Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Hostile Takeover of Black History Month

                                        *Logo courtesy of Askari Graphics 2012


The Hostile Takeover of Black History Month

TRUTH Minista Paul Scott

“You took my style/I’m takin’ it back”
How Ya Like Me Now-Kool Moe Dee

The annual Black History Month program sponsored by Steppin’ Fetchin’ Sneakers was going as planned. Dr. Thomas “D. W.” Griffin, was giving his usual boring speech about how slavery wasn't so bad, when all of a sudden a group of Black militants bum rushed the stage and started yellin’ about the ancient empires of Africa. The crowd went wild as Griffin headed for the exist , dropping his copy of The Clansman as he made his hasty retreat...

Is it just me or does Black History Month always seem like a bad movie script? There will be the usual programs about slavery and the life and times of Dr. Martin Luther King. We will be bombarded by hundreds of commercials by that same Barry White sounding brotha braggin’ about how some company loves Black people. And somewhere near the end of the month , every city in America will throw some multi-cultural shindig that talks about every issue under the sun except the ones that are relevant to African Americans in 2013.

Although the question is posed every year “is Black History Month still relevant”, the question that we should be asking is whether or not Black History is controlled by Black people ? And if not , is it really Black History or a watered down, white washed version of our culture.?

Back in 1926, Dr. Carter G. Woodson started what was ,then, Negro History Week as a way to save the story of a great people from falling into the dark abyss of Euro-centric falsehood. However, since then, the celebration has been exploited by everything from car companies that want to sell Black people pimped out new rides to restaurants that create a soul food dollar menu every year ,complete with fried chicken, watermelon and red Kool Aid.

What is most disturbing is that many of the companies that will have “Say it Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud” blastin’ out of the intercom systems during February 2013 are the same ones that dissed Black folks in the 90’s.

Although AT&T has commercials playing ‘round the clock on black networks , back in 1993, the company came under fire from African Americans when their employee magazine contained an ad which featured a picture of a monkey representing the people of Africa.

In 1994 , Denny’s Restaurant chain , which takes great pride in its diversity programs ,was sued for racial discrimination. Ironically, it was the Denny’s chain that brought out some of the old “Sambo” restaurants.

Also, the old Texaco gas stations had to shell out some major dollars in 1996 when the company’s top officials were busted for referring to their African American employees as “black jellybeans.” (among other things)

And these are the types of people who we trust to tell our story?


Under the guise of Black History, they give us just enough to keep “Black leaders “ happy and to ease white guilt. So we get the same old rehashed slavery/MLK/civil rights stories over and over again.

What happened to the great African civilizations of Ethiopia and Egypt? What about those brave warriors who fought against the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.Or how about the thousands of Black people who fought against racism before and after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr?

This version of Black History is considered too controversial for the mainstream.

Although controversy may sell rap cds, it doesn’t sell cell phones. So, in most cases, telling the truth about Black History may be bad for business.

For instance, if more Black children knew about the damage done to the Africa over the scramble for gold and diamonds, maybe“bling” wouldn’t be so popular. Nor would rappers like Trinidad James singin’ about “gold all in my chain/gold all in my ring..” still have a career. Thus impacting both the jewelry and the music industry, simultaneously.

If Black kids got a strong dose of true African history during Black History Month, maybe they would start wearing dashikis and kufis instead of snapbacks and True Religion Jeans. Which would impact the clothing industry.

Also, if our youth learned about the historical origin of Black on Black violence every February, they may be less likely to pick up an assault rifle. Thus, impacting the gun industry.

So, the only ones who truly benefit from true Black history are Black people.

This is why our story must be told and it must be told by us. There must be a hostile takeover of Black History Month.

Black History is more than a way to push a product. It is the tie that binds people of African descent together. So, before we even begin to talk about "taking back Hip Hop" or" taking back our community," we must concern ourselves with taking back our history.

Unlike during the time of our parents, we now have the technology to make it happen right at our fingertips.

The Black By Nature/Conscious By Choice campaign is on a mission to bring back Black consciousness and there is no better time to start than right now. Just as Public Enemy had as its mission to raise up 5,000 Black leaders during the late 80’s, our task today, is to raise up 5,000 intellectual warriors.

For Black History Month we are suggesting the following steps.

Instead of depending on the media to give us the truth about our history, we must use Youtube , Facebook and Twitter to start a “Black History :The Lost Episodes” series where we will post and Tweet information that has been purposely hidden from the masses of Black people.

Hip Hop must also get involved as we are asking rappers to adopt the names of our Black heroes and heroines during Black History Month. If rappers can name themselves after comic book heroes like “Johnny Blaze” and Hollywood gangsters’s like “Frank White” and “Scarface” , why can’t we have , "The King Tut of the Turntables," “The Nat Turner of Rap”,” or “The Harriet Tubman of Hip Hop.? “

Also, we must form Afro-centric media watch groups to make sure that our history is not distorted by the media, especially during Black History Month.

