How Should I Feel About Childish Gambino’s “This is America”??

I watched the Apollo this past Saturday. My aunt and I hurriedly turned to SNL when the final act was over. We didn’t even wait to see who won. It wasn’t the finals. We could Google it. The skit “Friendos” was on. I immediately started laughing. And then I saw him… “That’s Danny Glover…. What is his name? He’s the writer and director of that show Atlanta… He’s a rapper” I said. Halfway speaking to my aunt and halfway asking myself. My aunt looked at me “the only Danny Glover I know is old.” I immediately knew I misspoke but I couldn’t remember his name. Either of them. Way before I had a chance to Google the Apollo results, I had to Google him.

“DON____ALD Glover” I said to my aunt relieved that Google had solved my most pressing issue immediately. We watched the skit laughing. You didn’t have to know Migos’ music to know that it was funny. It was laid out for all of us to understand the dynamics of the group, as perceived by the writers.

Then Childish Gambino performed his first song of the night. I stared at the screen blinking. “Why is his shirt open?” I’m asking myself as my aunt asks out loud. We tossed each other a look and laughed. I was disappointed. Maybe I was distracted. But the Redbone singer is who I wanted her to see and frankly, that’s who I wanted to see as well.

“Who is he trying to be? Marvin? Maxwell?” my aunt asks. I was thinking “Terrence Trent D’Arby.” There was something off about his dancing. It was offbeat. It was distracting. I would have to listen again. I was annoyed. My aunt is a lover of music and she could not love him with that performance. I wanted her to love him.

The skits between the first performance and the last raised some eyebrows and some made us howl. “Scoopity poop.” πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜­πŸ˜­πŸ˜­πŸ˜’πŸ˜’πŸ˜’ I didn’t listen to Kanye’s new anything. My blood is still boiling from that TMZ interview. #IfSlaveryWasAChoice …sigh…

I was impatient. I was anticipating a great performance. The end of SNL couldn’t come fast enough. I wanted him to succeed. I wanted my aunt to love him. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because my aunt introduces me to great music all the time and I wanted to return the favor. She plays entire CD’s and instructs me to listen to this and to hear that. I was amazed that she hadn’t heard “Donald” Glover’s music and I wanted her to say she loved him. I wanted her to ask me to YouTube him so she could hear his music and decide if she wanted to buy his albums.

Childish Gambino comes back on stage with his shirt off. “Why?” I ask aloud. But we listen. And I like it more than the first song. Mainly because I know it’s some social commentary on America and it’s horridness. The young dancers hit each beat with fervor. The backup singers sang harmoniously and I felt Africa upon me. The motherland. “I have to listen again. But I like it.” I told my aunt. She, however, is unconvinced of it’s greatness.

When I woke up the next morning, Google put a card in my view notifying me that Childish Gambino released a new video for “This Is America.” Google is always minding my business. One day I’m going to open my screen and it’s gonna say “That pesky gutt that looks like a little butt that you can’t get rid of.” And someone will be looking over my shoulder. So embarrassing. I’m tired of them watching me. But I didn’t dismiss the card. I clicked and watched the video. This time, I was less focused on his dancing lack of clothing and more focused on what was going on in the background. I wanted to know what was going on. I wanted to understand. And “CHEEZITS! WTF did he shoot that dude in the chair? He was just minding his business!!!! Oh… This is America…” “The choir is about to go in…DAMN WTF?!!! How you just gonna spray….oh this is America.” It happened just like that. I was watching this with my headphones on. Alone. And I felt alone. My aunt was 30 feet away in the next room sleeping peacefully. And I was up at 8am being reminded of what America is. So unfair. Who can I scream to?

It was unsettling to say the least. I know WTF America is. I speak about it often. This isn’t new to me. But the visuals were awful and horrific. When I googled Danny/Donald Glover the night before, I did look to see if he was Black. It’s important to me that artists aren’t culture vultures. Yes. I’m that person.

