Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Min. Paul Scott
"The only someone we are shown in history is mygrandfather was picking cotton Picking cotton don’t move me" -Malcolm X
The crowd gathered around as Massa Charlie paraded the slave's around the auction block. Seems like that day they were having a special sale on the most talented slaves. Some of them buck danced for the crowd some told jokes, the slaves that got the biggest laughs sold for the highest price. The only one that wasn't sold that day was the rebellious one, Cinque, who escaped while the crowd was busy enjoying Uncle Remus play hambone on his knee. No, we aren't talkin'about Jamestown VA in the 1600's, we are talking about Harlem 2007...
Black History Month used to be a time for Black folks to shine. A time to flip tha finger at white America and tell them "If it wasn't for a BLACK MAN inventing the traffic light, just think of how high your car insurance would be..YEAH!!!" It was a time to show white folks that the so called "savages" that they kidnaped from Africa were, indeed worthy of using the same toilet as them. But now instead of looking up to the accomplishments of Garret Morgan, in 2007, we are more interested inTyrone 'T-Boogie" Johnson, the first Black man to put florescent spinnin' rims on a 74 Cutless Supreme.
Back in tha day, Black culture, itself used to besomething to be admired and celebrated, as Deacon JohnSmith could not wait to see his Lil Aisha perform her African dance at the annual church Black history program but every since Sis. Anna Mae's son told his Sunday School class that he saw Lil Aisha aka MissThixxx in the Playa Pimp video "Strippers Make My Toes Curl", the good Deacon is ashamed to show his face in church...
While the younger generation does bare someresponsibility for the current condition of Blackculture, the lion's share of the blame must fall onthe older generation.Many of our young people just don't know because no one has taught them their true history. And I'm not talking about that "jump down pick a bale of cotton"type history that is taught in school. Is it really Lil Rasheed's fault that he and his rap group "The Tar Babies" recorded a funky remix of"Zip-a -dee- do- da" when the old folks were too busy trying to catch up with the Van Morrison's to tell him.."Now, that is just wrong!" Or is it really Tanitia's fault for taking a role in the Hip Hop version ofGone With the Wind when the only version of Black History she was given came courtesy of a value meal bag from Mickey Dee's?"
The problem is the lack of value we have placed on Black History and the historical disrespect of BlackCulture. To most white folks African people had no real history until they were brought to America. Never mind all that "hogwash" about the pyramid builders, rulers of ancient empires, true people of the Bible etc. All of that was just written off by European scholars as nonsense and this philosophy is still reflected in the American public educational system, today. Before segregation you had Black teachers who may not have been experts on ancient African history but they were dedicated to instilling African values in young Black children. However, after integration you had white teachers who would not know Hannibal from Carthage from Hannibal from "Silence of the Lambs" teaching Black children/ future Black educators Black history. So even with our higher level of education in the 21st century, our knowledge of history has not advanced beyond the plantation. And yet we wonder why Black children drop out of school at alarming rates.
The Black preachers have not been much help either,as they have been more interested in producing"sanctified slaves" then giving their congregations an Afrocentric Theology that would prepare them to live in a European dominated society that would never fail to remind them that they were divinely cursed to be their flunkies.
Perhaps most dangerous, if not most relevant, today has been the white exploitation/commercialization ofBlack culture. While Hip Hop as a pseudo culture may have come out of an authentically Black experience, Hip Hop as a "business" has mostly been the brainchild of white entertainment lawyers, accountants and marketing executives. So, while many Black youth feel that they are "reppin' the 'hood" when they embrace commercial Hip Hop and transform themselves into niggaz and bitches , they are really the victim ofwhite corporate marketing schemes.
Also, disturbing are the nonBlack companies who use Black History Month as a marketing tool to getBlack folks to get off of some of their hard earned dollars every February. So Black History does not come courtesy of our Black scholars but courtesy of some white, pimply faced entry level marketing intern at Denny’s who needed a project for college credit.
So, today Black culture is basically worthless and Black Culture is just a hollow shell of what it is supposed to be . No matter what Black History Month issupposed to be in theory, in practice, it has yet to even convince thousands of Black children that they ain't niggaz. That is why I have launched a hostile take over of Black History Month called the Books or Bullets Campaign.
