Thoughts on American Life & Her Fictional Quest for Greatness

American life has become necessary for our development. We needed the good, bad and ugly of her gestational period. She has done her job well and will continue to do so for some time. We needed this time to learn and grow as a people. All is not lost and a brighter future awaits for the generations to come. Sitting deep within the sins of her border America looks on trying to find its way through the maze of confusion. She is a melting pot of gender differences and social ideological constructs. Top to bottom she sings and whistles the blues. Born of a corruptible seed the world has been faced with getting to know her on a personal level. Her reach extends beyond space and she knows no boundaries. She operates on different dimensions and speaks to us through its own inhabitants.

It’s us who makes up the fabric of her life. She exists only as a seed for our temporary response to the flow of divine and cosmological substance. What’s the measure for our existence if we are not able to capture her real identity? 300+ years young and now she knows life beyond her spiritual makeup. It’s too far a task to ask of such a young talent. As the days and nights fade and the rivers run deep who’s to blame for the madness? Who can be counted on to address the nation? When you sit in the nothingness of her experiences for a while you begin to question the nature of her being. At the core of what we are trying to infuse in the fabric of these experiences is already available. Yes, the bias and disparities as Thomas Sowell frequents exist throughout her walls, for which must be addressed as something that needs to paint a different picture outside of the fabricated lies, she tells herself about herself.

You have America and then there are inhabitants that inhabit America. Lets not make the distinction that we are somehow attached to the spiritual connotation of America outside of the lessons she brings to the universal order of things. America is an element of fiction that must be described as an idea. Noted Novelist and writer Walter Mosley, explains that “You can, more or less easily, explain the phenomenal world either inside your body or outside: heat. Cold, pain, size, shape, color”. He leaves the imagination searching for meaning in regard to expressing the nature of an idea. How do we describe America and what she stands for?

Is American reality hell bent on overlooking the Native Indians and Slavery as benchmarks for which America refuses to apologize for? For what do we owe American theology outside of her goofball tenants who brought 2 + 2 together and created 4. Who imagined that black slaves from Africa could help build the foundation for American civilization as we know of it today? Walter Mosely further explained that “We create by imagining and it’s the role of fiction to suppose and then engender”. Using fiction as a metaphor for the production of American ideals is a great way to understand the challenging narrative surrounding the deceit that is used to extend power structures. in America.  

What is America producing for which could help establish understanding of what it means to live in a real world. A line from Kevin Coval book “Everything must go” explains it this way in a poem called “The Real World” …

“Ubris Orbis closed

Light fixtures upgraded

the windows new, the 11th season

of MTV’s the real world, the latest neighbors

seven strangers who are not polite

Viacom production teams broadcast the death

of a neighborhood as far as transnational cable lines

Could reach.

America as the world’s neighborhood has shifted its position to that of something more defensive and emotional. Given the Cancerian nature of her independence (July 4, 1776) she instantly becomes a lover and a fighter. With military bases the world over and an outstanding naval presence you can’t doubt the seriousness of her mission in protecting the powerful reputation of America. It makes you understand how the oppressor views racism. Although, we understand racism to be America’s biggest sin, the nature of what is going on globally (I.e. Climate Change, Economic upheavals, demographics shifts, technological advancements and military conquests) makes you see why racism in terms of finding common ground is put at the bottom of the totem pole.

Racism is real and it’s beginning to seem like the mask is coming off. There may never be equality amongst the races, but respect must ensure. Cleansing the doors of our perceptions begins to acquiesce the notion that we need to think differently about America’s ultimate aim, and the people who inhabit her despot. Many philosophical constructs make up the nature of what we view America as. Culturally, as I mentioned earlier, she is a melting pot of human advancement. She is an unknown entity that has been given the power to operate at levels the world has never seen. It’s not what our sense feed on that determines the nature and narrative of the story that we are supposed to create. The fictional characters of America ideology needs to be brought to life.  

The Power of Information:(Thoughts) Part 1 The Strategic Superiority of The Black Position

I found this short excursion of Mr. Cross’ “The Black Power Imperative” to be quite informative. I found myself gaining clarity on why opportunity exists for some and not others. In the bigger scheme of America, it’s all about the systems, laws, power structures, and those economic bases; that keeps power in power. It’s no secret the dominate economic & power structures of America want to maintain the status quo. Success begets success and if I am thinking about 10 generations down the line, then I am enacting plans that would tend to focus on creating generations of power in order to preserve the legacy of control. Because God is a God of generational thinking it only makes sense that power structures think in the same light. It’ a natural progression outside of sinister motivation which seek to keep lower rungs of society oppressed; to want to extend generation wealth.

Although, the moniker “knowledge as power” resonates in the philosophical conundrums of society, its more about having access to the resources and people who are close to power or are in power themselves. Economically speaking you can’t become successful only having a connection with the middleman per se or a system stands in between your objective. Why? Because opportunities are often filtered down a pipeline that seldom reaches the bottom. If I am operating on the 1st floor and the opportunities are circulating on the 7th floor, the narrative is that those on the 7th thru the 2nd floor would have gotten the opportunity to respond before its even public record and displayed on the 1st floor. It’s a tough proposition to want a job that has been filtered down 200 flights of stairs.

Information now becomes the moniker that becomes more tangible for those who wants an equal playing field to exist. In terms of talent and acquisition according to Mr. Cross, blacks have always been denied these free-flowing patterns of success and opportunity. In terms of America’s capitalistic societal norms there are certain cultural contexts that must exist to function properly in this system. Connections, contacts, access to prominent information, capital and the right relationships are things that deem capitalism sufficient on a basic scale. Yet, the isolation from mainstream white commerce and business connections for the aspiring black businessman is a hindrance to his success but not a barrier for the lasting tale of black wealth.

I am reminded in “The Pursuit of Happiness” where Will Smith plays a  homeless salesman (Chris Gardner) struggling to provide a better life for his son; At one point in the movie Will Smith sees a white man in a nice suit and red sports car pull up in front of  the Merrill Lynch building and says “ What do you do and how do you do it” and the guy said I am a stock broker. Economically speaking it wasn’t so much about becoming a stockbroker or driving a sports car that really enticed Will. It was much more about the path that could lead to success. Given, Will struggle to provide for his family and the fact that America have just entered the Reaganomics era spoke to a change in the psychology of success. Success instantly became more of a motivating factor than just equal rights.

