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Op Ed

Just a Long-Ass Thought About Spirituality, Forgiveness, and Black America

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Walk with me on this Amber Guyger and Botham Jean family story…

We all see life as the longest thing that we will ever do… so we should get the most out of it and we should damn sure not settle for suffering while we’re here. I agree. Do not settle for suffering. But try as we might, we will all suffer at some point. Pain is inevitable. Such is life. The only difference between people of faith, and people who are just grinding, is perspective. If you’re a Christian, like the huggy brother, you believe in your soul being eternal. Whatever hardships we face in life, no matter how unfathomably difficult or negative, you believe that if you live righteously -and that means  not living in revenge and resentment — your soul will live eternally in paradise. People can’t comprehend that. Life is the longest thing we’ll ever do, but if you have real faith, (not that every  Sunday faith) life is short compared to eternity.

Now some of your eyes just glazed over when you read that last part and you made the 🙄 face. It sounds silly and Pollyannaish when you look at the history of America. Black folks have been killed, massacred and overlooked everyday since we got here and it continues to happen. Forgiveness sounds helpless. It sounds foolish. How can you be weak enough to be forgiving of those who hurt you -especially when it’s is systemic and woven into everyday life? And there’s the part about the same people that enslaved us introducing us to a God that will save us? How do those things go together?

Perfectly reasonable questions. If you don’t believe in God or Jesus or an afterlife then forgiveness sounds like bullshit. Hard to believe in what you can’t see, especially when you CAN see oppression everyday. I get it. I truly do.

Some of my closest friends mute me on here because I’m always on political shit. 🤣 I share a lot of it. I am frustrated by inequality and oppression and I fight it in my own life in every way that I can -with my wallet and my time and my purchasing. I speak out on it in uncomfortable personal conversations with friends or acquaintances when I feel people are bullshitting or are blind to -isms. I hate inequality and I don’t avoid it. I wade into it and stress myself out everyday. I’m not for punting on life and settling for what happens after we die. That’s weak. Fight for your joy and your prosperity. Period.

Forgiveness isn’t my mantra here. It’s just part of the story because the story isn’t one dimensional.

None of us are just one thing or one way. Just for a moment stop and try to release your bias against the idea of forgiveness and ponder this blip in time that we call life, versus the reality of eternity. Physics says energy doesn’t stop, it just changes. Think of your life and your soul scientifically. When we die our energy and essence does *something.* Why can’t that something be what people of faith believe? If the Jean family truly has that kind of faith many people will mock it beacause most can’t comprehend it. But if you really have faith and can imagine the notion of eternity then you get it. Meditate on that. You know that that young man getting murdered in his own apartment was horrific and unforgivable and the trial was a signifier of white power vis-a-vis black bodies in America and that’s why the verdict meant so much to us. She was found guilty. And not just of manslaughter or negligence. But murder. That meant something.

However, the sentence was light. That meant something too. But the family’s forgiveness means something too.

Don’t @ me. @ your therapist.

The unfortunate part is that that image of the hugs and the tears is what will be tied to the administration of justice here. Was it necessary for the family? Absolutely. Was it good for America when we so rarely see justice in the killing of black people at the hands of white cops. Hell no! The image that we should have walked away with from that trial was her walking away in shackles. We don’t want to see oppressors feel comforted when it should be our moment to feel some measure of justice. But would an image of the family celebrating have nourished us yesterday? That wasn’t the answer either. I hate that the image of that killer cop being comforted after she murdered a black man in his own home was what represented the story in the news. The angry me gets it and I was pissed yesterday. But so does the person inside who believes that there is an unbelievable strength to that kind of faith and a reason for our resilence in this country is the strength of our collective souls.

But what do I know?

Op Ed

November 16th – Trump Wins!

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Well, it’s official; President Donald Trump wins again!

While former Vice-President Joe Biden received more votes than any candidate ever, including winning the controversial electoral college, incumbent Trump has declared victory on Twitter as recently as this morning when he proclaimed “I WON THE ELECTION!”

And this is great news for the over 70 million of us that voted for Trump. We saw our horse lose the race, saw it confirmed, and yet here we are in the Winner’s Circle… again! There is a God, and thankfully it’s the one I believe in and not one of the weird ones.

Make America great again, AGAIN!

I’m sure I speak for millions of Americans when I say we look forward to four more years of keeping America great. Let’s face it, America was a shithole country four years ago before Trump made it great again. He promised that we’d be sick of all the winning, and he was, as always, right.

I’m praying that we can all look forward to four more years of the same kind of peace, harmony, and fair distribution of wealth we have enjoyed during his first term. Covfefe!!

 

 

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Article

Chadwick Boseman Forever!!

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It is clear that Chadwick Boseman chose iconic roles like Thurgood Marshall, James Brown, Jackie Robinson and Black Panther with deliberate intent and for a specific purpose. In an age where positive roles for Black actors is often sparse, Chadwick managed to land and portray historical figures that made most respect his talents if not revel in his ability to transition effortlessly for one character to another. Even I had to give his African accent a solid B+ (It’s the highest grade the Nigerian Standards Bureau can give for an African accent to a non African FYI.)

