There is a saying, “One step forward, three back.” It seems as if the African American community is about to do this very thing. The bizarre part about African Americans doing this is that they have done it before over the same issue. The issue is the movie Super Fly. In the early 70’s African Americans were still angry from the 1960’s and were poised to do something about their plight in the USA. Hollywood released Super Fly and everything changed. After the powerful African American response to Black Panther Hollywood is attempting to do the same in 2018. The question is, “Will the African American community fall for the foolishness?”
The original Sig Shore production of Super Fly was a masterpiece. Critics will bash the impact on the community but Super Fly was just plain cool. Ron O’Neal’s portrayal of Priest in the movie was a masterpiece of acting. The sound score done by Curtis Mayfield was brilliant. The acting, writing and music are what made Super Fly so devastating to the African American community. I once heard a man say, “Black men went into the movie theaters to see Super Fly with Afros and came out with perms.” This statement sums up the impact of the movie on the African American community.
I have listened to the Super Fly soundtrack. The song No Thing On Me is a powerful attack on drug use. The lyrics tell people to enjoy a natural high so you can see things as they are. No Thing on Me should be an anthem used today to get people of all races to kick drug habits. There are good points about the original Super Fly but they are outweighed by the negative cultural impact. Super Fly made the hustling and drug scene look wonderful. In the words of Christian motivational speaker Ruby Wray, a woman who lived during the release of the original Super Fly, “Almost every black man I knew wanted to be like Priest. Even those who didn’t look like him, Ron O’Neal, tried to be him.” The after effects of Super Fly on the African American community were and are obvious. Progress on a social level stopped and it took almost a decade to shake off the cultural impact of Super Fly.
Are African Americans going to fall for the Okie Doke again? Black Panther had African Americans on call. Many people started wearing African clothes again. Some African American females let go of hair weave and are growing their hair natural. It seems as if the African American community may be waking up. Will this shaking off of sleep be disrupted by a knockoff of an original, almost fatal blow? Will the African American community allow Hollywood to send them back to sleep, possibly for the final time?
The 2018 Super Fly screenplay was written by Alex Tse and directed by Director X. Tse is Chinese and X was born and raised in Canada. Why would these two people have the African American communities best interest in mind? How can these two people know what it is to be African American or know how African Americans think? Yes X looks black and has directed music videos. Whoopee. If you look at any modern music video there is a high chance that it reeks of crass materialism. Materialism is what has driven the African American community insane. How can a Chinese man know how black people feel or think? It would be like me trying to write a movie about the Chinese Triads. This has me asking, “Why now, and why at all?” The previous questions are ones all African Americans should be asking.
There is a chance that African Americans will go see the 2018 Super Fly and come out conscious about the society they live in. There is a greater chance African Americans will go into the theater and be enthralled into oblivion by the cars, women and black men chasing the mythical “Big Score.” I will go on record stating: If the African American community goes back to sleep it will be for good.
It has been 50 years since Martin Luther King Jr. Was gunned down. Fifty long years since King was blasted from life on a balcony outside of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN. The years have gone by in a blur for many. Forgetfulness has made King and the Civil Rights Movement a small blurb in history. One has to wonder if the African American community has not wasted King’s sacrifice?
King went to Memphis to help the sanitation workers in their quest for better conditions on the job. This was one of the many times King became the focal point to bring light to an issue. Sadly it was to be the last time King would walk the planet breathing. On April 4, 1968 King was assassinated and in many cases the dream he had died with him. Since that day African Americans have become more confused than any previous time in the USA since slavery.
When King died the masses of African American people went back to sleep. King’s death became a beacon/ warning to African Americans to follow the status quo while waiting for change. Many people stepped in to take charge of the leadership void King’s death left. From Jessie Jackson to Al Sharpton men tried to fill the shoes King left vacated. To see the results one only has to look at the news or go into the African American community to realize the level of failure.