Undoubtedly, hard work, grind, persistence and hustle plays a major factor in terms of the pursuit of a lifestyle that is predicated upon the notion of success. Yet, the clubs, clicks, associations, groups and business leagues that dominate the mainstream economic stratosphere are devoid of black intelligence that would aim to advance American ideals, outside of racism and segregated economic factions. The Black community understands the strategic position of White power and privilege; what’s not clear yet is how we can achieve our own level of power and economic fortitude without having access to information is freely available to the higher stratum of society.  

When it comes to the flow of information the internet has opened the floodgates to what’s possible. Yet, inequality exists in all facets of American life. Little has changed since Jim Crow in response to balancing the superiority of the dominant groups in America. The black power imperative in this sense is more about becoming aware of the things that limits the flow of understanding concerning “Structural Power”. In a democratic marketplace that operates outside of democratic ideals with an imbalance in power what is the next 400 years supposed to look like? The cultural differences of every race make this world a unique oasis of ideologies, that fashion, govern and encourages self-preservation.

How can the power of information and racial positioning affect the outcomes of progressive advancement? How do we redistribute this power for the benefit of culture?  What’s the invisible backdrop of black power, inequality and the redistribution of wealth in a world that’s seems to ignore the advancement of black intelligence? We have already seen the affects of Barack Obama’s presidency on the black community. The concept of a Black family in the oval office was historical in nature and sought to disrupt the flow thoughts towards what the black mind could achieve; yet our agenda concerning the black community was totally ignored.  A black man made it to the top echelon of White American politics and still no access, networks, information, and capital proceeded to the bottom floors of black America.

I guess it was too much to ask of a black man whose agenda had to include those who placed his in the seat of his power. The black community voted but no capital exchanged hands. Barack was the Black “E Pluribus Unum” One out of many” factions of America life that may never exist again. He changed the way people thought about politics and truly presented a revolutionary change in the American way of life. Let us assume, that those eight years stood for something more meaningful than anyone cares to understand. What are the consequences that our position was shifted to include a much stronger role in the economic pipeline of opportunity? To the naked eye “A rising economic tide may lift all boats” power begets power. I am not sure to what extent the balance of economic power will begin to shift in years to come, yet a strategic position is needed in order to reverse the curse and take advantage of the opportunities that is beginning to show up.

In part 2 of this commentary I will go deeper into Ch. 19 “The Scars of Memory: Racial Inequality in a Discrimination-Free Society” by Mr. Cross, in an attempt to cypher what the next 400 years in America should look like for the black community as a whole in terms of access to information and economic inclusion.

A Letter to my Son (Part 1) “Thoughts on my Son’s future in America”

Dear, Jayden,

I am beginning this letter with an ire of gratitude for the gift God granted unto me. He gave me a son, a young cub, a warrior and fierce competitor. He gave me a unique perspective on manhood. He gave me life when hell was breathing down my face. A baby boy, a new creation and a new chance at life. Your arrival marked the start of something. I have loved, spanked and cared for your soul. As my most beloved ideology you represent something only God can explain. Others can’t see what I see. Your smile, personality, intelligence, wisdom, poise and God-like charm. You will take the reins in time to come and life up a new standard in our bloodline.

You are a mixture of me and your mom. You favor your uncle and exude your grandfather’s loving nature. More than that you remind me of that place I used to go to comfort my pain, and to wipe away my tears. Having brought you into a place that was so foreign to my eyes, gives me hope that I can one day turn the tides and create a new hope in the destiny of our lineage. I know what the world has done to your sense of self these few years of your existence. I survived the same sentiments in my first few years as well. I will not bash America nor my upbringing for the ways in which I have reared your soul, nor will I condemn religion or the theology of my past for molding my thought process concerning fatherhood.

You reside in a world that has destroyed thousands of your brothers, in the name of religion. It’s a racist conundrum of ideologies, philosophies, thoughts processes, agenda’s, anything that dampens the progressive ideals of the black identity. You must see to it that you learn how to read between the lines. There are boundaries that can’t be crossed and boundaries that can. America is a confused melting pot of powerful disagreements. Wealth is everywhere and at the same time its invisible to the naked eye. You must become vigilant and tough when it comes to death, destruction, pain, confusion and your faith. Your lineage leans heavy upon God to deliver what we can’t manifest for ourselves. Wars and rumors of wars are the norm. Don’t believe the hype. Never let external forces dictate the mandate of legacy.

There will be crime, upsets, shootings, killings, presidents, love, pain, healing, education, enthusiasm, creativity, friends and world that knows no boundaries. Yet, it’s your place that you must find and make the most of the opportunities that life is affording you. Now, my son remember you were born under circumstances that makes you have to fight for your life. I am writing to let you know how the world will view you in respect to your accomplishments, talents, gender, ethnicity or creed. In the eyes of the world you are isolated from your real beginnings. You can’t be sent back nowhere. You reside in the despot of American ideology and must create a medium of exchange for your ideals to land.

You will not understand the demons that exist beyond the surface. Fourteen years on this planet and though your parents are educated in many facets of the struggle for black existence you still have a long road to travel. You are loved by your grandparents, uncles, aunts, friends and cousins. Born, in the fabric of Higher Education your path warrants study as a means of making sense of your world. Despite what you are taught in the halls of America’s educational system you are still tasked with the responsibility to seek a deeper and more elongated truth. Every generation has a new mission and contextual pie to slice up. Yours is no different.  

Carry your name well. It isn’t an accident that I named you after “Alexander the Great” based on the context he provides for military conquest and empire building. I was shaping your destiny and granting you the freedom to utilize “Higher-Education, Entrepreneurship, warfare and military tactics to build empires. It seems like it was just yesterday when you slept on my chest, as my heart pounded through embracing the ambiguity of disfunction. My heart is still pounding because we need you to survive for your children’s and grandchildren’s sake. You must keep the narrative moving forward. You can’t just do what you want, when you want to do it and how you want to do it.

You can’t just marry anyone. Your bride must be codified in the language of faith and baptized in the pool of righteousness. This is all too important based on the fact that you were born into a world that wasn’t designed for you to succeed. Never impede your own progression. The worst thing you could ever do in America is to destroy yourself for the oppressor. You weren’t expected to be great and to provide sustenance to your community. You are a young man of color living in a world that disrespects your mind unless they can exploit it for gain to their benefit. You must at all cost exercise caution in the face of the unknown. There are things that will vie for your time, money, energy, and efforts. Choose wisely this day in who you will serve.

