Say Her Name

We vended at The Meat Out on Sunday. It was held at the Metropolitan College of Atlanta. It was the second event we had done w/ the BVSGA. They had raw food demos and lectures running in 3 different locations while about 400 - 600 of the most beautiful, high-spirited ppl I have ever seen circulated the vendors area eating, drinking and shopping. My Wife, Ludy, and I served the ppl as we do, took pics, had builds, ate and drank greatness and gathered some coins for our next relocation (we’re moving in a week or so). Overall and rain aside, it was a lovely day.

After we picked up our seeds from my Brother-in-Law Ed and his Girlfriend Tara (who was gracious enough to babysit while we hustled) in the Avalons, we jetted on back to the Lawrenceville side of things. I felt as great as I could to still have a cold. Anxieties are still present b/c a move is looming but the event is over and shirts got sold. I sat down to process some of the pics Ludy took and tripped across a post on IG. It was an image of a radiant, brown-skinned Sister w/ natural hair, fiery eyes and a smile capable of calming the collapse of heaven or at least belittle an earthquake. It said “Say Her Name” and briefly explained how she had just been assassinated a few days prior. Nah. I can’t really be happy all that long.

I looked the story up. Read several different accounts from different perspectives. The bottom line is, there was something so frightening about Mariella Franco’s message that gunmen had to be commissioned to silence it. Perhaps it is b/c she spoke for the darker segment of Brazilian society that accounts for 2/3 of the homicide victims, or the darker women who are twice as likely to be murdered as their counterparts or b/c she spoke against the rampant police brutality that permeates favela life and conditions the impoverished w/ terror. Maybe it’s b/c she had the audacity to be born a Woman of power and virtue that the PEOPLE could feel and connect through which led them to vote her into an office -deaf to their position- so that she could roar at the lions properly. Maybe they - those cowards w/ power- were shook that if other women were electrified by her example that the threat that THAT united front would present to their political grip would be devastating. So she was killed. 

Fresh from speaking on a Woman’s Panel and not long after bringing attention to an underpublicized shooting that occurred outside of a church, Mariella Franco and Anderson Pedro Gomes (Driver) were both hit when 9 shots ripped through their car. Both died as a result of their injuries. The message lives on through the ppl whom she fought for and -hopefully- will be upheld by those she inspired to live fearlessly through their causes and convictions even at the expense of their own demise.

I did not want to write this. I had to. This is life we are talking about. Life protecting Lives and then being extinguished w/ bullets b/c some lives just don’t matter and those who are living those lives need constant reminding. From the smallest child w/ a toy gun in a park up to the most passionate, articulate Councilwoman who chooses to speak on behalf of Afro-Brazilians and victims of police brutality, some ppl just have to be gunned down…while others watch…so the message is clear. Power concedes to power and thus power will negate threats to its position to avoid conceding. Based on the math throughout history, one must conclude, that unarmed ppl are among the most threatening ppl…on Earth…to ppl…excuse me…suckers w/ guns. It is sucker culture when it is being done to “wild” animals and it is sucker culture when it is being done to humans. Shooting unarmed anything is not an expression of power. It is an abuse of science, engineering and physics as well as an intimate manifestation of a deeper insecurity being harbored by the shooter. Perhaps, they feel orphaned by nature or widowed by time and want to make anyone or anything they encounter feel the same. Maybe they are stuck in a permanent state of adolescence that won’t allow them to share the Earth (or the Universe) w/ anyone or anything else…unless it is subjugated to them. Maybe. Excuse my block vernacular…but fuck them and their guns and their lists. I did this for Mariella and those who are like her. The ones that gave it all up in front of us all so that we could see for ourselves what strength looks like and how fearful spiritual weaklings are of it.

Please, Say her name.

Mariella Franco

Mindful of the Hussle

Now…Cali is pretty big…and produces a lot of big artists…w/ gang affiliations. IMHO, by now everything in this commentary should be common knowledge by way of gang-related verses…but it’s not. If nothing else, it should be eye-opening to anyone that feels drawn to Gang culture which is born of unnatural conditions that create disastrous outcomes for its targets. The mere principle of calling a group of ppl a gang to project their assembly as nefarious is an example of negative marketing used to stigmatize organization amongst the have-nots. Not so coincidentally, assembly was also illegal amongst slaves. 

The Gang Enhancement that Nipsey discussed above is on the same level w/ Rockefeller laws. They both serve to remove/warehouse large segments of given societies AND directly add sustainability to the Private Prison Industry by sentencing mandates that do not match the crime. Not so coincidentally, the segment of society that is usually affected by this unjust law writing is also the segment that is most likely to show disdain for and revolt against whoever is responsible for the overall conditions dictating their reality. Those would be the 18-35 yr olds. The same ppl that would be eligible for a draft. Apparently, certain youth are expendable. 

