Friday, May 20, 2005

A few days ago Vincente Fox said some disparaging things about Afro-Americans. He does not need to be president of Mexico-- he is too much into Bush and plus, Mexico needs a president with some COLOR-- not one who looks like a white man. We definitely need a Bandung Conference.....
I love Paul Robeson....he was the greatest personification of integrity that ever existed. He is a beautiful man. Also, I want to blog these ten principles that were drawn up at the Bandung Conference( that Robeson was not able to attend, due to the US denying him a passport-bastards). These points are most crucial and relevant today--they should be rules for the world.

1, Respect for fundamental human rights and for the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
2. Respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations.
3. Recognition of the equality of all races and of the equality of all nations large and small.
4. Abstention from intervention or interference in the internal affairs of another country. (CRUCIAL)
5. Respect for the right of each nation to defend itself singly or collectively, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.
6. (a)Abstention from the use of arrangements of collective defense to serve the particular interests of any of the big powers.
(b) Abstention by any country from exerting pressures on other countries.
7. Refraining from acts or threats of aggression or the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any country. (CRUCIAL)
8. Settlement of all international disputes by peaceful means, such as negotiations, conciliation, arbitration, or judicial settlement as well as othere peaceful means of the parties' own choice, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.
9. Promotion of mutual interests and cooperation.
10. Respect for justice and international obligations.

These principles I wholeheartedly support. On this platform I take my stand.

Alas, I think these principles are sooo very crucial now and need to be brought to the forefront. I would love to see another Bandung Conference- as well as a Pan-African conference (where is DuBois?). Paul Robeson's most wonderful assessment of the Bandung Conference is only the second account of this conference that I have read. The other is that of Malcolm X. It is interesting that both of these men hail the success of this conference, and indeed it was successful-- as immediately after it-- in 1957 (the conference was in '55)Ghana gained its independence, and then African and Asian countries by the DOZENS started to fight and demand and WIN their independence from Colonialism--- and sociaism became the sentiment of the day. We need it to happen again. We need the dialogue between the colored peoples of the world to rise to the forefront again so that we may strategize ways to ward off the evils of Globalism and Imperialism. This is a most immediate need.
One of the things that has truly shaped me and the crux of what I believe and how I operate has been my response to what my grandmother told me, on several occasions. My grandmother, with some sort of pride or something much less than remorse, would tell me of how when my mother was in Catholic School, at one point a nun made a point of telling the class that my mother was in that Black people were Black because God put a curse on them. When my mother refuted this statement and then declared that just the opposite was true- that whites were white because of a curse, the scene escalated until they sent my mother home and told her to not return until she found the passage in the Bible that refuted this statement. My mother went home and frantically called her grandfather, the Bible expert, and they located the passage--in Exodus I believe, where they spoke of how Miriam was turned white after she had sinned.

My mother took that passage back to school and the powers that be were mumed, and sore to have been displaced by a Black girl (teenager). Well, that just put my mother in the dog house as far as those nuns and the Catholic School went. When it came time to go to college, my mother wanted to go to Kentucky State (my Aunt Carolyn's alma mater). Well, when time came, the school "forgot" to send my mothers school records to Kentucky State--- and it was clearly a matter of their gripes about the previous incident. My mother went home and told my grandmother of it and my Grandmother's response to her was "You shouold have kept your mouth shut."

Everytime my grandmother would tell me this, I would get infuriated to hell. Goddamn that. Lord please thank you that it wasnt me. Because I would have probably kicked my grandmother's ass and then proceeded to tear that school (St. Michael's on the North of Chicago).Now granted, my mother didnt suffer much from it-- she enrolled at Miles in Birmingham and did her studies there--and didnt seem to adverse to it. But still. If I wanted it, I would have had it and no white bitch and my grandmother would have stopped me from having it. From that day forward I do believe that is when I took the position that nobody would ever stand in my way or do anything to me with out me opening my mouth. I believe it was then that I decided to speak and Speak and SPEAK and goddamn it I will be heard! I cannot believe my grandmother. But alas, I never said she was the most progressive person in the world. God forbid.... I still shake and tremble when I think about it.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Happy Birthday Barbra!!!

Oh My God, April Just passed and I forgot completely about Barbra Streisand's birthday! Happy Birthday Barbra!!! 4/24/42!!!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Alas, to add to the previous post...the role of Edmund in Shakespeare's King Lear is definitely something to look at in relation to the Afro-American population in this country.It ought to spark some thought....
I have just begun reading Paul Robeson's Here I stand-just getting through the three introductions, and I am very much immersed in it. I would like to stop and do some analysis though. I very much love Paul Robeson, he is wonderful,magnificent, a God. Alas, I must detract from some of his tactics. At one point in his introduction, he states very plainly that he is an American. He goes about stating that he is an American and that he is one and will remain tied to this country/land despite all of the bad things that have been done to him, and despite the fact that this country is lead by forces of pure evil.I must detract from that with a statement that has certainly gotten me into trouble more than a few times, and that is, that I am not an American.

I am an Afro-American. I am not an American, because I very much believe that the word "American" (unless it is all encompassing--meaning Canadians and Mexicans,as well as the people that live in this country-- a context in which it is rarely used) is most definitely synonymous with "white." I further this conclusion by stating that one cannot be an American without being a full citizen of this country. To be a citizen requires that one has full protection under the law. As an Afro-American, and especially as an Afro-American male, this is not the case. Therefore, I am not a citizen ( ask Amadou Diallo's mother).

