Monday, January 23, 2017

Am I my brothers' keeper....we all we got!!

So...I am a 70s baby but the 80s raised me(you didn't know I could rhyme, did you, Ha!). Meaning, I was born in 197------something like that, but I grew up in the 80s and 90s. During my era, a wonderful, intriguing, and one of the greatest societal forces, HipHop was created. HipHop was one of the illest(translation, phenomenal) lifestyle expression that was ever born. I loved it and still do! Especially growing up, I was fascinated by it! I loved everything about it, from the movies, to the clothes, to the songs, to the lyrics, I couldn't get enough. One of my most memorable moments of growing up with HipHop is when the movie, New Jack City came out. Whaaat??!! I remember that it came out when I was in middle school and my friends and I all wanted to go to see it. Sure, it had a R rating but that didn't matter to us. I remember I begged my mom and my stepfather to take me to see it and they finally broke down and did. I was not disappointed! It captivated my attention for the entire 1 hour and 41 minutes that it showed in the Carolina Circle 6 theater(yep, I took it way back, Greensboro). One of my favorite lines from the movie is when Nino Brown found out that Gee Money had cut a side deal with the Feds(I know the ENTIRE MOVIE, trust me) and Nino Brown was about to murder Gee Money. I remember Gee Money pleading for his life. One of his final pleas, well more like a question, was "Am I my brother's keeper...CMB, we all we got!". In a flash, Nino Brown finished him. I remember thinking at that moment, "Wow, that's cold blooded.". I couldn't decipher in my young 13-year old mind, how someone could be so cruel. I mean, yeah, Gee Money had messed up, but they were brothers, weren't they??(Yeah, I get caught up in movies, lol)

Fast forward over 20 years later and New Jack City is still one of my favorite movies. However, the murdering of Gee Money no longer bothers me. As a matter of fact, I'm totally immune to the scene. I justify his murder by saying, "You shouldn't have double crossed, knew that ninja was crazy." How is it that when I was child, I could not understand the murdering of someone's own close friend or brother but in my adulthood, I could? I'll tell you how! I witnessed it many times in life. I hear about it on the news almost every night, if I choose to watch the news. I hear about it in rap songs, IF I choose to listen to them, and I still see them in movies. I've never experienced being double crossed or knew of someone being murdered by a good friend or brother personally, but like I said, I've definitely heard of it. How did we become such a society or a community that has grown use to a "brother" taking another "brother's" life? How can we justify the killings of people in our community by saying "that they shouldn't have crossed them." When I refer to killing, I am not merely speaking of, the actual crime, I am also referring to, sitting by and watching people amongst us, waste away. Be it, by drugs, by self-harming themselves, by selling drugs, or just blatant disrespect. Why did we become so "okay" with this? I can only speak for myself and even though it requires a great deed of transparency on my part, I'll go ahead. Besides, when I became a blogger, that was like taking an oath to expose myself AND my thoughts to society. So here goes...

I've justified my ignorance of people in my community being destroyed or harmed by saying, "they should've known better." In my mind, everyone was raised by a church going grandmother like myself and they had to be in church every day of the week except Mondays and Tuesdays. Everyone, like myself, was taught right from wrong and taught if you do certain things, there are consequences and repercussions that you must face. So in other words, "You should know better, so why don't you do better?" The brutal truth is this, a lot of people were not raised the same as me. That doesn't make me better or them, that just means that they had to take different roads in life. Some people grew up with witnessing the killing and destroying of other people all their lives so to them it's the norm. Now, does this make it ok for them to kill or destroy other people? Absolutely not! There has to be a life turning moment for 
them that says "This is wrong, I may have grew up in this environment but I am not a product of my environment." I guess, what I'm trying to say is I truly dream of the day when we will genuinely care about what happens to each other. When we recognize, that whatever happens to our "brother or sisters", ultimately happens to or impact us as well. We've got to become each other's keeper. Because guess what, there's a new sheriff in town and I truly believe he could care less about what happens with us, to us, or by us. We've got to start looking out for each other. That's the only way, we're going to survive. I could go on but that's a whole other blog post, so I'll just holla at ya later....

Monday, January 2, 2017

If all lives matter....Prove it!! of my favorite artists, J. Locke, has a song called "Prove It. The lyrics are powerful. The hook is one of those hooks that is so thought provoking that it causes you to ponder on the true meaning behind, the "All lives matter" movement. "If all lives matter, if all lives really matter....PROVE IT" is that verse in the song that makes you say, "you know what, that's true, IF ALL LIVES REALLY MATTER, WE SHOULD PROVE IT!

How many times in this past year and years before, have we been subjected to media coverage on another crime against the black community that seemed to have no validation at all? The media plays on our emotions by showing countless stories and scenes of these violent acts repetitively for hours, days, and even weeks at a time. Anger and emotions are stirred up and there are protests, marches, and senseless lootings that take place. There are high energy demands that are made on "our" behalf by city and government officials from our community stating that there has to be changes that occur. After a couple of weeks go by, normal life resumes and the cries of protest and anger subside. The killings of African Americans however do not. You see, there are millions of African Americans, especially youth, that are killed every year in the United States. However, there are only a few marches and protests that occur in parallel to these killings. It seems that we have become immune to the uncivilized killings of each other.  However, when law officials and others that we deem as "selective protective citizens" take our lives, we as a people become outrage. Now, let me provide clarification because even though I am in writing this post in the solitude of my own home, through telekinesis, I can feel eye brows raising. That's ok, I am more than willing to provide explanations on any of MY point  of views.

As the lyrics in J's song states, "ALL LIVES REALLY MATTER", meaning regardless who the perpetrator is, the life that has been stolen should matter. However, why does it seem that whenever one of our lives is taken by law officials, we as a community are so quick to become enraged and request reparation for the life that the official took? By no means should the official not be punished for their acts, but let me pose a question. When will we hold ourselves as a community, to the same standards of allowing each other to take the lives of one another as we do government officials? We can't keep demanding that BLACK LIVES MATTER only when they are taken by the hands of law officials who have taken an oath to protect and serve. When are we as a community or a group of people going to take an oath to protect, teach, and love ourselves? How can we so boldly take a stand and demand that there is an acknowledgement of the importance of Black Lives when we only demand this when police officers are taken our lives and not when we take our own?

Yes, it is impertinent and essential for those that have promised to serve and protect citizens of this great country to recognize the importance of our community and what we bring to this nation as a great people. However, how much are we teaching others to value our lives if we increasingly become ignorant and content with our lives being taken by someone in our community that looks like us and comes from the same background as us?  There is a saying that I've lived by for years now. I don't know if it's something that I've heard someone else say or I subconsciously learned eventually after experiencing so much of "life." It states that "people will treat you the way that you allow them to treat you." Let me take this even further, "people will treat you the way that you TEACH them to treat you. If you show me that you do not care about yourself, tell me, if I was not an empathetic person, why would I care about you? We have got to do better as a community. We've got to place more value on our lives within our community and then maybe we will have a stronger platform to stand on and demand that those outside of our communities follow our lead. I want to thank my talented brother, J. Locke for these galvanizing lyrics. I challenge you to listen to his new single, "Prove It" and commit to taking a stand to increase the value of ourselves within our own community. Until next time......