Saturday, April 26, 2008

Bell verdict rant: "This is no time to be cowards. This is no time to be scared" - Talib Kweli

As expected, in the wake of yet another controversial police shooting the black protest machinery is left spinning its strategic wheels.

First comes the emotional response.

At a rally, Bell's widowed fiancee, Nicole Paultre-Bell, told supporters, "They killed Sean all over again," with the not guilty verdict. Search on YouTube and you'll find dozens of video diaries with much of the same sentiment. There's nothing wrong with it, whether from Bell's family or community. We're human.

Even BET's depraved 106 & Park paused from the party and bullshit music videos to try and make sense of the Bell verdict. Allowing emcees such as Mos Def, Nas and Talib Kweli an unfiltered pulpit for the entire program was superb.

On 106 & Park, Kweli said:

"These cops wasn't white cops...they did they job well, and they job is to protect the business interest, to protect the property...the value of this man's life is not even taken into consideration...

We have to stand up for ourselves. We can't assume that the police is there for our benefit...but the police department as a whole, they job is to oppress black people, they job is to oppress poor people. We have to approach it for what it is. This is no time to be cowards. This is no time to be scared. A lot of people scared...and they have nothing out there in pop culture. nothing out there in mainstream to create a forum to even have these discussion...

We can't wait for corporations, whether it's BET or whoever to help us to decide what we're going to do in our own communities. "

It was such an overdose on substance and consciousness that a corporate disclaimer had to be flashed at the bottom: "The views expressed on this program do not necessarily reflect those of BET". Funny, I never see those before or after they play an interview with Usher or a video by Souljah Boy. Either those items are absent of a message or BET is in agreement with them.

My emotional response:

What's wrong is that we don't say openly that consciousness is better than partying. Yes, I'm an elitist who believes reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X or listening to The Coup's Pick a Bigger Weapon is better than reading "Every Woman Needs a Thug" or listening to Young Jeezy.

What's wrong is that we haven't trained our people with a nationally recognized strategy at the grassroots to combat police brutality. We haven't supported organizations, such as the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement.

What's wrong is that we haven't supported artists in music, visual or performing arts that have a message. We love ignorant niggers who rap about guns, drugs, sexual abuse and trappings with baseless values of entertainment underneath. And white suburbia loves them even more! So corporate America will sponsor them with billions.

What's wrong is that we haven't tied the black vote to an urban policy agenda that address police brutality, crime prevention, drug rehabilitation, public education, and the prison industrial complex. We'll vote for Barack --- will he vote for us?

What's wrong is telling our best and brightest to "dumb it down". No, you ignorant bitch! Smarten up. Stop buying all them goddamn shoes, take off all that make-up and be conscious.

What's wrong is that we have our best equipped, best prepared minds in higher education graduating who use their energy and talents to create ring-tones, audition for music videos, promote parties, buy drinks, and organize fashion shows. If this is you, you're a waste! Someone else could've used that degree, asshole.

But fuck it, back to Sexy Can I, by Ray-J!