“In a large piece called “Scorched Earth” hundreds of tiny cut-up papers are carefully lined side by side to suggest the buildings or blocks of a city seen in aerial view. Much of the center of the city, however, is bare of such structures, and ash black as if smoldering. And, in an addition rare for this artist, the top third of the piece, representing the sky, is covered with paint, fiery red.” – Holland Cotter, 2010 (New York Times)
My first experience in an Ivy League Environment was not what I expected to say the least, experiences both good and bad. The topic of black sexuality I applaud because there is a lot of work that needs to be done in regards to discussion of sexuality of black women and men, a topic far too taboo in the black community given its influence. Where else should we have these discussions BUT the classrooms of the academic elite, in the minds of our aspiring great thinkers? These very halls have witnessed (arguably) the closest efforts to perfected theoretical discourse, so why not here? Why not now?
Well, what I’ve found is that a majority of our upcoming great thinkers (including myself) tend to lack in practice at times. Lost, having mistaken academic upward mobility for the end all of progress. In essence: There appears to be a disconnect in the analysis of black sexuality, and more broadly, black identity. Not to say that the analysis does not derive from experience, but there appears to be a dangerously uninformed and impractical method in which we go about examining topics on black identity. Irrespective of which University or College one attends, from an objective standpoint I couldn’t help but notice the completely paradoxical nature of what we were practicing and preaching throughout this conference.
Among other things, there was one incident in particular that stirred trouble among my colleagues, and was addressed in subsequent panels/discussions. This overt example is the crowds’ response to a call and response presented by Travis Porter at their concert at Toad’s Place Friday night. When Travis Porter member Ali eloquently inquired on the presence of “Bad Bitches”, the “Bad Bitches” with “Good Hair” made their presence known in the most energetic way possible. I’m from Atlanta so I’ll be honest and say; I enjoy music from Atlanta. Aesthetically it provides for some seriously dope entertainment. I take no issue with its existence, nor do I take issue with the question Ali posed. What I DO take issue with is the response, less than 10 hours from discussion on how women are trivialized and over sexualized in society.
Nothing is wrong with question. As a matter of fact, instead of vilifying the individual that posed the question why not seek to address and rectify the environment that created the reward for asking such a question? Because, the question “where my bad bitches at?” has received a positive response before. The frame of thought that says it’s ok to ask such a question can only be removed once it ceases to receive nourishment. The conclusion of my point is this: what would have happened if every woman who responded where to simply not respond and walk away? What would have happened if every male in the room where to do something wild like, you know, try and show these brothers how wrong that is? Rather extreme, but I can’t help but wonder. In a lot of ways I feel we had fun, but at the cost of the very thing we came together to reclaim.
That glaringly paradoxical issue aside, for the first time in my life I was provided with the opportunity to engage with the proclaimed academic elite of the African American community from the following institutions; Spelman College, Smith College, Yale, Brown, Morehouse College, Cornell, Dartmouth, Kennesaw State University (lol), Harvard, Princeton, Quinnipiac, and respectfully others. Bright minds, bright futures, and it made me proud to say that we could claim solidarity with each other. Beyond an academic setting we fraternized socially, where I’ve made some great friends and built my network. I appreciate every single woman and man I met at this conference, as well as Yale University for having JP Morgan Chase & Co., my colleagues, and myself.
The motive of this excerpt is not to speak badly of or demonize those who have worked to achieve a higher level of education, nor is it to attempt at applying a linear/ one dimensional model of what “being black” really is. The organizers of the Black Solidarity Conference worked very hard in order to get everyone together for these discussions, nothing can trivialize what they’ve accomplished. It is our job as participants to take the goal of that effort and make progress with it. In my opinion, we must work to address the disconnect between the intelligentsia and the proletariat, seek to re-connect that disconnection through honest and humble discourse, and continue to build from that foundation through theory and practice. If we are to make an effort towards defining black sexuality we must be honest, educated, motivated, and chiefly humble about how we go about addressing such an important part of the black identity. The primary means of rectifying society begins with self, when there is a sense of personal responsibility we can move forward on issues like these. The organizers of this conference have made an everlasting impression on me, for that I’m forever grateful.
