Saturday, February 8, 2014

Is It Relevant?

This last week has been one roller coaster ride of a bitch, seeing as how the weather had taken me through all types of changes literally--from record low arctic temperatures, snow, ice and just downright miserable!  Although the sun came out some of the time, it was very deceitful without displaying its much needed heat!  

Even though my body hates winter anymore, add to that all the radio talk shows I listen to in a week with one question that really made me think.  Is Black History Month relevant anymore?  Hmm, I suppose that would be who you'd ask to get that answer!  What I find interesting is that many of our youth don't seem to give a damn one way or the other.  Hell, lots of them don't even know much about black people who helped pave the way for much of what they take for granted today.  So now the question becomes, who's fault is that?

I think the problem is confusion for many of our youth.  What they think is relevant is Beyonce firing her manager and hiring her husband, Jay-Z, to be her husband-ger.  Or Tahiry turning down Joe's proposal of "convenient" marriage all of a sudden.  Worrying about Gabrielle Union and Dwayne Wade's engagement.  Cracking jokes about who they like better--the heavier Jennifer Hudson or the skinny Jennifer Hudson.  Who were the best and worst dressed at the Grammy Awards?  Is Toni Braxton trying to steal her baby sister, Tamar's, thunder?  I mean, really, seriously, that all may be entertaining news, but black history moments, naah, I don't think so!  It's history making, but not of the Martin Luther King and Malcolm X variety.  There's a huge difference between making an impact on the lives of future generations, and then impacting the lives of future generations in a negative light!  In other words, a new word I've penned called "bafoonatry (ba-foo-na-tree)!"  Yep, that's what I see!

Unfortunately, old Black History isn't relevant to many people today, and it's truly sad for me to say, let alone have to admit, but as always, actions speak much louder than words, and that's the honest to God's truth there!  Not only has the cold temperatures chilled me to the bone, there were two horrific stories that came out in this past week that turned my blood to ice. These stories put in perspective just how relevant Black History Month and Black History period, is to me!

The word Celebrity means: A famous or well-known person.  Many of the entertainers I mentioned above are considered celebrities, rightfully so, i.e., they either act, sing or do both, but can you imagine my surprise when I learned last week that George Zimmerman is being called a celebrity, who decided he wants anyone to step inside a boxing ring with him to make money for charity.  Hmm, this is bafoonatry at its worst!  That is the most despicable thing I've ever heard.  And who the hell is the charity that went along with this bullsh*t to endorse such a farce?!  I still don't know, but does it matter anyway?  The fact of the matter is, George Zimmerman, a man who murdered, then, 17-year-old, Trayvon Martin, in cold blood, is regarded as a celebrity--eh, I suppose he's very well-known now.  My fingers feel like ice as I type these words.  And when I heard that a poll was taken to find out who George's opponent would be--drum roll please--ta-da--none other than rapper, DMX himself--I was speechless.  Speechless, fans, I was completely silent.

My silence cannot be misconstrued as a safe calm because yet inside there was a storm brewing. My anger took complete hold of me hearing George Zimmerman, Mr. Thinks-He's-Teflon, himself, a celebrity for killing one of my people--a young man who had his whole life to live for, murdered senselessly, and this bafoonish free murderer gets to parade himself around and yet, use more of my people to make asses of themselves, by even giving in or at least, contemplating taking this ass up on his suggestion, is beyond fathomable to me!  This, folks, is pure unadulterated evil--and it's not evil in disguise--it's right in your damn face people! If there was ever a time we needed Spike Lee, this would be it!  Remember in all his movies his constant message, "WAKE UP!" would scream at you.  What the hell do you THINK he was trying to warn you of--and some of you don't think Black History is relevant! Really?

After trying to get over my hurt and anger of George Zimmerman, I was yet struck again with a mental shock that stunned me to silence.  I have to say, it's getting rather tart to have to go through these things in Black History Month, but I view it as a test or some type of lesson I'm to take away from this.  God knows I'm struggling to understand the ignorance in our world.  So, I listen to the D.L. Hughley Show everyday from 3p to 7p on KissDetroitFM, and if you haven't had the pleasure of listening to one of the Kings of Comedy, you truly have been missing out on a great format, and if you're interested, the link to KissDetroitFM can be found under "My Favorite Links" on this blog.

