He Who Suffers (Black Lives Matter)
Does Black Lives Matter? For over 400 years, African Americans were put through the most tumultuous and horrible conditions known to mankind. This was Slavery. During this time, Blacks were sold to the highest paying white slave owners. African Americans were bought and forced to live in horrible living conditions while they clean and work for their owners for either little to no money or for special privileges. They couldn’t get a decent education or be free to go and come as they please. The women who were in slavery were even sold to different slave owners from their children.
During this time, what got most slaves through each day was the old hymnal songs that they would sing or hum during the day while they picked cotton or did yard work. These songs signified their struggle, but also signified their willpower to one day look to be freed from the bondage that they faced. They didn’t know when or if they would ever be free but they knew that one day the world as they knew it would bring forth change.
With African Americans going through over 400 years of Slavery, when Slavery was abolished in 1865 they would have thought the hard part was over, but it wasn’t. There were three amendments that were passed after slavery was abolished. The 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments were passed to abolish slavery, grant citizenship and give African-Americans the right to vote.This soon became another battle for African Americans to deal with now that they were free.
African Americans now had to fight for their rights. Now after being treated so cruel as slaves, they had to deal with segregation. Some whites wanted to be treated higher than the African Americans. The African Americans weren’t allowed to be in the same places as the whites or have the same privileges. This caused many Civil Rights Movements led by Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and more. The NAACP was also formed to help African-Americans get equal rights.
If you fast forward decades, African Americans and now more ethnic groups are still fighting for equal rights. It goes further than equal pay. It goes further than being in the same schools and buildings. The fight that African Americans have to fight now is the fight to be treated as human beings. Being able to drive down the street and surviving. Even walking outside of your own house. In 2015 and 2016 alone there has been a huge rise in wrongful death, either by white people shooting blacks (Stand Your Ground) or police violence (I felt threatened or was in fear of my life).This goes further than Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin. This has escalated into something more lethal. Black Lives Matter. This is a movement that only states that while ALL LIVES DO MATTER, Black people are a part of the ALL.
Let me make this personal. We want to be able to be pulled over for a minor traffic stop and survive to be able to see our families again. We want to be able to send our children out to play and expect to see them when they return. We want to be able to go to different stores and not be followed around by someone who suspects us of stealing. We want to be able to catch a flight and not be accused of being hostile passengers. We want to be able to sit in our cars or sleep in our cars without being shot to death. WE WANT TO LIVE TO SEE ANOTHER DAY. We want our lives to matter just as much as the others.
We want to have the same opportunities as everyone else without being judged by the color of our skin. The color of our skin shouldn’t be a factor if we are qualified for a job position or to represent our own country. A country that we also fight for. A country that makes up states that are supposed to be united. It’s no laughing matter when i see people from other countries look at our country as it is the greatest in the world, only to come here for change and endure so much pain or even be killed for who they are or what they represent.
The Land of the Free? Where is that? When African Americans and other nationalities go through so much hate, that they feel they are in bondage.
Yes I agree, ALL lives do matter. The human race matters, but one part of the human race is being treated unfairly. This movement, The Black Lives Matter Movement goes so much deeper than the killings of unarmed possibly innocent African American people.
The Human Condition (Jeopardizing A Dream)
It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog. Honestly, I have been so preoccupied by life and other writing projects altogether that I had decided blogging would be a thing of the past. Unless of course some essential urgent conversation arose and needed expedient attention needless to say that is exactly the case and motivation for this blog.
I was approached about lending my voice to the current travesty regarding unarmed Black men being slaughtered by law enforcement in different states in the USA. In Baton Rouge Louisiana and more recently in Dallas Texas prior to being asked I automatically garnered more than just an opinion concerning this issue.
I felt a heaviness consume me that I have realized only God can properly manage. However, for the sake of this blog I will weigh in on this ongoing abomination. Because there are some many levels of consciousness and emotionalism tied to this particular topic I honestly had reservations of even discussing it.
However, it needs to be addressed. Death is a hard life lesson as is but to know that another individual is responsible for that loss makes processing one’s grief even harder. The murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and many other Black men and women at the hands of police officers speaks volumes to so many issues being faced in the world but in life as a whole. In other words, the Human Condition is in trouble!
