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Is the remake of ROOTS necessary?

1 Jun

There has been a lot of chatter on social media about the reboot of ROOTS and other films and television series (e.g., 12 YEARS A SLAVE, and UNDERGROUND) that tell stories about enslaved Africans in the United States. Some say that they are tired of these type of films and that they are no longer necessary. Why is that? Is that because so many people are so well-read on actual human history or that they belong to cultural organizations that keep this consciousness alive?roots

I emphatically disagree.

roots

One of the West African values that I was taught was Sankofa — “it is not taboo to fetch what is at risk of being left behind” is the literal translation of this Akan word. People of African descent have many different stories to tell, but films like ROOTS are very necessary to give us an appreciation of what we faced and had to overcome to survive here in the New World. It also keeps American history honest and let’s the ancestors of African-descended people know that we honor them and will never forget them.

Jews will never let anyone forget the Holocaust. They should not. It was an atrocity that should be kept in the forefront so that it is never repeated. Just like Jews, African-descended people here in the New World must never, ever let the world forget the Maafa. Maafa is a Kiswahili term for disaster, calamity or terrible occurrence; the history and ongoing effects of atrocities inflicted on African people. The world must never forget.

Some feel that this all happened to African people so long ago and that black folk need to get passed this. No, no, no. Did you know that the Texas Department of Education is calling enslaved Africans in this country “involuntary immigrants.” That is crazy! The ugly, inconvenient truth of slavery in this country is trying to be swept under the rug. We can’t let this happen. It is not true to history and it is a dishonor to the ancestors.

Some want to see other films that are more upbeat and tell success stories. It is my understanding that Spike Lee is working on a film telling the story of the historical multi-genius of Kemet (Ancient Egypt before the Greek, Roman and Arab invasions). I wonder how many black people are going to contribute to the crowd-funding for this endeavor and will support it when it hits theaters. People say they want different type of movies, but let’s see see if they put their money where their mouths are.

Tariq Nasheed has produced a wonderful historical documentary about people of African descent called Hidden Colors. He crowd-funded his project on KickStarter. I wonder how many people who want to see something different contributed to his projects or bought copies of his DVDs.

Yes, we need happy, go-lucky films and such. African-descend peoples have many, many stories to tell. But there is certainly room for this reboot of ROOTS. Since the original, there has been more research done on the Mandika civilization (Kunta Kinte’s ethnic group) and this adaptation may be more true to life in that regard. I look at films like this as a periodic reality check to help me keep my spirit and mind right. Every once in a while, this is a good thing.

“We ain’t who we ought to be. We ain’t who we gonna be. But, thank GOD, we ain’t who we was!” ~Old Black Southern saying

So, what are your thoughts?

My Thoughts on the Ferguson Verdict and Rioting

26 Nov

I have been watching the news over the last two days and I’m disappointed at what I’m seeing. Personally, the grand jury’s verdict didn’t surprise me. I am not a lawyer, but I was aware of what the Missouri law said about police use of force.

fergriots

Here is a great explanation of why P.O. Darren Wilson was not charged –> CLICK HERE.

Folks are looting and burning businesses down in their own neighborhood. One shouldn’t do these things at all, but doing it in your own neighborhood is economic suicide.

When you burn things down and loot in a given neighborhood, property values go down. Businesses that were looted and burned-out may never return. Now you will have no businesses in your neighborhood and therefore no job opportunities. Because there are no businesses, you have to travel outside of your neighborhood to buy things which of course will not be very convenient.

Being that property values are down and you have to travel far to get to work and to buy consumer goods, you will sell your home on the cheap and eventually relocate. Your bargain basement priced home will be bought by outside investors who will hold onto the property for a few years and rebuild later. That is how gentrification starts.

Also, the National Guard has set up a perimeter around Ferguson. While I’m not a military strategy and tactics expert, here is what I do know as a retired military policeman trained in civil disturbance and crowd control:

  • During civil unrest, set up a perimeter to lay siege to a town. Nothing gets in or out without consent of command. That includes food and medical supplies.
  • A perimeter surrounds your target and makes sure that unrest doesn’t spill into adjacent areas. Also, when troops are ready to close in, the vise is ready to close.

In my humble opinion, a better thing to do is to start first local then national discussion on the police use of deadly force and use the U.S. Constitution as point of reference. National standards for police use of deadly force MAY infringe on states rights (10th Amendment), and the retention of the status quo for the police use of deadly force in various municipalities MAY violate one’s due process rights (14th Amendment).

Let’s reason together and create a system of justice for all Americans.

I’m Still Alive and Kicking

21 Jul

coming attractions

Hey there, folks. I’ve been quiet for nearly two months now. All is well. I’ve been busy at work and tinkering with a few creative projects. One of them is a short story. It may actually evolve into a novel. It is a historical science fiction piece. The story is centered around the Bloody Kansas period of United States history (right before the U.S. Civil War). It has historical fiction with a sci-fi and twist.

Another project I’m working on is a self-protection and at-home fitness book for middle-aged men.

I just wanted to let you know that I’m well and cooking up some new stuff for you.

Be well and I’ll blog something soon.

Remember Our Troops

25 May

Movie titles and song titles are hyper-linked to their respective pages on YouTube.com, IMDb.com, and Amazon.com.

I hope that you like this triple rhyme poem in observance of Memorial Day.

________________________

support our troops
While you’re out there enjoying BBQ food from the grill and chugging down cold sodas and beers,
Please take a moment to reflect on our troops and give them applause and cheers.
Pride, love, joy and pain should be in all of our tears.

