1.20.2015

Like...#WTF???

Field Negro is right when he says some black celebrities really need to not speak in public.  To be fair, that goes for a lot of celebrities, but in this case....
The lack of Oscar support for "Selma" has made headlines, but Mackie plays down the idea that the Academy Awards voters were being discriminatory. “People are just tired of being bombarded with race right now,” says the actor. “So everybody is shying away from certain topics and certain movies.”

He goes on to remark, “If you look at all the movies and actors that are nominated, they all gave damn good performances. Me specifically, if thats something I want, I have to step my game up. I have to do better movies and I have to act better.” Mackie does admit that black actors are at some disadvantage for certain roles. “Hollywood believes that there’s no market overseas for black actors,” he explains. “They say that about Denzel Washington, they say they have no foreign value. If we’re not financing and doing our own stories, we can’t expect to see ourselves come award season.”

But Mackie may be generating the most controversy with his take on the topic of police violence against young black men. He tells the outlet, “Like my nephew wanted to grow dreadlocks. I’m like fine, I’ll sit you down and I’ll watch ‘The First 48′ with you and everybody you see on that show, that’s doing something wrong, they’re black dudes with dreadlocks. So, do you want to be seen as part of the problem or do you want to be an individual?”

“Let’s just say you have locks and you walking down the street,” says Mackie. “The police pull you over and say you fit the description of somebody. You start yelling and arguing with the cops. Next thing you know you pressed up against the wall going to jail for something you’re not even involved in just because you look like somebody and you don’t know how to handle yourself.”
~ MSN: "Anthony Mackie: 'Black dudes with dreadlocks' are part of police violence problem; Actor slammed for comments"
Field Negro theorizes Mr. Mackie's next role will be a butler in the antebellum south. After remarks like these, that's something I'd honestly want to see. *blink*  Like...I skipped over all the other servant-and-slavery flicks (LOL...just made me think of sword-and-sorcery), but I'd actually pay to see Mackie in some shit like this.  I would go to an actual theater and everything.

(Oh, and by the way...I think it goes without saying about the MSN article: don't read the comments.)

1.16.2015

The Bar Loves Jussie Smollett (@JussieSmollett)


That just goes without saying.

Some of you remember Jussie Smollett from The Mighty Ducks and On Our Own.  Some of you might be familiar with his music.  Most of you, by now, recognize him as the unapologetic gay patron saint of all middle children Jamal Lyon on FOX's Empire.  And if you're not watching Empire, you need to get your life together.


1.14.2015

Nigeria, You Deserve So Much Better (#FestivalofSlaps)

 See Also

The 2015 Baga Massacre

But now you've read about the unfathomable uselessness of President Goodluck Jonathan (seriously, deal with that name for a minute) of Nigeria.  In case you're a bit fuzzy, this is the same guy who not only failed to #BringBackOurGirls last year, but had the whole world wondering how nearly 300 people can all be kidnapped at the same time in the first place.

Now the world is wondering how 2000 Nigerian civilians can be slaughtered out of the blue while their "president" 1) sends his condolences to the victims of Charlie Hebdo without so much as breathing a word about a massacre in his own country, then 2) dances at his niece's grand wedding two days later.

Deal with that for a minute.
Just last year, Jonathan appropriated the #BringBackOurGirls social media campaign, and with an astonishing level of crassness, tweaked it to say: #BringBackOurGoodluck2015. It was a vile campaign tactic in the run-up to this year's February elections. The marketing gods surely must have wept, alongside the parents who still mourn for their missing daughters.

Sure, Jonathan has sent Nigerian troops to battle against Boko Haram, but the military have instead used their new-found war to wreak terror on the people they are tasked with protecting. When Boko Haram entered Baga last week, Nigerian troops ran away, yet in April 2013, after coming under attack by Boko Haram, Nigerian troops tore through the town, killing 200 civilians in response to the ambush. They have now called for support from their people in their fight against the latest attacks.

But Jonathan hasn't addressed these atrocities. Instead, he is exploiting his people for votes, and as he does so, their blood is being spilled. Already political analysts have indicated that should Jonathan truly speak to Nigerians about the attacks, it would become an admittance of failure.
~ allAfrica.com: "South Africa: Forget the West, Nigerian Lives Don't Even Matter to Goodluck Jonathan"
Oh, but wait...there's more.
...Here is a man so out of touch with reality that he had the temerity to ask, “How much did Jim Nwobodo stole (sic)?” He also asserted with every seriousness that arresting people “won’t stop corruption, you will even encourage corruption.” The logical fallacy here is astounding; like saying jailing murderers will encourage murder. He goes on to ask ridiculous questions on armament purchases in the past, then makes a very strange comment about Buhari remembering his phone number. To top it all off, he had the temerity to ask about fuel shortages in the country? Where does this man live? Certainly not in Nigeria, because we could have told him that there were at two fuel shortages last year. Now that his shoes and modes of transportation are paid for by our taxes and sovereign wealth, I guess he has no need to keep up with what is actually going on with the people.