Throughout the day, I kept seeing this announcement about this new video. But no takes? No one had anything to say? No one? It’s odd. So, while looking for a new clothing line by Eve, the rapper, for my aunt, I stumbled into the forbidden land for me that is known as Twitter. I largely ignored that Childish Gambino was trending. I went to Eve’s page, but not before I saw a tweet by @Blakedontcrack …. It was not at all praising the video. To say the least, Brother B didn’t appreciate the visual of Black people being shot in the church. I was saddened by my own lack of physiological reaction to the harsh visual. Was I jaded? Had I been numbed? I peeked onto Eve’s Twitter page. The same way I had just checked her Facebook page. “Eve has nothing about a new clothing line, Auntie. Are you sure she wasn’t referencing an old line?” My aunt assured me that she wasn’t. And that the clothing line is new. So if anyone knows of a new clothing line by Eve, please inbox me.

Several hours later, I opened my browser and my Twitter window was still open. Hmmm… I was compelled by some outside force, which was my own curiosity, to look. So I looked and I looked… I read post after post of positive comments. But I wasn’t interested in those. I wanted someone who analyzed the video and didn’t think it was great. Or someone who thought it was great “but.” (I wasn’t looking for anyone to say it was a love letter πŸ‘€ FOH) And I found them. People had so many interesting takes. #BlackTwitter never disappoints. I listened. I read. I heard. It’s exploitative. Black people don’t want to relive our pain. Black people don’t want our pain commodified. Black people don’t want our pain used as entertainment.

That video was not entertaining. At all. It isn’t to be watched for enjoyment. It’s to be watched for understanding. Most Black people won’t watch it more than once if it’s only just to see it. They’ll watch it more if they want to dissect it. I watched it twice. Once alone and once with my aunt.

I scrolled through posts a few times on Twitter. Never engaging. Always lurking. Something that I loathe. Fed up, I asked why Black Google + wasn’t talking about it. We still aren’t. It’s frustrating and it’s the main reason why I miss Twitter. I want to hear what @anthoknees is thinking about anything and everything. I want to bounce ideas off people that I respect without having to be in the same physical space with them. I despise “likes” when there’s never any engagement. Social media requires engagement… Eventually. I digress. At any rate, I was unswayed by these great minds but I did learn a lot. (What’s up with Kodak Black?) I found an interesting take by Adrienne Gibbs on the web thanks to nosey Google keeping track of my search history.

My baby brother sent me the video this morning. I told him some people are saying that Danny/Donald just discovered his Blackness a few years ago. My brother assured me that he’s always been very Black. I don’t know anything about Mr. Glover. My daughter and baby brother love Childish Gambino and my daughter now loves Danny/Donald because of Atlanta which I can’t commit to. I’m working on it.

So how should I feel about the “This Is America” video???? Exactly the way I do. It’s a statement. It’s not enjoyable. It’s bold. It’s frightening. It’s the America I live in. It’s the America I know and hate. Was it necessary? No. But it’s here. So let’s talk about it. (I actually had to watch the video again because I didn’t remember seeing any white folk. Now I’ve seen them. Yup. I saw them. Yup. I saw them. And now I can’t remember exactly why I was looking for those white people. But I found them 😒)

A Woman’s Body Functions Outside Of Sexuality

Body shaming is about more than looks. It’s about perceived sexuality. What’s so horrible about an exposed stomach? Legs, arms, or thighs? This is a patriarchal society. That’s why many women sound like sexists when they speak about sexuality and other women’s bodies. Just like many POC think they form their own opinions about their communities when it’s clear that they are parroting their settler’s point of view.

Women’s bodies actually function outside of sexuality and men. Imagine that…

A woman’s body is functional. Men make it sexual. That’s their problem. Not ours. Women usually have one sex organ that can’t be seen in the most revealing of clothing. Our bodies are not for men’s sexual gratification and admiration. Women’s bodies actually function outside of sexuality and men. Imagine that…

If your body is a sex organ, as a woman, that’s your choice. Mine is not one big sex organ to be hidden behind huge swaths of cloth. My legs walk. My arms reach. My breasts fed my daughter. My butt sits. My knees bend. My skin protects …No shame.

Please don’t raise your children to think that women’s bodies are sexual.

