with its “nonviolent” policy. The Nation of Islam, the Black Panther Party, and Black Nationalists stood on the other with a policy of self-defense-if-needed. Guess who received the media coverage? Guess who was painted with a “terrorist” brush?

Well, since the non-violent regime was covered more in the media, it also received the most money and the most prestige. Black people forever came to support that approach (even in current times)–which encouraged patience, discouraged outrage, demanded that Black people use an unfair/ineffective “legal/justice” system to get things done. This is why today, the Black man has made very small amounts of progress and can be all but ignored by today’s leaders and even made to feel guilty about demanding justice! When White America is offended and wronged, they are allowed to express outrage and demand immediate relief. Yet when Black America is offended and wronged, even Black leaders themselves will caution Black people not to rush to judgment or action. They will tell the Black man to calm himself down and let our already corrupt police departments to police themselves, investigate themselves, and find out “what happened”. (As if everyone doesn’t know “what happened”)  If you ever wanted to know why, in 2016, Black people are still discriminated against and never get justice from our leadership and by our criminal justice systems–look no further than how we have accepted rules favorable to those who commit these wrongs. The very people who commit crimes against Black people have written the rules about how you will react to those wrongs. This alone explains the impotence of Black leadership as well as any Civil Rights actions we undertake now. It started with “I Have a Dream“–paying no attention to “Ballot or the Bullet“, and is reflected today in today’s pussified NAACP and Al Sharpton demanding Black calm in the light of children killed by police.

This was reflected in poetry as well. If you look at the poetry of a Langston Hughes versus a Sonia Sanchez, you’ll see why you can name the poetry of one and why you couldn’t name one poetry of the other. I guarantee you never read Sonia Sanchez in school if you attended a Black public school–and I guarantee you never read either if you attended a predominantly White school.

Here is Langston Hughes’ “I, Too (Sing America)”. Following is Sonia Sanchez’s “Malcolm”, which I have memorized. In a future article, I’ll explain the differences of philosophy a little further. Thank you for visiting my blog.

Never forget...

Never forget…

 

I, Too

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.

They send me to eat in the kitchen

when company comes,

But I laugh,

And eat well,

And grow strong.

Tomorrow,

I’ll be at the table

When company comes.

Nobody’ll dare

Say to me,

“Eat in the kitchen,”

Then.

Besides,

They’ll see how beautiful I am

And be ashamed–

I, too, am America.

–Langston Hughes

do not speak to me of

martyrdom,

of men who die to be remembered

on some parish day.

I don’t believe in dying

though, I too shall die

And violets like castanets

will echo me.

yet this man,

this dreamer

thick-lipped with words

will never speak again

and in each winter

when the cold air cracks

with frost I’ll breathe

his breath and mourn

my gunfilled nights.

He was the sun that tagged

the western sky and

melted tiger-scholars

while they searched for stripes.

he said, “fuck you, white

man. we have been

curled too long. nothing

is sacred, not your

white face nor any

land that separates

until some voices

squat with spasms.”

Do not speak to me of living,

life is obscene with crowds

of white on black.

Death is my pulse.

what might have been

is not for him/or me

but could have been

floods the womb until I drown.

“Malcolm”

–by Sonia Sanchez

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Filed under Message to the Black Man, Message to the White Man, Poetry, Politics

Black Problems

Wrote this piece while watching a lady in a laundromat do her daughter’s hair. I know that struggle; I became a single Dad when my daughter was 9 months old and I didn’t know anything about taking care of Black hair. My best friend came to California to hang with me for the summer two weeks after my ex left. My sister visited pretty frequently that summer from the Bay area. Then my mother arrived three months later and stayed with me for almost a year. None of us knew a thing about braiding or cornrowing. Fortunately, my next-door-neighbors were Sudanese and both daughters taught me to braid, and I ended up dating a beautician… Well, I thought about how Black girls had to balance beauty with self-esteem in a world where it seemed no one–not even Black men–loved them and who they are, or how they looked. Here was my beautiful Black daughter, in a family of non-Black women. I swore she would never have straightened hair (although her hair is somewhat straight)–I even carefully chose mates who wouldn’t leave her feeling left out or feeling like her Dad didn’t value women who looked like her. This is the dilemma of raising a Black girl in a White, male-oriented world. Teach her not to love herself as God made her, and you run the risk of teaching her not to love herself. I get that. To some, it’s just hair. To those who know better-she is the young, female version of Sampson. You teach her so much more by the seeds you allow to sprout from her scalp. I whipped out a pen, grabbed a flyer off the wall, and wrote this piece. Hope somebody out there can feel me.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