...Fortunately the Nigerian public seems to have seen right through the ploy and have ignored the president’s stumbling speeches (filled with grammar that would be atrocious coming from a secondary school student, much less a lecturer), and are focused on hearing about the issues that they care about: corruption, power, education, jobs and welfare.

...It has been galling to watch the lack of focus on issues or the simple acknowledgment of the tragedy that have befallen our brothers and sisters in the town of Baga, Borno State. He has instead stuck his head in the sand like an ostrich and continued on furthering his political ambition. Mr President, silence will not make the tragedy fade from our national conscience. 2,000 men, women and children were cut down without mercy, the ‘deadliest massacre’ by Boko Haram in this country, and all we got was “[Muhammadu] Buhari cannot remember his phone number”? It shows a devastating lack of leadership and direction at a time that Nigeria can least afford to be without a commander-in-chief.

...Instead of a campaign of hope and direction, we have gotten fear and misdirection. Instead of acknowledging corruption is evil no matter the amount, he dismisses a legitimate conviction because it was not enough to buy a car. Nigerians have trusted President Jonathan for six years and have little to show for it. Our president seems to have gone missing. Let us hope that 14 February 2015 Nigerians will choose to find a new one.
~ NAIJ.com: "Is Goodluck Jonathan Saying The Right Things?"
My dear Nigerians, your siblings in America once had our own Goodluck Jonathan, except we called him George W. Bush.

By the way...about Jonathan's wife....
It was the video that launched a million YouTube hits. The first Lady, Patience Jonathan’s private shame was exposed to the whole world when she attempted to do some damage control of her own after her husband’s administration failed to respond swiftly to the tragedy of 276 school girls kidnapped from their secondary school in Chibok. Rife with bad grammar, fake tears, shoddy acting and lacking any real empathy, Mrs Jonathan’s viral train wreck of a performance was both comic and tragic. ~ YNaija.com: “Na only you waka come?” “Stomach infrastructure” and 8 of the worst quotes of 2014

1.06.2015

Police Tropes

While reading We are Respectable Negroes today, I found myself drawn this to excerpt from "'Police are Heroes': The Cultural Mythologies that Enable Police Brutality Against Black and Brown Americans" (bold emphasis mine):
Police violence is justified and explained away by the following tropes.

"Police work is a dangerous job." While being a police officer may involve some level of risk, it is largely mitigated by training and equipment. On the macro level, in the United States police work is not included in the top 10 most dangerous professions. Sanitation workers, truck drivers, forestry workers, and professional fisherman are far more likely to be killed or injured on the job than police.

While the mass media and police unions are invested in projecting an image of police work as highly dangerous, thrilling, and adrenaline-filled, the number-one cause of death for police officers are vehicular accidents.

"Police have a difficult job that involves making split-second decisions." As research on implicit bias, racism and police use of force has demonstrated, cops are much more likely to make “split-second decisions” to kill black men. Yet, somehow the perils and fears that loom over police and their decision-making processes are suspended and lessened when they interact with white people.

Cliven Bundy and his armed group of marauders did not face a “split-second” decision by the police to shoot them. White men walking around neighborhoods with guns displayed in plain sight are not preemptively killed by the police. White men who have actually shot at firefighters and police are somehow miraculously taken into custody unharmed and alive. White teenagers who bring arsenals of guns and knives to their high schools are arrested and given bail.

Police selectively make split-second decisions about who to shoot and kill in America. Blackness is a trigger for violence; whiteness and white skin privilege are signals to deescalate.

"Police are heroes." Heroism involves a selfless act by a person who is not trained for such duty, or who cannot be reasonably expected to act in such a manner. Police have chosen their profession. They are trained and equipped for the task. Police officers are also well compensated both on the job and in retirement. They also benefit and receive support from a huge and powerful social apparatus that is designed to protect them from the consequences of their actions.

A given police officer may have a moment of bravery or courage. By themselves, neither of those deeds rises to the level of heroism.

The police who killed Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, and who participate in a system that harasses and targets people of color for unjust punishment and harassment are most certainly not heroes in the best and most authentic sense of the word.

Instead of holding police (and others who are empowered by the state to kill) to a higher standard, America’s civil religion deifies police and simultaneously lowers their bar of accountability to one far below that of the average person—in all, what is a perverse paradox.
*bows*

12.22.2014

Her name is Shaneka Thompson, and yes...she matters #BlackLivesMatter

"Before 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley murdered two NYPD officers in a vicious ambush in Bedstuy Saturday night, he shot his on-again, off-again girlfriend Shaneka Thompson in her Owings Mills apartment. Thompson, 29, who is expected to survive, has thus far been something of an afterthought as the backlash to Brinsley’s shooting of the two officers has consumed media outlets." (Source)
Once again, a black woman is harmed and her injury is an "afterthought"; most articles don't even mention her by name or even that she survived.  Until I read Mediaite this morning, I was among many readers who believed this woman had died.  And not only that, her presumed death was also treated as an afterthought, mentioned in passing in the haste to get to the deceased officers.