Alas, I will also state that I am an Afro-American. I am not an African American, for I have never been to Africa, was not born there, and I am not African. I am an Afro-American, because the essence of ME is from Africa- the legacy of my ancestry, is from Africa. The imprint of my skin is from Africa. I am also Afro-American because not only is my legacy from Africa, but my heritage is from here in this country-- we as a people are the bastard children of the White Power structure. There are virtually no people of color descended from American slaves that don't have white ancestry (and so called white people need to look down their family tree as well). And even more so than bloodlines, culturally, socially, economically, and politically-- we are the bastard children of the White Male Power structure in the United States.

Everything we have learned,and I do not intend to essentialize, everything we know, the entire context in which we live has been defined by the Great White Father. And before we are EVER to make any kind of progress, and before we are EVER to attain any kind of REAL footing, we will have to deal with that reality. We cannot return Africa, we cannot become kings and queens. Before we can fully come into our connection with the whole of the African Diaspora and really appreciate the richness of our African past, we must contend with what we have to deal with here in this country. We have to get our act together and try to figure out why we are still begging the power structure for that which we should already have. We have to deal with the fact of our powerlessness here in this country (yet we do have potential).

We need to look at examples of people's who have come into their full integrity, who accomplished self-attainment and were self-sufficient as a people. Dr. John Henrik Clarke told us we should study the example of the Japanese after World War II and look at the way in which they rose from their most terrible defeat. I also say we should look at the Irish, and how they rose from being "white niggers" to having John F. Kennedy elected president and being the powerbrokers of Chicago, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and other areas. We as a people have to deal with this. We are enslaved not only physically and politically, but also psychologically and at the very depths of our beings. We were taught from our earliest experiences here in this country to devalue our hair, our nose, our skin color, our bodies. We were made to love and to value European ideals and standards, to accept them and to operate under the living conditions offered up by them. This deserves and is in need of TOTAL ERADICATION. In order to preserve our lives and our legacies, we have to begin to understand, know, and appreciate ourselves.
I want to write about the connections between music and progressive politics....which was soo prevalent less than thirty years ago and is still here today--only on a smaller scale. Real connections that promoted dialoque and effected change--connections between the Isley Brothers and Nikki Giovanni, Aretha Franklin offering to bail Angela Davis out of jail, Harry Belafonte buying life insurance policies for Martin Luther King....

In the music of Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, the Temptations, the Isley Brothers, Aretha Franklin,Mavis Staples and the Staples Singers, and all of the Black Artists that were soo very prominent in the 1960s and 1970s, their music carried a message and spoke to the progressive voices of the poets, activists, and political figures that were outspoken and so very much heard and felt at that time. The summer fests in Chicago, which featured the Isleys, Earth, Wind, and Fire, Gladys Knight and the Pips, and others-- these festivals brought hordes of Black people together under one sun, under one stage and yes, it was the height of artistry and beautiful artistic expression, at the same time, it was also highly political--and sent messages of unity, self-love, self-appreciation, and spiritual,political, and soul force.

Music is always a part of any movement and helps to inspire the people. From Paul Robeson singing the Internationale over Moscow and spirituals over the US, to Mahalia Jackson and her friendship with Studs Terkel as well as lending her voice to the Civil Rights Movement, to James Brown and "Say it Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud," Aretha Franklin singing at Martin Luther King's Funeral, Nina Simone marching with Stokely Carmichael and Martin Luther King and castrating many a white man with her voice... "Alabama's got me so upset, Tennesee made me loose my rest, but everybody knows about Mississippi Goddamn!" This connection is crucial, is lifeblood and must continually be nurtured.

The Right has its own vehicles-- from Britanny Spears (trash) to Brooks and Dunn and stupid little Tobey Kieth person... but we who are concerned with humanity must make sure that ours doesnt continue to be eroded and silenced.... We have had connections with voices such as Public Enemy in the 90s, Rass Kass, and more recently, collaborations between Jill Scott and Sonia Sanchez, but these efforts are few and far between. We need to make sure that the music is there to inspire. The wealth of artistry and message has been deflated by attacks from the right and from the overbearing powers that be. We must eliminate that factor. Even today, I was listening to NPR as some right wing pundit reported that with the removal of the right to filibuster, the voices of dissent and of progress will naturally become compliant and silence their efforts towards letting their voices be heard. NEVER!!! As god as my witness as long as Aretha Franklin's voice is to be heard and as long as Black skin is to be seen on this continent the voice of progress will NEVER be silent!!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

God I miss Jazz and the music of the city.....

Sunday, May 15, 2005

John Coltrane was a magic man....I could live, die, everything off of that man and hus music....
I love June Jordan's laugh. I hate I will never hear her voice. She is the most beautiful person, full of integrity and strength.
Today, I carried Nikki into the ceremony with me (THat is Giovanni). She provided blessings and sacraments...... Nikki is my sister's name and Nikki is my sister.
I am surrounded by such wonderful people! Susan is incredible, wonderful, and most reassuring. I don't care if Im living on the street... I am totally blessed to be surrounded and given a guiding hand by such great people.