Sunday, June 28, 2009

King to Obama: The Black Male Experience?

Let me first to admit that I am cynical and over opinionated. As much as people believe that I'm very positive and optimistic and I am, I rarely believe things are as simple as it seems or appears so as I viewed the documentary by Tavis Smiley, "The Stand", it was not from an objective view. I brought with me my understanding of Tavis' personal history and journey to success, his world view, and his recent "troubles" with Obama and Tom Joyner. Is this fair? (shrug) But I wanted to preface my review of the documentary so you know I went in LOOKING and listening with a highly critical EAR. I also kept in mind this was suppose to be a look at the 40 years from King to Obama.

Historical Context
The one thing I did like about the documentary was its historical context. I think the documentary provides and inside look at Martin Luther King and his humanity. It lets us remember the struggle of the movement 40 years go and the fortitude it took to overcome each day. So yes, show your children the documentary. It does allow the world to view intelligent black men who have a world view, who have understood the importance of education and our historical importance of the past, present, and future. Kudos.

Community includes Diverse Thought
As Tavis introduce each of the men who were to participate on this road trip, he let us know these were his friends, his boys. We understood there would some instant familiarity with each participant but does this get you to your outcome? This was the intended outcome:

"Smiley and friends explore the diversity and complexity of the Black male experience in America past, present and future."

hmmmm.....diversity and complexity of the Black Male Experience?

So who are these Black Males:

Tavis Smiley, Dick Gregory, Eric Michael Dyson, Cornel West, Cliff West, Eddie Glaude, BeBe Winans, Wren T. Brown, Daron Boyce, Robert Smith and Raymond Ross.

Is this a diverse group?

I'd say no. Yes, Eric Michael Dyson and Cornel West can speak on anything BUT is that really bringing in diversity to the Black Male Experience. As much as I can appreciate seeing very well EDUCATED Black men, intellect isn't always attached to a degree where was the Obama generation (Generation X and the Milliennials). Eddie Glaude, was a spectator and the two young men were there to witness this historic event. And even at 44, Tavis gravitates towards the "old way". His use of term "negroes" sounds dated.

So how can you go from King to Obama without truly looking at the MTV/Hip Hop generation, have them actively participate in this discussion to represent a varied point of view on the Black Male Experience. I would say, this wasn't Tavis' true intent. It was just a very specific slice of the experience with "negroes" he was comfortable with and could agree with.

Please note: I respect and adore all of the men in the film. I'm just looking at the intended outcome. The Black Male Experience is diverse. We have Black male intellectuals who could have truly represented the Obama generation. I could say more but.....

The Black Church and Christianity
I am a Christian. I love Yeshua. Ok.

The Black Church in 2009 has no influence on public policy, social issues, education, etc as it did 40 years ago. We have to stop thinking that it does. It doesn't because its focus turned inward. It is no longer about the store front but about the MEGA church. Its no longer about the community where it resides but the community within its walls. I know this from working in social service and calling churches for assistance with people from their community. Membership required.

Also, it was the INTENT to me to leave out the Muslim experience and to push a Christian agenda. Remember, I love Yeshua but I also can see between the lines. Eddie Glaude's admitting that he now believes in a god because he listened to a Christian song actually made me go...."Oh brother". Editing is a trip. I'm like Tavis, remember what your outcome is with this film, the Black Male Experience. That experience hasn't been totally in the Black Church. It has been in Mosques and NOI meetings as well. Showing clips of each man, "teaching" (more like preaching) in a black church was very intentional but exclusionary. This isn't the total experience but a slice.

Was the Black Church important to the civil rights movement? YES. VERY Important. Is it important to the civil rights movement of today? NO. Why? Because it doesn't want to be.

"Thou protesteth too much"
We know of Tavis' issues with Obama and its made clear, to me anyway, in this film and in his remarks afterwards. He's still trying to convince us that he likes Barrack but he's just holding him accountable. Ok Tavis. :/

There was a definite negative Obama vibe to this documentary. This notion of holding Obama accountable is interesting. NEVER have I heard so much about accountability until now. Is this a case of "I don't wanna look like I'm being soft on a brotha"? Yes, Tavis has criticize the Bush administration but what about accountability? (shrug) Seems interesting. He has to give it up. Stop overly explaining why you say what you say about Obama. I wholeheartedly agree that we need to hold Barack accountable as President of the US. We must criticize him when he fails to do as he's promised. Unfortunately, Tavis' message of accountability is clouded.

Three things that I noticed at the session afterward the viewing:
  1. Tavis criticized Barack's lack of a stance on the underserved and poor. He criticized Obama's simplified response as he put it. So when a woman stands up to address her issues with the educational system and even on some level the black bourgeoisiebut mentioning she read Tavis' book, "The Covenant with Black America", Tavis, in my opinion, pitched his books and didn't not fully take on the issue that the woman was making. The woman was in tears speaking on how the system had "lynched" her son.
  2. He also used the opportunity to demonstrate how the last book regarding accountability was already in the works so it wasn't about Obama.

