Monday, May 02, 2016

Issues of Life and Culture

The evil attacks on September 11, 2001 started the war on terror. It was been almost 15 years since the war on terror commenced and we know the truth. The truth is that the destructive war on terror has not ended terrorism and it has caused not only an abrogation of many of our civil liberties (via the Patriot Act, Homeland Security, the NDAA, etc.). There has been the buildup of police state powers in America and the growth of the Pentagon’s Northern Command. The historic crackdown in Boston after the Boston Marathon bombing shows how our democratic rights are violated all of the time for years and centuries in America. We have seen the growth of unjust wars and the destabilization of the Middle East. Domestically, massive NSA spying and militarized police in New York City, Washington, D.C., etc. are common place. We have many developments of how Western intelligence forces have aided terrorist entities for decades and during the war on terror too. One example is how US/NATO forces have funded jihadist terrorist forces who overthrown Gaddafi’s Libyan government. Al-Qaeda (which originated from Osama and Osama bin Laden had ties to the CIA since the Soviet/Afghan war) and ISIS are evil. Also, it is evil for US/NATO forces to enact torture and to cause acts which resulted in the millions of civilians deaths including other atrocities. Recently, U.S. and NATO ground forces are deployed in Eastern Europe including Ukraine (which is near Russia). Major military overt and covert intelligence operations are taken place simultaneously in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia, and in Asia.  One lie during this era is that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction in a mass scale and it was a direct threat to America. That lie influenced the creation of the 2003 Iraq War (along with the West wanting more oil and water resources in the Middle East). There are also the ongoing connections between the US intelligence agencies and Al Qaeda-allied groups, which have resurfaced again in Libya and Syria, where Al Qaeda forces have been a key element in US-backed operations for “regime change.” Wall Street bankers who were involved in corruption are not readily prosecuted and those who organized the torture policy in America are not prosecuted either. Today, we have a financial aristocracy who influences the corporate media, political parties, and foreign policy in many different ways. The war on terror has been destructive in the world. I am in opposition to the war on terror completely and I believe in justice for all.

The Intolerable Acts of 1774 was one of the major reasons for the existence of the American Revolutionary War in the first place. These Acts came from Britain as a way for the UK to try to control the American colonies. The American colonies opposed such acts, because the colonies believed that they didn’t have enough political representation in the British Parliament and they felt such acts violated their rights as colonists. The four British disciplinary acts placed on Americans by the British were that: The Boston Port Act closed Boston’s harbors due to the Tea Party, the second act allowed British officials to hold Americans to trial in other colonies (even in Britain called the Administration of Justice Act), the Quebec Act of 1774 banned trading between the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, and the last act was to allow the British to have colonist soldiers (or the Coercive Acts). There was the Quartering Act was extended to publicly occupied buildings or that Boston must house the British troops sent to enforce the Coercive Acts. This mostly involved the crown seizing large public buildings like warehouses, churches, and Faneuil Hall. The Massachusetts Government Act caused almost all self-government is removed from the people from Massachusetts. Town meetings are greatly curtailed and most positions were now filled with crown appointees rather than elected by the citizenry. This led to the First Continental Congress of September 5th, 1774. It was the first Congress to meet at Carpenters’ Hall in Philadelphia. 44 delegates had attended. Late comers brought the total up to 56. Peyton Randolph of Virginia was chosen as President and among the members of the first Congress were George Washington, Patrick Henry, John Jay, John Adams, and others. The First Continental Congress of 1774 wanted to fight the Intolerable Acts. Their representatives wanted to try to figure out a compromise that could be made with England. The Congress voted to cut off colonial trade with Great Britain until the Parliament abolished the Intolerable Acts. Congress also decided to prepare training men for war, fearing that war with England was inevitable. King George III and Parliament didn’t acknowledge or respect the requests of the colonists. Back then, the border of Canada was extended into the western colonies of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Virginia in 1774.

KRS One is going around diminishing the significance of this issue. He's just plain wrong. We have an epidemic of sexual abuse in our black community. Men and women have waited years and decades to come forward with their stories of abuse and assault. The stories from people, who say that Afrika Bambaataa abused them, should be taken seriously since we should take abuse very seriously. This issue is beyond hip hop, because people's lives have been changed and harmed as a product of evils going around in the world. We want children and adults to be part of a community not to be harmed physically. We don't want anyone to be sexually abused either. Some people, who claim to represent "hip hop", are not only silent on sexual abuse against black people. Some of them are the leading sponsors (who make money from their corporate sponsors) of misogyny, bigotry, and anti-black lyrics in their music. That is another problem that must be addressed by us as black people. We have the right to take a stand and not give our hard earned money to folks (regardless of their color) who make records that degrade black people. KRS-One's sick non nonchalant attitude is problematic and disgraceful. This "no-snitching" attitude has got to go too. All murderers, rapists, and pedophiles (regardless of their skin color) should be arrested, have a trial, and sent to prison point blank period exclamation point. We should care about human dignity. Black people's lives matter. One of the most hurt members of the black community are victims of abuse (who deserve human compassion) and we want justice.