So, the hostile takeover of Black History Month must happen.

Like Malcolm X would put it , we must take back our culture this year, “By any means necessary.”

We can do this the easy way or the hard way..

Or like Biggie Smalls once rapped “the fast way, ski mask way... ransom note....”

TRUTH Minista Paul Scott’s site is No Warning Shots Follow on Twitter @ truthminista For more information about the Black By Nature/Conscious By Choice Campaign contact or call (919) 972-8305

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Rollin' With Rush

Rollin'  With  Rush:
How Rap Helps the Right Wing                        

                               TRUTH Minista Paul Scott

There's a famous scene from the cult classic movie "Scarface" where inebriated gangster, Tony Montana (Al Pacino) disses a bunch of classy conservative folks by telling them that they need people like him so they can point their fingers and say "that's the bad guy."

Such is the strange relationship between the Right Wing and rap music.

So, it should come as no real suprise that Rush Limbaugh defended his new homie, Shorty Lo on his radio show.  Limbaugh thinks that the people who caused Oxygen TV to squash plans for Shorty's
"All My Babies Mama's" reality show are a bunch of haters.

While at first glance they may appear to be at polar opposites of the political spectrum, the ideologies of gangsta-ism and conservatism are actually dependent upon each other for survival. Just like in the world of Hollywood, every hero needs a villain and every villain needs a hero.

Since the inception of gangsta rap in the late 80's, the conservatives have used the music to embody everything that is socially and morally reprehensible in this country and the gangsta's have been quick to label anyone who disapproves of their violent and misogynistic lyrics as a wrinkled right wing ole fogey.

It must be noted that when the term "Hip Hop" is used here it is not meant to include the music of legendary political artists such as Public Enemy whose legacy is seen today in the lyrics of noncommercial groups such as Dead Prez but the majority of the commercial rap that has dominated the charts and radio playlists for well over a decade.

While much of the criticism from the Right has centered around naughty words and suggestive lyrics, the apolitical and anti intellectual nature of "gangsta rap" has, in many ways, fulfilled the wishes of those who seek to conserve power by the dumbing down of the powerless. This may be the reason why the commercial era of "political" Hip Hop lasted a mere four years but the reign of gangsta rap has been going strong for 20 years.

Therefore, it is no surprise that the late gangsta rap pioneer Eric "Eazy E" Wright had lunch with President George H Bush at a reception for the Republican Senatorial Inner Circle in 1991. That becomes even more strange in the context that the Right is not exactly known for breaking bread with the enemy as former VP candidate Sara Palin pointed out ad nauseum.

It must be noted that while the protest against rappers Tupac Shakur and Snoop Dog led by C. Delores Tucker and William Bennett only helped to elevate their status as cult heroes who were merely fighting, according to them, represent their community. Bennett went on a decade later to issue what could be a considered a call for gangsta eugenics when he said that if you abort every black baby in this country ,the crime rate would go down.

Also, during the mid 90's while aid to the poor was under attack, MTV showed a clip with the late rapper Russel "Ol Dirty Bastard" Jones arriving at a welfare office via stretch limo to pick up food stamps during an era when the Right Wing was holding up images of black women as "welfare queens."

Fast forward to 2013 and we see that Hip Hop has not changed much and neither has the Republican Party. Despite the many rappers who moonligh as voter registration organizers during political seasosn, their day jobs are still keeping the masses of "ghetto"  youth politically misdirected and justifying the Right's political scare tactics.

So, today what to do about the so called "Hip Hop Generation" is seen as the new "white man's burden." In states across the country there are laws being imposed where the wearing of Hip Hop inspired clothing may be probable cause for the implementation of legislation reminiscent of Richard Nixon's tough on crime policies of the early 70's.

With the economy saggin' like rapper 'Lil Wayne's pants, the Conservatives need poverty poster children who they can say enjoy being broke. Who can argue for more social programs when the image of "tha hood" being broadcast across the planet is not an area filled with hungry children and dilapidated buildings but a fantasy land where black men with gold teeth ride around in expensive cars with spinning rims blasting loud music all day. Not exactly the best argument for affirmative action.

Now, I'm not suggesting that a rap mogul is in a studio somewhere composing rap lyrics with a Republican strategist but stranger things have happened in the wild world of politics.

However, at a time when the whole world seems to be yelling for change, maybe Hip Hop artists won't turn a deaf ear.

Maybe, this year, to quote Tony Montana, we can finally say "goodnight to the bad guy."

TRUTH Minista Paul Scott's website is No Warning Shots He can be reached at Follow on Twitter @truthminista

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Abolitionists or Absolute Bull ?

