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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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Effective Civil Rights 101

You may have heard me say several times on this blog that the opposite of racism is not equality–it is prestige. “Prestige” as in “better than”. Prestige as in “Black superiority”. Prestige as in “Uppity Niggers”. Prestige as in “Reverse racism”. If you ever saw a Black man claim that there is no racism left or claim that racism is not a major obstacle for Black people, that Negro ain’t crazy… from his point of view, he may see something the rest of us don’t see.

Don’t get your panties all in a bunch yet; let me explain.

See, there is much truth to what that handpicked Negro is saying. I’m saying here that I agree with him to a point, but I disagree that he said it. What he is saying, when he claims that racism is a thing of the past is this:

Racism exists. But it cannot hold you back if you don’t let it.

Some of us give White America way too much power and way too much respect. There are many things we can do to eliminate the affect racism has on us, but we simply don’t do it. Now, I’m not suggesting we can escape its clutches in a 100% guaranteed, surefire way. No way–this is still the home of racism and prejudice. But if we do certain things, we can isolate it to areas where it can be contained and dealt with. So much of the racism that we encounter is simply OUR fault. Meaning, had we not done this–that wouldn’t have happened. Had we done more of that, this wouldn’t happen. If we dot our Is and cross our Ts, this country would have fewer opportunities to wield the racist stick at us and do what he enjoys doing the most. However, so many of us screw up–we play right into the hands of Willie Bobo himself, and it gives him great pleasure to do what he does.

And let me say this:  If we do our part, we make it very difficult for racist practices to be used against us. We will never eliminate it completely. That’s like expecting the Lion to be a vegetarian. What I am saying is if you want to avoid the Lion’s jaws, stay the fuck out his cage. A 17 year old tried as an adult on his first offense and given the maximum prison sentence wouldn’t be able to complain that the cop beat his ass and both attorneys and the judge conspired to ruin his life had that stupid mother fucker NOT shot another Black child. Capiche? This country is going to fuck with us. Just don’t make it easy for them, is all I’m saying.

So. What are the steps now to gaining, building, and maintaining prestige? I’ll tell you.

Who remembers how much White people hated Asians in the 1970s and 1980s? Yeah, after the Philippine Insurrection, the Korean War, Pearl Harbor, and Vietnam–White folks HATED Asians. Even Asians who had nothing to do with this shit. Thai, Indonesian, Okinawan–if you resembled anything labeled the “enemy” they hated you and wanted to kill your children. But what happened? I recall being called a “Chink” at summer camp when I befriended two Taiwanese boys who spoke little English, because I had lived in Taiwan and spoke Mandarin (okay, I’m half Filipino too. sheesh). Those boys who ostracized me for being friends with the “Vietnamese” boys learned that shit somewhere. In 1982, none of us were old enough to truly remember Vietnam or Pearl Harbor–they learned that bullshit from their parents. But today, we would all be in our 40s, and I guaran-fucking-TEE most of those same White boys wanted to fuck an Asian girl, a few might even be married to one, loves Asian food, watches martial arts flicks, has at least three or four Asian friends, and probably works with a few Asian guys, and get this:  Will raise their hand to God and swear on their mother’s grave that they were raised to see “no race” or some bullshit ass lie like that.

What happened? Why do White folks no longer hate Asians? When was the last time you even heard a White guy ranting about Asians or calling people Guks, slant eyes, or chinks? Where did that racism go? Did Asians protest or get a law passed? Did they form organizations like we did to combat that shit? Did they push for an Asian President, walk around in Asian clothing, get mad at Asian guys who fuck with White girls or Asian women who have children by White men? They were able to eliminate that racism, but we–in all our effort, been here 300 years longer–with all our money, celebrities, even our Negro President–you can be a law-abiding, college educated, peaceful, friendly, successful Black man, and in the eyes of the dirtiest, poorest, most illiterate White dude in the trailer park, you ain’t nothing but a common Nigger.

