Look, I won’t attempt to beat what should be an obvious dead horse, but I will offer my two cents on the nonsense. While Beyoncé is not responsible for this debate, she has definitely brought about the resurgence of the conversation. A conversation that still baffles me is even taking place. It might be 2016, but some things apparently never get old.
Black Power, Black Lives matter, and similar pro-black sentiments, have never been created with an anti-white premise. They were created as an expression for black men and women to embrace and rally behind in the face of injustice and inequity. Injustice and inequity subtly, and sometimes overtly, perpetuated by the governing authorities of a given place and time in the U.S. When black lives were trampled, overlooked, and lost, it was movements sparked by the chants of “Black Power,” that showed this country and the world, that people of color are united in our demand for something better. That the unfortunate accepted norms, were no longer tolerable. And that our voices will be heard and change must be imminent.
The fact black men and women are being gunned down, choked, and killed, makes the black community’s call for justice today, urgent and necessary. So I thank Beyoncé for using her gifts, and arguably the biggest platform in America, to bring forth a celebration of blackness, and a melodic war cry for equality and communal preservation. We can’t afford not one more Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, or Sandra Bland. Until members of the conservative, and all together naive white establishment realizes there is a bigger issue at play here than their hurt feelings and bruised egos, those individuals will always be distractions and hindrances to necessary change. Because whether I say “black lives matter” or “all lives matter,” the fact remains that black people are the ones that are dying at the hands of police in incomparable numbers. Statistics speak for themselves.
To be honest, it is pure stupidity to think that black community empowerment is calling for a hatred of whites. Do pro-American sentiments equate to anti-European or anti-Asian hate? No, it equates to pride. And taking pride in your identity is not something people of color should be criticized for. It’s ridiculous. For those whites that somehow feel excluded by “Black Lives Matter,” then they should also tell the police that they feel excluded when they aren’t being pulled over, profiled, and beaten. You must see the absurdity here.
On another note, let’s not forget that Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his followers of the 50s and 60s, did not achieve civil rights for minorities in this country all by themselves. The revolutionary efforts of The Black Panther Party and the deemed “radical” ideas of Malcolm X, also played a major role in the progression story of colored people. No matter how threatening the idea of the Black Panther Party was perceived to be to the establishment powers at work, the party’s toil is appreciated by the likes of me. I’m appreciative that individuals were brave and righteous in their assertiveness for social justice. Heck, I proudly stand on the legacy of Huey P. Newton and Stokely Carmichael, along with Dr. King, Rosa Parks, Harry Belafonte, W.E.B. Dubois, and others that came before me. It’s clear Beyoncé shares in my gratitude, so why penalize her?
Now I’m aware the Black Panther Party promoted the arming of citizens to protect themselves. But had police of the time not made it standard practice to disrespect and abuse the black diaspora, a community would not have felt the need to arm themselves as a means of survival. (By the way, the right to bear arms is a second amendment that the NRA and many across the nation continue to defend, regardless of the peril guns cause.) But self-defense from police brutality was one point the party promoted. For those quick to demonize the Black Panther Party and make gross assumptions about what the organization stood for, do some homework and enlighten yourselves. (Black Panther’s Ten-Point Program)
And for those cops that feel offended by Black Lives Matter, and Beyoncé’s Super Bowl performance of “Formation”, try doing things that breed an agency culture where racially motivated abuse becomes a thing of the past, and bettering police/community relations are a thing of the near future. If everything was on the up and up with policing agencies, then entertainers and protesters wouldn’t feel the need to criticize them. While I commend and thank the officers out here doing what they are supposed to, it makes me cringe thinking about all the bad seeds protected by a badge. Oh, and what does Beyoncé look like going on national television and telling people to become weaponized and start a violent war against the police officers? Honestly? Think people. Just pure nonsense. The gazelle doesn’t become the predator of the lion.
Philosopher George Santayana once said, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Let those words mean something to all that read this. As a collective society, let’s get past the semantics of wording, and the egotistical over analysis of music performances, and tune into the real problem at hand. Lives are being lost in a repetitive racial and cultural divide, that is the entire U.S.’s issue. It’s about time that we took REAL and LASTING steps that prevent the need for social unrest every 20 years. So say it with me. “No more Bloody Sundays!” “No more Rodney Kings!” And “No more Sandra Blands!”
Lastly, I’ll leave you all with this. Change in this country has NEVER been achieved by the docile mind and the quiet tongue. And you can look beyond black history for the evidence. While real change doesn’t require that a violent insurrection occur, it does require a revolution. I think cofounder of the Black Panther Party, Bobby Seale said it best.
Revolution is about the need to re-evolve political, economic and social justice and power back into the hands of the people, preferably through legislation and policies that make human sense. That’s what revolution is about. Revolution is not about shootouts.