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Spoken word artist Crystal Valentine performs a very emotionally charged poem titled “Black Privilege” in a poetry slam competition. One of the most moving lines in her poem tackled the issue of police brutality against black men, and the scourge of gun violence taking way too many young promising lives in urban communities. She says “Black privilege is me having already memorized my nephew’s eulogy, my brother’s eulogy, my father’s eulogy, my unconceived child’s eulogy. Black privilege is me thinking my sister’s name is safe from that list.” Valentine is one of six performing poets who represented NYU at the poetry slam this year. Her team ended up winning which was no surprise to anyone who listened to her performance.
Ms Valentine makes me proud to be part of a resilient culture who takes oppression and intolerance and turns it into extraordinary talent and beautiful artistry. If you’re not moved by her amazing 3 minute video clip, you should contact a doctor immediately because something is seriously wrong with you. She poured her heart out on that stage layering vulnerability on top of confidence on top of self critical introspection. There aren’t many people who can touch your soul with just a few words. That’s power. That’s talent. That’s the power of blackness.
The civil rights activist, the radio/tv personality, the revered reverend, the best selling author, the voice of black America, the founder and president of The National Action Network Reverend Al Sharpton has been a lightening rod of controversy for decades now. But ever since Barack Obama became president Reverend Al’s close relationship with him has raised his national profile in ways that even he did not expect. The positives are quite obvious such as increased visibility which gives him a platform to bring attention to specific areas or incidents of injustice, an hour-long cable news program on MSNBC (Politics Nation), a lucrative book deal for The Rejected Stone which chronicles his personal evolution from a controversial street activist to a national civil rights icon, increased visibility for his nonprofit civil rights organization the National Action Network, and a seat at the table when new civil rights legislation gets crafted. His proximity to power is envied by many, but there is a downside to being as outspoken and unapologetically supportive of President Obama. That downside is Fox News and the cabal of conservative media who are dedicated to destroy the president, his legacy, and anyone who supports him.
Every liberal commentator and political activist in this country should expect harsh and sometimes unfair critiques from their conservative counterparts. It comes with the territory. I’ve heard people say a vigorous debate is a sign of a healthy democracy, which is true. But there’s a caveat that says if you’re going to enter the world of politics you better have a tough skin, a strong sense of who you are, and a clear set of guiding principles that underpins everything you say and do. If you’re lacking in any of those, it will show sooner or later and the power and influence you thought you had will all disappear. The Reverend Al Sharpton has been in the public eye fighting for civil rights for almost 5 decades and continues to prove himself effective when injustice victimize’s the voiceless. There aren’t many leaders who have a 5 decade long history that sees their power and influence grow exponentially without being the real deal. Character, integrity, and passion aren’t things you can fake sustainably. That’s why all the hate and vitriol being thrown at him constantly over the years have never stuck and that’s why many African-Americans respect and revere him as a leader. Conservatives tried to block Barack Obama’s first bid for President and failed. They tried to stop President Obama’s reelection and failed. Now they are trying to attack Sharpton and marginalize the power of his organization, and they are failing at that as well. Their most recent attack came from Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly after the murder of an unarmed African-American teen named Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson Missouri. The African-American community of that town expressed their anger and outrage through nonviolent protest. There was a very small number of people who used the protest as a cover to loot and vandalize local businesses. Bill O’Reilly and other Fox News hosts accused Reverend Sharpton of inciting violence and inflaming tension between the African-American community and the police.
Bill said Sharpton inserted himself into the protest to get media attention and no one asked Sharpton to get involved or for any help. Of course none of that was true and anyone who knows how to use google could debunk everything O’Reilly said with an internet connection and two minutes. For example, here are two video clips. The first video is Al Sharpton’s first speech given as soon as he arrived in Ferguson at the behest of Micheal Brown’s family. The second video is Bill O’Reilly lying on air saying Sharpton incited violence.