And this is why the Brother at the beginning of this article seems to be a tad bit mentally ill when he says “Ain’t no racism”. There will always be racism. Yet Asians aren’t stung by it. And I’m sure if a White dude who really hated Asians out here allowed himself to actually say, “What are you doing talking to that Chink?” 90% of the most racist White cats who hate Obama and love Trump would look at that dude and say “Mother fucker are you crazy?”  Cause he would be. Ain’t nobody tripping off Asians no more. So the question, my brothers and sisters is “WHY?”

Let me break it down:

  1. First, Asians do commit crimes. They prey on each other, too. But they do not highlight those who commit crimes. More energy is spent on the ones who don’t commit crimes–their children and academics, local businesses, cultural centers. We, on the other hand, follow our criminals to make sure they are “punished fairly”, we glamorize those who have been to prison, our kids look up to them, we embrace them, write songs about them, pretend to be criminals ourselves, we dress like them. Asian crime doesn’t represent Asians. Black crime is actually a part of our pop culture. Don’t get mad; I’m just calling it like I see it. Any time a brother with a job is seen by our women as less sexy than a brother with a record–we are in mother fucking trouble
  2. Asian communities are ethnic. They embrace their cultures–we look to erase it. Either that, or we let big business tell us what will be our culture. You mean to tell me a billionaire record exec can determine what’s popping in the streets? Hell no–but whatever they decide negroes will listen to–y’all MFs will buy it. Asians on the other hand, send their children to “Chinese school” so that cultures are lost. We make fun of Afrocentric programs, or marginalize them
  3. They humble themselves and sacrifice their generation to make way for the next. We dress up, buy nice cars–as soon as we have the money. Yet when we die, our children must hold car washes to bury us because we spent our money in our youth and didn’t leave them shit but bills. Each time a Black man buys luxury items for himself, while his children have no college fund, and no inheritance (via our own retirement funds)–we are actually stealing from our children’s future.
  4. We “love our children” buy dressing them in the latest fashions, buying them electronics, sell them a fantasy of being a professional athlete or future entertainer–while ignoring their education. We will buy $200 sneakers but think $80 is too much for math tutoring. Many Asian kids got through college under parents who have no education past grade school, some didn’t even speak English. Our children make fun of children who excel and exclude smart Black children from the race (“you talk so White”, as if Black children aren’t articulate too)
  5. Many Asians do not believe in credit or banks. They deal with cash, save money in safes and freezers. We apply for credit and live beyond our means. This is why they can open businesses and we can’t. We live for show. By the way, please don’t believe the bullshit that every Asian arrives in America to a government loan to open a business. If they do get a loan, do you know where it comes from? It comes from a family member who had saved money for years before they arrive. How many of you would loan your cousin $15,000 to open a shop? I didn’t think so.
  6. They pool resources. Entire families will run a restaurant, a store, sometimes two or three families will collaborate on a business. You can’t even stand your own relatives for a weeklong family reunion or  Thanksgiving dinner.
  7. Here’s something you may not know:  Asian families buy in bulk. My mother use to buy a whole cow, a hundred pounds of chicken, entire goats–with a cousin and her family, sometimes two. She and my cousin would buy an 80 lb sack of rice and split it. We often sent food back and forth between households. Babysat each others children while the other worked extra jobs. For a twenty year period, we almost always had a relative living with us. Everyone had money, even though we may have looked poor. Ijs!
  8. Politically, Asians look at politics as the White man’s game. Just stay your ass out of Chinatown. Asians know these guys have no love for them, and they don’t try to demand it neither. My mother use to warn me about complaining about racism: it’s like asking the tiger to be a vegetarian. Get yours, let him get his. Stay out of his pockets and he’ll stay out of yours. We haven’t learned that. We live here, and prospered most when we couldn’t go to his stores and lived in his neighborhoods. But now that we live in his neighborhoods, and you wonder why his police are fucking with you?
  9. If we could somehow stop 90% of our children from commiting crimes and instead focus on education, if we could stop our men from using drugs and drinking alcohol and solving problems by fighting–we could singlehandedly shut down the prison industrial complex. Like it or not, this is true. A judge can’t throw the book at you if you don’t get arrested. Sure, false arrests happen. But if none of us committed crimes, it would be far easier to isolate those instances when they happen. We must eliminate crime and crimespeak from our everyday language and actions. So many kids are playing gangsta, it’s hard to discern who is a real gangsta and who is just dressing like one!
  10. Asians don’t ask America for much at all. They may demand here or there when there is an injustice–and very often that demand is answered. More on this later. But other than that, Asians don’t demand jobs; they create jobs. They open businesses. They will get into every business thinkable. If you spend money on it, Asians will sell or provide it.