 

BLACK PROBLEMS

with a fine-toothed comb

she sorted out kinks

curls

and imperfections:

lint, grease, and debris

remnants of four-hundred years of ugliness

hoping to straighten out her blackness as well as her naps

wants nothing but the best for her baby

painful process with the power

to pursue a pampered life

mother’s prerogative to pass on

a pretentious policy for a positive future

pressing in

beauty, success and acceptance

all contained in what she perceives:

presentable hair.

as if relaxing away her pretty locks with a perm

could also relax away the tense life of being a Black woman

“life ain’t no crystal box of crayons, honey—”

mother’s desire to elevate her daughter’s beauty and status

by eradicating her African roots

the ignorant notion

of solving and sorting out Black problems

with a damned comb.

🙂

©2004

The Queen and the Princess...

The Queen and the Princess…

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Financing Our Own Reparations: With a Convenience Store… (part I)

Ever wonder why all foreigners who want to open businesses open businesses in the BLACK community first? No disrespect, just making a point.
It’s because the Black community spends a LOT of money. We might call ourselves second class citizens/poor communities–but we are far from it, especially if you compare what we generate to other communities.
Said all that to say this: We must think of ways to circulate money within our own communities. How do we do this? Answer this question:
**WHERE IS THE BLACK DOLLAR ESCAPING THE COMMUNITY MOST??**
  • Food/grocery
  • Clothing
  • Rent
  • ALCOHOL and other bullshit
  • Hair and hair products/Beauty/Nails
  • Fuel
  • Movies/Entertainment
Family, **millions** of dollars are being made off us, while we work jobs in non-black companies–making them money and just to finance these non-black businesses in our community. We must change how we view opportunity. We cry about reparatations and equal opportunities, but we consistently squander our wealth while pursuing work in companies and places that rarely hire Black folks. Think of it; don’t most of us work in places where we are a small, tiny minority? Most of us work in places that basically do not hire Black people. You might have a decent job, but like it or not–each one of us in our well-paid positions is our company’s token. You can’t bring your friends and family members and get them hired like the next man can. So why aren’t we gravitating towards work that we CAN hire other Black folk?
In the meantime, every Chinese owned restaurant in the hood, every Vietnamese owned nail shop, every Indian owned liquor store, every Korean owned grocery–in your neighborhood is making a MINT off you and your neighbors and they won’t hire your Black asses for shit.
An Indian brother told me (he told the Filipino Mustafa Akamo, not the Black one), that I could secure a commercial spot in the hood for less than $2,000/month, buy my racks and shelves for pennies on the dollar at an auction, and STOCK a convenience store (minus alcohol and tobacco–which I won’t sell anyway) for around $3-4,000…. That’s right, about $7Gs and I’d be in business. Five brothers could get together and open one at about $1,500 a piece. Convenience stores gross at a **minimum** $100,000 a year. Split that five ways. Come on y’all. We can do this.
Change how you think. Build your own reparations. Everything a community needs–we can sell to ourselves. Why are we still begging?

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His Purple Reign Is Over…

Prince SymbolI’m heartbroken.

Yeah, I’m a Prince fan. I wasn’t always. When I was 14, I had a girlfriend who loved Prince. She talked about him, wore the buttons, wrote in that easily recognizable 80s-Prince-style shorthand, even dressed like him. As a self-respecting ghetto boy, I couldn’t get with the program. I liked Hip Hop and DC GoGo music, and his Royal Sweetness was too effeminate for my taste. I liked 1999 and some of his earlier albums–but after seeing the video, I was cool off of Prince.

But then, I had my first date.

Purple Rain hit the theaters, and Mustafa Akamo’s first date was that movie–with my Grandfather sitting between us. Hey, it was a different time then! I went, griping about the theater she chose–I sure as hell didn’t want none of my homeboys to see me coming out of that theater. Hell, it was not much different than getting caught coming out of the porn theater! Anyway, by the end of the first song and scene of the movie, I was a fan. And have been ever since.

I don’t know about you, but I was a fan in the biggest way. Being a fan of Prince’s music was something I couldn’t share with my friends. We were ghetto kids, we did manly things like play streetball, football, and boxed. We fought kids from rival neighborhoods. This was DC, we wore lumberjack jackets, Adidas tennis shoes, our hats backwards, and if you liked something strange like David Bowie, Culture Club, or Duran Duran–you’d better keep that shit to yourself. Not that I was a closet fan… It was just something I enjoyed by myself. I owned all his albums, all the 45s, collected magazines with articles and song lyrics (but no posters–I drew the line there–this was an admiration of the music, not a damned crush lol). I even started writing in the shorthand. I wore trench coats, loved purple, let my hair grow long. I had a lot in common with him. We were both biracial Black men (so I thought, turns out–both his parents are Black), loved motorcycles, rock music, identified ourselves as “brothers”. Except I liked my women chocolate and dark, but he liked mixed women. No biggie.