Now I know the haters are going to come with their slings and arrows, frying pans and whatever yellin"How Dare You!"But if this causes one Black child to change their perception of who he or she is; so be it!
To borrow that line from line "The Lion King, "You are much more than you have become."
It's time that someone let's them know....
Min. Paul Scott Paul Scott's blog is http://www.nowarningshotsfired.com/ He can be reached a t(919) 451-8283 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Yesterday, before the "10" Black Men gathering, I had the pleasure of being the keynote speaker at the "It Takes a Commuity for this Community Affair" community forum sponsored by the Durham County Women's Commision. The audience was made up of some very bright young folks from North Carolina Central University and Hillside High School.
I was there to to kick off my Books or Bullets Black History month campaign with a lecture on Hip Hop's fall from the intellectualism of the late 80's-early 90's.
Hip Hop topics usually go over real big with the younger crowd, especially when it comes to the question and answer period where some young B-Boy hot shot usually shoots the speaker down by bringing out Hip Hop historical points that you don't find out by watching some Ivy Leage, PH.D havin' dude tryin' to hawk his latest book on C-Span's Book Notes...
But it was during the question and answer period that I discovered young Black America's dirty little secret...
They ain't no darn "Hip Hop Generation..."
I heard a Civil Rights person say that the folks in the 60's never referred to what they were doing as a "Civil Rights Movement." That was just a name that the white News directors GAVE them. This sentiment was echoed last week when Dr. Howard Fuller, a noted Durham NC activist of tHE 60's and 70's who founded Malcolm X University and later went on to become the superintendent of the Milwaukee school district. Dr. Fuller said that although the activists in Durham were referred to as "civil rights activists" they were really Black Power activists.
This is not much different than what has happened to young Black America over the last 20 years. Hip Hop started in the 70's, got put on record in very late 79 into 1980 and began to become commercialized around 87 with the crossover popularity of Run DMC and the Beastie Boys. So, what the media call the Hip Hop generation can be anyone who brought a Hip hop record/CD from 1980 through the present.
Only when labeling Black folks would they put a 12 year old child and a 45 year old man in the same category. So when the media use "Hip Hop" they are not referring to an age range but a mentality. A mentality that is more rooted in BET than in political and social events. The term "Hip Hop Generation" is not rooted in reality but just a marketing term that mega corporations use to sell CD's and over priced T-Shirts and "Hip Hop intellectuals" use to sell books and get speaking engagements.
This generation is not the brain dead group of ring tone buyin' Hip Hoppers that the media would have you to believe. This generation is alot brighter than many of us realize but because we don't expect better, we don't get better...
So, I learned alot yesterday from the young folks. For too long we have let the media define us. It's time that we define ourselves.
A few weeks ago Cimerron Bandele, head of the African Diasporin Nationalist Society, made a call to the community for a "No Excuse Day", to have 10 Black men show up to aid the Durham NC community.
Despite chilly weather, on January 26, they did just that.
Yesterday, in front of the Know Bookstore on Fayetteville Street, more than 20 men lined the sidewalk holding red, black and green flags and banners with a common theme.
"It's time for Black men to stand up!
The reason for the name "10" Black men is because the group feels that if only 10 strong, dedicated Black men would just get off the couch and turn off the football game, they could make positive changes in Durham,
For those who are not from the "Bull City," for more than a decade, Durham has been given a bad rap. Although, the city was once known as "Black Wall Street," Durham is mostly known, nationally, today for gang bangin'.
While Durham, like many cities, does have its share of youth violence, much of what you see and hear about the city has more to do with the media hype of news producers who have watched "Boys in the Hood" too many times than what is really going on in the streets.
The problem of "Dirty Durham" is more like a self fulfilling prophecy courtesy of national news documentaries that try to portray the city as the Compton of the South.
While some may point to Hip Hop as the reason for the rapid spread of "gangsta-ism" throughout smaller cities, in Durham, the "culture was spread more by newspaper headlines featuring black males throwin' up gang signs than rapper, Ice Cube.
But whatever the cause, we now have a problem; one that needs to be corrected. A correction that will come by way of intervention and education instead of "pointing the finger" and incarceration.
Enter the 10 Black Men.
The group was well received by the Durham community as many of those who rode by either honked their horns in support or raised the Black Power Fist out of their windows.
The "10" made it known that this is just the beginning and other events are soon coming, including a town meeting scheduled for February 9th.