  11. But here’s the thing ^^ once it is known that Asians have a business–they automatically have a client base. A fiercely loyal, consistent client base. When was the last time a Chinese or Vietnamese came into your business and spent money solely with you?
  12. Speaking of which ^^ Asians don’t say stupid shit like we do along the lines of “See? This why I don’t spend money with other Asians!”
  13. I don’t care if you offer something cheaper than a Chinese or better than a Vietnamese–most of them will not go to you when their brother sells it
  14. And items #10-13 all go towards creating not just a geographic Chinatown. They create economic Chinatowns which shrink the size of any city where Asians are spread all over. In the 1980s, my mother would travel from Silver Spring, Maryland on the BUS to shop in Fort Washington, MD, just because it was the only Filipino store in town–until one opened in Wheaton (easily 30-40 miles). We as a people do not have that kind of discipline. We only had it when we the White man told us we couldn’t shop nowhere but Black owned stores. As soon as he gave us permission to buy from him–we busted through door like they had learned to bottle up sex or something.
  15. And that economic Chinatown is what empowered all Asian people who were a part of that community. Even in cities where there is no “Vietnamese Town”, the Vietnamese know where all the Vietnamese businesses are–and will cross Hell and highwater to shop there. This circulates the money made from one Vietnamese family to the next, over and over, until someone decides to break the chain and spend the money elsewhere. If you ever got in good with an economic community–you will quickly see how powerful they are, because you will have so much business even if you hated Vietnamese–you would learn to respect them and shut your damned hole. This economic community is more powerful than any protest or social media campaign. It may only represent 2,000 families–but we are talking each member of those 2,000 families and their incomes. And their votes. And their labor. And their spending power. And their ability to not spend with you. And their friends and their families. 2,000 families isn’t much, but you take 2,000 families working in unison–it is more powerful than an atomic bomb.
  16. Question, how much money do Black people spend on nails in a month? How much money do nail shops bring in each month? Why aren’t more of us opening our own shops? The school is only 10 weeks long. Do you know how much money a nail tech makes in a day? Hundreds, but you worried about a damned $15/hr job. For as much as Black folks spend on nails each month–damn near none of us have a shop. So we are throwing millions of dollars at that community, financing their kids college funds, financing their other businesses, their cars, their homes, their monthly budgets–none of which is spent in a Black business.
  17. Now, let’s replace “Nails” with everything else we spend our money on. Alcohol. Clothing. Cars. Phones and electronics. Insurance. Rent. Groceries. Gas. Day Care. You name it. How many of these businesses are Black owned businesses?
  18. And there, ^^ is the problem. There are Black businesses out there–but you aren’t patronizing them. You might go to work, but you are, I’m sure, making less than you’d make if you sold one of those products we spend our money on. We simply don’t. Why? Because opening a day care, buying an apartment building, selling alcohol (yuck, more on this later), selling groceries, selling insurance–is not in our plan.
  19. Asian communities, then, are 100% self reliant. You think Asians don’t like Black folks? Well guess what–Asians don’t like WHITE folks. And they will not spend their money with them, they don’t ask them for shit neither. They come here, and don’t even respect America enough to learn to speak the language like you’d like em to. On one hand, you can cuss em out, tell them their dick is small, learn to speak English, whatever. But the bottom line is that he is throwing you out of HIS business, and he will never do anything to benefit you, yet no matter what–you will still end up spending money to benefit HIM. White or black, this Asian is existing here in America without asking you for a damn thing, and his resentment for what y’all did to his family back during the war is irrelevant because he is mostly likely completely independent of most of us and none of us can hold him back from achieving his goals. And if the US gets to irritating for his taste, he will take his money and hop on a plane and go someplace else. For as much as Black folks love Africa and hate the White man–how many of us will board and plane and go? Yup. That’s why the white man has no love or respect for you; cause you in his house, he knows you are not independent of him, and you will always end up having to go back to him for something. Permission, justice, money–something. We are somewhat politically immature, you see, true racism is not words and insults and calling names. TRUE racism is how it affects lives. It is economic. It affects freedom. It affects health and whether you live or die. Remember that. So what these white folks don’t like you. Live your life so that their hate has zero effect on your pockets, on your household, on your life. Stop expecting the people that hate you to accept you. Integration is garbage. Learn to be independent.