Part of your legacy begins in the Apostolic movement. Do your best to embrace these roots and create a long-lasting dialogue with God. Wealth, riches, honor and long life shall be unto you when you follow protocol of wise counsel. You may not be very familiar with Louisville, New Albany, or Frankfort as well as I do but go deeper. I am trying my best to give slices of perspectives to grab as you move about in this world. A solid foundation will carry you far when you begin moving about without the comfort of blood relatives at the daily whims of your surroundings. Never believe or trust anything anybody says without doing your research and due diligence including myself. Never believe the hype about what you listen to or read about black men in general.

Please, son be clear about the emotions and events that sprang up in your life from now until you are out of college and creating wealth for yourself. There is no reason for you to become like white people. Don’t accept the assumptions that you have lots of friends in America. Love yourself and fight to identify with who you are in relation to what the world will try to label you as. In a few years’ life will hit you like a ton of bricks and although I will be present to guide your progression, there are thing about life that can only be learned through trial and error. Failure will be your greatest teacher. It’s about how long can you sit in failure until you find the golden door of opportunity that finally opens.

It could take years for you to achieve any of your dreams or aspirations. The cycles of life never change as you will always incur seed, time and harvest. Embrace the negligence of thought. Your mind will play tricks on you from time to time. Live a little and be patient with the process. American history is dark and sinister, and you need to understand that. There are tens of thousands of books I will leave you that helps in your understanding of the who, when, where and why you exist. Many individuals who are trapped in darkness that you will meet that will never understand your light. One of the toughest pills to swallow for which you will learn to overcome is rejection. Why You? I am glad you asked.

My son you will get rejected because you don’t belong to every group, click, club, organization, thought process, ideologies, and agendas that may seek to impede your progression. There are places you will have access to and then there are placed that you will not access to. The best way I can explain it is that it takes time to walk into full maturation. There are mental systems and processes that must be set in order before the full manifestation of on an idea can take place. When the student is ready the teacher will appear. Look at you all flashy fly and social. Snapchat’s, Instagram, video games, basketball, shoes, NIKE’s. The culture of being cool, accepted and fitting in is something real that your generation will embrace.

It will be hard for me to see you fail. Yet, I know you will get back up and begin again. The future of America is something that must be examined. I am only vaguely throwing out a few nuggets for the deep things belong unto God. Yes, I am writing a family manual that will guide our truths for the next 150 years, but for now you are my son. Stay abreast of the changes that is happening in and around your world. Study trends, observe, think, build, write, study, and find the means for understanding why your pops failed so much to get you this point in your existence. My weaknesses will not become your downfall. You will rise above my indifferences. I am here for you.

Sincerely,

Pops

Black on Black Violence: Plight of The Social Revolver

“Shunning eyes made evil through the errors of the world” ~ The Testament of Issachar

Who’s to Blame? How did Gun violence become the norm? Does, American military presence in 80 countries have anything to do with gun violence in America? What are we overlooking? Does religion offer up a big enough moral compass to combat the prevalent gun violence in America? Does anyone believe in Heaven & Hell anymore? In certain situations, it seems like everyone wants to die but nobody wants to go to heaven. Why wouldn’t man want to ascend spiritually to a place where light resides? A Jewish proverb states that” The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim His handiwork, and day unto day utters a message”. I am convinced that every killing in America due to the hand of gun violence utters a message. To the nature of that message it’s uncertain at the moment. How are we to perceive such tragic events?

Is our understanding of the universe somehow limited to our sensory perceptions? Why can’t we understand the nature of gun violence among black metro hubs (Chicago, Louisville, Cincinnati, Detroit, Houston, New Orleans etc), outside of fatherlessness, poverty, lack of education, PTSD, generations curses and the like? Have we considered the importance of environment in regards to disconnecting individuals from deeply held roots of mass destruction. Noted Indian Guru OSHO, explains in his discourse that growth is a rare phenomenon for which the right seed has to find the right soil in order to flourish. Could our youth be the right seed operating in the wrong soil?

The context of seed and soil is twofold because we know that seeds that are planted into the soil of the mind, yields the same results as seeds that are planted in the earth in terms of the harvest that springs forth whether good or bad. The same sentiments can be tied to individuals and families within our communities that are ravaged by gun violence and police brutality. In the Souls of Black Folks, W.E.B. Dubois quotes “And yet this does not touch the kernel of the problem. Human advancement is not a mere question of almsgiving, but rather of sympathy and cooperation among classes who would scorn charity”. These sentiments reflect a greater need for understanding the power of seed, time and harvest, and the seeds of knowledge that can become extracted from such endeavors.

Gun violence as a whole has presented itself in American lore over the past 20 years, to be something of a curse in relation to the lives that are lost and families that are destroyed in the process. How much of what we witness on a daily basis is attributed to God’s Plan. A narrative where sets of events (i.e. 9/11, Sandy Hook etc.) play out beyond human understanding and where the sympathetic nature of such an occurrence can only be explored through the eyes of God. Could the answers be hiding in plain sight? What are we overlooking that could give us insight into the importance of bearing arms and protecting one’s family? Is it safe to say that another America is beginning to form outside of the current ravages of capitalism? So, much blame to go around and yet not enough solutions to quail the problems that ravage our communities. Something must be done.

Part of our work as faith leaders is to disciple our people away from racial hierarchy and the criminalization of black and brown and poor bodies. We have to have a theology of the body that recovers the beauty of every person regardless of race, gender, class or sexual orientation. ~ Rev. Michael McBride.

The Repeating Handgun

In relation to the revolver, black on black violence has a revolving cylinder as well that contains multiple chambers and at least one barrel for firing. Why must the gun continuously go off in our communities? When will the repeated cycle of violence end? The pain has become too much to bear for some. The perpetual nature of loss has created diminished returns from a psychological and economic standpoint. Some would call these communal failures generational curses, but I refuse to allow an external assumption to cloud the judgement of a now moment. As an individual that sides with the oppressed it behooves me to watch the self-destruction of my community. Religion and the lack Black Leadership, access to Community Programs, Poverty, Substance Abuse and Mental Health disorders lead the discussions as to why violence has become so prevalent within the black community. When does the merry-go-round stop and let everyone off?