I had four girls during my Prince stage that I was crazy about, but they were older and liked me as a friend and didn’t reciprocate:  Lauren Kelly-Washington (who went to Georgetown Prep), Kamalah Lucas (either Duke Ellington or GP), Lisa Ponder and Bernadette Brandon (who both went to Eastern High). I wrote love letters. I called them (during my time knowing them) daily, incessantly. I befriended them and learned how to talk to girls. Prince was there all the time, telling me what to say, even when I might as well have been listening to Chinese Arithmetic, because I had no clue what he was talking about. He accompanied me on dates. He was in the background when I daydreamed about them. By the time I made it to the University of Maryland, I was a well-seasoned Playboy. armed with my ambiguous bilingual ghetto-boy/intellect/poetry-writing street kid persona–and women found me to be an irresistible bitch. I could be romantic, intriguing, and fight two niggas at the same time. Articulate-as-hell-but-carried-a-gun type of interesting. Prince seduced the nation, and he taught me to seduce those I came in contact with, simply by being different, being exotic, being strange and peculiar, and being myself. At a time I was struggling to fit in, I learned through him, that fitting in isn’t always where it’s at. They laugh at me for being different; I learned to laugh at them because they are all the same. There’s power in standing out.

I used to say that three things pulled me back from becoming just another brother on the street:  my mother insisting that I was Filipino, my Cuban stepfather who taught me to dress and dance, cook and speak some Spanish, and Prince’s music–which balanced the pull of DC calling me out my racial mixture to join the rest of the brothers. Those who know me know that I am equally Afrocentric and exotic. Many don’t like it; they want me to choose sides. Prince was all about not choosing sides. Shit, that fool wouldn’t even make it known that he was decidedly straight, riding the fence and staying in the gray area is what made this brother stand out. Everybody loved him. Black folks knew he was Black. Latinos loved him because he gave nods to Latin rhythms and music. White folks thought his momma was White, and considered him to have “transcended race” (which happens to be White people’s way of saying “He can’t be Black, we like that nigga too!”).

The brother didn’t leave the race; he wasn’t bisexual. He was just Prince. That’s all. He was who he was, and the place he loved to hang out was right there in the middle. And in the middle where everybody could identify with him and appreciate him. He was kinda White, kinda Black, kinda Latin, kinda Hip Hop, kinda Rock, even kinda Country, kinda straight, kinda gay. He taught those who loved him to get past their own limited tastes and biases and just appreciate him for who he was:  an awesome musician.

There are people who are “fans of Prince’s music”, but then there are “Prince fans”. Prince fans got into more than just the music; we learned as much as we could about him. We still bought all his albums, even though he hadn’t had a #1 hit since 1989–and went to his concerts religiously. We dressed differently, we talked differently, we wrote differently. We enjoyed his music, then studied the lyrics asking, “What did he actually mean by that?”  We categorized dates and life events by whatever Prince songs we were jamming to at the time. He wasn’t just making albums we loved; his music was literally the soundtrack to our lives. And now, he’s gone.

There was a joke about his Royal Badness–that he was the only guy who could wear a headwrap and eyeliner, and STILL take your woman from you–and it’s true. He is probably the only guy a very straight man, even homophobic ones, would admit comfortably was a Sexy Mother Fucker and still feel masculine. Like I said, there will never be another.

This was our Elvis, the Black man’s 9/11. He taught us to say screw the mainstream, screw status quo and do your own thing. For that, I’m honored I had the pleasure of being a Prince fan.

June 7, 1958 - April 21, 2016

June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016

From Him we came, to Him we return. Till we meet again, Prince Rogers Nelson. Rest in peace, my brother.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

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Invictus, Lesson in Life

I’m going to be selfish today. The Quran 29:2… “Do the people think they will say “I believe” and they will not be tried?”

God tells us that he will no put more on the soul than it can bear.

If you want to make glass stronger, you heat it up to the point that it is about to melt and then pressure it while it cools.

For my martial arts students, I make them stronger by training them until their muscles give out. The will go home night after night, exhausted and in pain. But over time, a sculptured, rock solid body is the result of all that punishment.

When you were a baby, your parents probably punished you or popped you to teach you obedience.

