“OBLIVION” / @TheSeshen #np Whoo!

"I can only conclude what they feel from the state of their institutions" / Baldwin re: Whites (Dick Cavett Show)

(Source: youtube.com)

"The River Amazon" / @SonLittleMusic #np

(Source: youtube.com)

"Higher" / SBTRKT f. Raury #np

(Source: youtube.com)

"Improvisation Can Be Taught" by Mulgrew Miller (Jazz Legend)

(Source: youtube.com)

"Whitecaps" / Prince f. @3rdEyeGirl #np

"U Know" / Prince #np

Whips & Chains

{liberatormagazine.com exclusive feature}
by Sheena Steward

The enormous crowd is buzzing with excitement and ready for the show to begin, but the whispers quickly elevate to roars and their demeanor changes. They are becoming restless waiting for the man to take the podium. While the crowd’s anticipation inflates so does that of one particular young man. The sweaty palmed youngster replays his actions from the previous day. Did he put on a great show for the onlookers? Suddenly, his mind is invaded by horrific thoughts of what would happen if he was acquired by a “bad” leader/squad. Horror stories he had heard from others begin to crowd his mental museum. He begins to pull himself together and focus on the event that is about to take place. Other men with similar size and ability had gone before him and traveled this same road to their “destiny”; so, he knows it’s what he has to do. As he snaps himself back into reality, the man everyone has been waiting for finally approaches the podium. The young man looks on and wonders when his name will be called and where he will be headed. At the speed of a snail, the young man’s name rolls off the tongue of the man. After a bit of shock, he awkwardly approaches the podium to meet with the same “destiny” that greeted the other men before him. During his stride, he makes room in his mental museum for another exhibit to be displayed, because he realizes at this point his life will never be the same. He turns and takes one more glimpse back into the life he used to know, and in his head’s transition from the past to the future he hears his mother scream, “OH MY BABY!” At this very moment life as he knows it is over, and he must prepare himself for the whips and chains!

The reader must decipher whether they have just relived June 26, 1996, the night Kobe Bryant was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets or June 26, 1796 (20 years after the so-called Declaration of Independence), the day John, a young black man, was bought in a slave auction by Jim Russell. The Parallel between the two events are astounding. Several concepts could be seen as an action that took place in 1996 or 1796. Are the people in the crowd in a southern town waiting for Bob Smith, the best auctioneer in town, to take the podium to start the bids on the slaves? Or are they in Philly, PA waiting for David Stern to step up to the podium to announce the number 13 pick of the draft? Are the valiant men of the past Magic, Jordan, and Ervin? Or are they Kunta Kinte, Chicken George, and Fiddler? Was the mother’s “OH MY BABY” scream because she was overjoyed her son had finally made it to the dreamland of the NBA? Or was it because her son was sold to the Russell’s plantation, and she knows she will NEVER see him again. Finally, are the “whips” and “chains” the expensive cars and extravagant jewelry the young man will own because of his enormous NBA salary? Or are the “whips” and “chains” the items that will keep the young man under the white man’s control for the rest of his life? The most important question to be ask is, does the master-slave relationship of this country’s darker years mirror the present day relationship between white owners of professional athletic organizations and its black athletes?

William Rhoden, author, of the controversial book “Forty Million Dollar Slaves: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Black Athlete” explains the title of his book came from a white heckler’s comments during a New York Knicks basketball game. The heckler told then player, Larry Johnson, that he was “nothing but a forty million dollar slave“. Rhoden’s book details the history of African American sports dating back to the plantation when slaves were a commodity. They were property used for entertainment as well as labor. Slaves became jockeys to plantation owners who owned horses. This became a lucrative business and Black jockeys earned huge payoffs for their owners. These slaves would groom the horses to become great stallions that were fit for competition. As the slaves won these races, their master would receive all the benefits. One could also make this same argument regarding the owners and athletes. The players participate day in and day out in grueling practices and games, while the owners sit back and look on for their viewing pleasure. They have the players convinced they are living the American Dream, because they have more money than all the people in their former “hood”. The athletes’ astonishing athletic prowess earns the owners wealth not just the riches the athletes possess.

In the 18th and 19th centuries it was illegal for slaves to become educated. The premise behind that concept was if slaves were ignorant and they had no knowledge it would be impossible for them to realize they were equal to their master. Plato’s The Allegory of the Cave expresses how the masters wanted to contain the slaves under their control. In Plato’s Book VII of The Republic Socrates informs young Glaucon of the dangers of the cave. “Most people, including ourselves, live in a world of relative ignorance. We are even comfortable with that ignorance, because it is all we know. When we first start facing truth, the process may be frightening, and many people run back to their old lives. Once you’ve tasted the truth, you won’t ever want to go back to being ignorant!(Plato)” The Allegory of the Cave also describes how individuals become accustomed to the dark, because that’s all they have ever experienced. Even though the light is their way out, they are terrified of the unknown; therefore, they submit themselves to a life of “darkness”. The slaves’ ignorance played a major role in the masters’ dominant mind control.