It’s no secret that African Americans have felt the weight of oppression by White Americans for many years. Even with the evolutionary progress this country is seeing and has seen in the past from the civil rights movement along with electing the first African American President for not just one term but two.
As I write this piece I cannot help but hear the booming voice of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. reciting his “I have a dream speech.” This part, in particular, stands out to me regarding these senseless killings. “But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination one hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.”
Now it is easy to break down right and wrong Black and White. However, the truth of the matter is the human condition seems to currently have and has had a misdiagnosed heart condition for sometime. Society has taught us we must choose a side Black or White, democrat or republican who’s popular and who is not police officer or civilian when in all actuality we are all the same. One of my favorite quotes by my favorite singer Janet Jackson summarizes this point perfectly. “In complete darkness, we are all the same it is only our knowledge and wisdom that separates us don’t let your eyes deceive you.” It is this notion that brings to life the fact that racial intolerance and inequality is a waste of time to the human condition as well as overall human progressiveness. Hatred is learned behavior that can only be manifested when nurtured.
Therefore, I can summarize this article by saying that the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Sandra Bland, Korryn Gaines and many more men and women of color stretches far beyond the conceptualized theory of Black VS White although that should not be overlooked or under-analyzed as a “reason” why these murders happened.
However, I believe there is a bigger picture being overlooked; love is the missing link in society today. Depending on who reads this, they may see this point as fantastical, wishy-washy and naïve but I can assure you, none of what I’m saying is any of that. (However, I am just the messenger) I don’t intend to force my beliefs on anyone.
I’m merely sharing them. Yes absolutely Black Lives Matter and we should not tolerate this issue being swept under the rug this tangled knot of injustice is a blemish on the face of humanity jeopardizing a Dream Dr. King spoke so eloquently about and as a people, it is our duty to stand up for what is right in turn fixing this misdiagnosed heart condition threatening to kill us a whole; a type of irreversible genocide that is having devastating and lasting affects for generations to come. As the saying goes, “History repeats itself” So why not be the generation of now to embrace love? And live as God intended, together.
Code of Color
It comes down to why are so many African-American entertainers subbed from being honored with big awards? Jamie Foxx, Hallee Berry, Jennifer Hudson, Denzel Washington won Oscars in the 2000’s but i don’t remember anyone else. It seems that when you hear the nominees named all are African American except one and that one person wins. Taraji P Henson needs an Oscar, Viola Davis needs an Oscar as well. Just to name a few.
That’s only for film actors. This next section will focus on the biggest snubs in African American music artists in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. As noted by a fellow music lover and co-founder of The Legend’s Panel, Lamont Hicks, “Black men and women through the course of history have been known to not receive the credit due to them. While the presence of black men in the hall of fame is low, only 18 women (Solo or collective act) are among the 728 acts inducted.”
Why? Why is the presence of African Americans in the hall of fame very few or nonexistent? We have a genre of music that if it wasn’t for Rosetta Tharpe, who is deemed the godmother of Rock and Roll, wouldn’t even exist. She has been eligible since 1963 and she has not been nominated.
Afrika Bambaataa has been eligible since 1982,
Ben E. King 1986,
Diana Ross 1995,
Rufus & Chaka Khan 1998,
LL Cool J 2000,
Whitney Houston 2010,
and Eric B & Rakim 2012, just to name a few. These artists have paved the way for some of the artists who have been inducted already. If it wasn’t for Rosetta Tharpe, Rock & Roll Music would not be as popular as it is today. Another artist who should be inducted is Whitney “The Voice” Houston. Need I say more? “I Will Always Love You” and “I Have Nothing” should speak for themselves in my opinion.
One artist who I did not list above, I felt like I needed to say a lot on. Why is Janet Jackson not inducted? This is a huge snub and the committee should definitely be ashamed with leaving this legend out. No. she isn’t referred to as a legend because of her family. Let us look at some of her accomplishments, shall we?
Janet is one of three artists to have number one albums in the 80’s, 90’s, 00’s, and 10’s.
Janet is the only artist to have won 4 MTV Awards for Best Choreography
Janet was the first woman of color to be nominated for a Producer of the Year Grammy
Janet’s first tour, The Rhythm Nation Tour is STILL the most successful tour in history
Janet is the only artist to produce 7 top 5 singles from 1 album Rhythm Nation 1814
Janet received a Vanguard award from MTV after only 2 albums at only 24 years old.
