Saturday, April 11, 2015

From N**** to Negus

From Nigga to Negus:
New Beginnings for an Old Word

                   Min. Paul Scott

“You hate me don’t cha/You hate my people
Your plan is to terminate my culture”
Blacker the Berry  - Kendrick Lamar

Most of the time when somebody asked K Killa to stop using the N- Word he had a prepared, snappy comeback. He would, on cue, go into a long drawn out monologue about how it was really a  term of endearment. But after hearing his favorite rapper, Kendrick Lamar , explain that  he was spelling it wrong and the word was really supposed to be “Negus” meaning “ king,”  he stopped using it.  It was one thing to be a “real nigga”  but to be a dumb, illiterate nigga was down right offensive…

The debate over the use of the N word is nothing new, most of the time the conversation stays within the politically correct realm that ends with “well, that’s really something that polite people don’t say” (at least in public.)  However, thanks to an interlude from the new Kendrick Lamar cd, “To Pimp a Butterfly,”  where  he breaks down the definition of Negus (Nagast in plural form) to mean "king" in ancient Ethiopic Ge'ez, , the topic has now been elevated to a more historical, etymological and , even, controversial level.  

I mean, for people with short attention spans, quoting Tupac’s acronym (Never Ignorant Getting Goals Accomplished) is relatively, simple  The average first grader can quote that in his sleep. However, to do a deep, historical and etymological breakdown that goes back centuries takes more than just the proverbial “street smarts.” It requires somebody to pick up a book, or at the very least, put his Google skills to the test.

So, has K Dot accomplished something that the culture police have been unable to do since NWA came straight outta Compton more than 25 years ago?

Now, the argument over a positive interpretation of the N Word did not start with Kendrick Lamar. In 1934, noted historian, JA Rogers made a similar attempt to defend the use of the word “negro” in his work “100 Amazing Facts About the Negro: With Complete Proof”  by saying that it had royal origins.

More recently, scholars such as Kaba Hiawatha Kamene ( Dr.  Booker T Coleman ) and Hip Hop artist Hakim Green (Channel Live)  have also attempted to give the word a noble  heritage using the works of Gerald Massey and writings such as the Kebra Nagast as evidence that a nigga has not always been the dude with a white t-shirt and jeans hangin’ down below his  knees. According to  the them,  the original Nagast wore crowns and royal garments.

The flip side of the argument, as advanced by lecturers, The Irritated Genie and community activists such as Kwabana Sakidi Jijaga Rasuli is that the ancient Ethiopic word ain’t got jack to do with the N-word that was yelled at our ancestors as they were being hanged from trees.

According to most dictionaries, the word “negro” comes, directly , from the 15th century Portuguese slave traders and was not a noun but an adjective meaning “the black,” as in a color. But when white southerners tried to say it with snuff in their mouths, it came out “nigger.” And because of the Stockholm Syndrome, we changed it to “nigga.”   So we are, clearly, dealing with two different words.

And even if it did have noble beginnings, the term is now being used to identify white supremacy’s greatest creation, “the Nigga” - a self- hating monster who is programed to kill other black people, whether it be man, woman or child. Or, in the eyes of trigga happy cops “ a natural born criminal who is worthy of instant execution.”

But, hypothetically speaking, suppose that the Honorable Marcus Garvey’s  use of the word “negro” could be traced back to the royal lineage of the throne of Ethiopia to, at least , the time of the Queen of Sheba (Makeda) while racists and white supremacists are using the word that came from the Portuguese slave traders.  If we are truly going to differentiate the terms and come up with a “positive term of endearment,” it would only make sense that we use the Sankofa principal and go back to the historical Ethiopian origins of the word.

That is why Kimathi Melaku El, minister of education of The Black Talmidim, says that the group is calling for the black community to permanently replace “nigga” with Negus. They are also asking that people use the hashtag #replacewithnegus on social media and substitute the word “nigga” in song lyrics and popular phrases  with “Negus.” (For instance, “Nigga With Attitude”  becomes “Negus  With Attitude,” etc.)

Some may argue that with the recent police killings, the black community has bigger things to worry about than a word. But , isn't it easier to feel that you can get away with killing a nigga than getting away with assassinating a king ?

Also, even the hardest brother on the block doesn't want to feel stupid or like someone jacked him for what was, rightfully, his. So, if we can convince the youth that they have been robbed of their history and bamboozled into accepting a false term, perhaps they will ,at least, consider changing their language.