A woman’s body is theirs to do what they want. That’s for every woman. And if that’s to keep eyes away, if that makes YOU feel comfortable, do that. But other women aren’t uncomfortable displaying their bodies. It’s not for you to judge what other women do because you don’t agree with it. Should we all be clones?

Please don’t raise your children to think that women’s bodies are sexual. No matter their gender. A woman’s body is beautiful. Sometimes it’s even a vessel of life. But it’s not a sex toy or magazine to be purchased and become property of men. We should celebrate our individual bodies, daily. They are our own and belong to only us. Every one is unique. That’s amazing.

Daddy, What’s A Rapist?: Conversations Between A Father and Daughter


Scene: A Father and his daughter are watching the news and the Cosby guilty verdict scrolls across the screen. “This is bull!” the father exclaims. “Cosby didn’t rape those women!” Startled, the little girl looks at her father and the following ensues… Maybe…

Baby girl: Daddy, what’s a rapist?

Daddy: a rapist is someone who forces you to have sex with them and is only considered a rapist if you tell the world your horrific, degrading, humiliating experience immediately. If you wait, any amount of time, you’re a liar. No one will believe you. Not even me, baby girl.

Baby girl: Daddy, what’s a rapist?

Daddy: a rapist is someone who forces you to have sex with them. If you take drugs and you’re incoherent and can’t consent, you deserve to be raped and you’re the one at fault, baby girl.

Baby girl: Daddy, what’s a rapist?

Daddy: a rapist is someone who forces you to have sex with them. But as long as white men are getting away with rape, Black men should get away with it too. I can’t support their punishment, baby girl.

Baby girl: Daddy, what’s a rapist?

Daddy: a rapist is someone who forces you to have sex with them because of what you wear and how you behave. If you dress decently and act respectably, no man will ever rape you. If you’re raped, it’s your fault, baby girl.

Our girls need their fathers and their support. They don’t need to hear you excusing these rapes or sexual assaults. They need to feel safe to confide in you.

And yes, I’m aware that women say these things. But most likely a woman’s attacker will look more like her father than her mother. Make her feel safe.

The aftermath of the Cosby guilty verdict has made this conversation necessary. It’s hurtful to see responses that invalidate survivors who don’t immediately come forward, who accept drugs from, unbeknownst to them, their future predator and those who trust and respect a figurehead so much that they feel safe. These survivors exist outside of the Cosby case and you should all be mindful of your public reactions. People can see them. Leave your opinions about his guilt or innocence in the kitchen. It’s kitchen talk that’s not meant for public consumption. It’s hurtful.

Problematic Views: Should We Be Outspoken and Patient Or Should We Write Off People Who Don’t Think Like Us

There’s been a lot of writing lately about “call out culture.” To me, anyone against being called out, thinks they know everything. Anyone who is afraid to speak because they far behind called out is concerned with how people view then instead of being concerned with their trash views and why they have them.

With young people, I like to guide them. With older people, I’m more hesitant. I really feel like they should know better. But a year or so ago, I decide I would be more gentle to anyone who wasn’t an overt bigot. And I’m proud. I initially focused on being kinder to Black women and I branched out from there.

Sometimes we can’t be gentle. Some people need to be stopped in their tracks. But sometimes, sometimes there’s room for kindness and guidance. It’s no one’s job to teach anyone about anything. But if you want to see the world change, you have to speak to someone…at least one person who doesn’t think like you.

It’s 2018 But We’re Not Living in the Modern World

Rap sensation Cardi B is pregnant and Americans, in 2018, are asking why she would throw away her career by getting pregnant/having a baby… Check Twitter… Check Google… Check yourselves.

What is going on people? What’s really sad is that we, as a society at large, still view this as the norm. Women should choose career or family. Not both. No one is asking Offset, rapper and father of Cardi B’s soon to be born child, how his career is going to be derailed by this baby. Nor did they ask this with his existing three children.

We live in a country where we would rather vote for an outright racist than a woman. Forget that people hate Hillary. The large majority of voters are uninformed and don’t really know what horrors HRC has committed around the globe. Women and men alike didn’t vote for her because she’s a woman. This is plain and simple.