Never forget our fallen soldiers who put it all on the line.
From recent military campaigns back to George Washington’s time.
This is an ode to fallen warriors via a triple rhyme.

The politics of the battles do not matter in most situations anyhow.
Thanks to G.I. JOE and G.I. JANE, we can exhale and wipe the sweat from our brow.
Thanks to sacrifices made by Black Hawk Down when We Were Soldiers, there will be no Apocalypse Now.

“From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli…”
Through the jungles of Vietnam to splashing waves on the South China Sea.
The mountains of Afghanistan to the streets of Mogadishu and NYC.

On a personal note, I remember and honor those that loved a country that didn’t love them back.
Long before the Call of Duty to Iraq.
They may have had some fears but courage they did not lack.

I remember all that you did.
You stepped forward when you could have ran and hid.
You helped the Confederate war machine take a skid.

The Fighting 54th out of Massachusetts was your name.
you fought out of honor and duty but Glory came.
Morgan, Denzel and Andre portrayed you on screen and brought you fame.

Booker T. had a goal of earning the world’s respect and admiration.
No one had to love or like you, but give you credit for ingenuity and determination.
Up from Slavery through true grit and innovation.

The Tuskegee Institute; home of the Tuskegee Airmen.
Their planes with Red Tails did bomber escort and they were among the best back then.
Those who were blinded by racism learned to appreciate those great men.

They were our friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, and members of our religious groups.
Many volunteered and agreed to lace-up their combat boots.
Freedom is not free so remember our troops.

An Inconvenient Truth About Working While Black

9 May

First off, this is not crying, pulling the race card or anything like that. This is just being 100% honest based on my personal e,periences. Funny thing is that oftentimes your antagonists in the workplace tend to look like you — from the same race or culture. Strange but true.

In my latest book, The 52 Corporate Caveats: How to Cover Your Ass in Corporate America, I offer up the following advice to Black men in leadership positions:

You’re a Black man in a leadership position in Corporate America. The media portrays you as a wild beast. Employees won’t give you the same respect that they GIVE to White men in your same position. You’ll have to EARN it. Mind your P’s and Q’s. Be fair, be honest and persevere.

As a Black (African-American) man who has worked in Corporate America for 25+ years and who is also a father, I must say that fictional character, Eli Pope, from the hit ABC television show, Scandal, really “keeps it real” with his daughter, Olivia. In my opinion, truer words have not been spoken. Pay attention specifically (for the purposes of this blog post) to what fictional character Eli Pope says to his daughter starting at 1:16 through 1:36. He really vocalizes how when your are Black, you have to work so much harder and still get less for their efforts. Yep, the game is kind of rigged.

Well, that is my two cents. As a Black man I would be irresponsible if I didn’t tell people what really goes on and to address the proverbial elephant in the room.

The bigotry and racism need to stop and be replaced by a system of justice that is truly fair to all. Regardless of race, creed, color, se,ual orientation, religion, gender, nationality, etc.

You know what, I will start a series of on social media called Inconvenient Truths using the hash tag #inconvenienttruths.

I leave you with the words of the great American (who happens to have been Black), Frederick Douglas:

“Men talk of the ‘negro problem’. There is no negro problem. The problem is whether they American people have honesty enough, loyalty enough, honor enough, patriotism enough to live up to their own constitution. We intend that the American people shall learn the great lesson of the brotherhood of man and the fatherhood of God from our presence among them.”

Thanks for your time.

YOU can resurrect!

20 Apr

Though I am not religious, this is apropos for Easter weekend: Some may try to assassinate your reputation and burn down all that you worked for, but you are a phoenix and WILL rise from the ashes and achieve levels of success never before imagined.

fiery phoenix

Stay focused. Stay strong. Stay calm. Stay humble.

Be thankful knowing that adversity is like childbirth in that it may be painful but brings forth a new life and opportunities at creating an enviable legacy.

Peace and good fortune to all.

No Justice! No Peace! Please…Give It a Rest!

18 Apr

There have been some very disappointing events for African-American people here in the USA as of late. They Zimmerman Trial and the Dunn Trial are two such events. Also, what about the disappointing delay for the Central Park 5 getting compensation for their wrongful imprisonment?

Well, I am not one to protest and such. I’d rather boycott those who disrespect and dehumanize black people.

The Montgomery Bus Boycott is a great example of how to conduct yourselves when someone disrespect you.

A lot of us have gone soft with the advent of social media.

Special shout-out to Tariq Nasheed and Tommy Sotomayor for spitting the truth to power and the people on these matters.

To be clear, it is all about replacing the current system of White Supremacy with a system of justice for ALL. Not replacing it with “Black Supremacy” or any other supremacy for that matter.

Check out the sonnet below I wrote expressing my feeling on this.

no justice no peaceBlack people marching will NOT get it done.

Neither will long Facebook or Twitter rants.

These tactics are very easy for folks to shun.

Let’s rethink strategy and make a stance.

Boycotts work better; no respect, no loot.

Stop the public statements of forgiveness.

It is not intelligent; gets the boot!

We should expect more, not settle for less.

Neely Fuller, Frances Cress-Welsing; GIANTS!

They teach us how to understand our plight.

Marimba Ani explains their mindset.

White Supremacy needs OUR compliance.

We have plans that work. Get ready, get set…

Claud Anderson, Amos Wilson; our best.

“No Justice! No peace!” Please…give it a rest!