Kwame Ture once said “every Negro is a potential Black man.”  So, just maybe every nigga is a potential Negus.

Min. Paul Scott is founder of the Messianic Afrikan Nation. He can be reached at Follow on Twitter @truthminista

Thursday, April 2, 2015

King of the 'hood

King of the ‘hood:
Exposing the Myth of Self Inflicted Self Destruction
            Min. Paul Scott
“Was it the bullets that took you/or was it the situation society put you ?”
            Blown Away Remix (Saigon and Sticman)

April 4, 2015. Minister Malcolm Mosiah King was in Memphis  to receive the annual Tupac Shakur Peace Prize. After years of hard work, he had finally negotiated a truce between the rival gangs in the city. Unfortunately, King never made it to the ceremony. As he was leaving his hotel, he was killed in a drive-by, allegedly, by a gang member who mistook his black power fist salute for a gang sign….

This week marks the anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. Although, he accomplished many great things from addressing economic inequality to opposing the Vietnam War, for most  Americans he is known ,simply ,for telling black people to love white people and ignore 400  plus years of slavery and oppression. In recent weeks this dream has been echoed by entertainers such as Common, who suggested that if the descendents of slaves  just extended the right hand of fellowship to the descendants of their former slave masters, all would be right with the world.

But what about asking the black kid on the block to forgive the dude who shot his homeboy last month. Or even  the kid that accidently stepped on his new white Jordans or the Brotha who merely gave him the wrong look at a stop light ?  In 2015, we need a “Dr. Martin Luther King of the Hood,”  to bring a message of peace and unity to these streets.

Though rarely discussed, the  downside to King’s message was that too much attention was paid to loving white folks and not enough to loving our black selves.

Without a doubt, the issue of Black on Black crime is one of the most pressing issues of  the last 20 years, as many conservatives  are quick to remind us when the world’s microscope is focused on some form of white racism , whether it be a radio talk show who disrespects black women, a college frat boy who does an impromptu N word laced freestyle or a trigger happy cop who shoots a black child down in the street.  The cries of “well, what are you doing to stop blacks from killing other blacks” drowns out any intelligent discourse regarding the matter at hand.

The issue of Black on Black violence is not that simple.

Unlike white racists, it’s not like the average black kid wakes up on a mission to go out and kill the first black person he sees.  So, mixing the idea of White on Black violence with  Black on Black violence is like comparing Jack Daniels to Kool Aid. Unfortunately, this weak comparison often leaves even the most  educated, culturally conscious black person without a snappy  comeback,  as the talking heads at Fox News and other right wing  spots have mastered the art of being right and wrong at the same time.

So, where do we start healing our own community.

First, we have to put the concept of black self hatred into the proper historical context. This is an area that very few have dared to tread except a few authors like the late Dr. Amos Wilson who gave us the outstanding work “Black on Black Violence: In the service of White Domination.”  Contrary to popular belief,  Black on Black violence was not imported from Africa. Despite the often parroted idea that “Africans enslaved other Africans’” the truth is that the “slavery “ that existed in the Motherland was more akin to the feudalism that was going on in Europe than chattel slavery . It must be clearly understood that the Black on Black violence happening on the streets of America today is a direct result of the legacy of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and the demonizing of the Black image.

Secondly, we have to clearly understand that Black Murder Inc , is the phattest cash cow in America. Our self destruction generates billions of dollars, annually,  and if Black on Black violence ceased to exist today, there would  be a lot of rich people on welfare tomorrow.  This is because of the cannibalistic nature of Capitalism. To borrow from the funk philosopher George Clinton  “America eats its young,”  and uses their left overs  to fuel the prison and social industrial complexes.

Finally, we have to come up with a new strategy that goes beyond just blaming the victim.

In Durham NC, some artists have gotten together to launch The Closed Eyes Project to force people to open their eyes to the root causes of Black on Black violence.  During the week prior to the  anniversary of the assassination of Dr. King, they are asking that artists, activists and scholars  across the country unite to form a new Stop the Violence Movement, similar to the Hip Hop movement of the late 80’s.  

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After, all Dr. King didn’t die so we could kill each other, did he?

Min. Paul Scott is founder of the Messianic Afrikan Nation. He can be reached at Follow on Twitter @truthminista