There’s not one word in Sharpton’s entire statement that anyone could misunderstand as inflammatory or a call for violence. Sharpton clearly called for peace and pleaded with the community to keep the protest nonviolent. Fox News and Bill O’Reilly never aired this clip and made a conscience decision to lie on air to their viewers. Fox does this all the time but O’Reilly lies over and over about issues that involve race. Here’s another video where O’Reilly lied saying that African-American democrat organizers of an MLK day event excluded white republicans from speaking. The day after he lied and ranted about this he had to apologize on air because the press called him out on it.
Bill O’Reilly has a very skewed racist view of black America and constantly confuses Hip Hop culture and entertainment with African-American culture. Al Sharpton invited O’Reilly to have dinner in Harlem at one of Harlem’s most popular eating establishments Sylvia’s. After the dinner O’Reilly told his radio audience about it the next day. He told them that he was surprised how clean and nice it was even though it was owned and run by African-Americans. He said no one was yelling profanity, everyone was nice and respectful, and the African-American’s eating there were well dressed and well-behaved. He was amazed by this. When talking about Bill O’Reilly I always go back to this story about Sylvia’s because it explains how he views African Americans. So when he calls our first African-American president and our first African-American attorney general thugs, and calls well-respected African-American civil rights leaders “race agitators” or “race hustlers”, we all know what kind of mind that comes from.
One of Al Sharpton’s most popular critiques from conservatives asks why doesn’t Sharpton talk about black on black crime. Why isn’t he organizing and marching in Detroit and Chicago where inner city crime is rampant? You’ll hear that one on Fox a lot too. I have to laugh every time I hear a conservative say that because it shows they have no idea what they are talking about. Al Sharpton and his nonprofit have organized rallies and marches in both of those cities. He held a widely televised town hall in Detroit and even temporarily moved into an inner city apartment in Chicago to see first hand what the impoverished residents were dealing with. Despite how easily accessible this information is, somehow it remains hidden from Fox and other conservatives.
Another popular critique from conservatives is Reverend Sharpton only wants to help black people, so that makes him racist. To debunk this first we need to understand what a civil rights activist is. A civil rights activist or a civil rights organization uses political levers to secure equal opportunity for members of a less powerful minority group. The key word there is “equal”. So if you’re working towards making things equal for every race, you are trying to give minorities the same rights and treatment as those in the majority or those who have more power. African-Americans are a minority group who have been and continue to be discriminated against because of race. So a civil rights organization or activist takes on issues where African-Americans aren’t being treated as equals (to whites). That does not mean you only want to help black people because you don’t like white people. That is just ridiculous. When we finally have racial equality then we will not have a need for civil rights activist anymore.
One more popular critique I’d like to discuss is why doesn’t Al Sharpton and his organization help out when a black person kills a white person. First we need to correct a common misperception. Al Sharpton and his organization do not get involved with every case where there’s a black victim and a white perpetrator. To get involved they look for instances where the crime that was committed has racial elements that lead to the crime or racial elements that have the potential to hinder a fair and equal outcome. I’ll use the Trayvon Martin case as an example. Al Sharpton did not get involved just because Trayvon was a black kid. He got involved because the district attorney in Sanford had no plans to charge George Zimmerman with anything. Check the facts and you’ll see that the D.A. hadn’t filed charges a full month after Trayvon’s death. Then the family called Reverend Sharpton for help. He organized protest and used his high-profile to get the media to pay attention to the incident. The pressure from media and other civil rights organizations finally forced the DA to file charges against George Zimmerman. So Sharpton and NAN weren’t asking for a conviction, all they were asking for was a fair trial. If the district attorney in Sanford would have presented the case to a grand jury (just like they are supposed to) there wouldn’t have been a need for Sharpton to get involved.