We think prestige is a state job where you dress sharp and have a nice house, clothes and car. No–prestige is not needing your oppressor for a daggone thing. Prestige is having something your oppressor wants–your business, your money, your votes–and not giving it unless he does something for you. We have no prestige. You could be a millionaire Black man who is loved by many–and he will charge you with a crime and imprison you and no one will do a damned thing about it. That isn’t prestige, there is no price tag on it. It is a condition, a state of being.

No election talks about the “Asian voting bloc”. You know what Asians are getting involved in elections? Most likely, Asians with little connection to their culture and community. Most have never been to their parents’ countries, they don’t speak the language, they have 1/2 white children. Ethnic Asians know that no matter who is in office, Chinatown will operate the same, and it will not affect my income and lifestyle. The Civil Rights leaders of the 60s had a role:  they were combating human rights issues. We no longer have that same fight, the playing field is more level. Even when they were in the middle of their Civil Rights struggle, they did not protest; they withdrew to their communities and built lives without White folks. So there is no White support of Chinatown–who gives a fuck. We tend to invite them to interfere–excuse me, join–us in whatever we do, and we so badly have it wrong. Build our communities, strengthen our families, concentrate our power and efforts. That’s how you build prestige, and that is how you eradicate racism.

Bottom line:  Effective Civil Rights movement shouldn’t focus on this country or the White man. America will always be America, the White man will always be the White man. But we focus on ourselves, our families and our communities–we make it difficult for our enemies to attack us, and we make it easy for our allies to support us. You cannot ask a man who is feeding you or seeing you at your worse to treat you with respect and dignity. You can only demand it by being a people who is worthy of it. Most of us are worthy of respect. Too many of us are not. We have to turn our focus inward. Don’t ask him for anything, be independent, be strong, be united. When he is no longer needed to feed our people–and only then–we will have the opposite of racism. Remember I said this:  You can only hold down a people when they are not standing tall. Get off your knees, my brothers and sisters.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

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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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My Reading List (Autobiography of Malcolm X)

Okay this blog is going into so many directions.

I have this theory, that Black men must be well read in the effort to improve our condition. My recommendation for the reading list begins with “The Autobiography of Malcolm X”–or as most Black folks would call it, simply “The Autobiography”. Ask for it by that name, any Black man or woman worth his weight will know what you mean. I feel every Black man’s REAL education should start with Malcolm X’s Autobiography, and there are so many directions to go after that. But this book, out of all, was the most important and memorable for me. Malcolm’s story is one that the Black man as a people, in America, has undergone–that to understand him, we understand ourselves. He was a man who experienced the worst of racism as a child. His father was killed by racists, and forced into a life of despair and oppression and extreme sadness. As he grew up, because both smooth and charismatic, educated and well spoken, physically strong and angry. Then he finds himself in prison and is exposed to the teaching of the late Elijah Muhammad and his brand of religion that he called “Islam” (Not Islam, but a Black American version of it).

It didn’t end there. He grew as a “Black Muslim” and then became a “Muslim”. It was a powerful transformation.

malcolm-x-syracuse-universityHere is an excerpt from an interview used for the book:

“Everybody’s wondering why I’ve been going back and forth to Africa. Well, first I went to Mecca to get closer to the orthodox religion of Islam. I wanted firsthand views of the African leaders — their problems are inseparable from ours. The cords of bigotry and prejudice here can be cut with the same blade. We have to keep that blade sharp and share it with one another.” Now he was sounding like the old Malcolm: “Strangely enough, listening to leaders like Nasser, Ben Bella, and Nkrumah awakened me to the dangers of racism. I realized racism isn’t just a Black and white problem. It’s brought bloodbaths to about every nation on earth at one time or another.”

