i am

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harlem, usa
same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. mjt975@msn.com.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Black Lives Matter: Fact or Fiction?

the colorado chapter of the naacp was the target of a bombing three weeks ago. boko haram entered the nigerian town of baga a couple of weeks ago. they killed about 2,000 residents - many of them children, women and the elderly. yet these (and other) acts of terrorism against black people and institutions have failed to generate much attention in america. 

do black lives matter?

most of the western world focused their gaze on no. 10 rue nicolas-appert, paris, france: the location of satirical magazine charlie hebdo. about three weeks ago, an al-qaida-led terrorist attack left 12 people dead. also, in a separate, but related terrorist attack two days later in paris, four hostages were killed by a gunman at a kosher supermarket.

the hebdo massacre is largely viewed as an attack on freedom of the press and free speech. inspired by civil rights marchers in the u.s. on sunday, over 50 world leaders such as gabon president ali bongo ondimba and israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu linked arms in unity. they led an estimated 3.7 million people in a march of solidarity for charlie - a magazine whose anti-islam bent has been ignored.

ironically, many of the heads of state and high-ranking ministers present at the march represent countries with disturbing records of free speech. these countries, among them algeria, egypt, gabon, hungary, russia and turkey, routinely suppress public demonstrations and imprison journalists whose views are not shared by their respective government bodies.

after months of racial and social unrest sparked by the state-sanctioned killings of unarmed black people across the u.s., their so-called liberal allies had a national audience and timely opportunity to proclaim "black lives matter" at the golden globe awards on sunday. instead, hollywood luminaries such as kathy bates, george clooney, jared leto and helen mirren declared "je suis charlie."

hip hop artist, actor and activist common was the only (!) person who mentioned the protests around the country. but his remarks were framed as "all lives matter," further marginalizing an historically oppressed group. fox news correspondent shannon bream said after the hebdo attacks it's difficult to tell who the "bad guys" are if you "can't see what color they are."

do black lives matter?

lassana bathily, the black muslim who saved the lives of several shoppers when amedy coulibaly burst into parisian kosher market hyper cacher, was not hailed as a hero. in fact, he was initially considered a suspect because of his skin color. bathily told bfmtv, "they told me, get down on the ground, hands over your head. they cuffed me and held me for an hour and a half, as if i was with them."

the washington post recently weighed in. they described cherif kouachi, who, along with his brother, said kouachi - both now dead - are denounced for carrying out the attacks. the post said, "radical islam simmered in the 19th arrondissement. its skyline was crowded with the sort of high rises the associated press described as 'public housing slums that breed violence and crime.'..."he drank, smoked pot, slept with his girlfriend and delivered pizzas for a living...and spent a lot of time listening to rap music."   

apparently, rap music is partly to blame for the hebdo attacks. this default mainstream narrative is fueled by a youtube video of kouachi rapping. our society's instinctive need to contextualize these crimes through a supremacist lens magnifies the recurring pathology of black men as inhuman, predatory and violent. meanwhile, wounds from the deaths of african-descended folk remain unaddressed, unresolved and untreated.      

do black lives matter?





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