I wrote this blog because I thought Reverend Sharpton didn’t deserve all the hateful comments and coverage from conservative media. He is flawed just like any other human and has made mistakes in the past, but the people who are throwing slurs and criticizing him for being passionate about civil rights hasn’t done anything close to the kind of work he’s dedicated his life to. This man is cut from the same cloth as MLK or Kennedy. Don’t believe the racist caricature the conservative media has tried to make him out to be. Do some research about the real man and see what he’s about before passing judgement. We have so few national civil rights leaders left. We should be thankful that he is still able to fight on our behalf, even when his character gets called into question and the hate gets thrown. I’m not sure I’d be able to withstand that kind of scrutiny. So please do some research on him and his nonprofit group National Action Network and see for yourself. Don’t let people who have an agenda tell you who he is (me included).
I’ve noticed something very strange and troubling going on in African American social media and entertainment blogs. I’ve watched it grow over the past year hoping it would die down and people would come to their senses but surprisingly it has only grown bigger and it’s beginning to cross over into mainstream media. I’m talking about the myth of the Illuminati. Somehow rumors began to spread online that certain famous, powerful and wealthy African American’s all were a part of and owed their success to the Illuminati. Some nutcase African American bloggers began to analyze lyrics by people like Jay Z, Kayne West, Beyonce, 50 Cent, and P Diddy (among others) and use random words and lines from their songs as proof of their affiliation with the occult, and a lot of their African American readers fell for it. They’ve come up with all kinds of crazy conspiracy theories about Oprah, Sam Jackson, and Lebron James which in a way robs them of their success. It feeds into a long-held racist notion that successful African Americans aren’t responsible for their success. Not their intelligence, nor their talent or hard work. Those pathways to success are never questioned with whites. I challenge readers to do a quick google search for any famous or successful African American and attach the word “illuminati” behind it. You’ll have pages and pages of nonsensical conspiracy theories about all of them (please hold all searches until after you’ve finished reading my blog lol).
Here’s why this frustrates me so much. We have enough obstacles & real issues to deal with. There’s no need to add an imaginary one to that list. The Illuminati and satan aren’t the one’s making laws that are designed to lock up as many Black men as possible. They aren’t trying to disenfranchise minority voters to keep them from the polls. They aren’t keeping your wages low while rewarding a few at the top with the profit from your blood sweat & tears. They aren’t destroying our neighborhoods with liquor stores & fast food joints at every corner. They aren’t killing our youth for wearing hoodies & racially profiling them because of race. The people doing all this are real. When we’re not focused on reality the real life villain’s get away while injustice not only survives, it flourishes. People like Roger Ailes, Charles & David Koch, Michael Bloomberg, Art Pope, Rush Limbaugh are real people causing unimaginable problems for our community. Not satan Not the Illuminati. It’s time to be adults and stop believing in the boogie man. So the next time you hear one of your friends repeating some dumb rumor about the illuminati being involved in the struggles in the African American community, please please please try to educate them. Can you imagine what might happen if the entire community started to focus their attention on something real?… exactly, so WAKE UP!!!
So tonight was the night, Tracy Morgan in the hallowed halls of the Ryman Auditorium. The show was your typical hysterical dick, cum and pussy humor… I have to say it was hilarious and well worth at least 40% of the $86 we spent per ticket to see him. I figured at some point the gay jokes would fly and I’m well prepared for a good ribbing of straight gay humor. I have very thick skin when it comes to humor; I can dish and I can take. What I can’t take is when Mr. Morgan took it upon himself to mention about how he feels all this gay shit was crazy and that women are a gift from God and that “Born this Way” is bullshit, gay is a choice, and the reason he knows this is exactly because “God don’t make no mistakes” (referring to God not making someone gay cause that would be a mistake). He said that there is no way a woman could love and have sexual desire for another woman, that’s just a woman pretending because she hates a fucking man. He took time to visit the bullshit of this bullying stuff and informed us that the gays needed to quit being pussies and not be whining about something as insignificant as bullying. He mentioned that gay was something kids learn from the media and programming, and that bullied kids should just bust some ass and beat those other little fuckers that bully them, not whine about it. He said if his son that was gay he better come home and talk to him like a man and not [he mimicked a gay, high pitched voice] or he would pull out a knife and stab that little N (one word I refuse to use) to death. He mentioned that Barack Obama needed to man up and quit being all down with this just because he has a wife and two daughters. All of this being followed by thunderous cheer and “You go Tracys”. Tracy then said he didn’t fucking care if he pissed off some gays, because if they can take a fucking dick up their ass… they can take a fucking joke. The sad thing is that none of this rant was a joke. His entire demeanor changed during that portion of the night. He was truly filled with some hate towards us.