This journey began on draft/auction day. There was a nervous youngster and eager patrons, inspirational men of the past, a powerful man at the podium, and one mother’s unforgettable scream. The question remains…does the master slave relationship of this country’s darker years mirror the present day relationship between white owners of professional athletic organizations and its black athletes?

These two relationships share an astounding parallel and until the black athlete progresses to the black coach and then to the black executive Kobe Bryant and John the slave will still be viewed the same by the good old boys. The goal for black athletes is to one day have the black removed from in front of their profession. The day when there are just as many black powerful owners as there are whites is the day when things will finally began to shift and the playing field starts to neutralize.

Children of Africa

{liberatormagazine.com exclusive feature}
by Kasoro Moses Seith
(Uganda:East Africa)

Children of Africa,
What sort of crime did we children of Africa commit,
Every problem that comes is on children,
Wars have left us redundant,
Look at our friends in the northern Uganda,
They die in thousands every day,

African leaders please do some thing to stabilize our communities,
All people around the globe please lets pray together to God to save the children of Africa.

Conserving Du Bois {Lecture Notes}

#rp via tomekhet

Africana Studies is insurrectionary. It is premised upon the assumption that Black people are human, and thus have cultures, as Du Bois would say that need to be, must be conserved. Anything rooted in assumptions that are not bound by Africana cultures, is Africana “content” studies. These kinds of studies exist—they have a right to, I suppose. But we are after much larger questions. We are after questions raised by Du Bois—the spiritual godfather of the discipline—in his paper given in the late nineteenth century for Alexander Crummell—his spiritual godfather—American Negro Academy. If there was a Bible for Black intellectuals, Du Bois’s essay might begin the New Testament. Not because he was some Messiah, but because he was an exemplar that confronted Western modernity in ways that extended the ancestral wisdom that made his life possible. As James Stewart wrote thirty years ago in the Summer 1984 special issue of the Journal of Negro Education, there is perhaps no better exemplar than Du Bois.

Like DuBois in this article, we empathically suggest that ways of living better might be pursued from African cultural logics. Ideas we must conserve, or face spiritual and likely physical death. Du Bois’s foundation for knowing however is rooted in a culture that survived plantation slavery to essentially spearhead contemporary movements for societal change—the Black radical tradition. Africana Studies, thus, flows from a deep engagement in not only understanding the systems that structure Black people as nonhuman, but resisting them. If we are to claim this tradition, there are certain assumptions, certain ways of existing, certain commitments, we must have. If we are to claim this tradition, our work must look different than those who do not share our intellectual and spiritual foundations. Accession to norms not befitting our ancestors is to risk the loss of our Soul. As Vincent Harding suggests, when are clear about this, our job is clear: to speak truth, the truths of our own existence. Access to African traditions of good speech, provides us the tools we need to apply those standards to this current mess. For, this is Africana Studies, an intellectual insurrection.

View On WordPress

Gerald Horne: Race to Revolution

2 weeks ago - 3
The Oracle at The Underground Museum, LA by Noah Davis & Jeremiah Cole

The Oracle at The Underground Museum, LA by Noah Davis & Jeremiah Cole

Reading #Ferguson Through Africana Studies

#rp via tomekhet:

"And yet, whose is the deeper guilt? Who made these devils? Who nursed them in crime and fed them on injustice? Who ravished and debauched their mothers and their grandmothers? Who bought and sold their crime and waxed fat and rich on public iniquity?

"Thou knowest, good God!

"Is this Thy Justice, O Father, that guile be easier than innocence and the innocent be crucified for the guilt of the untouched guilty?

"Justice, O Judge of men!

"Wherefore do we pray? Is not the God of the Fathers dead? Have not seers seen in Heaven’s halls Thine hearsed and lifeless form stark amidst the black and rolling smoke of sin, where all along bow bitter forms of endless dead?

