Monday, April 2, 2018

Dirty Dancing With the Developers

Dirty Dancing with the Developers:

Makin’ Dollars or Manifest Destiny ?

                                              Paul Scott

Dirty Dancing with the Developers:

Makin’ Dollars or Manifest Destiny ?

                             Paul Scott

“If you dance with the devil, the devil don't change. The devil changes you..."
                        Joaquin Phoenix from 8mm       

When the owner of Dick Dastardly Development first came to town  he was met with hisses and boos by politicians and their constituents who cried foul at the mere thought of citizens in their
city being displaced. But when he promised to build a much needed, affordable combination golf course and ski lodge in the hood, the boos quickly turned to cheers and he was awarded the key to the city….

One of the most difficult issues facing the Bull City in 2018 is gentrification. After all, who doesn’t want their modest southern town transformed into a more ritzy area like downtown Manhattan. Well, it depends on who you ask, those who stand to make a load of money from the transformation or those who may lose their be- ever -so -humble homes.

The well off and the poor see gentrification through different lenses. As the old saying goes “whether the glass is half empty or half full depends on who’s a-drinkin’ and who’s a-pourin’.”

Even those who, vehemently,  oppose the process have different rationales for doing so. If you are middle class ,displacement means the old oak tree with your childhood sweetheart’s name carved in it might get chopped down. But for the poor, it is the uncertainty of not knowing where your family may end up.

The perception of neighborhood renewal is, also,  packed with historical baggage.

There was a time in this country when the powerful  could “ buy” Manhattan for 24 dollars worth of beads. Or in some cases just outright take whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted it in the name of progress. As much as we hate to admit it, terms like “eminent domain”  and “manifest destiny” are as American as apple pie.

If you come from a wealthy family who have prospered from the American dream , urban renewal just comes with the territory.  But what about the descendant of Africans who had their land stolen by colonizers. Or Native Americans  and Mexican Americans whose ancestors were removed from their soil ? Not to mention that poor white American of Appalachia who’s great grandfather's farm is now a coal mine.

So, whether you see someone as a shrewd  business tycoon or a neo-colonizer is a matter of opinion.

Right now, many Durham citizens, at least in theory, oppose gentrification. Nobody wants to go on record cosigning  somebody’s grandma getting kicked out on the street.  But people are fickle and public outrage is a fleeting moment soon forgotten. Especially, when it’s so easy to catch amnesia when you get hit upside the head with a stack of dollar bills. Or when  some tough guys in dark Ray-Bans  drag  you in a back room and make you an offer you can’t refuse.

Let’s keep it really real.  In a capitalist society, money talks and there is a $6,000 degree of separation between anger and acquiescence.

The guys who come struttin’ in to City Hall meetings with Brooks Brothers suits and penny loafers sleep good at night after donating a couple of grand to an affordable housing fund or to the local schools system.

So, even though I may see developers as ruthless Snidely Whiplash-type villains with black top hats and stringy mustaches who kick puppies when nobody’s  looking, the general public is easily swayed by even the cheesiest PR campaign.

Personally. I’ve always rooted for the underdog and patterned myself after the patron saint of the lost cause,  so excuse me for being more skeptical than the, eternally,  optimistic who believe that all's well that ends well.

Even some Durham leaders seem to believe that ,perhaps, there is a silver lining in this rapidly expanding cloud of doom and despair.

I hate to be a Debbie Downer but there are no happy ending here. Compassionate Capitalism is an oxymoron and someone is gonna be left out in the cold come next winter.

Sometimes there is no middle ground. It’s just the rich once again stickin’ it to the poor.

But you will still have some who are lost  in Dave Mason’s 70’s AM playlist purgatory where “there ain’t no good guys.  There ain’t no bad guys. There’s just you and me and we just disagree.”

If only it was that simple…

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Thank you to Dr. Robinson and NCCU for having me lecture on Hip Hop and Masculinity last week.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Choice FM Interview

Big shout out to Dr. Rob and Choice FM for having me on last Saturday.

Listen Below

Friday, March 2, 2018

Is Downtown Durham too White ?

Starting March 3rd , my column will run in the Durham Herald Sun every 1st and 3rd Saturday. 