What are the crucial confrontations not conversations that must be had? Must our youth continue to play Russian roulette with the future of our race. Whatever happened to each one teaches one? The social forces that are at play makes it seem that we are not one nation under God. There must be a level of confrontation that disrupts the patterns of violence in our inner cities. I am a firm believe that pain forces the mind to deal with change in order to achieve a new level of enrichment. I am optimistic that a new future shall emerge from the death and destruction that plagues our inner cities. It’s reprehensible that innocent bystanders and children often, fall victim to the perpetuated madness of gun violence. Yet, the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

Hiding in Plain Sight

Gun violence has become somewhat of an enigma to those whose reality isn’t laden with guns, drugs, poverty, depression, oppression and mental abuse on a daily basis. Somehow, it seems like a waste of existence for individuals whose world consists of the moniker “Kill or be killed”. The pain runs much deeper than meets the eye and is often masked by movements that scream for help.  It’s what Jamil Jivani in his new book “Why Young Men” The dangerous allure of violent movements and what we can do about it”, speaks to in reference to young men who turn to violence in the name of brotherhood. The book is an incredible read and goes much deeper to the root of the problem (i.e. addiction, mental health issues & Trauma).This is a timely work and helps to explain a concept which I call the “Social Revolver”; in regards to finding a connection between the black mind and his environment which often distorts reality given the nature of physical, mental, and spiritual abuse the mind has endured for so long.

In plain sight we are truly witnessing the breakdown of an idea whose time has long gone. As the gang culture progresses throughout America it’s only going to find that those outdated ideals of drive-by shootings, drugs, gun violence, women and fast money strips the present only to destroy the future. Time is of the essence as we can no longer allow the chambers of the revolver to keep spinning. As Jamil Jivani, mentions in his book “Why Young Men” gangs suffer from vengeance and fear which leads to anxiety, carelessness trauma and other ailments that stifle the potential of the black mind.  

Action Steps

Access to guns are more prevalent than ever before because of the demand, as it relates to one’s environment, hobby, protection and or rights. Growing up in the danger zones of life makes it difficult to confront real dangers. The political system within the black community that operates devoid of America politics is a real situation. As an educator, youth advocate, writer, and entrepreneur, the duty lies on me and others to keep writing, researching, and advocating for the rights of the youth. It’s important to note that there are multiple black ghettoes in America, although some are heavier laden with violence than others. It’s what Martin Luther King explains as “The Other America” outside of the mainstream America that is rife with poverty, fatigue, hopelessness and decay. Do your part daily to find solutions for creating a better oasis for the young black mind to land.

 

7 reasons Why Black Men Hide Mental Health Issues & How Shame leads the Charge.

Mentally speaking why would any member of the black community go to a white mental health professional, given the narrative that white people have enslaved us, caused us grief and now wants to send us back to Africa? It doesn’t seem logical ascertaining the race of individuals that played a major role in the development of these mental health issues in the first place.  Right? Although, this may not be common theology of an individual seeking help with his relationship, social disparities, depression or anxiety; it is however part of the “Trusting in the System” narrative that keeps hurting individuals silent about their pain.

Why would anyone go to the bully and abuser to get help with his problems? You can’t classify all Caucasian mental health professionals as non-trustworthy because that would be a gross understatement; but untreated mental illness has a way of perpetuating social dysfunction and other problems such as having babies out of wedlock, divorce, unemployment and suicide let alone diabetes and other heart ailments that derail the livelihoods of Black Americans. We need more research that speaks to the “Mental Health in Black Men” arena, and a greater dialogue concerning African American mental health professionals who can contribute open spaces for the necessary transformation that is needed.   Below, you will find 7 ways mental health issues are secretly being swept under the rug by “Black Men” in general. 

1. Mistrust of providers: Dating back to slavery and with the infamous syphilis experimentation, it’s easy to see why black men wouldn’t trust any type of health professionals. Time in this instance doesn’t heal all wounds. There will forever be an uneasiness when it comes to us subjecting our minds to the help of anyone that looks like the individuals that enslaved us in the first place. That thorn is there. Even in we are brother and Sisters in Christ and where color may not matter, the thorn is still there.  

2. Fear of the Unknown: If you have never visited a Mental Health Professional, they take down lots of information about you and your payment information, which is an intake form. Depending on what website you may have booked that service you should be able to see the interior and or the person that is likely to counsel you. As simple as this sounds this process varies depending on where you are likely to get help from. Most black men don’t want these few moments of vulnerability to count against them. We don’t have the luxury of running around talking to any counselor that will listen a black man speak his truth. Not Happening! Again, there are a lot of unknowns even if you are educated about the entire process.   

3. Financial Constraints: Just for a moment lets set aside insurance which can come in the form of Medicaid or Medicare, or other private insurance panels like “Aetna, BlueCross Blue Shield and Human etc.” Out of pocket costs can range from $50 – $150 an hour depending on what state, city or locale you reside. Again, it is not about the money for some but more about being in an environment where an individual can relate to his mental health professional on some level. Also, most people may not take into consideration the 10+ years of preparation it usually takes to become a successful therapist. Thus, may only feel $25 or $30 is worth seeing a mental health professional versus $50- $150 an hour.

4. Fear of what people may think: Although, most black men won’t admit it “pride” plays a major role in rejecting mental health treatment. To certain friends or family members it’s important to show ourselves as competent and mentally sound. It’s not a badge of honor to be running around letting people know that you are seeing a therapist twice a month. Court appointed is a different scenario. However, I am only referencing those who may reject help based on their own insecurities and not the entire black male population as a whole.

5. It’s just not a priority: When you think of all the things going on in the Black Community, America, Black Families, Economic Struggles, student loan debt, children to raise, and the like it just doesn’t come off as something on the to do list. If you are in the middle of a 12 round Heavy Weight Knock out prize fight with Deontay Wilder, you just can pause in the middle of round 5 and seek mental and then get back in the fight. Battles are constantly raging in the spiritual, physical, mental and economic domains of a black man to pause for help. I didn’t say pause for introspection and self-reflection but a narrative that seeks help from the same mind that helped to create the conflict in the first place.

