We are at a pivotal point in Black History as slavery, Jim Crow, Birmingham burnings, race riots and white hoods move further away in the rear view mirror. They say nothing is more dangerous than a wounded animal, but now that the wounds seem healed, should we be shackled by impotence?
Through Hip-Hop, the dominant force of youth culture in the post Civil Rights era, Black culture has steered the course of global society for 30 years. We’ve added words to the dictionary, we have people talking to the hand, “legitimate” journalism has adopted our colloquialisms as conventional language, and yet even as our once outside-looking-in culture has found a seat at the table, our children are being left further and further behind. The sad part is that they don’t even know it.The further we get into “Post-Racial America” (where federal judges STILL think it’s funny to compare Black people with dogs) the more evident it is that in many circles, we couldn’t be further apart. Our children think that the struggle is so far removed from their lives that their white friends can call them nigger. Their Cuban friends can make 14 minute videos on Youtube talking about “Niggers” and our Black children are at the point their videos don’t have Black women identified with beauty, we’d rather fabricate some mixed racial identity (I got Indian in my family) and an entire generation could care less about graduating from High School because the culture being filtered to them extracts Black achievement from their DNA and distills it as “acting white.”
It’s time for the real history. A living history the connects our children with not only a glorious past but a powerful progressive and hopeful future. And so Planet Ill has decided to help define our culture and make that connection and be counted. The first shot in the war for our souls and our identity in this world that moves on Black culture while trying to move on from Black people. Over the next 30 days you will hear from artists, journalists, lawyers, psychologists, students children and all walks of Black life and a couple others that make their living immersed in Black culture share their idea of what Black means to them. I’ve seen some of their answers and you will be treated to a larger tapestry of Black existence than has ever been put to paper. No high arching scholarly expositions on ephemeral Blackness but real life definition.
It is my hope that as you read, your ideas of who we are expand and that your ambitions extend. We are doctors, we are lawyers. We are Huxtables. We are Paynes. We are nuclear. We are segmented. We are much more than crack rocks, jumpshots and Hip-Hop. We are legion. We are nation. We are endangered. We are all-powerful and self destructive. We are Barack’s brilliance and Flavor Flav’s madness. We are fashion and we are foolish. We are faithful, loving philanderers. We are fascinating. We are obsidian; dark yet still shining. We are Joseph’s multicolored coat, soiled by centuries of usage, ready for wash and in danger of being bleached to sterility. We are dumb as fuck. We are smart as hell. We are creators. We are innovators. We are oil; dark and rich in limited supply but powering the world.
We. Are. Black.
We look forward to sharing how our world thinks of Black. Live well,
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