Black Power Man vs Captain Capitalism:
Are Conscious Folks Just Heroes For Hire?
Min. Paul Scott
Is there no balm in Gilead, is there no physician, there?
Why then is not the health of the daughter ogf my people recovered.
Back in the day, I used to read comic books about this dude named Luke Cage aka Power Man, "Hero for Hire." While Captain America was out saving white folks out of a deep sense of moral obligation, Cage would charge folks a grip just to get a little girl's kitten out of a tree. In the real world, Cage's "forget you, pay me" attitude is not much different than that of many of our Afrocentric scholars, professional activists and other smart black folks who charge for their knowledge by the drop. Even though this generation is facing destruction, "Black Power Man" is still a hero for hire.
As we , continuously, debate the condition of Afrikan people in 2008, the question that is never critically answered is: "with all the enlightened people which we have in the Black community, why are our people walking in perpetual darkness?"
Although, in Afrocentric folklore, there exists a might cadre of FREEDOM Fighters who are more than willing to sacrifice life and limb to save Afrikan people, the reality is much different. Surely, there have always existed those who are willing to go all out for the people but that is the exception to the rule. For the most part, to borrow a phrase from Hip Hop, just like there "gangsta rappin'" counterparts, they are just "tryin' to eat."
Capitalism by its very nature produces a self-absorbed survival of the fittest mentality.
(How many times have you seen the most black unity type, otherwise conscious Brother almost come to blows with another Brother who video taped his lecture.)
While it is an unfortunate fact of life that we all have to hustle to pay rent and a car note every month, this is often over exaggerated by those who make a living by claiming that their sole purpose in life is to save Afrikan people.
Back during slavery times it was understandable for Bro. Nat Turner Mustapha to travel from plantation to plantation, meeting clandestinely with enslaved Afrikans who gathered at midnight in cornfields to plot insurrections. Also during the Garvey through the Black Power period it was necessary for Brothers and Sisters to travel from city to city in order to mobilize the masses. It can even be argued that during the 80's and early 90's Afrtocentric scholars had to travel from college to college in order to educate a rising intelligentsia whose task it was to place the capstone on Afrikan LIBERATION.
However, with the coming of the Internet, web cams, DVD burners, etc, the old ways of getting the "word" out have become obsolete and cost wise, ineffeciant. Now, anyone with access to a computer can reach thousands of people instantaneously.
Although, ideally, the elder scholars are supposed to have a teacher/student relationship with the youth, the young Hip Hoppers have far surpassed the elders when it comes to cost efficient message distribution.
While there is no stream of conscious information flowing through the hood, the "gangsta's" have thousands of promotional CD's floating around black communities, worldwide. Also, although ever aspiring "Soulja Boy" has a "Crank Dat" video on youtube.com which can have thousands of black children doing the latest dance over night, there are very few "straight to youtube" videos to teach our children their history and survival skills.
The reason is simple. It is the same reason that corporations don't produce light bulbs that won't burn out or tires that will never go flat; there is no profit in it.
One question that is never answered when asked by aspiring young activists is how can one be "conscious" and help his people but still feed his family ?
Although some of the elders are quick to lecture the Hip Hop generation about not being "black enough," the dirty little secret is that no one comes into this world Afrocentrically conscious. And many of today's most die hard Afrocentric Black militant scholars received their Ph.D's in Black studies courtesy of Richard Nixon's education initiatives of the early 70's. Seems that Tricky Dick thought it was better to have black folks in classrooms instead of rioting in the streets. Also, many black business owners actually got their start when Nixon developed "Green Power" to counter the Black Power Movement.
But with the depoliticizing of black consciousness and the threat of a mass black uprising no longer taken seriously by the powers that be, the need to pacify black youth with government programs has dwindled. So it is not fair to place unfair burdens on the youth without an Afrocentric economic program.
So, in 2008, just as the Black Panther Party demanded that those businesses that profited from the black community gave something back in the 60's, we must appeal to our scholars to give some of their wisdom to the hood.
With the current condition of our people, it is not enough to come to a town, do a lecture, sell some books and CD's and then bounce. They must do more to organize and educate the people who support them.
While it is definitely wrong to bootleg a Brother or Sisters work for profit, we must come to a consensus as to whether it is worse to put someone's research on youtube or burn it on DVD and hand it out, freely to the masses or to horde information that you constantly tell us is critical, life saving information as you pimp your latest book for 29.99. After all, didn't the scholars of today get their information and inspiration from the elders who sacrificed their lives, yesterday?
There must be some compromise.
One suggestion is that Afrocentric scholars follow the lead of Hip Hop artists and activists such as NYOIL who just released a free downloadable mixtape on the internet (NYOIL vs 9th Wonder) or Dr. Jared Ball who produces Free Mix Radio mixtapes to be freely distributed across the globe.
It is a shame that while some Brothers and Sisters like those mentioned are working tirelessly to raise the consciousness of our people, Black Power Man is busy trying to put the new version of Paypal on his website.
Min. Paul Scott represents the Messianic Afrikan Nation. He can be reached at (919) 451-8283 firstname.lastname@example.org