The Abolitionists or Absolute Bull?:
The Myth of the Great White Hope
TRUTH Minista Paul Scott

“Most of my heroes don’t appear on no stamp”
Fight the Power-Public Enemy

The year is 2020, and Goebbels Entertainment Company has just released its Academy Award nominated documentary, Rap, Unchained about how Hip Hop was successful in emancipating millions of Black children from mental slavery during the late 80’s. While it briefly mentions the contributions of a few Black rappers of the time, the majority of the film is dedicated to one great man who risked his life by speaking out on behalf of millions of oppressed African Americans. This great hero is none other than the rap abolitionist himself, Vanilla Ice....

This week, PBS will air, The Abolitionists, a movie about people who during the 19th century , spoke out against the evils of chattel slavery. While the flick does feature Frederick Douglas, instead of rounding out the cast with Nat Turner, Gabriel Prosser and Denmark Vessey, it focuses on the lives of good white folks like William Lloyd Garrison, Harriet Beecher Stowe Angelina Grimke and John Brown. Thus, reinforcing the idea that my ancestors were a bunch of punks during slavery, whinin' in the cotton fields, waiting on the day when some white saviors would free them from bondage.

Like many other topics regarding history, the Abolitionist Movement has been subject to historical revisionism and an attempt for white America to pick our heroes.

Although , the film's trailer proudly proclaims that " if it had not been for the abolitionists, the United States would have thoroughly been a slave nation," historian Herbert Aptheker wrote in his book , American Negro Slave Revolts, that there were more than 200 slave rebellions in this country.

What is also glossed over by historians is the fact that while many of the white abolitionists did not agree with slavery as an institution, they, themselves, were still white supremacists who believed that Black people were innately inferior to Whites. Just because an animal rights activist might protest against cruelty to Fido, the pit bull, doesn’t mean that he wants to take him out for dinner and a movie.

Of, course, I'm not the first to point this out.

In 1837, Rev. Theodore Wright told the New York Slave Ant-slavery Society that their doctrine must include “recognizing all men as brothers.”

Also, according to Lerone Bennett Jr in his work , Before the Mayflower, although Frederick Douglas used to hang out with William Lloyd Garrison, he eventually broke ranks, as white abolitionists like Garrison wanted Black abolitionists to merely serve as lawn jockeys.However Douglas believed that Black people should have been at the head of the Abolitionist Movement. As Bennett quotes Douglas as saying, “the man who suffered the wrong is the man to demand redress.”

Although Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin is applauded for the role it played in raising awareness about slavery, in his book , Race: The History of an Idea in America, Dr. Thomas Gossett claimed that the novel still “made it quite clear that, in spite of the Negro’s humility and aptitude for religion, he is innately inferior.”

It must be also, noted that the idea that groups who’s religious convictions should have made them long time allies in the fight against slavery has also been blown way out of proportion. In her book , Criminalizing of a Race, Dr. Charshee McIntyre revealed that “ as representatives of the emerging capitalist order, reformers could extend charity to the lowliest segment of laborers, but not even the Quakers could view Blacks as potential autonomous beings”

Although much has been written about the white Jewish connection to Black suffering, Harold Cruse wrote in, Plural but Equal, that it was not until 1915, after the lynching of Leo Frank by a white Atlanta mob, that Jews began to identify with the suffering of African Americans. Cruse writes that the idea that the Jewish community cared much about Black folks prior to that time is “an inaccurate generalization because it was never explained how Jews as a group were involved in contrast to certain individual Jews."

The main issue here, is that the further that we get away from a time period, the more distorted the historical accuracy becomes. If we are not careful even modern phenomena such as Hip Hop will eventually become distorted.

As important as Hip Hop has been as a platform that allowed young African Americans to advocate for the rights of poor and oppressed community, if this legacy is not properly guarded, the clear facts will too become muddied by historical inaccuracies and false assumptions.

If we are not careful, our grandchildren will believe that just because Vanilla Ice was popular during the same time period of conscious artists such as Brand Nubian, than he was something other than a cheap white washed version of MC Hammer. Or that even though a white rap group was called “Young Black Teenagers” , they may believe that they were a socially conscious group, rather than a gimmick to prove that white kids could rap.

As we move forward , it must be noted that many of the so-called depictions of “Black History” fictitious or otherwise , have been told from the viewpoint of non-Black people, from Django to The Abolitionists. Thus we find ourselves in the same dilemma as Frederick Douglas, almost a century and a half later.,

The solution is that African Americans, must become experts in the field of their own history, as no other racial group would dare trust the interpretation of their culture to others.

This is why we have started the “Black By Nature/Conscious By Choice Campaign. During the late 80’s rap group Public Enemy had as its mission to raise up 5000 Black leaders. So, our task in 2013 to raise up 5,000 Black scholars who will be experts in Black history, so they can defend our culture against distortions and teach the truth to our future generations.

As Nas said on ," I Can"

“If truth is told/the youth can grow. Then learn to survive until they gain control.”

TRUTH Minista Paul Scott’s website is No Warning Shots For more information on Black By Nature/Conscious By Choice contact . Follow on Twitter @truthminista