“The Christian religion teaches men these two truths: the grandeur and the justice of man and his misery and corruption. It is equally important for me to know both these points; and it is equally dangerous for man to know his nobility without knowing his wretchedness, and to know his own wretchedness without knowing his grandeur. The Knowledge of only one of these points gives rise to either the pride of humanists who have known man’s goodness but not his sinfulness, or to the despair of atheists who know man’s misery but not his dignity. We can have an excellent knowledge of one of these things without the other But, we cannot know Jesus Christ without knowing at the same time man’s worth and his wretchedness”
Pensées (literally translated as ‘Thoughts’) is a collection of thoughts written by Blaise Pascal in the defense of the Christian religion during the 17th century. Though no religion is completely clean, there are truths involved in each. It’s simply a matter of how you choose to apply it. The above quote gets the thumbs up.
LMFAO. FUNarios with another incredibly funny skit. Seriously, don’t try any of these things fellas (on a normal valentines day). I guess they thought we forgot about Valentines Day Leap Year huh? Nope. Ladies, it’s your turn. Funny concept, Check the information below for all contact information for Khiry, Lonnie, and FUNarios. Make sure to follow the participants in the video as well!
The album “Live at the Jazz Cafe. London“ was the first time i’d heard D’Angelo in a live setting, doing classic songs from other groups. The songs below are remakes of the Ohio Players original ‘Heaven must be like this”, and Earth, Wind, and Fire’s “Can’t Hide Love”. He does each justice, a set of smooth performance. Happy birthday D’angelo.
“Yeah… J’ai… débuté ce long voyage un matin dégouté, par mon paysage quotidien. Je n’voyais… que des blocs long de 3 minutes, taillés dans le même roc et dans le même but. On m’avait parlé d’horizons différents, de mélodies innatendues, d’instruments, de cités sans cloisons, d’architectes rythmique, d’une civilisation sonore née sur les terres d’Afrique. J’ai voulu voir ce monde, ou plutot l’entendre, équipé de mon casque et de quelques bandes.
J’ai traversé l’océan, dans la brume juste une silouhette, découvrant sur le quai les derniers poètes. J’ai entendu ces rimes, assisté au live de Louis, et quelques miles plus loin, tu croisera Miles Davis. J’suis resté scotcher, vacillant, comme ivre, merde… Je dialoguais avec un cuivre, il m’a parler des freres de la jungle, dans laquelle vivait une tribu, appeler “viet”, si j’avais su . . . Plus loin je compris rage et émotion, en découvrant d’étranges fruit et des champs de coton. Je parlait musique et on m’parlait couleur, un tableau surréaliste, souvent teinté de douleur. J’ai vu mon reflet déformé dans les lunettes noires de Stevie, et mon sommeil bercé par Billy.”
- – - -
I . . . began the long trip one morning
disgusted by my daily landscape.
I saw . . . as long blocks of 3 minutes,
cut from the same rock and the same purpose.
I had heard from different backgrounds,
unexpected melodies, instruments,
of cities without walls, architectural rhythms,
sound born of a civilization on the land of Africa.
I wanted to see this world, or rather hear,
fitted my head and some headphones.
I crossed the ocean in the fog just a silhouette,
discovered on the platform the last poets.
I heard my rhymes, watched Louis live,
and a few miles away, you will cross Miles Davis.
I’m was stuck, wobbling like drunken
shit … I spoke with a “Cuivre”,
he told me about the brothers of the jungle, in which lived a tribe
called “Vietnamese”, if I had known . . .
I further understood anger and emotion,
discovering strange fruit and cotton fields.
I was talking about music and I spoke color,
a surrealist painting, often tinged with pain.
I saw my distorted reflection in the sunglasses of Stevie,
and my sleep lulled by Billy.”
. . . My attempt at translating french (no shade please, LOL), If it’s terrible I apologize to my francophone homies. Honestly, whenever something is taken out of the language it’s originally expressed in it loses it seems to lose its initial impact. I experience a more potent stimulus listening and ‘kinda‘ understanding a word or two quite frankly. So, What’s that say about the language barrier? Family, check the content of what 20syl was saying! Though it doesn’t rhyme in English, if i told someone Claude McKay wrote it they would probably believe me. The Diaspora is no joke.
There’s something about this hip hop thing that transcends language. I love hip hop so much I want to learn her in another language just so I can relive the experience all over again. Beaucoup d’amour!