We could go on for days. The people of Mindanao, Philippines, have the same culture, religion and language they had for centuries. It is in spite of the many dominating cultures who invaded the Philippines and colonized it in recent years–from the Spanish in the 1800s, to America, to Japan. They also happen to have the strongest martial arts. This indomitable spirit is the result of a millennium of fighting off invaders. Toughness is rarely something we are born with. It is the result of a tempering from being attacked and standing strong. We all pray for resilience, but we often do not understand that the problems we endure gives us that resilience.

The prophet Ayyub (Job, for my Jewish and Christian readers) was known for his unshakable faith and obedience to God, even after being attacked with affliction and misfortune. When you pray for strength, pray for the strength of Ayyub–that you do not allow set backs to cause you to backslide or join the non-believers. There is always a reward at the end of struggle. If you know this, your struggle will be much easier to take. Don’t complain or whine, just pray for guidance and strength–and then get to work.

We all have our issues. Things don’t go our way. We get disappointed. We get let down. We don’t get what we want. We lose who and what we love. We bust our behinds for something, and sometimes it doesn’t work in our favor. We pray for God to give us something or to do something for us, and He answers “No” or “Wait”. It happens; just keep at it.

Muslims have a dua (supplication) we say when we encounter someone who is struggling:  May Allah make it easy for you. Pray for other people, and He will protect you as well. The more you invoke this dua, the more He will have your back. Stay positive while you endure, and may His will be done.

By the way, you all… I didn’t write this article for you–I wrote it for me. (That’s why I said I was going to be selfish today)  I am picking myself up today, I thought I would let you hear me talk to myself. Maybe someone will hear what I need to hear.

I read this poem years ago, and it had stuck with me all this time, because I could hear William Ernest Henley talking to me as I recall its lines–and it describes many people that I love and admire. It originally had no title, but was given the title “Invictus” (latin for unconquered) when it was included in an anthology. Enjoy! And thank you for visiting my blog.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

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As Temporary As the Mountains

With God's might, they all move...

With God’s might, they all move…

The Quran Chapter 27, verse 88 says:  “And you see the mountains, thinking they are rigid, but they pass like the clouds. It is the doing of Allah, who has perfected all things, and he knows what you do.”

وَتَرَى ٱلْجِبَالَ تَحْسَبُهَا جَامِدَةً وَهِىَ تَمُرُّ مَرَّ ٱلسَّحَابِ ۚ صُنْعَ ٱللَّهِ ٱلَّذِىٓ أَتْقَنَ كُلَّ شَىْءٍ ۚ إِنَّهُۥ خَبِيرٌۢ بِمَا تَفْعَلُونَ

Ameen. (Amen)

God knows what you are going through. He knows you’re hurt. You get sick. You’re sad and lonely. You have financial problems. You have health problems. You worry. You don’t see a way out. But look back at your life, that time your money got tight, your car was about to be repo’d, you’re heart was broken, you stressed over finding work, graduating from school… Did you make it through? Did it work out?

Of course it did. My mother used to say that worry is a sign of disbelief in God, that you don’t believe He will pull you through. But He always does, doesn’t He? Yes He does. Yet you doubted Him when things got stressful. Did you even thank Him when it was over? Or did you claim that you found a way out?

Hmm.

Muslims say that Allahu khayru alma kareena:  God is the best of planners. Indeed He is. The Creator does not put any situation on you that He doesn’t deem you strong enough to deal with, and even when you find yourself trapped in a maze He will lead you out. If you are a believer He will save you. If you are a non-believer, He still may save you. (By the way, “Believer” can be a Muslim Jew or Christian) Just ask, and if it is His will, you will find a way. Notice I did not say “if you deserved it”, I said “His will”. Deserving is up to Him. Regardless of the outcome, God is in control and His will be done. End of story.

Understanding that even the mountains will move as easily as the clouds is a sign of God’s power. What looks more stable and immovable than the mountains? If God so desires, he will move them or crumble them just as he will move the clouds. The Creator is permanent, and He is powerful. If you stare long enough, entire continents will shift, but only Allah sees it. When you look at your love life or your job situation, regardless of how bleak it may seem or how powerless you feel there is always a way. You don’t see it, but having faith will help. You think they are permanent, but those who understand the miracle of Allah know otherwise. And this is why He told us way back during a time when men weren’t even aware that the Earth moved:  Yes, I even move the mountains too. He knows what you go through, and through this passage he is telling you that not even the mightiest mountain is permanent.

When I hear someone give up–love, work, their passions, working out, their goals–I want to share this with them. Perhaps you are too close to the forest to see the trees. So rely on the One who knows the way out. Follow Him.

Or accompany someone who follows Him.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

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