6. Preconceived Notions: The first thing any mental health professional will do when a black man walks into their office for counseling is see all the negative stereotypes that comes with the race as a whole concerning black men. The media has given the black men such a black eye these last 100 years and so it’s hard to see anything else. I don’t care if a Rich Black Man walks in to get help, he is Still “A Nigga”. Like Jay Z said in the “Story of O.J. concerning his 4:44 album “O.J. like, “I’m not black, I’m O.J.” …okay.

7. Stigmas: Sitting in a closed off room with a box of Kleenex spilling your life story to a mental health professional who you really don’t know that well, seems asinine definitely if someone is paying $100 for fifty minutes to do so. The narrative surrounding mental health professional concerning a black man’s struggle is a “Specialized Niche”, in which that professional has to understand how to find these types of private and vulnerable individuals. So, no we are not just going to waltz up into any” Shrink” and just start spilling personal tea. Not Happening!  That’s why to most black men therapy hasn’t even been an option because you have God, Religion, Drinks, Drugs, Sex, Basketball, Friends, and those who have held them down in the struggle. Counseling comes in on this round about 8th -9th place.  

In the end we will never walk into a situation that leaves us vulnerable and exposed. Since, the syphilis experiment of the Tuskegee study we haven’t quite settled in to trusting those that have oppressed us for 400 years. The cat is out of the bag. The reason why black men sweep these pressing issues under the rug is because it takes time to work through past wounds that haven’t been healed yet. We have forgiven and moved on into greater heights and depths of our calling, while at the same time finding a means for improving our own Mental condition. So, if you find yourself in a situation where you are needing help just remember you are not alone and there is support for your situation. Sweeping your mental issues under the rug is the same as placing it on the top shelf. Soon, you will be able to reach up grab it and find a safe place to explore your mental elevation.   

Overcoming the Burdens of Past Trauma’s & Daily Happenings

It’s important to give thanks for the blessings and opportunities that God has afforded us (which is a phenomenal thing), but also realize how much our past trauma’s have shaped and molded our way of thinking. Even through this journey towards wholeness I have learned that there are demons that must be confronted along this path. Child abuse, molestation, rape, incest, broken homes, mass murders, suicide, hate, drugs, prison, racism wedlock, poverty, crime, aids, and the list goes on. Although, it is easy to spiritualize the process and say, “God’s in control” God’s got my back” things will work out and be OK” “ I am blessed and highly favored” ; there is a tremendous amount of work on the inside of a person that must be done. We can never for one moment rush this process and bury the pain. Robert Frost says, “Two roads diverged in a wood and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference”.  

Take the road that says its ok to get therapy if need be. The stigma in our community suggests that mental health professionals isn’t a substitute for the healing that takes place on Sunday mornings. You got to be strong in your own convictions to understand the diagnosis of your ailments. Psychiatric Diagnoses can be classified in many different formats according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, also known as the DSM-IV. We have all faced many different forms of abuse but for some reason or another downplayed the scenario, in order to lessen the shame and also to avoid shining a negative light on the family. Many Black families are coded in a secrecy that refuses to let the cat out of the bad concerning misaligned generational curses. Don’t just live and accept those trauma’s as your new norm. Try and find a means for expressing the discomforts of your existence.   

Remember, therapy can be in the form of whatever helps you to understand why the pain was created, how to process that pain and how to heal from it forever. Make sure you understand what therapy means for your current situation. Therapy isn’t all about going to a counselor and airing out your problems. It’s more about getting to the bottom of what is preventing you from living your best life. If that happens to involve getting therapy Amen but don’t allow pride to block your ambitions towards achieving wholeness in your life. This is where those two forks pop up in the road and you have to choose the road less travelled. The road less travelled might mean confronting your dark side (Past & Present Pain, fears & phobias), which could be causing relationship woes, anxiety, depression, emotional outbursts or just any expressive hang-ups. that you feel shouldn’t exist in your life at this present moment.  

Robert Greene (Best Selling Author of 48 Laws of Power), in his latest book “The Laws of Human Nature”, as noted in ch.6 titled “Elevate Your perspective”, explains that “everything we do is accompanied to the past and that every event is part of something that has happened before in an endless chain of Historical Causation”. The realization is that every event that has taken place in our lives on some level has consequences that stretch well into the future. The main recourse is to simply step back and consider the wider map of your life’s circumstances. Biblically, in Ecclesiastes 1:9 explains that there is nothing new under the sun so whatever you have experienced in your lifetime is just an old dilemma with a fresh perspective. Translation: Your experiences are not isolated incidents which only affect you as an individual. The pain, trauma and daily happenings are real responses to past occurrences, but your response to these issues will make all the difference.  

Every day we deal with the process of our healing and the daily nuances that confronts mainstream America. At any given moment it’s important to live in a world full of rage and violence, and yet disconnect from the social stratum of having to accept those norms. Don’t just live through the pain and ignore the realities that are at play. If you have to meditate and find a means for understanding the nature of eccentric behavior’s that is surfacing on a daily basis all around the world. Meditation in this sense is about observing life from multiple perspectives. I understand that meditation in the tradition sense means sitting in silence, contemplating and just trying to tap into that deep part of the self; but when it comes to combating those inner demons, we need a place where we can truly become ourselves.

Getting outside of your comfort zone is a phase that is thrown around but what does that really mean? As individuals within the Black Community hasn’t our experience been anything but uncomfortable and out of our comfort zone these last 500 years. Now, with all of these Nationalist ideologies, Trump Shenanigans, racism, cyber breaches, immigration border talks, Higher Education scams, and student loan debt debacles just to name a few surfacing; what’s the “Game Plan” that we should be really focused on?

Breonna Queen

The Optics of Lyrical Wealth: Reimaging the Aesthetics of Black Matrimony

I hate the way they portray us in the media. If you see a black family it says they’re looting, if you see a white family it says they’re looking for food.

~Kayne West

4:44 is the thirteenth studio album by American rapper Jay-Z.  It was released on June 30, 2017, and one the tracks called “Family Feud” which featured Beyoncé infused a new sense of direction into my soul concerning the importance of Black Matrimony. As Spiritual Masters in the domain of “Black Aesthetics” I had to take a deeper look at the Philosophy Jay Z and Beyoncé were proposing to our community. Although, the backdrop for Jay Z’s “Family Feud” song came on the hills of his scrimmage with Solange concerning her disagreement with his flirtatious ways as it pertains to the respect of Queen Beyoncé. Yet, it spoke to a deeper course of action concerning the creative forces that surrounds what W.E.B Du Bois calls “The Souls of Black Folks”. In every Black Marriage there are creative forces that are at play that have been aligned to function in a way that is aesthetically pleasing to God.