"Awake, Thou that sleepest!"
-W.E.B. Du Bois, “A Litany of Atlanta”

Any attempt to understand the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson—indeed the ongoing assault on Black humanity—falters absent a conceptualization of modernity. It is modernity that was the foundation and point of departure for the large scale reduction of Black life to an economic arrangement, marks on a ledger, relations that are also larger than economic, and have not ceased to exist. It is modernity, the originary moment of the “idea of Europe,” that set in motion relations that animate the entire life worlds of people now called “Black,” no matter where they are on the planet. In his recently published Racial Blackness and the Discontinuity of Western Modernity, Lindon Barrett argues that the political coordination so welcomed by (some of) us for its advances in technology, the opening of a “New World,” and the emergence of capitalist economies were not possible without the anti-human subjectivity, which constituted a negative freedom: The African (as well as the indigenous First Nations peoples). In fact, in everything that we approbate as modern progress was premised on an attempt to reduce Black humanity to a cultural and “conceptual impossibility:”

“The alienation of the labor of African-derived populations is taken for granted in the military, political, and trading exploits that reorder the international landscape of the eighteenth century. In these arrangements, African-derived populations, under duress, remit the broad well-being of their communities for the maintenance and augmentation of other jurisdictions coveting the remittance. That is contrary to imperial intentions, mercantile capitalism defines unexpected spheres of acute economic competition that, at the level of quotidian animation, depend on the puzzle, dilemma, or fully contrived performance rehearsing the misrecognition, the unaccountability, that the modernization of civic presence proposes distinctly that human animation fails the criteria of human being: the pragmatic modern meaning of the mass introduction and presence of African-derived persons in the circuits of Atlantic commerce and the “New World.” (27)

Barrett further argues that these relationships were not vanquished by the creation of the anticolonial nation states in the New World. Like Gerald Horne, he argues that the colonial identities forced upon Black life—that of an inhuman economic unit—was actually furthered in the so-called “Age of Democratic Revolution,” which in reality was a development that intended to ensure the continuity of an economic-political arrangement increasingly made difficult by competition (both economic and ideological) with the British colonial masters:

“The material and conceptual effects of the African-derived “socially necessary labor time” redoubles the incongruity of the local, federal, and individual renditions of “the people” that mark the political urgencies of the Federalist era.” (31)

What ends up being the central conflict in early American history is the “internal enemy.” The exception that forever disproves the mythic rule. Human beings who must be prevented from being human. The African.

Placed in a new context, we might ask different questions of the state. We would perhaps be able to see the matter of policing within a much more expansive sightline. Darren Wilson is but the product of a centuries old set of relations, a representative of an Euro-American project that is simultaneously about his own insouciance and about a crisis that cannot be divorced from the construction of modernity. The question of human amelioration so championed by Enlightenment partisans is arguably not the terms of relief from, but the source of our pain. New questions: Can justice be won for a group for whom life is a “conceptual impossibility?” And as Richard Iton in his In Search of the Black Fantastic, challenging the political naiveté of the post-civil rights era asks:

“If modernity, that bundle of cultural, political, philosophical, and technological iterations and reiterations of the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and the Industrial Revolution, ‘requires an alterity,’ as Michel-Rolph Trouillot suggests, if it implies and requires antonymic and problematic others—if it, to put it bluntly, needs “the nigger”—can those others constituted and marginalized in this manner viably challenge the their circumstances without questioning the logic and language of their exclusion?”(13)

For Africana Studies—if it is to be more than White Studies in Blackface—questions of modernity—which includes our temporary homes, the university—must be confronted. Not only are historical questions of the development of this modern moment paramount, there must also be an extensive examination of the ways in which African people understood and confronted the relations set forth by this moment. These are terms, understandings of reality that structure the ideological projects of Black resistance, which began at the very moment that Euro-modernity was inaugurated. They stretch the conceptual and periodic limits of the West, and of attempts to (mis)place Black resistance within narratives of American progress that have been increasingly exported abroad—that is, as a part of the historical inevitability of the model nation. The Hegelian project that ended history. But most importantly, the tradition as outlined by Cedric Robinson in his Black Marxismresists the tendency to understand Black resistance within the interstices of the “logic and language” of their exclusion from the idea of the nation, and proposes culture as an essential lens for conceptualizing their resistance to the incursions of the state. In a Robinsonian methodology, the long-tradition of Black resistance is a life-giving, life-preserving tradition, intellectual and political, animated by rivers of struggle, of conceptual possibilities that Black life is life, and that it indeed matters. Africana Studies is an intellectual war, not for acceptance into the spaces of exclusion, but the latest round of a confrontation with the entire axis of modernity. To those fighting this battle, we must assume that Africans (back then and now) possess their own ideas about the terms of such exclusion and the resolutions for a different, more human, future issuing therefrom. One follows this trajectory to the doorstep of a unique form of intellectual resistance, part of an Africana Studies approach, that combines a reading of the ways in which African people understood the world, cognizant of the forces that “created these devils.”

 View On WordPress

"Clouds" / Prince f. @liannelahavas