“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” - Dr.Martin Luther King Jr
After watching Meek Mill's new video "Young Black America" and "The O.J Story" along with the Footnotes by Jay Z I decided to write this article. I've always been very open about my feelings about racism and the mistreatment of blacks here in America. Recently I saw a video of a black man being attacked by a K-9 regardless of the reason he was being arrested, he was handcuffed, not fighting back , on the ground and the dog was still biting him. The officer had no control over the dog at all. It made me think of the black and white Civil Rights videos I saw growing up when the dogs were attacking black people for no reason. There are so many videos of blacks being mistreated, and hashtags of victims who have been murdered by police it's beyond heart breaking . Recently in the case of the murder of Philando Castile the cop was acquitted. A murder was live streamed and there was no punishment , that is a tragedy and its sickening and continues the injustice here in America. We wait for justice and it doesn't happen.
Poverty, unemployment, drugs, the school system lacking funds and credible teachers to educate students, single parent house-holds, little to no community funding, continue to create problems in communities nation wide . There are so many issues that one faces growing up dealing with these issues and some people go on to be great leaders and game changers and inspire others from the neighborhood. This only goes to show that your surroundings can either build you up, break you, or make you stronger.
There is a problem here in America where black men report that their job told them "The microwave and water fountain were for white only". Sad right? Racism is still alive! Let me make this clear as I have plenty of times before there is good and bad in all people including cops. It doesn't matter what race you are, if you're a good person or a bad person it shows through your heart , actions, and character. However, if your bad it shows too. The mass incarceration of black males is modern day slavery. Did you know in 2016 black males were still picking cotton at the Louisiana State Prison known as "Angola"(the country in Africa, from which many of the enslaved Africans came who worked on the former plantation that occupied this territory). Some prisoners get paid as little as two cents an hour.
The more we come together, build up ourselves and the communities the better we can be. Do not give up on yourselves. The stories that I've seen and heard from black males, my heart hurts for them. The fact that they feel as Michael B Jordan says " Being black in America is being in a tiny compressed box sinking in the bottom of the ocean with 10,000 pounds of pressure on you at all times". Listening to Marsha Ali say " The difference between black men and white men is black men move through the world playing defense". Keep these black males prayed up and uplifted. I put this Young Black America playlist together with songs from black hip hop artist whom are telling their stories, views, and experiences through music. I've also included some videos I think are important and should be viewed. No matter what we are all strong , we all face difficulty (males and females) but we have to face it and continue to push for greatness because Black Excellence is real.
My heart is still beating heavy with pride, my spirit is forever moved, and fists are raised high cheering for Kendrick Lamar. His performance at the 58th annual Grammy Awards was exactly what America and the world needed to see and hear. I've seen so many articles that read his performance was controversial or not appropriate for TV. However in my mind what's not appropriate is the injustice of the legal system, the multiple murders of African American men, women, and children at the hands of police, mass incarceration, racism, discrimination from jobs, the lack of support of African Americans in entertainment , gentrification, poverty, and slavery are controversial however it's reality for African Americans. Kendrick Lamar used his opportunity and platform to highlight these problems in front of millions Sunday night. The visuals Kendrick displayed during his set were beyond powerful and strong
- Kendrick walked on stage chained with other black men chained and behind a cell for his performance of "The Blacker The Berry" (Symbolized slavery and mass incarceration) I attended a natural hair convention two years ago and I touched real chains that were used during slavery times. The weight made my mother and I teary eyed. Just to know that our ancestors walked with these on for miles. Also the man that played the saxaphone during his set also showed how much talent is hidden behind bars.
-Then he performed "Alright" accompanied by men in women adorned in African tribal wear . They did a native dance in front of a bonfire . The men from the previous set were unchained and dance along with them . (Symbolizing that we as African and African Americans are one and no matter what we are going to be alright).
Kendrick Lamar also performed another song "Untitled 3". The lyrics represented heart , power, and respect. They are Hiiipower words that elated a heavy message.
Overall seven time Grammy award winner Kendrick Lamar let it be known that although African Americans deal with numerous issues we are proud to be black. He even displayed "Compton" over a outline of Africa. This was not only a tribute to both but another message symbolized "HOME".
Congrats Kendrick on your five Grammy's for "To Pimp A Butterfly"
Purchase it (Here)
Mr.West is in the building! Last Friday Kanye released "Facts" (which is fire by the way) and today he released "Real Friends" & "No More Parties in LA " featuring Kendrick Lamar . The intro is produced by Kanye and the track is by Madlib. In other words Kanye is in his zone. "Real Friends" is so straight up . The songs content embodies numerous real life situations that we can relate to. How many of us are looking for real friends? How many of us only get contacted when people need something? Can we trust the people we called friends or even family sometimes ? Do you have people that are jealous because you're during your own thing? Had to change your number because people are so fake? Bad energy from people you use to roll with heavy? Man I love this song. Kanye even talks about having to pay his cousin $250,000 to get his laptop back. "No More Parties in LA" featuring Kendrick Lamar is a dope. Check out both songs below. Kanye is in his zone !!!!! #KanyeZoneFridays.