He stopped and remained silent for a few moments. “Brother,” he said finally, ”remember the time that white college girl came into the restaurant — the one who wanted to help the Muslims and the whites get together — and I told her there wasn’t a ghost of a chance and she went away crying?”

“Yes.”

“Well, I’ve lived to regret that incident. In many parts of the African continent I saw white students helping Black people. Something like this kills a lot of argument. I did many things as a [Black] Muslim that I’m sorry for now. I was a zombie then — like all [Black] Muslims — I was hypnotized, pointed in a certain direction and told to march. Well, I guess a man’s entitled to make a fool of himself if he’s ready to pay the cost. It cost me twelve years.”

“That was a bad scene, brother. The sickness and madness of those days — I’m glad to be free of them. It’s a time for martyrs now. And if I’m to be one, it will be in the cause of brotherhood. That’s the only thing that can save this country. I’ve learned it the hard way — but I’ve learned it. And that’s the significant thing.”

As we parted he laid his hand on my shoulder, looked into my eyes and said, “As-salaam-alaikum, brother.”

“And may peace be with you, Malcolm,” I answered.

(the speaker, btw, was Gordon Parks, who interviewed him)

I say this because Black men are in need of healing. We are passing down a trauma that was passed down from our fathers, passed from his father to him, and from his father to him. No one will help us cope but ourselves. The anger in the Black community is legitimate. We have been through hell and back and we still have one foot in the damn place. We are being victimized through this country’s laws and practices, the disdain of nearly every racial group to immigrate here, hell we’re so bad we even victimize each other! The cancer of violence and hatred has been injected into our community’s bloodstream and it spreads everywhere we look. You can’t educate out of it either. A black man can get a PhD and a 6 figure job, and a cop will still pull you over for no reason and want to brutalize you. Fuck it, you can be the President of the United States, and the drunkest dirt bag and uneducated fool in the trailer park will still call you a Nigger and a boy… from trailer trash to U.S. Senators–you’re just another Black man they would rather see suffer.

Oh and please don’t come at me with that “Talking about it opens old wounds” BS either. The wound hasn’t healed because we won’t talk about it. White men avoid it, and Black men are obsessed with it, and if you don’t treat a cancer what does it do to you? It spreads all over your body and invades every piece of you. And since this is a conversation that White folks don’t want to have, and Black people love to have–the least we can do is to be experts at it.

And we are. Black people are such experts at racism and race relations, that we know history your average high school history teacher has never heard of. We know of incidents, historical essays and books, techniques used to control the slaves and dominate, people, places and events–that White Americans don’t know and probably wouldn’t want to know. The sad thing is that because we know it and don’t know what to do with it, we are like the Incredible Hulk, with all this anger, all this strength and power with no place to channel it and no peers to understand it. In the end it becomes destructive. We destroy ourselves, our communities and our people, even our children. Like I said earlier, the way to control it is to educate ourselves in order to improve our condition. Once we understand it, we can then heal it, battle it, and then change it.

The White man has done what he did. He still has a race problem of his own, which is evident in how insecure he is with talking about race and his own history with us. If you understand him and why he is the way that he is, you will be able to deal with him and help him navigate through his own bullshit–even when he is unwilling to admit he has a problem. As a Black man–you have bullshit of your own. But you cannot fix it until you understand it, and to understand it as well as the cure–you will have to turn to the experts and read and learn. Start with the Autobiography. Then come back here and we’ll talk about it.

Black woman, I am speaking to you too. White man, ditto. White woman, ditto that.

And you Whites, Asians, Hispanics who have Black friends and/or Black mixed children–read it. You’ve got a lot to learn as well.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

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I Want You Back… #regret

I learned to use these #hashtags thingies on Facebook. Cool stuff, huh?