This blatant disregard right here?  Huge part of the problem.  This is why is people are trending #BlackLivesMatter - this is a classic example right here.  Mediaite actually did some research on Shaneka Thompson, discovering that she currently works in insurance and is a veteran.  Thompson and Brinsley were an on-and-off couple for the past year (most likely because he was an abusive asshole) before he upped and shot her.

But in the hurried desperation to prove activists wrong and vilify black men in general, Brinsley's first and most intimate victim became a nameless, faceless afterthought.  And although her attack warrants a deeper scrutiny, her being attacked becomes almost an inconvenience, a wrench in the bullshit narrative that cops are the real victims here.
Those who are trying to connect the murders of the officers with the thousands of articulate and peaceful protestors across America are being deliberately misleading in a cynical and selfish effort to turn public sentiment against the protestors. This is the same strategy used when trying to lump in the violence and looting with the legitimate protestors, who have disavowed that behavior. They hope to misdirect public attention and emotion in order to stop the protests and the progressive changes that have already resulted. Shaming and blaming is a lot easier than addressing legitimate claims.

...This shrill cry of “policism” (a form of reverse racism) by Pataki and the police unions is a hollow and false whine born of financial self-interest (unions) or party politics (Republican Pataki besmirching Democrat de Blasio) rather than social justice. These tragic murders now become a bargaining chip in whatever contract negotiations or political aspirations they have
(Source)
RIP Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu.  Not only did you not deserve to die like this, you don't deserve to have your deaths used in this manner.

12.10.2014

Let's talk about the reactions to the torture report

Yes President Obama, we did indeed "torture some folks".

Former president Bush said that we did not, but now, of course, we know that is a lie. Or maybe not. Maybe former president Bush was misled as well. I bet Dick Cheney knew that we "tortured some folks". Methinks he protests a bit too much about the release of this report by The Senate Intelligence Committee.

It's not a "bunch of hooey" Mr. Cheney, you should be in jail.

We are now being told that the CIA used tactics that are "brutal and flawed", and according to one of the senators who was responsible for the release of the report; it is a "stain on our values and history."

Those on the right side of the political divide will tell you that this is no big deal, and that this program was needed to stop the next September 11 type attack from taking place in our homeland.

This is the position of Dick Cheney and some of the other apologists for the ignoble and inhuman act that is torture. We know now that this is not true. These torture programs did not stop one terrorist act from taking place on our shores, and it did not help us to kill Osama bin Laden.

So now that we know that America is no different than any other Third World country, and that we do not respect the rule of law; we have to ask ourselves if it was all worth it. I, for one, do not think that it was. But I am just a small time left wing progressive blogger from Philadelphia. Senator John McCain, who was himself tortured, apparently has no love for torturing folks, either. I will defer to him on this subject."
(Source)
Um, excuse me...but is anyone else unimpressed with the cries of shock and dismay about the torture report?  People talmabout "we're not that kind of country" and "we shouldn't sink to other countries' level" - bitch, please...the United States of America was born on "that" level, okay?  It was built on that level.  Some of the shit the CIA did looked like it came straight out the pages of The Slave-Owner's Guide to Running a Plantation (While Keeping the Natives at Bay).

America's addiction to violence, degradation, and overall sociopathy is not news, children.  At least not to some of us.  We knew shit like this has been going on for a while.  Before the report came out, were we not just talking about a black man being murdered on camera and his killer walking fancy free?  Were we not just talking about police slaughtering literally hundreds of civilians of all colors every year without no repercussions?  Were we not just talking about a black man being killed every 28 hours in this country by white cops and vigilantes?

So what's with the "surprise"?  Commenters across the web are decrying governmental hypocrisy - what about the social hypocrisy?  What about all the deniers - who vote and paid taxes - who've gone on and on and on about how American history isn't as fucked as colored folk some people make it out to be, how this is "the greatest country on urf" and that anyone who has a problem with, well, anything needs to just leave*?

Negro, please.  *sips rum and Pepsi*

See Also

"But What about Black-on-Black Crime?" is not a valid answer to Ferguson or Anything

*By the way...just an FYI: a lot us ARE trying to get out of this fucking country.  If we weren't stuck in an awfully convenient situation of shitty wages + long hours + rising costs of living, we'd've saved our money, learned new languages, and long been out this mug.  Instead, every time we want a new sweater for winter or some gas in our tank or just to go out to grab a burger from the cheapest joint we know, we get stuck making life-and-death decisions...wondering if the numbers in our checking account are randomly, drastically going to change overnight after we swipe our card.

11.30.2014

Motherland (2010)

So while browsing African music to jam to in my car, I came across Sona Jobarteh's Motherland, which is the score to a documentary of the same name. Peep the trailer:


Motherland (Enat Hager) is the most powerful documentary on Africa. Fusing history, culture, politics, and contemporary issues, Motherland sweeps across Africa to tell a new story of a dynamic continent.

From the glory and majesty of Africa’s past through its complex and present history. Motherland looks unflinchingly toward a positive Pan-African future. With breathtaking cinematography and a fluid soundtrack, Motherland is a beautiful illustration of global African diversity and unity.
(Source)