The photo of Jay Z and Beyoncé` taking a selfie in front of the “Mona Lisa” at the Louvre in Paris is more than just a well to do black power couple that could afford to rent out the Louvre and get a glimpse of inspiration. The inspirational photo reeks of a “Creative Surrealism” that must be captured in every marriage. Ideally, families will feud at times because that’s just the nature of life and how humans interact with one another. In Verse 1 of  Jay-Z’s  song “Family Feud” it says… Super Bowl goals/ My wife in the crib feedin’ the kids liquid gold/ We in a whole different mode/ The kid that used to pitch bricks can’t be pigeonholed/ I cooked up more chicken when the kitchen closed/ Uh, we gon’ reach a billion’ first/ I told my wife the spiritual shit really work… Whether you could catch Jay Z’s mental transformation in those few words or not; he is however pointing to a very strong concept concerning the black marriages.

There is a cleansing process that “Black Marriages must go through in order to obtain a new level of understanding concerning Service and a deeper commitment to the black community. Solange’s outrage in the elevator that obviously shouldn’t have been leaked, but it was a gentle reminder to Jay Z of his commitment to their family and denial of sense consciousness. Sense consciousness is the material nature of the human soul or judgements based on external appearances. Anything that would lead a black man to destroy aspects of the black family structure needs to be dealt with. As the 4:44 Video suggests as directed by Ava Duvernay, their needs to be a council that aids in the formulation of new ideas surrounding the future of Black Life within the social construct of community.

The star power concerning “Family Feud” is treacherous and showcases the important nature of dealing with conflict in “Black Social Structures”. Appearances from Beyoncé, Michael B. Jordan, Constance Wu, Rashida Jones, and Rosario Dawson just to name a few adds credibility to the visionary stance surrounding Black Matrimony. As Jay Z posits “We all Screwed because we never had the tools”. The Black man when it comes to marriages makes mistakes that he shouldn’t be making in his prime adult years. After 42, when men actually begin to settle into their purpose and family dynamics as a provider shouldn’t be hampered by the lack of role models and mentors who can show us the ropes as it relates to raising strong black families. What immediately comes to mind as an afterthought is Alston Anderson’s short story “The Checkerboard”; which highlights concerns for the black family which is told from multiple viewpoints.

In a similar vein Alston Anderson touch’s on Jay z’s point about not having the mental tools to manage the emotional construct of Matrimony that is missing in the black community. So, the short story concerning Checkerboard is metaphorical for the black family dynamic surrounding patterns, arrangements, and alternating colors. “The Checkerboard” also touches onHome cooked dinners, saying grace around the table, passing the salt, and food dishes, family dynamics, mother and father rifts; cold stares, love, porch lights, the kitchen, games, Jesus and dialogue”. In other words, “Reimaging the Aesthetics of Black Matrimony must include a new sensibility towards the appreciation and realization of our potential and possibility as light bringers. We must see Black Matrimony as a creative “Speech Act” where we are declaring a new future through our actions. Jay Z didn’t have to include the song “Family Feud” on his album 4:44, as he could have simply professed his wrong doings to Beyoncé and corrected his faults privately. Yet, he felt it was necessary to explain the importance of apologizing for his mishaps and in the same breath declaring a new future state “Uh, we gon’ reach a billion’ first”.      

Whatever your creative lane is make sure that you can see your Art form as a means for teaching important lessons to your community. Black marriages can last and can serve as important centers of creative thought for the advancement of the African experience in America. We must be able to Breast feed the generations to come “Liquid Gold”. Not in terms of milk as referred to Jay and Beyoncé’s twins but a level of spiritual nourishment that helps to keep our communities intact for centuries to come. Put all of our differences aside and make sure that we can come together for the greater good of the black experience.

Souls of Black Intellectualism: Perspectives on the process of Mental Migration.

W.E.B Du Bois: American Sociologist, Historian, Activist & Writer

The Negro is a sort of seventh son, born with a veil, and gifted with second sight in this American world, —a world which yields him no true self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world…

`W.E.B. Du Bois

Why do we still allow sense comparisons to deviate us from the intellectual progression that can only come through what I call “The Process”? It’s an Egyptian Desert experience that is being used by God to reform our intellectual standards, and to retrain the mind into an evolvable state of Contemplation. As W.E.B. Du Bois mention, “we are sort of a seventh son born with a veil and gifted with second sight in this American world”. In other words, we were created to stand apart from the crowd with our spiritual covering and operate in a different dimension from the world’s standards. If you were to look up the word “Second Sight” you will see that it refers to an improvement in the near vision that results from aging. Meaning, that it’s hard to see distant objects until you are up and close to the object. It’s easy to read a book up close but can you read a Billboard fifty feet away?

Black Intellectualism hinges on the Exorbitant notation that when the heavens shift through the bending of “Kingdom Law” in this physical realm, our ability to detect these shifts are activated through the gifts of precognition that comes trapped within us awaiting to be released. The USA is but a mere mental model and inspirational portal that is helping the Black Intellectual to progress into his refined imaginative intelligence. It’s a process. It’s a process but the beauty of this process is that we are still a work in progress. The progressive ideals of our former Intellectuals carry a deeper significant to the plight of our dual nature of “whiteness” and “Blackness”. There is no question that both ideologies are at play. It’s supposed to be this way. The creative genius of man garners a split atom of probability that infuses his mental makeup with ambiguity. We must never hang our hats on what mainstream America at large synthesizes about our level of development, the plight of our communities and our abilities to reason for ourselves.  

Something is at work far greater than we can imagine, and we must process and keep on processing. Even if it takes the next 100 years we must process. Albert Einstein quoted “Problems can’t be solved with the same mind that created them?” Philippians 2:5 says “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus”, a mind that understands process, growth and development. A mind that operates outside of time. The mind that works all things together for the good of those who love God. The mind that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask. It’s a mind that listens more than it speaks. It’s imperative that we listen and follow the directives of those things that appear in the thinly veiled arena of silence. The demarcation of our ideologies should not suffer based on the premise that our presence is offensive to fear. In other words, progression and pain should symbolize a creative synthesis of our faith. Again, it’s about the timing of God and this process he uses to refine the spiritual nature of our praise and worship.