In 2018 the African American community is still facing the same problems it faced in 1968. The biggest difference is without a King like leader people don’t have the leadership to get things changed. This is why you see the same time-worn strategies being used in 2018 from 1968. When King and others marched it was the final use for marches as a method of change. The culmination of the march was the big march on Washington where King electrified the world with his oratory. Every march since then has been in futility. Yet whenever there is a problem African Americans hold a march.
King was a master orator. People listen to his speeches in 2018 and get tears in their eyes. Every leader since has attempted to use his words to motivate the African American masses. All these King impersonators have done is create a ball of confusion in the African American community. The divide created from differing viewpoints has kept the chasm of disunity in the African American community growing. Oddly enough these so-called African American leaders have more fame than King could ever imagine. Al Sharpton is a fixture on television and Jessie Jackson ran for president. Yet the African American people still suffer.
King was the standard for ministers in the African American community. In 2018 many African American people still look to the minister to speak for them. All this has created is mega churches with very wealthy ministers. Three years ago Creflo Dollar was worth a cool 27 million. We’ll let that sink in. Do you think someone who is making this kind of money wants things to change in the USA? Is it possible that it is time for African Americans to look elsewhere for leadership than the pulpit?
King may have his detractors but he died for what he believed in. Was his non-violence concept foolish? Who knows? One thing is for certain; African Americans did not utilize the sacrifice King made to the maximum extent. The schools are filled with African American students who refuse to learn. African American people push drugs and kill one another at an alarming rate. African Americans are still begging for crumbs at every other races table.
There have been celebrations marking the 50th Anniversary of King’s Death. People of all cultures celebrate King’s death. Sadly the African American community continues to dishonor King’s life. I wonder how King would feel about the way the African American community has honored his sacrifice?
As the year 2017 comes to a close, we at ESHE Magazine would like to pay homage to the late Dick Gregory. Dick Gregory passed away on August 17, 2017 but the words and ideals which he left the world remain forever. A legacy created by being a pioneer laid the blueprint for those seeking righteousness in all aspects of the world. Dick Gregory broke ground in the world of comedy essentially demanding equality for himself on the stages which he performed and the television shows which he appeared on. The time period of the 1960s was a time where racial inequality, social injustices and poverty deeply affected the landscape of Black America. Gregory literally put his life on the line in many marches and protests across the south; marching on the front lines with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Harry Belafonte to combat racism, Gregory was jailed counteless times. In addition to fighting for racial equality, Gregory was an activist for peace during wars (Vietnam being the first) that took place during his life by not only speaking against these wars but also by going on hunger strikes in efforts to not only bring attention to these problems but to bring forth a resolution. Gregory has been side by side with many of the great black men of the last century; Muhammad Ali, Dr. King, Malcolm X and Bob Marley to name a select few.
The one thing these men all had in common was the heart for fairness, the heart for justice. The words of wisdom given by Gregory and his infinite knowledge that he shared with the world is what will allow his legacy to live on forever. In the words of Mr. Gregory, “information is power” and the information is available for all who seek it. Thank you for your life, thank you for your contributions and most importantly thank you for your warrior spirit Mr. Gregory.