My latest column :

My Downtown Durham Dilemma

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

So...Marvel Made Ya'll Love Africa ?

So... Marvel Finally Made Ya’ll Love Africa ?

Min. Paul Scott

You could talk about Nigeria/people used to laugh at ya

Now I take a look/I see USA for Africa ?

Stop the Violence-Boogie Down Productions

Shanequa Jenkins never wanted nothin’ to do with Africa. When her roommates would demand that she turn off Love and Hip Hop so they could watch Hidden Colors, she would just storm out the room calling them “Hotep Hoes” under her breath. So, it shocked her roomies when two hours before the Black Panther premier she was waiting at the front door in a brand new dashiki with matching Red Bottoms and Coach Bag yellin’ “Ya’ll aint ready to go, yet !?”

Not long ago, if you wore a dashiki or African medallion you had to wade through a sea of hecklers sayin’ stuff like , “ Yo ! You tryin’ to join X-Clan or somethin’ ? VAN-GLORIOUS !” Or any time you dared speak about something Afrocentric, cats would roll their eyes and mumble “there he goes with that black stuff again…” But now with the coming of the new Marvel movie, The Black Panther, even the worst Africa haters have caught a severe case of Jungle Fever.

Historically, many African Americans have had a problem with the Motherland. During the days of slavery, many free black folk ,vehemently, opposed the repatriation movement. While some did see it for what it was, a way to rid America of the riff raff, most felt that they did not want to leave a country that they helped build.

During the early 20th Century, although up to 10 million people supported The Honorable Marcus Garvey’s Back to Africa Movement, many people opposed his efforts as they saw his movement as a threat to their vested interests in the American Dream.

Hollywood didn’t help matters much ,either, during this period as the image propagated of the continent was either taken straight outta a Tarzan movie or a Looney Tunes cartoon with a bunch of cannibals circling a big black pot chantin’ “yum, yum eat ‘em up.”

During the late 60’s , there was a beef between members of the Black Panther Party who embraced a Marxist ideology and Dr. Maulana Karenga's Us Organization who practiced cultural nationalism. This ideological disagreement was intensified by the efforts of J. Edgar Hoover and his COINTELPRO program, preventing any fusion of the two ideologies that could have hastened our journey towards Freedom.

Even though some Hip Hop headz praise the “conscious” era of the late 80’s for bringing African awareness to rap and championing the fight against South Africa’s Apartheid regime, truth is, the era barely lasted four years and by 1992 most Hip Hoppers had traded in their dashikis and sandals for West Coast Khakis and Chuck Taylors.

The best dynamic of that period is perhaps captured in Spike Lee’s classic film School Daze , during the scene when Julian aka “Big Brother Almighty” tells Dap, the Pro Black Brotha that he wasn’t from Africa. He was “from Detroit.”

Sadly, that was pretty much the attitude of many African Americans until the last couple of years. Before the commercialized Black Lives Matter Era, in order to find a decent dashiki you would have had to hit the road and head to a city with predominantly black neighborhoods and hunt down an African clothing store in the middle of the ‘hood. But now even white and Asian owned shops have dashikis and African necklaces hanging in their windows.

What is unfortunate is despite all the master teachers that have gone on to the ancestors; Dr. Chancellor Williams , Dr. John Henrik Clarke , Dr. Yosef ben Jochannan and a host of others who sacrificed their lives to try to teach us about our heritage, it took an old white dude who made his fortune courtesy of a white kid in a red and blue onesie swingin; through NYC to finally make us embrace who we are.

Or perhaps it has something to do with the changing times. Maybe Black Panther Mania is not just a fad and will awaken the African genius that lies dormant deep inside of us.

Malcolm X once said that we left “our minds in Africa.” Maybe the hype over the Black Panther movie is an indication that we are finally getting our minds back?

Min. Paul Scott is based in NC. Phone (919) 972-8305  His website is   Follow on Twitter  @NWSF

Sunday, January 28, 2018

No Warning Shots Fired Social Media

No Warning Shots Fired Social Media:
Twitter @NWSF 
Instagram paulscottnwsf
Phone (984) 377-2064

Friday, January 26, 2018

Can the Black Panther Save Durham?

This is the first installment of  my column that will appear in the Herald Sun twice a month.  #NoWarningShotsFired