Whenever time is fixed upon a people regarding where they should be, in relation to those who occupy the same space, creative responses and snap judgements occur causing the thinker to think less about the process and more about the impending dangers that surround his home. In real time, the mental brutality, and communal degradation that plagues the Black Intellectual is real and cannot be a distraction from the truth. Fire burns if engaged in its process to long, water drowns without a proper understanding of its power, and so too does a rushed evolution hamper the ability of an intellectual to leisurely prescribe himself to the mental pursuits that can change his generation forever. At once we must allow this process (however long it takes) to separate the intellect into a more refined ideal of patience.

Man must be given the opportunity to separate from that which would syphon his intellectual ability to reason with the creator. This would help us to conserve our greatest assets for the next 7 generations. The perspective is childlike in nature regarding the mining of truth. It’s that pearl of a great price waiting to be explored. That giving up all ideologies that would keep the mind focused on the wrong patterns of development. All truth deserves applause, but the realness of life extends from what is still being visualized in the consciousness of man.

The process is all about discovering the genius that has been buried in the DNA structure of the Black Intellectual’s being. There are still tons of work to be done in regard to accessing the information that will come only as a disciplined mind listens and writes from his heart. The truth is present but its hidden under centuries of outdated philosophies, and many different inter-generational curses. The mind must be opened and explored for a second time outside of what already exists concerning the brain and its function.

So, when the going gets tough the tough gets going. Stop running from one thing to another. Stay in the fire long enough to see the salvation of the lord. New Levels bring new devils. You have to be tough. It’s tough to keep your kids motivated while you are worried to death. But it’s a fight that you have the ability to win. You are the secret sauce. The word is already in you. Yes, it’s tough not being able to get the light bill and the water bill paid. It’s tough not being able to have birthday money for the kids. It’s tough growing up with no father or mother. It’s tough dealing with the shame and pain of being molested. It’s tough raising 3 kids by yourself. Yet, it’s the process that is bringing about the greatest transformation in your life that has nothing to do with money. Sometimes, we think a few thousand dollars more will do the trick. It’s a common notion to feel more secured when you can make ends meet.

Stand still and see the salvation of the lord. Stay in the fire although ends are not meeting. Stand tall. It’s a tall task and order to be brave when your surrounding circumstances suggest otherwise. You don’t have to accept the situation the way it is. Dig deeper and tap into that next level of creativity. Necessity is certainly the mother of all inventions. You must break out of the barriers and limitations that you have placed on yourself. You got to take it one day at a time. It’s a process that takes lots of courage to move forward through that burning house. Martin Luther King Jr. referenced this context by saying “I Fear I May Have Integrated My People into a Burning House”, which reflected a notion that it’s easy to get sidetracked while fighting for one’s freedom.

Although, the civil rights movement reflected a struggle for justice and equality for African Americans, there was still battles looming on the horizon for which would require multiple generations to entertain. Martin Luther King definitely went the mountaintop and realized it would take multiple generations to win the war for social equality and justice, and not just a few congress laws and marches. It dawned on at that moment that the “Black Intellectual” would need to understand process as a means for survival in the generations to come.  

Legacy of the Black Pencraft: Crafting a New future of Published Muses.

Charlotte Spears Bass & Staff

Mindful of the fact that his antecedents is small in the world, the negro writer is more ardently inspired when he looks beyond the catches sight of golden fields into which no swathy hand has thrust a sickle. ~Professor W. J. Lewis “The Negro as a writer”

Since, Freedom’s Journal (1827) literary advancements in the black race has been numerous. Our Literary Letters have gone on to influence the world over. We create as we write and write as we walk through the fire. Our narratives extend beyond the ghastly shadows of fake musings from the media. Born with a literary lens our pens have danced in the flames for centuries. We write form the dross. In a continuous thought process, we add on to the narrative of freedom that will eventually carry us back from whence we started our journey. Dr. Rudolf Winsor author of “From Babylon to Timbuktu “A History of ancient black races including the black Hebrews”, gives us an incredible read as a supplementary piece to the entire body of African and Hebrew History. Outside of the research and phenomenal piece of truth that was presented, it was the actual documentation and writing of this incredible work that needs to be appreciated. Dr. Winsor didn’t die with this book trapped on the inside of his existence.  

The true narrative surrounding a book about “Timbuktu” was to somehow document our history in a way that leads to new discoveries and breakthroughs surrounding tons of research that is still left to do. It was a preview of the journey that is still in motion to this day. Like the Black Presses of the Late Nineteenth and early Twentieth centuries we need a narrative that speaks for our race. Although, the “Freedom’s Journal” (The first Black Newspaper) comes to mind we need a revolutionary way that helps to express our Pencraft in a greater light. Black Writers must now light the path and create entire communities around small-scale black thought. Their must be a navigational pull that forces the pen to its true north. So, what’s the true responsibility for a black writer? Community? To Build Institutions?

The responsibility that Black writers carry is a burden that must be endured collectively and not in isolation. There is no such thing as a black independent writer. Every word from the black Pencraft compounds collectively to form this “Great Black Migration” of ideas and thoughts. When you think in terms of migration with respect to the social, political, economic, housing, work and or religious constructs; the black press remains the central figure in transporting our thoughts and ideas into new territories. Steven A. Reich, Editor of The Great Black Migration “A Historical Encyclopedia of the American Mosaic”; explained that (migration led to the modernization and dramatic expansion of the black press, which ultimately become one of the most important institutions in African American life”). Is there not a correlation between our physical movement as a people and the Pencraft that documents those journeys?

Even now with thousands of Black Conscious, Black Power and Black Empowerment books that fill black bookstores, it’s just a fraction of what remains to be told. The protracted nature of our darkness makes it difficult for the artist to find his way in the midst of these chaotic changes. Who really feels like writing a book or researching history when bills are due, and all types of BS is swirling around in the mind that is limiting one’s creative development? If you are a writer, I am sure the “Starving Artist” tag comes into play and you have to write because you have sold out to your pencraft and write because you love to write. But, what about those who carry such a gift but haven’t truly had the impetus to dig deep enough to bring forth those hidden treasures?  