I thought it also interesting how there was issue with Obama for addressing Black Fatherhood. To be honest, that's another blog altogether. I truly believe Black single mothers have NO issue with Barack's message to Black men. Accountability goes both ways.

I could go on and on especially about the black middle class and our own classism.

At the end of the day, I recommend anyone to watch it. I do believe most people will love it. I think because I've been in the community, I know this film really won't change anything. Its educational entertainment.

My rant has ended for now.......

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Joseph Jackson
"Man in the Mirror"

There really are no words. I loved him and his brothers all of my life. I memorized their names and birthdays when I was a child. We all giggled about who was the cutest Jackson brother. They were all talented but Michael was magical. God chose him for this purpose and unfortunately, Michael was a victim of his own success, sometimes by choice and sometimes by circumstance. It really isn't about his morphed face, his wigs, or his skin but he music. Michael had an appreciation for beauty and for other artists talent. He made music that changed us. My dear sweet Michael, I will miss you so. You can rest. No more of this world's pressure to be the "King of Pop". I pray your soul was ready. I am proud to say that I am a Michael Jackson Fan.
Good-bye Michael. I hope to see you one day in eternity.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Rings of fire
the openings of your soul
you look at me and its as if
i feel one finger
two and three
moving across my chocolaty
brown skin
your crown
matching mine
a queen
to your king
and I smile
flames of peace
in every hug
you whisper blessings
from the ancestors
the Presence of God
watching you stand by my side
Rings of fire
windows to your soul
a smile of secrets
we have yet to make
I am a queen
to your king

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Rhonda L. Bayless ☥ is as the first day of creation, beautiful and pure. I am the day of after a morning's rain, cleansed and renewed. I am the moment you knew your heart was full of love and when you knew you didn't need it in return. I am as the Sun, the Moon, the Stars, the Universe, perfectly placed, full of mystery and knowledge. This is me. Who are you?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Time to step up

I've been working with a wellness coach and it has been a journey. I'm learning about myself and what I really need to do.

Even though you have the KNOWLEDGE, life has put of roadblocks to being wise and applying that knowledge to your life.

I've had to look at my body image issue very closely. Its dangerous for my psyche. Its planted in control, fertilized in lies, and loved in BS. At the end, here comes Bulimia. It rolls off the tongue like its some weird yet exotic name. (I'm hoping no child is named Bulimia). I've cultivated this side of me. I've nurtured it, supported it, excused it, and even believed in it. Nuts right? Not really. I'm human. The important thing is to start the weeding process and face it.

I completely appreciate Delana (the wellness coach). She is hardcore and yet loving. She wants to see you enlightenment and moving forward. Keep it moving! She holds me accountable and that's all most of this is about in some odd way. Its about the dance between letting go of control and yet embracing discipline. If you're confused by that, I'll explain later.

I gained 25lbs in 2008 partially due to back issues. My goal is to lose 40lbs.

I will take this journey publicly. I will blog on both sites (my own blog and CWUWs). I will document the ups and downs of this journey because we all need to see that it can be done even if you're operating with a psychosis like Bulimia. I will walk the talk.

Are you ready? Lets go!!

I'll provide info for Delana's business in upcoming blogs.

Respectable Neglect

Its been a minute when I felt the need to hear the dial tone. I generally hang in for the ride, the bullshit conversation, the attempt at debate but this was just too much for my sensibilities to handle.

I should have known when he first said that Black women never experience sexism that I should lose his number but I was up for debate. I had to remind him that even in the black community under jim crow, a black husband could beat the crap out of his wife. Police would do nothing. I had to remind him that even though state loopholes and clauses kept black men from voting, they technically had the right to vote before black women.
When I mentioned the control, he quickly said, "Black men have no power so they can't 'control' black women therefore there is no sexism". I asked him if he ever heard of the saying, "Everyone has their nigger". I had to explain that we ALL exert some form of power over whatever situation we are in.

He then said that he hates that black women try to use "the strippe"r as a means to prove sexism in the community. He stated that its a "legitimate way to make money for black women". I asked if he would complain if the local strip club came to your daughters' school on career day. He said, "Hell naw!" :/ I asked why not. He got quiet. Its a legitimate way for black women to make money so why are you daughters above making money by shaking their asses? So we've reduced our sisters to stripping? No sexism there. (I know strippers. I know prostitutes. There is a power play in the sex industry that is abusive. Seen both sides.)

I just shook my head but I continued to take with this dude.

The final straw when he told me that children need to RESPECT and HONOR a parent who has neglected them all of their lives. He even quoted the bible. :/ "Honor thy Mother and thy Father". I simply said and God also said don't be a fool either.
This dude went on a roll about no matter the situation a children MUST respect the neglectful parent. I said...neglect is abuse so you're saying a child MUST respect an abusive parent. His reply, "YES!" That parent DESERVES the respect of that child because they share the same blood.

I said ok, enough.