Independence Day or Thug Holiday:
Should Black People Celebrate July 4th
TRUTH Minista Paul
“Our country ‘tis of thee/land of liberty/But that’ll never
be/not in America”
Amerika- Trick Daddy
It was the annual Independence Day party
and Club US was packed wall to wall with Black folks dressed in red, white and
blue looking like thugged out Uncle Sams. Everybody was enjoying the holiday to
the fullest. But suddenly DJ Freddie D stopped the music and yelled “Ya’ll do
know that we weren’t free in 1776, right?” That’s when the crowd turned ugly and
started throwin’ chairs and champagne bottles at the dj booth. Order wasn’t
restored until the cops showed up and arrested Freddie D for starting a
Every year, African Americans spend millions of dollars on
hot dogs, booze and fireworks to celebrate this country’s Independence Day.
Problem is, while the ”bombs were burstin’ in air” my ancestors were still
pickin’ tobacco in the hot Carolina sun.
Despite how many times you
tell some people, they just can’t seem to get it through their thick skulls that
Black folks were not free in 1776!
Although the great abolitionist
Frederick Douglas posed the question back in 1876,” What to the slave is the
Fourth of July,” more than a hundred years later, we still have not gotten a
At most, some outraged, overly patriot dude dismisses
the question by saying “Well, Buddy, we are all Americans now.” Or the classic
line, “This here’s America and if you don’t love it you can take the first boat
back to Africa. ”
Good answers. But that wasn’t the question.
No matter how drunk you get at Uncle Rudy’s July 4th pig pickin’ and
how many firecrackers you set off, that still won’t change the fact that chattel
slavery in this country did not end until almost 100 years after the signing of
the Declaration of Independence.
Matter of fact, it must be noted
that Black folks gained nothing from America's victory over the British. Lerone
Bennet wrote in his book, Before the Mayflower, that Lord Dunmore, former
governor of colonial Virginia, issued a proclamation on November 5, 1775
promising freedom to all male slaves willing to fight for England. This was more
than 80 years before Lincoln "freed" the slaves in states that were rebelling
against the Union.
Also, Britain abolished slavery in 1833 and it
was not until three decades later that slavery was abolished in
Dr. WEB Dubois once wrote about the “the double
consciousness” of being both African and American. This contradiction was not
lost on the Hip Hop generation.
Since its early days, Hip Hop has
tackled the issue of Black patriotism. During the height of Reaganomics, in the
mid 80’s, pioneer rapper, Kurtis Blow proudly rapped that America was his
favorite country. Decades later, during the Era of Terror, Petey Pablo told the
USA not only to “raise up” but to “take the flag/put it in the air/and spin it
like a helicopter.”
However, most rappers have been more
Back in 1988, Public Enemy said on “Louder than a Bomb””
picture us coolin’ out on the 4th of July/ And if you heard we were
celebrating/that’s a world wide lie!”
On his 2001 song, “My
Country,” Nas claimed that America wanted to get rid of him because he knew too
The criticisms did not only come from New York rappers but the
West Coast had beef with Uncle Sam, as well. Right after leaving NWA, Ice Cube
released the anti-patriotic 1990 cd, Amerikkka’s Most Wanted and also West
Coast artist Paris released scathing cds like The Devil Made Me Do
Although, not known for political awareness, southern rappers
have also challenged America’s past and present atrocities. On 2002’s, “Thug
Holiday,” Trick Daddy challenged the mis-educational system by questioning why
when authors write history books about America’s wars, the only people that die
are the Americans? As if no one else on the planet counts.
while some may argue that America electing her first black commander- in- chief
as a reason to fight for your right to party on the 4th, Plies said on “Why U
Hate Me,” “they say our president’s Black/But we can’t tell,
Let’s be clear. This is not a matter of hatin’ on people
eatin’ hot dogs but challenging historical falsehoods. Nor does it have anything
to do with “Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness but everything to do with lies
and the pursuit of truth.
The big question is, if we accept the
historical inaccuracies as fact, can we really criticize the youth for
following rappers who glamorize the false notion that if you sell drugs and go
to jail, eventually you will emerge from prison as a millionaire entertainer?
If America can celebrate a fake holiday based on a Freedom denied to
those who built this country, then the gangsta’s have the right to create their
own Thug Holiday, celebrating the many contributions that gangsta rap has made
to American society.
While patriotic Americans preach the virtues of
Freedom, this does not apply to Freedom of thought. They prefer you to repeat
dogma instead of giving a critical analysis of historical facts. And this goes
way beyond the 4th of July.
Why should Native Americans feel
compelled to celebrate Columbus Day and Thanksgiving or should the Japanese
Americans really be expected to rejoice on V-J Day?
At its best, Hip
Hop has been iconoclastic by nature, boldly smashing the false idols of the past
and bringing forth new ideas. But the question in 2012 is, in an era when rap
artists are being rewarded for being carbon copies of each other and not
challenging the status quo,does Hip Hop still have the heart to challenge
Are there still Hip Hop artists who are willing to
buck popular opinion and challenge the fallacy of Independence Day even if it
means standing alone in the face of bitter opposition?
Technique said on “Point of No Return:”
“Universal Truth is not
measured in mass appeal.”
TRUTH Minista Paul Scott’s weekly
column is “This Ain’t Hip Hop,” a column for intelligent Hip Hop headz. He can
be reached at (919) 308-4233 or firstname.lastname@example.org
His website is NoWarningShotsFired.com Follow on Twitter