January 6, 2016
Get out there and share the good news in 2016 that Spain has decided to include actual Africans in some of their parades for Three Wise Kings Day, also known as Los Reyes Magos. I wrote about my general disgust for the practice of donning blackface last year, but my opinion about this particular Spanish tradition is evolving now.
Largely, I look at the event as celebratory and the incidences of changing one’s appearance to resemble the most striking African features is crude flattery. My argument to have someone black play Balthazar is still firmly rooted in tact, but the levels of inclusion for the large numbers of Africans that find themselves in Spain is encouraging. Participation in the parade festivities is a very big deal in Spain, and I was pleased to see cultural sharing and exchange rather than the usual cultural appropriation.
I hate to start out in a new year on a sour note, so Happy New Year to all of you out there.
September 20, 2015
DeMatha Football is already off to their best start ever in 2015 and we are only four weeks into the season. The Stags beat two nationally ranked opponents from Florida and a tough LaSalle team from Philadelphia after a bye-week to hang on to their own coveted #4 national ranking.
I’m going to let that sink in.
The DeMatha Stags need a clean sheet in the upcoming WCAC schedule and they are automatically in the national championship discussion but with a little luck they could theoretically be a clear choice, too. And why not? I have had the pleasure of seeing all three games because the DeMatha Stags football team hasn’t exactly been shy about their chances. The Stags opened the season on ESPN against power house Miami Central in a dominating performance. This team has a lot of ability –even by DeMatha standards, and good enough to overcome the long odds for a high school in Hyattsville, Maryland.
DeMatha football players are dedicating the 2015 season to Darryl Turner, Jr. after a season-ending injury.
DeMatha Football Head Coach Elijah Brooks has been building up to this for a while. There are three All American selections on this year’s team to add to a wealth of experience. Despite losing #1 Darryl Turner Jr. to a fractured ankle in the opener against Miami Central the Stags are still laden with senior leadership. Those guys went to the University of Maryland commit’s home after the season-ending injury and have dedicated the season to the student-athlete described as the heart and soul of the 2015 DeMatha football team.
DeMatha has one more guaranteed game on ESPN against Gonzaga but local television might want to pick up the rest of their season if they manage to go undefeated. I can’t think of another Washington DC area metropolitan school that has ever been in the hunt for a national title in football. This is history in the making and uncharted territory for the Stags. I hope that they can pull this off because wouldn’t that be something?
July 30, 2015
“You either build or you destroy, so what you waitin’ on?” Jay Electronica from the Victory Mixtape
It is way too late to say this sort of thing is getting out of hand. We are headed into a new phase now. I’m labeling it as a purposeful revealing of intentions, of sorts. The United States of America is finally willing to let the world see her for what she really is: an overtly racist nation. Thanks to the real racist powers that be in America that have managed to display an even more graphic disregard for non-white life we are seeing yet another eventful summer of institutional racist oppression involving an array of international media.
It is getting hard to keep up, but here are some of the recent headlines in the good old United (police) States of America. (I have been meaning to tell you how it looks from way over here in a distant land but I already know that it looks the same wherever you are.)
- On the night of June 17th a twenty-one-year-old apartheid sympathizer shot and killed state senator Clementa Pickney, Cythia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lee Lance, Depayne Middleton, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel Simmons, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, and Myra Thompson while attending a bible study with them at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. [Individual]
- Two days later on June 19th Samuel Dubose was executed by a University of Cincinnati police officer after being unnecessarily detained for not displaying his front license plate in Ohio. [Group: police]
- Sandra Bland, a member of the Movement for Black Lives, was pulled-over for her failure to signal a lane change on July 10th by a Texas state trooper in Waller County that quickly escalated into her arrest and she was found dead in her jail cell on July 13th. [System: justice]
- On July 14th Rexdale Henry, a Choctaw Native American activist, was also found dead in a jail cell under mysterious circumstances after being arrested for an unpaid fine and held over the weekend from July 9th in Neshoba County, Mississippi. [System: justice]
With stuff like this happening all the time it is hard to tell if it is making writing careers or breaking them. This writing business is beyond excruciatingly painful. I was recently engaged in an intellectual, social media conversation about an article by Jonathan McWhorter that compared the strong antiracist sentiments of the Movement for Black Lives to a religion. McWhorter basically extols that the good white people that are likely to be drawn into the very specific cause of Black Lives Matter in the United States of America will be ultimately shackled by guilt and result in some failed policy. I argued amongst some of my white friends that McWhorter unwisely called out Ta-Nehisi Coates as a pied piper of sorts for white liberalism along with other points in the article that I found problematic.
The notion that people standing against racism are somehow infectiously following the most recent beautiful music of morality is serene but if that were the case Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King could have succeeded long ago. Individuals, groups, and systems claim the lives of minorities in the United States with increasing clarity and at an alarming rate therefore the struggle against that phenomenon has refined itself. The correct diagnosis of the sickness in America and the preponderance of evidence has led two separate white minorities to the realization that they might not have started the fire or put the kettle on the stove, but they would either like to completely avert or accelerate the seemingly inevitable boiling over. Black lives indeed matter and the urgency implies that time is running out on anybody still mulling it over. Most smart people can see this choice has to be made now, for deliberation is also making a clear statement.
The Movement for Black Lives that has propelled organizations like We Charge Genocide and writers like Coates appears to have just a little more self-determination rather than just relying solely on some white people, however. This movement wasn’t quelled by the removal of some flag or defined by the people that have already lost their lives during the long and winding course but there have always been drum majors serving as prominent beacons keeping up with the times. (I thank God every day for those willing to get out there and do the heavy lifting because I have a strong feeling that I know where all this is going.) Black Lives Matter can exist totally beyond white validation and beyond the grasp of those attempting to stop it while still somehow, reaching those groups whether eloquently or crudely. The real shining stars are the throngs of real patriots marching in step for the most basic of human rights in America: the right to live. Ta-Nehisi Coates is deserving of his accolades, too –even if he is moving to France with his family in the pursuit of happiness. Coates has a new book out dedicated to his son and he was compared to another expatriate, James Baldwin, who issued wise words about oppression to his nephew by literary great Toni Morrison, but you already know I’m going to let them tell it.
July 6, 2015
Lysa Cooper is on Instagram coordinating social media from Ibiza, Spain.
So my sister is super controlling and sometimes takes over and there is just no stopping her so you just hang on and go with the flow or you get your ass. Cheyann Benedict came through wearing all the fresh caftans. Camellia Clouse, brought her husband and two children so Samuel could have someone to frolic with. Heather Harmon gave us guided tours of the Takashi Murakami exhibit that she works with on Ibiza. Emilia Menocal made a special appearance. Drena DeNiro took some time away from her father’s yacht to have lunch with us. Karen Binns had a mini surprise reunion at that joint.
Alright. That’s enough claimbombing. Here is some art to make up for my sins. Sorry for that. I get hype.
Takeshi Murakami exhibit in Ibiza Spain 2015.