Beyoncé has stirred up debate, praise, and other emotions from her Lemonade visual video. It was shown in HBO. Ironically enough, I saw her video on HBO on Sunday night at 8 pm. EST. My first impressions of it were that it was radically different from her previous works. Lemonade is the sixth studio album also from Beyoncé. The video lasts for about one hour. It was released on April 23, 2016. Jealousy unfortunately is common among some people. I will give credit when credit is due. Beyoncé did a very artistic work in Lemonade. I am a fan of art and her Lemonade video was filled with art, womanist views, the love of black womanhood, and honor given to black Southern culture (a lot of scenes in the video from the religious ceremonies to the dancing are things that many of our people can relate too). She wanted to show an outlet to express the happiness, the joy, the pain, the beauty, the strength, the freedom, and the other diverse qualities of black women. Not all black women suffer joy and her video outline the pain that many women go through. She wanted to give an ode to Africa and promote liberation for black women in general. She wanted to show young black girls that they can do incredible accomplishments and their lives always have profound value. So, many messages are found in Lemonade. We live in a new era. More black people are getting conscious. We have work to do, but we do have faith to see justice come down like waters. Some people want to worship celebrities in a deified fashion without realizing that celebrities are not infallible. Even Beyoncé in her Lemonade video admitted in captions that: “GOD IS GOD AND I AM NOT.” The mentality of commercialism, materialism, and selfishness are evil mentalities that must be combated. The visuals in the video Lemonade are amazing. Freedom is an excellent song and it was touching for Beyoncé to show the mothers of Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, and Michael Brown. It showed the strength, the beauty, and the diversity of black womanhood in full display. She also wanted black girls to be empowered and see their worth too. She showed the ups and downs that Sisters go through honestly. From her ode to African culture to her accurate displays of black Southern culture, Beyoncé displayed honesty and a love for black women as she is a black woman. Lemonade is a very dynamic, creative expression of art. People have the right to love or hate Lemonade. Her video talks about the issues of love, infidelity (which is evil and wrong), and spirituality (as she mention Oshun or an African Goddess, who is a Yoruban goddess known for healing, nurturing, and loving. Beyoncé breaks windows and walks in the streets to abhor infidelity while wearing an African dress). For the record, I believe in worshiping the one Most High God.

The video has poetry from the Somali-British poet Warsan White. She shows a recording from Malcolm X about him saying that the black woman is the most disrespected woman in the world, which is accurate when you see the media, the Internet trolls, and society slandering the black woman constantly. It is also true that black women are the first women in the world and the most beautiful human beings in the world. Also, there are legitimate critiques of the video. Art will be critique and that’s fine. I don’t agree with Beyoncé using excessive profanity and other vulgar language. Some folks do have a point that “good hair” can be left out. There is no such thing as good hair. Hair is Hair. Black people are beautiful irrespective of how we wear our hair. There is issue of Serena Williams dancing or twerking while Beyoncé sits on a throne. I do feel that scene should be critiqued (regardless if people say that it was a role reversal about the Sport’s Illustrated cover). Serena Williams is a legendary athlete and we all love Serena, but Serena Williams can easily do other actions in that video like reciting words or standing in solidarity with progressive causes.  There is the issue of colorism (as we know that light privilege is real as documented by sociological studies and by words from tons of experts). We know about this issue. Some sick people view light skinned people are aesthetically superior to dark skinned people, which is a lie. Black is beautiful in all of its hues. In Lemonade, Beyoncé shows black women of many hues from light skinned Sisters to dark skinned Sisters celebrating life, stand near each other, and expressing solidarity as black people. There is no freedom for us as black people unless all black women are liberated as human beings. The video of Intuition shows women uniting and fighting for freedom. Piers Morgan is wrong to call Beyoncé the term of “born again black woman.” Piers Morgan is upset that musicians stand up for political causes that deal with the issues of the black community. Piers Morgan is false to write that Beyoncé made the race card (when Beyoncé’s commentaries on race are massively moderate as compared to other black social activists). Piers never criticized musicians like John Lennon talking about politics in his career. We have the right to speak our minds and to fight injustice. Piers Morgan wanted Beyonce to be docile and we want Beyonce to be strong, conscious, and have a growth of black consciousness. Some white folks don't like any black person even talking in public about issues of black consciousness. Also, Beyonce should tell some members of the Beyhive to not be disrespectful to people who disagree with her. Some Beyhive people have crossed the line and disrespected people in the most vulgar way possible. So, Lemonade is a video that acts as a journey that black women can relate to from joys to pain. The video isn’t about just showing pain. It showed the survival, resiliency, and power of black women too. It shows black females from across ages and phenotypes wanting their humanity to be totally respected. Lemonade is filled with strengths and imperfections (or weaknesses like the video being funded and aided by the same corporate capitalist entities that run the music industry in general. That music industry in the mainstream level is controlled by the one percent and the one percent advances the agenda of the system of racism/white supremacy. To confront capitalism for real is being truly revolutionary. Racism and classism should end) too. So, Lemonade (regardless if people like it or not) is a controversial work and a work that should inspire others to promote black liberation.

By Timothy

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