Kevin Rogers story was SHOCKING to me. Out of all the stories I read about this incident, none of them actually quoted anything that Tracy Morgan said. So because of this, I felt like maybe it was something small that got blown up by the press. But after reading this, I do not see how any journalist could write an honest and truthful piece about this without letting the reader know exactly what was said. His actual words were far beyond anything I had imagined. This has totally changed my opinion of Tracy Morgan. I was fan, but now I’ll never watch or listen to anything he puts out ever again. What he said can’t be brushed over with an apology. His apology means nothing to me because I know it will only be about him trying to save his career. He’s a sad little hate filled man, and I hope people will see him for what he is and stop supporting anything that he is a part of. Why would anyone want to support someone like this? I hope that gay rights organizations are not trying to solicit any kind of public apology from him. It would be insulting. Someone that says the kind of things he said doesn’t change the way they think overnight, or go to some weekend siminar and magically become a changed man. That kind of ignorance and hatred comes from a very deep dark and disturbed place, and any proclamations of change should be met with extreme skepticism. As long as he’s on 30 Rock, I’ll NEVER watch that show EVER again. The sad part of it all was the reaction Tracy got from the audience. A large majority of them were cheering him on during his homophobic rant. To me that’s a confirmation of the long and treacherous road ahead we have yet to travel to reach total equality for our community.
STORY UPDATE AND TRACY’S “APOLOGY”:
Morgan has agreed to go to Nashville with GLAAD to protest the state’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill, according to E! Online. He spoke to E!’s Marc Malkin about his regrets over his rant, emphasizing his belief that all children should be loved, regardless of sexuality. “I know how bad bullying can hurt,” Morgan said. “I was bullied when I was a kid. I’m sorry for what I said. I didn’t mean it. I never want to use my comedy to hurt anyone. My family knew what it was like to feel different. My brother was disabled and I lost my father to AIDS in 1987…. Parents should support and love their kids no matter what. Gay people deserve the same right to be happy in this country as everyone else. Our laws should support that.” In an interview with Russell Simmons at Global Grind, Morgan apologized again for his verbal tirade that sparked national outrage, swore off his hate speech and came out for marriage equality. “Of all the sicknesses, there is probably none more abusive than homophobia. My heart is committed to giving everyone the same rights that I deserve for myself,” Morgan said. “I don’t care if you love the same sex as long as you have the ability to love someone I am deeply sorry for the comments I made. What I am most sad about is the comments I made about kids and bullying.”
Was Tracy’s apology sincere? Is he serious about making amends? Does he understand how hurtful and dangerous his gay bashing tirade was? I wish I had the answer to those questions, but only time will tell. When I began to write this blog, I kept thinking about something Mya Angelou said in an interview with Oprah. It seemed to fit this situation perfectly, and I’ve found it to be true in my life as well. This very wise woman said “When someone shows you who they are, believe them”.JULY 4 2011 UPDATE
To view free streaming episodes of 30 Rock or Saturday NIght Live, visit the links below.
30 Rock seasons 1 through 5:
Saturday NIght Live seasons 1 through 36:
Michael Jackson’s Death (Notes, Observations, Ideas, Theories, and Opinions):
Michael’s come back concert shows sold out within 10 minutes which made the investors/promoters millions upon millions of dollars.
Michael canceled the first 5 shows for some unknown reason, which made the promoters angry and very nervous about their investment.
If Michael canceled the entire tour, the promoters would lose a HUGE SUM of money… we’re talking 8 or 9 figures easy (90 million to 300 million dollars).