By David Jordan Jr
So amazing how the power of the dollar is not necessarily determined by who has it but by who spends it and how it’s spent. Financial power and financial stability in the United States of America has had domino effect on the makeup of not only the country as a whole but on the ideologies and preconceived notions about individuals and groups of people. The very first step of the black person on North American soil spearheaded the value of what would eventually become US Currency. First as property (slaves), the value of the black person to economic growth in the United States of America is priceless. As slaves black people cultivated the land and built structures with their hands which would eventually become the trade centers of American commerce. Emancipation gave the newly freed black people the opportunity to earn their own money and create businesses for themselves. The opportunity to build with their own money provided black people with an avenue to be self sufficient in a racist, segregated society; the oppressors eventually saw this as an opportunity to reclaim the property which they lost by the ending of slavery, the black dollar. “The Secret of Selling the Negro Market” is a 1954 film financed by Johnson Publishing Company which essentially told white businesses and corporations how to get black people to spend money with their establishments. Their is a strange irony in the fact that Johnson Publishing Company (A black owned corporation) would produce a film to encourage black people to spend money with white businesses and corporations during a time when blacks in many places in the country weren’t allowed to shop or eat due to segregation and Jim Crow Laws. The film came out in 1954 prior to the birth of the Civil Rights Movement; it could open up many different conversations about it’s role in many different areas going forward. Blacks during this time period either were extremely proud of their own self sufficiency or craved acceptance and validation from white people. Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Marcus Garvey and W.E.B. Dubois were all proponents of black businesses and blacks spending their money where they were truly respected and valued as customers. This film, though produced in 1954 expresses the same message that many blacks feel today; a need to be valued by businesses that only want their money. This question needs to be asked; how can you spend money with a company or corporation that doesn’t value you or even represent you in it’s marketing or advertising? Watch the short film “The Secret Of Selling the Negro Market” and share your thoughts.
Big Baller Brand. BBB. The Ball Brothers. The Ball Family. There is an old adage that says in order to do big things you have to first visualize yourself doing big things. The path always taken is not always the right path. There are many different ways to get to an intended destination. Lavar Ball has had a vision for his sons every since they were old enough to hold a basketball and understand that the game of basketball is something that they wanted to do with their lives. Love Mr. Ball or hate him, you must respect him for number one, his love and belief in his sons ability to play the game of basketball and number two his frame of mind to own rather than be owned.
Lavar’s three sons Lonzo, LaMelo and LiAngelo have all made waves in recent years through their on court exploits in Chino Hills, California. Through the AAU circuit playing ball for their father and by also playing collectively at Chino Hills High School, each Ball brother has created their unique intrigue for the media, analysts and fans to become enamored and consumed with in today’s world of basketball. Lavar Ball has not only sought to making sure his kids are in a position to be successful on the basketball court; he has fully embraced the opportunity to create a platform for success off the court with the creation and launching of the Big Baller Brand. Lonzo Ball, the oldest of the Ball brothers recently completed his one and only season of collegiate basketball at UCLA before deciding to take his talents to the NBA. A sure lottery pick, the opportunity to turn pro is essentially what Lonzo has worked for his entire life and what Lavar has primed him for as not only a coach, but a father. Anytime a player declares for the draft, particularly the NBA Draft, a multitude of opportunities comes his way. Endorsement opportunities from all walks of life present themselves to the next potential NBA superstar. The one constant in recent years has been the signature shoe deal for NBA Draftees. The shoes companies which have consistently been involved with professional basketball over the years (Nike, Reebok, Converse, Adidas and most recently Under Armour) have had a stranglehold over the top talents which have entered the Association. The magic of Lavar Ball is that he totally understood the value which his son(s) not only would have to one of the aforementioned shoe companies but he also understood the value each of them could potentially have to themselves. Enter Big Baller Brand. NEVER has there been a player in any sport that entered the professional ranks with their own brand of athletic shoes and athletic apparel. The greatest athletes of all time which have had their own signature shoe had the rights of their shoe owned by a corporation which dictated essentially everything pertaining to the shoe. Sure some input was allowed from the athlete but in most cases a design team was put in place to put together the shoe, the marketing plan for the shoe and most importantly the price of the shoe. Lavar Ball has to be celebrated for the fact that he understands the dynamics which factor into the shoe game and how corporations marginalize the person which has the signature shoe while maximizing the profit that comes from that same shoe.The Ball brothers and their father Lavar have been the victims of extreme ridicule and hate for being visionaries and game changers with ambitions as they have launched their own athletic brand. There are no rules which says a person has to follow the norm; conformity is what hinders not only people but ideas and in the world of business ideas and growth it is what creates dollars and cents.