Ok, so D.L. asked his listeners what was the big hoopla about the Cheerios ad wherein there's a bi-racial little girl asking her white mother about Cheerios and how it can help lower cholesterol for her black father.  Again, the color really isn't the focal point to the commercial, but of course, the racists that are alive and well made sure to take the focus from the great message, and instead, concentrate on the bi-racial family.  Here's where it gets really interesting.

One of D.L.'s listeners called in, and to be fair, she isn't a loyal listener, but one that called in to lend her "two cents" to this open discussion.  Ladies and gentlemen, I cannot quote exactly what this woman said, but I'm going to do my best to break it down for you as easily as I can without totally losing it--again!  

She started off saying that she doesn't normally listen to D.L.'s show, but decided today she would and she felt compelled to give her opinion on the Cheerios ad.  The caller went on to say that she never wants to see an interracial couple first thing in the morning because no one wants to see this.  When D.L. tried to interject and ask if she was serious or joking, she said she was very serious, and D.L. let her proceed.  She said that milk is white and black people have no business eating Cheerios because you have to use milk which is white, and for that reason alone black people should never use milk.  So D.L., being the comedian he is asked if gay people shouldn't eat Fruit Loops, which astonishingly she agreed, and then took the offensive because she said D.L. was making fun of her and not taking her seriously.  Of course, D.L.'s sidekicks, Steve and Jasmine, were just as dumbfounded as I was, but D.L. assured the caller that he was giving her full respect and was trying to understand how it is she thought this way.

So, Steve asked her what milk should we drink since black people should never eat anything that is white, and she said she didn't know what "you people" should eat, and needless to say, D.L. was laughing in the background a little, and not because she was funny, but for the sake of her ignorance.  Steve suggested that our milk must be chocolate because of our brown skin, and the jokes just kept on coming.  After she finished with her ignorant comment about milk, she went on to speak about Cap'N Crunch cereal and D.L. mentioned that Sugar Bear was black, and she said right, and then she talked about Frank-N-Berry cereal and how they turned that cartoon into a black character.  OMG, ok, I can't recite anymore 'cause I feel a flash coming, and I'm not talking about my personal summers I experience in my night sweats.  Jesus give me strength! 

If you are laughing at what I just wrote above, you completely get where I'm coming from and the lunacy of that ignorant caller.  Needless to say, D.L.'s phone lines blew up with black and white people calling in saying how rude, dumb and ignorant that woman was and many people wanted to know what state she was calling from, which D.L., being the gentleman that he is, would not say for that idiot's own safety.  I just prayed that someone listening to the broadcast recognized her racist ass voice and would out her on the radio, but that didn't happen.

Ok, so do you still feel Black History Month isn't relevant?  Did you think when Spike Lee made his movies and put the message in every one of them telling you to WAKE UP was a joke, my people?  For everything you do today from technology to the good paying job you have alongside white people that you might not otherwise would have had the chance to get, to the car you drive, the home you own or the neighborhood you live in was, in part, thanks to all the great Blacks in our history that helped us get where we are today.  If it weren't for the many trials and tribulations they embarked upon, the blood, sweat and tears they gave upon this earth, all the things that you take for granted today, wouldn't be possible.  You should never get so big and bad in your thoughts to think that those before you died for nothing.  That those before you didn't do a thing for you, cause mark my damn words, if it weren't for everything they sacrificed, which giving their lives was the ultimate sacrifice, I wouldn't be able to write these very words I say to you, my black people.  

If it weren't for our great Civil Rights Leaders of yesteryear, we would have never had a President Barack Obama today, which I know many wished that never occurred, but regardless as to how you feel, he's here!  I'm sick and tired of my people brandishing ignorance like an award they've just received, as if that's something to be proud of.  We need to teach our youth that our Black History Month and every great Black History moment means something--and not just for February, but for all of our days we get to live.  How dare anyone say that Black History isn't relevant!  If you think that way, you're a fool and no better than that sad racist caller who wreaked her ignorance over the airwaves.  

So I challenge my people again, do YOU think Black History is relevant?  And I'll leave you with two very simple words best stated by a great black film maker, Spike Lee--WAKE UP!

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet

If It Weren't for your Past, You Wouldn't Be Relevant Today!