I guess the feelings of the residents of the Fayetteville St. neighborhood to the sight of a group of strong Black men standing up to take control of their city can be summed up by the words of one elderly sister touched by the sight who could only smile and say repeatedly...
"To God be the glory."
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
As the unofficial self- appointed representative of the people whom you are supposed to work for, I have a bit of bad news. As of MLK Day 2008....You're Fired!!!
It's not that we don't appreciate your hard work and dedication in fighting for our civil rights and everything. We know your bio, which you always share with us anytime we ask you what have you done for us, lately. We know about the marches, the demonstrations, the police dogs and the jail stays. But that history is lost on this generation. They are desensitized to the "going to jail thing." My cousin Clyde, the Klepto can do a 10 year bid standing on one hand. As far as the police dogs, Lil Tyrone has to deal with stray pitbulls everyday coming home from school. So the tales from the past just don't move Black folks like they used to.
Accounting is concerned about the expense account that you've been runnin' up. They say that you have been abusing the company's Bank of Harlem Black Card. Is it really necessary to wear $2000 Brooks Brothers suits and $1500 Itallian leather shoes, everyday while the people you work for get their clothes from WalMart and Pick and Pay? (Work rule # 4081, never out dress the boss.) And how about the first class airline tickets and the 5 star hotels? Also, the board of directors thinks that the $5000 honorarium that you charge historically Black colleges for 45 minutes of your wisdom is a little excessive. Especially when you are going to ask the strugglin' college kids to break you off $28.99 for your latest hardback after the lecture?
My "peeps" in the street are also tired of seeing you flossin' on C-Span more than they see you in tha hood, homie. They want you to step your rap game up and come with something a little fresher than a remixed "IHave a Dream" speech, every year. At least Jay Z and them can bust a funky freestyle off the top of their heads. And stop criticizing their spinning rims and platinum teeth when you are bling blingin' more than they are. And for the record, they said that they ain't gonna stop using the "n" word as long as you keep referring to Black folks as "minorities" and"colored people." The Boyz in the Hood want a chance to shine on the cover of Ebony and on the radio, too. My boy, Tre said that he was in the newspaper one time and his mom's said that he looked real good dunking the basketball in the Cross City Championship of '95. He once dropped some serious science after the Jena 6 thing in the middle of Mr Luther's Barber Shop and got a standing ovation and a free hair cut! Brotha's got some real talk for the people but NPR won't holla at him, though.
The interns who have been running around getting your coffee and filing your papers for the last 20 years are getting tired of being passed over for promotions. Word around the break room is that they are planning a hostile takeover if changes aren't made soon. I know that you always thought that the main threat to your job would come from the Conservative cats on the 5th Floor who you play golf with every weekend but you underestimated the Brotha in the Red, Black and GreenT-Shirt that you had in the field picking up garbage. You didn't know that the old school Public Enemy pumpin' in his IPod headphones and the books on Garvyism that he was reading during his lunch break would give him grand ideas about taking over the company.
We tried to get your pension straight, but funny thing, no one in Human Resources remembers hiring you. It must have happened during the race riots of '69 when the Brothas were handlin' their business in the streets. When the smoke cleared all the rest of the Brothas were doing long prison sentences but you were at the front of the line to be the first negro to integrate Whiteman and Liverpool Inc.
To find a suitable replacement we have decided to launch our own reality show "America's Next Black Leader" and we will be going through hoods across America with a camcorder to see who is actually out there feeding the people, fighting the power and doing all of the other things that you preached to us that we should be doing for the last 40 years.
So we thank you for your years of service and we know that you will have no problem finding a new job with your white corporate sponsors.
Min. Paul Scott
Min. Paul Scott's blog is nowarningshotsfired.com He can be reached at (919) 451-8283
Thursday, January 10, 2008
I am sure by now, you have heard about Kelly Tilghman, the golf announcer chick, saying that young golfers should "lynch Tiger Woods in a back alley."
Now, I know that her PR people are runnin' around scrambling for ways to blame this one on Hip Hop, as that seems to be the trend.
Michael Richards drops multiple "N bombs"...
Blame Hip Hop.
Don Imus says "nappy headed ho's"...
Blame Hip Hop.
Gas prices are at a record high...
Well, you get the point.