Lonzo Ball is a potential top three pick in the 2017 NBA Draft and with that stamp shoe companies began clamoring after his signature once he declared for the draft. The genius of Lavar coupled with the design of the “ZO2” by Lonzo shook the entire shoe world; this happened because many looked at them as “How dare they create something on their own and not do what everybody else is doing” and then the price tag of $495.00 also created other discussions amongst people. So many people have been quick to say “he hasn’t proven himself” and that the price is “ridiculous” but the real question is who are these people to make these statements? So many people in the world (particularly the United States of America) get so caught up in labels and what everybody else is buying, wearing and driving that they are easily influenced and see nothing else. The fact that a black man has the mind and ability to go his own route in an industry as crazed as the athletic shoe industry has infuriated so many individuals. There have been countless journalists and reporters in the media that have not simply made judgements and remarks about Lavar’s Big Baller Brand, but have made personal attacks on Lavar, his family and how he parents his kids. The personal attacks on Lavar are totally unfair, yet they are not uncommon when it comes to black parents which have played a major role in their child’s development as an athlete. Richard Williams, the father of tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams encountered much of the same resentment and backlash nearly twenty years ago for being a vocal father and having such a strong belief in his daughters and their athletic abilities.
Lavar has taken things a step farther with the creation of an athletic line, totally disregarding what other think he should do by pursing and financing his own corporation. The investment in one’s self will determine the potential return; Nike invested $90 Million dollars in Lebron before he stepped foot on a NBA court and in the years since he signed with them has made billions of dollars in profit off of his signature to endorse the Nike brand. The money invested by the Ball family into themselves has the potential for endless financial returns.
I applaud Lavar Ball for being a trendsetter within an industry which has had total control over the athletes which have propelled it to astronomical levels with not only notoriety, but also financially. The price tag of the ZO2 is what many claim to be dissatisfied about but the anger and resentment is deeper; the majority of people are upset that the Ball Family has chosen their own “LANE” to achieve success.
In the election year of 1964, Malcolm X spoke about voting and how black Americans should use their ability to think for themselves and their right to vote to make a well informed decision that would benefit themselves and their community. Words that Malcolm X spoke in 1964 are still relevant today as we are here on another Election Day in America. Be Smart. Be Informed. Be Aware. Listen to his speech “The Ballot Or The Bullet” Here:
By David Jordan Jr
San Francisco 49ers star quarterback Colin Kaepernick has recently been the subject of disapproval by “Patriotic” Americans due to his stance on the United States Of America national anthem and his protest of the treatment and oppression of black Americans in this country. A silent protest of simply not standing during the playing/singing of the national anthem before the start of his games has caused the loudest and most obscure reactions by so many Americans that claim to be for justice and righteous of all people in this country. Colin’s stance is deeper than football, deeper than unjustified killings of blacks by police officers in America; Kaepernick’s stance is to reiterate the fact that the liberties and things celebrated in the national anthem were not originally written with the interest of black people’s inclusion in this nation. Black people were considered three fifths of a person in this country at the time the Star Spangled Banner was written; not a complete human being that mattered for anything else besides picking cotton and tobacco. The people (both black and white) that consider Kaepernick’s stand to be unpatriotic must acknowledge the facts in his protest; all of the statistics in regard to black Americans in this country are pretty accurate and in the grand scheme of things, living conditions for the majority of black Americans in this country are below average. An examination of economics and the judicial system points out the obvious and biased flaws that populate the day to day lives of black Americans. Many people feel that Kaepernick should just shut up and play football or in other words “Run Nigger Run and be grateful for the millions you make playing a game.” Critics say that there is a different way for him to protest and that the football field is not the place for him to protest. My question to those critics is where is the right place for him to protest and how should he protest? Considering his 1st Amendment right, he has the liberty to protest and express his views. The Klu Klux Klan, an organization that is based strictly on hate and has a explosive history of terrorizing and murdering blacks in this country, doesn’t receive the same criticism; they are readily accepted.
Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney is the most recent person to chastise Mr. Kaepernick and his decision to not honor an anthem that does not address him. As with any citizen in this country, Swinney has the right to express his opinion, but his opinion is very well misinformed and uneducated. In his criticizing of the 49ers quarterback, Swinney used the card that a lot of white people tend to use when it comes to addressing racism and how racism should be addressed in this country; he pulled the MLK card. During his speaking to the press, Swinney quoted Martin Luther King Jr and stated how he was such a great man of non violence and how he changed the world. What Swinney did not acknowledge was the fact that MLK was the most hated man in America when he was alive and that MLK was killed by the America which in 2016 celebrates his life. MLK stood for nonviolence, yet it was violence that stemmed from hate of him being a strong black man fighting for civil and human rights as a black man in a racist country that ended his life in Memphis,TN. Swinney along with many others tend to use MLK as the poster boy for how black people should go about seeking racial equality and justice, neglecting the fact that he was not the only person to seek justice and human rights for black citizens in the United States of America. Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and the Black Panthers are just a few of the many other black people and organizations that have sought equality for blacks in a variety of ways, yet were all met with violence in their peaceful demonstrations and resourceful endeavors. The aforementioned people were alive in this country a little over fifty short years ago, speaking about the same lack of liberties and injustices plaguing black people that still exist today. This fact is why there is a supreme value in Kaepernick’s stance. In 1996, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf took a similar stance in regard to the national Anthem as he opted to not be present (and then eventually praying through the anthem) during it’s singing/playing because the practices of the country and acts of violence and injustices did not align with his Islamic faith and his practices of peace. Abdul-Rauf was vilified for his beliefs and heavily criticized, being called unpatriotic among nicer things.
As Swinney continued his rant on why Kaepernick was wrong, he began speaking about the advancements of black people; he spoke of there being a black president, black quarterbacks and black coaches in the NFL, black CEOs and black NBA owners. Yes there are blacks that hold those positions in those respective fields Coach Swinney, but the number of them can be counted on all of our fingers and toes. Racism is just as prominent as it’s ever been in America Coach Swinney. If you can point to certain blacks holding certain positions and can count them that is not advancement; that is simply INCLUSION. The fact that you have to put your race on a job application negates any statement about equality and advancement in race relations in America. Why should I have to tell my potential employer that I am a black man/woman to be considered for a job if I have the needed education, experience and job qualifications for the position? I can’t count the number of white owners in professional sports in America but I can count the number of black owners in professional sports. Is this advancement? Rewind a few months ago to the Super Bowl and Carolina Panthers star Cam Newton was lynched by the media for celebrating on field success in the same media that has publicly lynched Colin Kaepernick for speaking his mind on the treatment of blacks. Why would Kaepernick hold a press conference so that his words can be reduced into sound bites that cater to a bigger agenda and cause even greater division that you say his protest is creating? Coach Swinney, you speak of a two term African American President being a dream for Martin Luther King Jr, but do you think MLK would be applauding the fact that President Barack Obama is the most disrepected President in the history of the United States? Coach Swinney you are correct in acknowledging the things that have transpired in this country over the years, but your viewpoint is extremely shallow in the fact that you are seemingly ignoring the problems which still exist in so many areas for black people in this country. Colin Kaepernick’s stand may be dividing in your eyes, but nonetheless his stance is creating another discussion that may one day create an avenue for change.
It’s the time of year where everyone has a reason to forget the problems of the world. You can ignore the Presidential race and the racism in the USA. Protests and marches can be put on pause for the next six months. August is the prelude to September and September means football.
I can see the smiles on American faces at the mention of the word football. Football is without a doubt the American game. Baseball may be the game of history, but football is the game of today. Football is dominant in American culture and practice starts in August.
Football will soon begin to consume a major portion of the evening newscast. If your city has a NFL team, chances are the lead off story will be about that team. If your city has a NFL team and a successful college team nearby, the newscast will be a sportscast. This is the power of football in the USA. People will still pay attention to the political scene but they will do so with a divided eye.
