THE ACTOR THAT UPSTAGED THE SINGERS

It is usually very difficult for anyone, let alone an actor , to upstage an event designed for Singers and rappers. But if you were lucky enough to see the BET Awards last Sunday evening , you would have witnessed that rare phenomenon. 

Jessie  Williams was there to accept his humanitarian award  but little did the audience know that his acceptance speech would be dropped like a bombshell on a room that is usually outfitted with the conscious and the unconscious. 

I doubt if his words hit the nail for everyone . Immediately after his acceptance they segued into the most vague and vaccious item on the program so I have my doubts. But for the conscious his message is the millennium’s I Have A Dream Speech.  I hope schools will decipher it,  colleges will debate it and the minority will respect and own it. 

Here is the speech in its entirety.

“Peace. Peace. Thank you, Debra. Thank you, Nate Parker. Thank you, Harry and Debbie Allen, for participating in that. Before we get into it, I just want to say I brought my parents out tonight — I just want to thank them for being here and teaching me to focus on comprehension over career. They made sure I learned what the schools were afraid to teach us. And also, thank you to my amazing wife for changing my life.

“Now, this award, this is not for me. This is for the real organizers all over the country. The activists, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers, the students that are realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do. All right? It’s kind of basic mathematics. The more we learn about who we are and how we got here, the more we will mobilize.

“Now, this is also in particular for the black women in particular who have spent their lifetimes dedicated to nurturing everyone before themselves. We can and will do better for you.

“Now, what we’ve been doing is looking at the data and we know that police somehow manage to deescalate, disarm and not kill white people every day. So what’s going to happen is we’re going to have equal rights and justice in our own country or we will restructure their function in ours.

“Now, [standing ovation] I got more, y’all.

“Yesterday would have been young Tamir Rice’s 14th birthday. So, I don’t want to hear anymore about how far we’ve come when paid public servants can pull a drive-by on a 12-year-old playing alone in a park in broad daylight, killing him on television and then going home to make a sandwich.

“Tell Rekia Boyd how it’s so much better to live in 2012, than it is to live in 1612 or 1712. Tell that to Eric Garner. Tell that to Sandra Bland. Tell that to Darrien Hunt.

“Now, the thing is, though, all of us in here getting money that alone isn’t going to stop this. All right? Now dedicating our lives to getting money just to give it right back. To put someone’s brand on our body when we spent centuries praying with brands on our bodies and now we pray to get paid with brands for our bodies. There has been no war that we have not fought and died on the front lines of. There has been no job we haven’t done. There’s no tax they haven’t levied against us. And we pay all of them. But freedom is somehow always conditional here. You’re free, they keep telling us, but she would have been alive if she hadn’t acted so free.

“Now, freedom is always coming in the hereafter but, you know what, though, the hereafter is a hustle. We want it now. And let’s get a couple of things straight here, just a little sidenote. The burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander. That’s not our job. All right, stop with all that. If you have a critique for the resistance, for our resistance, then you better have an established record of critique of our oppression. If you have no interest in equal rights for black people, then do not make suggestions to those who do. Sit down.

“We’ve been floating this country on credit for centuries, yo. And we’re done watching, and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us. Burying black people out of sight and out of mind, while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil — black gold. Ghettoizing and demeaning our creations then stealing them. Gentrifying our genius and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit. The thing is, though, the thing is, that just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real. Thank you.”

—Jesse Williams, 2016 BET Awards

WE WILL NOT FIND A MOSES IN ANY POLITICIAN

I read a quote recently that said, ” We all Eat lies when our heart is hungry!” Like everyone else I have been watching with clarity the many elections now occurring in many countries. In Jamaica the hungry believed the lies of the opposing party and voted the other liars out of power.

In Canada the Liberals , headed by Pierre Trudeau had a more convincing lie propelling them to power. But the real soap opera in the body politic is about to take shape in the United States with a cast of liars, with the winner being the one who lies the loudest. 

I often wonder why do people want to become elected to be the head of government in any country and frankly I have concluded that they must be damn fools and so too are the voters.  To think that we, and I include myself collectively in this mass, that someone, anyone, will solve any of our real problems is ludicrous at best and sublime at worst. 

Maya Angelo said when someone shows you who they are, you should believe them. As simple as that truism is, the collective WE refuse to accept it. We place ourselves at the feet of these liars hoping that out of the mouth of liars comes a Moses.  Forgive me for being skeptical but who amongst us can throw the first stone inscribed with the word ‘truth’? Who amongst us received the message, according to that famous story, that he or she must lead US to the promised land?

Trump, Hillary and the Bernie are all in a three way race to woo the hungry in America with lies that sting on various levels. Trump has shown his lies to be a reflection of what motivates and drives his greed. Hillary’s lies appeal to her surrogates especially those who ride on the notion of creating an identity of sexual revolution and handing the reigns to a woman. 


And then there is Bernie Saunders, the revolutionary socialist hoping to redefine the modern day imperialist by shaping his lies of economic equality for all. All three camps really believe their respective liars while those like myself look at them, shaking our heads wondering what will it take to make them realize they are once again giving away their own power  of progressiveness and ingenuity , that which they seek in these liars? 

My good friend and poet Klyde Brooks, has crystallized  his thoughts profoundly in a recent post he made on his Facebook page. I co-signed and decided to share it in my post. He said…..

…..” I am not saying that Bernie Sanders’ biography is a fabrication. I am saying that framing him as a political messiah is a fabrication, Bernie was competing to be Pharaoh. Therefore, framing him as Moses does not work for me. There is no seat for Moses in the White House. You are free to convince yourself that he is some sort of savior. I feel justified in seeing him as just another guy who was trying to fulfill his dream of being President of America. I cannot be persuaded to think that his motivation is to save the world. I see his motivation as political ambition, just like Hilary Clinton’s. “Progressive” people in Canada and the rest of the world shouldn’t be seeking to create a virtual messianic image for the guy. To me, that comes across as ideological bankruptcy. The idea of a political messiah is outdated and shortsighted. We need to start looking to ourselves for solutions, not politicians…”
And there lies the answer that WE refuse to accept. The power is US, collectively and not to be placed in any one politician with their lies. The great John Lennon was quoted once saying…..

….”Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives….we are being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I am liable to be put away as insane for expressing that..”. 

Isn’t that what insanity is all about?

Kwesi

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