But this is a tough one, since most rappers don't bring up what happened during slavery as white guilt may have a negative impact on their CD sales.
I can still see her PR people frantically googlin' all the rap lyrics from the last 20 years trying to find a lynch lyric..
."Well, let's see..Blacks do always talk about "hangin' with their homeboys"
"And didn't that actor guy, Ice Cube once have a group called The Lynch mob?"
I know that some of ya'll are sayin'"There he goes bein' all sensitive again..."
But if she had said that a Jewish golfer needed to be put in a gas chamber or a Japanese golfer needed to be bombed, would she have only gotten a brief suspension ?
Sometimes genocide by any other name is still genocide!
Min. Paul Scott's can be reached at email@example.com (919) 451-8283
Monday, January 7, 2008
Is a Black President Ready for America?
Obama and the Revelation of Racism
Min. Paul Scott
The date is November 5th 2008 and Barack Obama, who has just been elected president of the United States, heads to the jewelry store to buy his wife a trinket of appreciation for her support. He enters the store and the sales person doesn't acknowledge him. "Well, she must be preoccupied," he thinks as he leaves. He tries to hail a cab but the driver speeds away, splashing mud on his new suit. "Poor guy must be in a hurry," Obama rationalizes as he heads into Denny's to grab a quick bite. After waiting 45 minutes to get a seat, he heads for the exit, accidentally bumping into an elderly man who mumbles a barely audible racial epithet. "Hm, I wonder why that nice gentleman thought that I was "Nigerian" he ponders as a white family who just arrived at the restaurant is immediately seated...
While many have posed the question over the last year whether or not America is ready for Obama, the real question is whether Obama, with his colorblind message of Peace, Love and Happiness is ready to face the reality of institutionalized racism still present in America in the upcoming months.
As the possibility of America's first black president goes from being a pipe dream to a probability, it is sure to open up the Pandora's Box of racism that is padlocked in the hearts of even the most liberal minded white folks. Kinda like the cool white dude who, even though he donates money every year to the United Negro College Fund, goes ballistic when his daughter brings her black boyfriend home to dinner for the first time.
(Personally, I'm just waiting for Hillary to drop the N word, accidentally during the heat of battle.)
Let's face it. A white president is one of the two things that America holds sacred, with a white Jesus running a close second.
Just because young white kids buy the majority of Snoop Dog CD's does not mean that their parents are gonna welcome a black resident into the White House.
A black mayor, maybe or even a black senator but the head of the free world? Don't be ridiculous!
Some will argue that a black president will upset what they call the "natural balance of nature," whites on top, blacks on the bottom. Also, known as the "master/slave" relationship.
The aesthetic beauty, alone, of a black president will create a sense of empowerment in African Americans, cutting across economic and social boundaries. How will CEO Bob Whitman react on November 5th if Tyrone Jackson, who has been vice president for 20 years loudly announces that, "It's time to make some changes 'round here !" Or when Shawanda who usually brings him his coffee every morning with a smile tells him that it ain't in her job description and he should fix it his darn self !
The possibilities boggle the mind.
Even without using race as a platform can the Obama campaign avoid inspiring a heightened sense of black awareness as an unattended by- product such as the '84 and '88 Rev. Jesse Jackson campaign which, arguably, gave energy to a black cultural renaissance courtesy of Spike Lee movies and Public Enemy rap records?
Also, will black Hip Hop artists be able to again use slogans like "Vote or Die" if Obama gets the Democratic nod without being charged with promoting "reverse racism" by the talking heads on Fox News?
One would hope that the Democratic Party would take the Obama candidacy more seriously than Jackson's, who was dissed at the '88 Democratic Convention. However, even with Obama in the lead, people are still saying that he would make a good "vice" president. And I am sure, even though they are trailing, Clinton and Edward's handlers are giving them the encouraging words, "come on, John, he's black!"
And we have heard, by now, the whole "Republicans are secretly backing Obama because they know they can beat him" conspiracy theory.
You can best believe that racism will rear it's ugly head in places in which you would least expect it in the upcoming months.
I wonder how many well meaning liberal white folks who are asking if America is ready for a black president realize how racist that question is in and of itself?
Min. Paul Scott's blog is nowarningshotsfired.com He can be reached at (919) 451-8283 firstname.lastname@example.org