There are pundits who believe that football should be banned. The concussion issues that plague football players are well documented. This event will probably never take place. Can you imagine a Saturday afternoon without college football on television? I won’t even task your brain to try to imagine a Sunday without the NFL. No matter the health risk it poses, football generates billions of dollars. The social aspect of the USA without football would be incomplete.
Footballs exhibit of power and brutality appeals to the masses. People love to see their favorite gladiators go at it every weekend. Whether it is on a high school or pro level, people love football. Football has become the number one pastime for the American public. With the political and social scenes in turmoil, football is needed more than ever in the USA.
Football can pull together people of all races for 60 minutes. The white racist will cheer the black running back for his favorite team. The black person who hates whites will root for the white quarterback of their favorite team. During a football game the issue of race takes a back seat in people’s minds. The desire to see ones team win becomes the dominant thought process. Race may affect the officiating, but the fans usually are on the same page. Maybe the USA can learn from this?
If people of all ethnic backgrounds can come together and agree to be Packer fans why not agree on social issues? All races of people attend football games on every level. This is especially true for big colleges and the NFL. The home fans are united in the agreement that they want the home team to win. Why not feel the same way about the human race? If people can pull together to cheer Notre Dame, I’m sure they can pull together to ensure the well being of all citizens.
With the sad state of affairs in the USA today football is a blessing. It will give people a chance to safely funnel their energy into a game for release. It is better to have people ranting at television screens than police in the streets. Lord knows it is better to see Deion Sanders clowning on television than Al Sharpton the clown.
Football season is here. Fans of teams in the AFC West and the ACC should worry. The Oakland Raiders and Miami Hurricanes are returning to dominance. As they say, it’s payback time. There is one thing everyone will agree upon. Football is one avenue where black lives matter.
By Frank James IV
People see things the way they want to see them. This statement is true when applied to the way African American see their children. The problem is other races don’t share the African American viewpoint of African American youth. Other races in the USA have begun to view African American youth negatively. Meanwhile African Americans look upon their youth with rose-colored glasses.
Children are supposed to be innocent and gifts from the gods. In the African American community children are changing from innocent gifts to something else. In the USA children of all races have image issues. The group that gains the most attention is African American youth. It’s time for African Americans to address the image problem before some other faction does.
The rose colored glasses that African Americans view their youth are thick and welded onto their faces. Ask any teacher about interactions with blinded African American parents and you will hear the tales. African American parents often see their children in a way that is a lie at best. Unless parents open their eyes the killing and exploitation of African American youth will continue.
In the USA a teenage African American male has menacing image. One reason is all ages of African American males identify with the thug persona. The wholesome, innocent male teen image left the African American community decades ago. The urban wear that many African American males flock to says one thing to other races, “I’m a menace.” African American parents support this image by buying their male children this type of clothing.
The African American female child is in a similar situation. For years society has labeled African American females as lust driven fiends. It seems that in 2016 African American parents want to make sure this image sticks. Barrettes and pony- tails have been replaced by colored weave. African American middle school girls normally dress like grown women and wear make up. Why does this take place? African American parents purchase the items that enable young African American females to do this.
This leads us to today’s society and it’s view of African American youth. African American males often roam the streets in packs reeking of menace. Would you want to run into a group of young African American males on a lonely street at night? How many times you have seen a young African American female and felt she looked too grown. African Americans have to ask these types of questions and be honest in their answer.
The African American parent has to see the youth as they are not as they wish them to be.
African Americans have to take control and shape their children’s image. If African Americans keep lying to themselves about their youth the killing and exploitation will continue.
For too long African Americans have blamed others for their lack of perceptiveness. This unrealistic image African Americans have of their youth is ruining today and killing the future. African American parents need to unplug the television, log off Facebook and look at their children. You have to put something into a thing to get something out. It’s time for African American parents to put more into their children besides sports and birth control.
If African Americans don’t change their perception of African American youth the rose-colored glasses with become black shades of mourning.