She is one of a few African-American women who own her own record label
There are way more facts that I could name but those are huge all by themselves. Janet Jackson has proved who she is and that she has deserved the highest honors, but for some reason, she still won’t be recognized as being one of the greats. Her music isn’t just boxed into one genre. If you ask me she makes up her own genre.
Blacklisted No More
Year after year, Janet has been blacklisted for one minor incident at the Super bowl. Was it her fault? No it wasn’t. What happened was an accident that shouldn’t have happened. The problem I have with this is the fact that you can have half-naked or naked women on stage hosting award shows and showing more than what Janet did and be okay with it. The fact that Janet was supposed to present an award at the same Grammy awards that Justin Timberlake (the other individual involved) performed at was wrong. In fact, Janet was banned from even attending. Now that was just inexcusable.
While Janet may have seemed to put this behind her, her fans (including me) haven’t. This is why I haven’t. Look at Miley. She was coming to televised shows naked. Was she fined? Did she have put make an apology video? My problem with African Americans not being treated fairly is the fact that everyone wants us to apologize for our actions, when other races do the same thing or are involved in much worse and it’s funny or a phase.
Why aren’t African Americans given the right to be free after slavery? Why must we continue to fight for our rights to live? Why is there always cameras in our faces or cops behind us when WE ARE NOT THE PROBLEM?
What have you Done for Janet Jackson lately?
Music is the most revered art form of all time mainly because it is considered a universal language it doesn’t matter what part of the world someone is from or the languages they speak or if someone is rich or poor. Music has a way of uniting people in the most unconventional ways and creating change in the world even if it is for a fleeting moment in time.
The vast versatility of music as a whole has something for everyone no matter his or her preferred genre. With this in mind, it makes sense that certain organizations have been created to honor the music and the creativity of the people who made the music.
However, before simply acknowledging the greatness of the artist and the music they create I think it is important to provide a bit of a history lesson in the genre of Rock & Roll as a whole.
The term rock ‘n’ roll has been traced back as far as the 1920s in black music, but it became the accepted label for this developing genre when Cleveland, OH disc jockey Alan Freed began using it to describe the character of the rhythm and blues he played on his radio program in the mid-‘50s.
Little Richard, Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, and several other African American singer/songwriter musicians were among the first to transform the sound of rhythm and blues by introducing new musical elements. Little Richard (Richard Penniman) replaced the standard R&B shuffle rhythm popularized in Louis Jordan’s “Caldonia” with a faster beat that came to characterize “rock ‘n’ roll.”
To be clear, this blog isn’t about black or white as it relates to the genre, however, it is to make a point that African Americans have left an indelible footprint in Rock & Roll. Which brings to mind the whole reason for this piece and that is the minimal amount of black nominees being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Recently, Rap legends N.W.A. received their induction this year and of course, in the past, there have been other notable black artists who have claimed their position in the RRHOF.
Those artists include Bo Diddley, Barry Gordy, Donna Summer, Aretha Franklin, Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, and Bessie Smith. To name a few there are other notable black artists listed as well.
However, I think the issue for music fans is that there is confusion about the obligatory classifications to deem an artist hall of fame material. The latest debate has been the fact that Janet Jackson has yet to receive an induction. Having read over the eligibility criteria I can completely understand the frustration! Outside of being a trendsetter, musical genius, philanthropist, and Icon her stamp in music has been solidified.
Artists—a group encompassing performers, composers, and/or musicians—become eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first record. Besides demonstrating unquestionable musical excellence and talent, inductees will have had a significant impact on the development, evolution, and preservation of rock & roll.
This was taken directly from the RRHOF site I think it is safe to say that Janet Jackson has a check in all of these areas. Not to mention the fact that she continues to be an influence to artists from every genre. She has defined and refined her musicality throughout decades and has yet to receive the ultimate accolade music has to offer. I firmly believe in timing and I believe Janet Jackson’s time of being inducted into the Rock &Roll Hall of Fame is long overdue. With that said, #INDUCTJANET!
Co-Written by: Candis Johnson