If there was an example of how to navigate these treacherous territories one should look no further than the master himself. A chameleon in disguise and a word made flesh for the black community. Master writer, novelist, poet and essayist James Baldwin was able to navigate this transition through a series of books, International travels, cigarettes, companionships, ideals, lectures, notes and thoughts that filled his world. A masterful representation of the pencraft legacy that is still evolving as we speak. On the outside looking in it’s important to understand the many experiences that has the potential to shape the genius of the black pencraft. James Baldwin writes in “Notes of a Native Son” in an Essay titled “Many Thousands gone” that “the negro story is yet to be told and which no American is prepared to hear” Why? Because the pen is mightier than the sword.

The Psychological ramifications of the African American story that has yet been told has made America as a whole a danger unto herself. As James Baldwin puts it “The story of the Negro in America is the story of America”. No longer can we isolate the America’s Sickness because we refuse to print our own narratives. I am not speaking of a regurgitation of what’s already history but these now moments that are beginning to awaken America towards fulfilling her destiny.  Although, we are good at collecting quotes, memes, facts and tons of historical documents that helps to elevate our rise, we still have a lot more work to go in order to cypher the depths of those experiences, and combine them to form a new way of communicating through our “MUSE”.

If the black man could escap a little deeper into thoughts he would see yesterday’s Sambucus waiting to be dissolved. As Natalie Goldberg puts it, we must “Write down the Bones and free the writer trapped within. A simple statement perhaps but a cold, lonely and congestive state awaits the man who dares to peel back the layers of eternity without a proper plan. Ink can become a decisive weapon if used correctly and to the victor goes the spoils. As Mr. Soyinka puts it “The threat to freedom is the absence of criticism” A Black man words needs criticism.

The progressive nature of our ideas must set a precedence for the next millenia. Our literary prowess must transition from the birthing stage into a more refined and intellectual sanctuary. Time has proven to be the greatest strength that we yield concerning the next phase of our literary development. I am seeing a shift in the way we relate to literature. Our Black Presses will hold more sway on the narrative concerning education in the black community in time to come. As Professor Lewis puts it “Genius is not the plant of any soil”. Thus, prescribing to the notion that genius is centuries in the making. A long and protracted glory of sentiments that occur over stages and cycles. Throughout, the history of social commentary a streamlined message has flowed in the wind. Those who have become masters of the pen have tapped into this endless stream of terminology. The facile pen of our black writers must wind of this notion and build narratives surrounding the forces that limit our advancement. Would the world not deny our literary antecedents as a form of independence?

Are we Committing ourselves to the words that form our world? Thought on “Speech Acts” from a Black Perspective

A speech Act represents is a form of communication that represents an action, or an intent of the speaker that brings into existence his/her point of view. A speech act can be as simple as an apology, a greeting, request or my favorite declaration. Since, we can remember the narrative has been that our “words” are powerful and shape the creation of life or death into our situations as mentioned biblically as referred to the power of the tongue. In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God (John 1:1). How did Apostle John know this? What experience or revelation did he experience that gave him credence to formulate that “word: was present at the beginning of it all?

Apostle John presents a phenomenal statement that speaks to a reality that is beyond our fleshly bag of bones. In the beginning the word was that Black men are Kings, not killers, lazy hoodlums, sperm donors and drug dealers. It’s important to see that the word spoken from the beginning of time is a narrative beyond the present contradictions of the world’s viewpoint of black men. Our skeletal structure isn’t the truth of who we are but is a mere reflection of the idea that brought us into existence. One of the reasons why a black man’s “Light” can’t be comprehended by darkness is because there is no frame of reference for a group of people who have been sent to bear witness of a greater light.

The oppressive nature of police brutality, the feminization of the black man and the attack on black masculinity, is because there is a void of creative potential in the earth that can only be called into existence by God. Light always existed but it wasn’t until God called it forth that we are now able to see the form of that thing. Darkness as in the pigmentation and spiritual condition of Black men points to a place of unformed purposes that sets the stage for books, movies, plays, ideas, inventions, stories that have yet to come into existence. Now, a commitment must formulate in order to transfer our words into flesh (the physical manifestation of our Kingdom Experience).

The Black Genius, of our Psychological Struggles, and the burdens we face as individuals of color exemplifies the narrative of language and certain speech acts that shapes the narrative of our existence. I have witnessed the rhetorical nature of these psychological patterns. The fight will forever rage in the minds of our oppressors. Never will there ever in the history of civilization be a moment that our rise and acceptance become commonplace amongst the global elite. There has been an underlying suppression of truth concerning the overtones of revolutionary speech acts down through the history of Black Life in American society.  

Several examples of Black “Speech Acts” namely Barack Obama’s 2008 speech on race in United States, Stokely Carmichael Black Power Address at UC Berkeley delivered 29 October 1966 in Berkeley, CA, Frederick Douglass’: What the Black Man Wants  in 1865, Louis Farrakhan: The Pain of Being a Black Man in White America Part 1 and Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream Speech” on August 28 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington sets the foundation for how language commits us to a course of action. Not only has these speech act narratives changed the fabric of American candor but they have ultimately, provided a way to creatively shape our world through language.

One of my most pressing ideologies for this brief conjecture is to render substance to stereotypes that we black men face on a daily basis. Although, we see ourselves in a different light from mainstream America doesn’t mean we have to conform to their narrative and structures of our genius. Black men ought to be in the world but not of its ugly rhetoric and hidden agendas. A black man’s light bothers the darkness of America not because of what we threaten her existence with, but that of him who sent us to be the representative of a greater light. It’s important that we understand speech acts from a black perspective in order to be transformed by the renewing of our minds that we may be able to understand the motives of our oppressors, and to rid our presence of her algebraic equation.

Our ability to create out of the darkness is the most creative gift ever bestowed upon mankind as a whole. The best example in the modern-day era would be the Black Aesthetics Movement of the 1960’s based purely on language. It was Imamu Amiri Baraka (Leroi Jones) who understood that there was something sacred about the African American artistic ambition and his need to push the boundaries into a space that helps to fight against injustice, racism and poverty. As African Americans how are we using our words? Are we honoring our commitment to the collective whole? What are we going to commit ourselves to in the next 50 years?