Anyway, periodically–and it never actually stops–one of my exes will call/email/text/send a message through mutual friend(s)… something to the effect of:

I’ve been going thru somethings (sic). I want you back

By the way ^^^ that was a real text. Don’t worry, this particular ex doesn’t read this blog. In fact, she never did; and that was one of the problems in our relationship. Her friends and family read it–but she didn’t have enough interest in me and the things that were important to me to ever read it. And let me tell you something. Through this blog, I have had groupies, fans, crushes, fall in love with me through this blog. My last blog totally endeared my ex to me, she is now a blogger who also takes public speaking engagements–and it began with her reading my work. I had given this ex a copy of my CD (a spoken word CD, if you want it, send $12.00 through Paypal using the “Donate” button on the main page sidebar) and she NEVER listened to it. Imagine that. You’re in love with someone and want to be with them apparently, but you don’t listen to or read their work. And keep in mind, this relationship lasted 18 months. Ain’t nobody that damned busy.

All kinds of signs, and boy can we be stupid. Oh boy can I be stupid. We do see them, don’t we? Just don’t heed them.

But enough about her. This article is about this very real lesson, that many just never learn from. It goes like this:  “The grass is, in fact,  greener on the other side. But only because that guy waters his grass.”

We could have the best thing we ever had; they could be beautiful, a great cook, intelligent, attentive, affectionate, caring, selfless, considerate, sensual, good for the ego, and most of all… They love us. They love our dirty draws, and nothing we do bothers them enough to discard the marriage or relationship. Yet for some strange reason, all we seem to notice is that their gut is getting a little big, her tits aren’t as nice as those the girl at the job has, their feet are crusty, his hair is thinning, her finances are thin… So we long for something–someONE else. Somebody we think is better, somebody more fun, a chick with a fatter booty, a guy with a bigger dick, somebody with a great credit rating. Our loved one is no longer a “loved” one, she now gets on our nerves. He spends too much time at your house, you wish the fool would go home, my favorite show is on. There’s all them cuties on Facebook and Tagged, and they require my attention…

Then one day, the one we love is gone. Yeah, now I’m free to smash. Smash the next door neighbor’s sister who’s been up on it since I moved in. Smash that security guard from the job who keeps buying you lunch. Smash that ex who swears the sex will be a marathon like “that one time”…. Life is good, isn’t it?  😉

It isn’t. At 1 a.m., when that new, exciting fling has gone home–or never spent the night because the newness of YOU wore off (just like the newness of your own ex)–you start to thinking about how badly she loved you. You feel bad about how you guys broke up, how she didn’t deserve it, or how happy he really made you. You think about how the quality of life has actually gone down the pipes because you no longer have someone who would sleep in the rain for you, give you their last dime, or how you were their Superman or Wonder Woman. You realize, like many, many exes:  “I fucked up.”

Yes, you did. You had a good thing and you ruined it. And don’t you dare say “I didn’t know what I had”, asshole. You knew what you had, you just never thought you’d lose it. You thought you could toss it aside, mistreat it, take it for granted, put it on ice–and then go back when you were ready. I’m sorry, life doesn’t work that way. One broken heart turns another. I’ve had my share of breaking hearts, and I’ve paid for it every single time. I’ve had mine broken more than anything, and I have foolishly dismissed playing with others because “After all I’ve been through, I deserve the right to play the heart-breaker this time.” Pure bullshit. That is the lover’s version of Israel’s foreign policy, I get to hurt others because others have hurt me. But like I said, life doesn’t work that way. Get it right the first time, because true love rarely affords you a do-over. Just learn from it, and get it right the next time.

We cheat, we ignore, we abuse mentally/emotionally/physically, we simply take them for granted. In the end, we dispose of a great relationship with someone who loves us deeply in favor of something where love may not even be a factor at all. We aren’t guaranteed to find this level of love again. In fact, if we betrayed our loved one, we probably don’t even deserve another true love. But what the hell do I know? I’m just a guy with 7 failed marriages.

repair a broken heartSo to answer my ex’s question (Mustafa, what do I have to do to get us back like it was before?), which she’d asked many times since we parted ways: Baby, you can’t. My heart is made of very fragile glass and once it breaks you can’t tape it back together with the excuse, the words “I’m sorry.”  Forgiveness is a strong part of relationships, but betrayal is not part of this equation. You can be forgiven, but that doesn’t mean you get to have the same benefits you had before just because you apologized. Murderers apologize, but their crime is permanent, and so is the punishment.

Good luck on your next relationship. Make sure it’s done right the first time.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

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