Holding out and preparing for these dynamic roles came with both great frustration and incredible resolve I’m certain. Not to mention the taxing ordeal of battling Colon Cancer as the grueling scheduling of filming and increasing responsibility for positive representation loomed. Even under extreme duress, Chadwick’s commitment to others appeared to outweigh his own tribulations, unbeknownst to us all.

Black Panther may have been just a movie to some and that may be because some can easily rattle off 10 movies with a king of non Af-Am origin. It represented a lot more to others. Albeit imagined, imagery on cinema often accomplishes more to augment the social narrative and society itself than actual reality. If negative stereotypes influence perception then positive ones absolutely have the same converse effect.

Even in jest, the cultural misappropriation of raisins in potato salad on SNL skits directly spoke to the tampering of black culture to which T’challa championed, represented and aptly responded “Oh hell Nah Karen!”

If you don’t understand the relevance of representation, it’s probably because you are thoroughly represented. After all, no one is ever grateful for every breath they take until they are gasping for air.

R.I.P Chadwick Boseman. Thank you for breathing life into the possibility of Black excellence.

Alfred Obiesie is a writer with over 12 years of online content contribution (Onetrackmine.com, Cartermag.com, Essence.com) and author (You Made It a Hot Line; The most influential lines in hip hop.) The book chronicles hip hop lines from the genre’s most notable artists spanning almost 40 years. It is illustrated by Grammy award winning Illustrator Shah Wonders and has garnered praise from multiple media outlets (Sirius XM, Vibe, Brooklyn Public Library, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library, etc...)

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Op Ed

Let’s Argue About Kamala Harris

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Ok, Now let’s argue;

1. “She locked up black men!” Kamala didn’t lock up black men. She was a prosecutor in a racist criminal justice system that TARGETS black men / minorities. There’s a difference. She did her job and she is no more culpable for incarcerating black men than EVERY SINGLE EMPLOYEE of the criminal justice system. Please find me a prior candidate that isn’t guilty of buttressing racist practices to some capacity (Stop & Frisk, Super Predators, Busing, etc…)

2. “She’s not qualified.” Kamala is more qualified to be VP (and President) than Barack was to be President when he ran initially, and more qualified than both the current occupants of the Oval office.

3. “They only picked her because she’s a black woman and they are pandering!” Congratulations!! That’s called influence!! Get used to being considered if you ever want true representation. Who do you think they’ve been pandering to for the past 244 years?

4. “She’s not black enough.” She’s blacker than the last 45 VPs and 44/45 last Presidents. Also, I’m still waiting for my copy of the “How to be Black and Influence People, Yo!” manual that everyone else seems to have received at birth.

5. “Her politics do not align with mine!” Yet you found a way to vote for prior candidates whose politics obliterated your community. If you believe in democracy, her politics are more closely aligned to yours than 45.

6. “This has nothing to do with her being a woman. She’s just not the right woman for the job!” The right woman for the job is the woman that is qualified, available and chosen for the job. Also, not acknowledging her gender is akin to “I don’t see color;” wholly dismissive.

7. “I just don’t like her.” You don’t know her and she probably wouldn’t like you either. The only thing you need to like is if she is better for you than the current occupants.

8. “She attacked Joe Biden during the debates and now their friends? FOH!” You know Barack’s Secretary of State was Hilary Clinton who he ran against in the prior election right?

9. “No one above the age of 21 is morally fit to run for office.” If you lived in the U.S., you’ve propped up institutions that are not in your best interest on countless occasions. In other words, NO ONE is in a position to judge moral aptitude, not even the 99 percenters who complained about the 1% on Facebook using the iPhones they ordered on Amazon. #irony

10. “She doesn’t inspire me!” Are you voting for a motivational speaker or a politician that will help normalize current conditions?

“Keeping it real” is not a skill. It just means you are easily susceptible to your own emotions. Everyone’s so eager to tell the world how they really feel but this is not a feeling competition. This is politics. After you’re done pretending to like your boss to get that promotion and pretending to like someone to get sex, money, or attention, you turn around and decide to “keep it real” because you are …”honest?” In the illustrious words of Nikki Giovanni, “Lie to Me.”

Sidebar; I was personally riding with Val Demings just in case you think I am defending my own choice. Now I’m riding for Kamala. Plain and simple. Until there is equal representation, we don’t have the luxury of division so in the illustrious words of Issa Rae “I’m rooting for everybody Black!” Sidebar Complete.

Alfred Obiesie is a writer with over 12 years of online content contribution (Onetrackmine.com, Cartermag.com, Essence.com) and author (You Made It a Hot Line; The most influential lines in hip hop.) The book chronicles hip hop lines from the genre’s most notable artists spanning almost 40 years. It is illustrated by Grammy award winning Illustrator Shah Wonders and has garnered praise from multiple media outlets (Sirius XM, Vibe, Brooklyn Public Library, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library, etc...)

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