While I totally agree w/ why this should signal the demise of a culture, I don’t think it will end soon. It’s too profitable. Profitable ventures are sustained. There are still drugs where they were intentionally placed in surplus b/c they are profitable. They have always had destructive outcomes resulting in broken homes, incarceration and death but none of these results were/are extreme enough to do anything other than further the conditioning and fill the hidden hands that placed them there…w/ bags of cash. 

Same goes for guns. 

Same goes for Alcohol. 

Our community still struggles w/ all of these daily…and technology isn’t making them less potent or accessible. I was born and raised in NJ BUT spent 12 of the last 14 years in Baltimore. While there, I encountered many young ppl who viewed a 10-year bid (prison sentence) as a rite of passage. I would hear things like “I’ll be home by 30.” No math being done on how quick important years of a developing life can be replaced w/ a criminal education. Reform and Rehabilitation are not goals. To do either would curb recidivism and thus adversely affect the bottom line for the Private Prisons which -like hotels- depend on close to or max occupancy for higher profits (State contracts aside of course). IN laymen’s terms, whatever increases convictions and sentence lengths increases the profits for the Private Prison Industry. An industry w/ Shareholders we know well, some of you work for and w/ products/services many of us use. 

In summation, this is why I deal w/ Nipsey. I’ve been rocking w/ him since the first time I heard him chopping it up in an alley w/ Gillie Da Kid. Sharp youth are inspirational to all generations. If they are not, then they should be. Don’t stop listening.He put me on w/ this breakdown and I hope what he foresees comes to fruition. Not for the sake of dissolving black street organizations but for the sake of disrupting a multibillion-dollar industry dedicated to destroying the family unit in much the same way that some of the more destructive and genocidal practices of the “gangs” have done for several decades now. 

What Means the Wakanda to You?

In case you have been under a Plymouth Rock you know Black Panther came out this weekend. 

This is NOT a review of the movie. While I do plan to see it, I don’t do things when everyone else does. It has something to do w/ how my Self-determination is set up. 

This is NOT a review of Black People’s reaction to the rollout and release of the movie. I love my ppl from our lowest to our highest degree and that love is tempered w/ understanding. The type of understanding that could never confuse a lynching for a worthwhile lesson. If how I worded that made you uncomfortable, you should leave now. I won’t fault you but I won’t miss you either. 

What this IS is my admission of what means the Wakanda to me (if you know Hip Hop, say that in Cam’ron’s voice over a Police loop of Roxanne).

Wakanda -while as totally fictitious as Krypton, Cybertron, Bilbo Baggin’s hood the Shire, etc- still represents an ideology that can be internalized and manifest by those of us that need a core rallying concept for centralized power and communal evolution. Indeed. What I just wrote could be described by some as cloud quotes that sound great but lack substance…and I could say the same thing about looking to movies for leadership…and neither action would amount to anything powerful…which is definitely not Wakandan in principle. So…as I speak it, I have been living it prior to this reboot of a highly overlooked character in the Marvel Universe.

Let’s start from the top, I read these comics before they were being rewritten and acted out for those that chose not to read. No. I’m not saying everyone who went to the premiere aren’t avid comic readers…or readers at all. What I am saying is, some of us made room in our mental hard drives for those storylines BEFORE they were marketed to and accepted as cool by the masses. In fact, comic book readers were generally of a sub-culture that was systematically fronted on by the cool crowd. You know, the Geeks and Nerds who are responsible for the technology that controls our present, is rewriting history and directly shaping our future? The same ones who made the internet that empowers a select few, satiates a great gaggle more and provides fertile battlegrounds for the rest. The ones you can see walking through major cities carrying 6 ft tall crossbows and dressed like their favorite anime character as they make their way to that years Comicon. They are and have been about that life. I have as well. I was just the Ben Franklin of the geeks. I was never a President but my rank can’t be denied as readily as my access to the cool crowd couldn’t be overlooked. I can and have always spoken to either side in favor of the contrary b/c I know we need each other as we always have. Connecting the people to the people to increase the power of their Nation appears to be a Wakandan principle. The process of separating ppl based on perceived intellect…is akin to general segregation, the basis to a class based society…and what you do when you want ppl to believe their intelligence is set. It isn’t

Knowledge is infinite. Education is limited. All that means is you can spend your whole life learning and still never know everything. 

The propensity for separated people to accept their compartment and defend it’s boundaries is how we stay separate aka existing without the benefit of unity or any of it’s associated power. That separation allows us to remain ignorant of each other’s situation(s). From this blindspot, we opine and judge and rant and perfect stagnated vibration but we don’t move closer to each other or a solution. What we do approach..steadily…is our complete disintegration as a people based on learned behavior we have practiced to a point it has become our culture. A distinctly non-Wakandan principle. With that said, if I called a large swath of the swarthy moviegoers who flooded the theatres this weekend “Posers”, the war would start there. The needle wouldn’t move but we would get further apart. That’s more of the same and wouldn’t mean the Wakanda to me.