All “big name” promoters purchase insurance on the performers they work with to protect their business investment in the event that something goes wrong (like the performer dieing). But for some reason, these promoters purchased a policy 3 times the normal amount that they usually do.
Michaels “handlers” kept Michael away from his family over the last couple of years for some unknown reason.
Michael underwent a full and complete physical 5 months ago that was mandated by the promoters insurance company, and the doctor found, and I quote “MICHAEL HAS ABSOLUTELY NO MEDICAL PROBLEMS OR ISSUES WHATSOEVER THAT WOULD HINDER HIM FROM PERFORMING” end quote. I’m not sure who this doctor examined, but it sure wasn’t Michael. Everyone could see how frail and ill Michael looked. Everyone that was close to Michael (friends and family) have publicly stated that they were worried about his health. But the doc. said he was “fine and in good health”. PLEASE! I think that the promoters knew that they couldn’t purchase this HUGE insurance policy on Michael without a doctor’s exam to determine if he was healthy or not. So it’s not a huge leap to think that there was some sort of bribery or payoff with the doctors to ensure that they get results they wanted.
Michael’s personal physician was with Michael at his house when he collapsed due to cardiac arrest, and died right in front of him. What are the odds of having your physician at your house when you’re dieing? hmmmmmmm
Michael had enormous debt, so the same people that were investing in the his 50 show “comeback” concert, also offered to pay off Michael’s debt in exchange for doing the comeback shows, and they wanted Michael’s “Neverland” ranch. Michael accepted the deal, so now they own “Neverland”. I haven’t heard anyone say this yet, but I’m willing to bet that those promoters/investors are planning to turn Neverland into something like Elvis’s Graceland. Graceland makes millions in profit every year, and it’s the source of a huge chunk
of the Presley family’s wealth.
It’s plain to see that these people stand to profit more from Michael’s death, than they would if he was still alive. In fact, they were heading into a situation that would of lost them a lot of money, and possibly bankrupt their company. I’m not saying that these people killed Michael, I’m just stating facts that I think needs more investigation.
And here’s one last interesting tid-bit.
Way back in the 1980’s Michael and Paul McCartney were pretty close friends. The friendship ended when Michael purchased exclusive rights to the whole Beatles catalog, before McCartney could raise the money to buy it himself. This collection of Beatles songs are extremely valuable. Michael makes 20 to 30 million a year from this catalog. After McCartney found out, he never spoke to Michael again. Fast forward to yesterday (June 25, 2009) when Michael died, one of Michael’s attorneys stated that Michael left the catalog
to McCartney free and clear in hong that has probably bothered him for years and years. I hope Paul acknowledges this publicly. We’ll jis will. I really admire that. He could of left it to his family or his kids, but he didn’t. He wanted to right a wrust have to wait and see. But I did find it fascinating that Michael’s lawyer was on tv talking about his will, just a couple of hours after he was pronounced dead, and even more disheartening, before the family even had a chance to have a reading of the will. hmmmmmmmm
So the list of people that stand to gain the most from his death are:
1. The concert promoters & investors.
2. Paul McCartney (from the legendary band “The Beatles”)
3. The biological mother of his kids.
4. The Ayatollah & Ahmadinejad. (because it took the media focus away from the situation in Iran)
5. South Carolina’s Governor Mark Sanford (Because it took the media focus off of his affair & his lying).
Ok, the last two are tough to take seriously, and I have to admit that I did throw them in there for a laugh, but stranger things have happened. In this heady time we live in, anything is possible.
DISCLAIMER: All statements and claims included in this blog post are pure conjecture and theory. Although a majority of these statements are based on documented facts, the author (DeMon Spencer) used these facts to draw his own conclusions, and to pose questions that he deemed relevant and valid to the subject matter.
This blog entry is a lot longer than I expected, so I’m going to have to write the second half half sometime tonight or tomorrow. Just wait and see how it all ties together. I break down the documentary and explain what caught my attention and got me fired up enough to blog about it. I will also post a link to the documentary so you can watch it free streaming right on your desktop.
TO BE CONTINUED:
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