Let’s look at life. I saw a lot of people get at other people based on whether or not they were going to see the premiere or whether or not they were in favor of the movie. Not once did I hear or see anyone say “Let’s make a movie.” or “Let’s start to move like the Nation within a Nation {we were described as in the past)” or “Let’s connect w/ some Afrikans and establish some of this in reality” Yes. I know people in the movie industry whom I have been trying to convince FOR YEARS to act on their own dreams. Ppl who often produce works on shoestring budgets. It’s not much different than asking people w/ jobs to try and start a business. NOT quit their day job and jump headfirst into a venture but just to use some of the moment to their advantage. It’s like pulling healthy teeth w/ greasy pliers and no anaesthesia. The resistance received is fueled by complacency which works in conjunction w/ consumerism. I have asked working people if they ever thought a sneaker company could take Nike off their feet (every pun intended) and they -w/o batting an eye- said “No” and I knew that they would continue to buy Nike’s for themselves and their kids…but Nike would never be obligated to them or their Family the way they framed out their loyalty to the corporation. Why? 

A corporation IS the most important entity in the equation. 

In a NATION, the PEOPLE are the most important ENTITY. 

So when we look at life…and then look at what happened at the theatres vs what happened between the people online after the movie…who was supported? The PEOPLE or a CORPORATION? Mind you NIKE and many other corporations depend on resources from the Congo…a very real place w/ very real problems based on it’s resources in the actual continent of Africa. Who benefits from those problems? The corporations pilfering the Congo or the people being stripped of their power? This is the preferred mindset for a consumer based society that you expect to continue consuming w/o considering what is being consumed, it’s REAL cost and it’s REAL value. Wakandans knew themselves AND their land. They didn’t place Vibranium above their lives, though others were willing to kill for it. They sought to not let it fall into immature hands b/c they knew it would be used for warfare. They did not define their worth by the activities of other Countries or Societies. What they did was work amongst themselves as a nation to keep their value high based on the quality of their output. Not so easy to do if you are the lioness hunting for a Lion w/ a completely separate Pride. Aye. Be mad at me for that one. I am not changing a word.

So what means the Wakanda to me if not the movie? 

  • The reference of my Mother and Father’s marriage. 
  • The timeline of my biological Brothers: one retiring from the Navy in his 30s and the other doing a Prison stint and coming home to do better than me (So proud of both of them). 
  • My beautiful Wife and our Sidereal Children. 
  • Our 17 year marriage replete w/ waterfalls we shouldn’t have chased, valleys we had to climb out of and peaks we set our vantage points from. 
  • Being a Creative of Color carving a niche for myself in a market, industry and society w/ historical diversity issues. 
  • Being a ScreenPrinter capable of servicing small and medium businesses w/ the will to compete against Giants as well as individuals and organizations that maintain pride in their IDENTITY. 
  • Being an open mind and ears for younger Brothers and Sisters to bounce ideas off of and get back sound counsel. Being enthused by training and focused on cultivating greatness from within. 
  • NOT being a con man. NOT making my people look bad pursuing notoriety for self. 
  • NOT furthering any attacks on my Brothers or Sisters in real time or online (please note: if you violate and you will be served justice).NOT reducing my people or their experiences. 
  • NOT allowing myself to be used as a weapon against my people. 

Yeah. I will see the movie eventually. I appreciated the cartoon version drawn by John Romita Jr. I have no doubt that it was shot beautifully. It’s a Marvel movie so I expect rushy writing and questionable dialogue but they have quite the capable cast. As far as the character, I don’t know any other heroes who are simultaneously leaders of Nations, so that is ill. When your leader is nice w/ the hands (and feet) AND wicked smart, the people can live through that. When your leader is a rubber-faced liar constantly being serenaded by senility, looking to fiction for hope can be sensible. That is what some of those comic books were doing back in the day. Addressing real time issues in a fictional setting to avoid heat for being too political. Twilight Zone moved in a similar fashion. I am not in opposition to the medium. I am a creative remember? What I am opposed to is ANYTHING that drives wedges between my already aggressively separated people. Especially, when the prosperity derived from said wedges never circulates back to the divided people. The concept is definitively Non-Wakandan.

Us being our everything is Wakanda. No disrespect to that movie or all the assorted opinions but we need each other. Period. If you are offended by that, be offended. That’s what you want. I want us to be our everything and tell our story, in our words about what we actually go through in our lives. If that offends you, be offended. If you came here looking for lines drawn in the sand, you are on the wrong beach. This is writing on the wall. This is a call to action. I’m asking my people to do more than watch a movie and count that toward cultural progress. I’m asking my people to do more than bang on a movie and count that as a revolutionary gain. I’m asking my people be great and inspire each other w/ that greatness. Work where you work but invest in Wakanda. Hustle how you hustle but invest in Wakanda. Learn what empowers you and add on to the power of Wakanda. Love each other the way you want to be loved and that love will become Wakanda. What will never be Wakanda is JUST going to the movies or just being mad b/c some people did. That’s the Web. Not Wakanda.


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