So let’s forget that it was Hillary. No woman stood a chance against any man… In 2016. When HRC couldn’t win against a relatively unknown Black man in 2008, we should have known that the glass ceiling would not be broken just 8 short years later.

No matter how far we think we’ve come we need to understand that most gains are superficial. Most chauvinism is unspoken. This is a patriarchal society. Pink hats won’t change things.

I may sound pessimistic. But I am a Black woman, born in the 70’s. The Civil Rights Movement ended just a few short years before my birth. Yet, just over a decade after I was born, teachers, in the NYC public school system were teaching kids that the Civil Rights Movement was “ancient history.” That wasn’t even remotely true.

I’ve been lucky enough to escape all manner of police brutality. But I can’t escape the reality that most Black men that I know have been harassed by police. Regardless of their station in life. So forgive me if I understand that many of the gains during the Civil Rights Movement were largely superficial.

So when I look at the #MeToo movement, I literally shake my head. I kept waiting for executives of these big corporations to be outed, Followed by the smaller management and associates of literally every company, run by men. This isn’t happening. No matter how much we want to deny the existence of class in this country, it exists. The working woman can’t afford to fight harassment in her office the way established Hollywood women can. “Sexual harassment will not be taken lightly”… IF proven. The road to proving sexual harassment in the workplace is long and arduous. I won’t even tackle rape and sexual assault.

These “women’s issues” are societal issues and they are all interconnected. Rapper Cardi B is expected to take time off from her busy schedule and booming career even though she’s engaged to Offset and he is in the same position as Cardi. I don’t think so. Paternity leave is a thing.

Think back to your first reaction to hearing of Cardi’s pregnancy. Did you support her or were you perplexed? Think about it.

How Far Have We Really Come? An excellent poem “In the Desert Still?” β€” by R.R. Wolfgang. And an epic condemnation of our “great” society.

We live each day Still devoted to our ideology that we are free that we live in the Land of Justice, of Liberty, that we are better, stronger, and informed by our History. But we are mistaken, we are wrong in our belief, for we are not better not stronger not wiser for our β€œHistory” […]

via In the Desert Still? β€” R.R. Wolfgang

You Say You Want a Revolution πŸ˜’

I’m realizing more and more that people use the word “revolution” without having any idea what it means. They want more of the same but with their favorites in power. They don’t mind if things don’t change as long as their favorite’s rhetoric says they will.Β  They are always saying change takes time. But it’s those who are the most comfortable parroting that line. With the technology we have, things could change “overnight” with few hiccups.Β We have to do better at imagining life without Capitalism’s pitfalls and limitations.

Also, it’s not the revolutionaries who determine if there will be a civil war, is those in power who make things bloody by refusing to relinquish power and trying to kill all if those who oppose them. Revolutionaries fight back. The war against us has been waged✊🏽✊🏽✊🏽✊🏽✊🏽✊🏽✊🏽✊🏽✊🏽✊🏽✊🏽✊🏽

Call Out Culture is Necessary

People are afraid to be wrong and they afraid to be called out. I was reading a blog and the writer said that we (on the left) have to learn “when to be soft and when to be hard.” Seriously? Nobody GAF about your sensitive ego. People speak plainly without niceties because they don’t have the time to baby us. There’s a difference between being direct and being rude. Rude comrades are not comrades. But we can’t be so fragile in our “all knowing egos” that being called out offends us or hurts our feelings. 

Everything isn’t about or for everybody and everybody isn’t welcome in every discussion. Sometimes it’s not about you. Sometimes you just have to listen. In my experience, when I’m called out, I deserve it. And if I don’t, I talk it out. But we can’t just say anything to anybody because we’re 50 million “others…” Meaning we belong to several marginalized groups so we get to say whatever to whoever.  It doesn’t work that way. Yes familiarity is important. But we can’t know everything by virtue of our identities alone. We really have to get off our high horse.

The left can be self righteous as a group. Call people on it. Call… Them… Out.  It’s almost like people don’t want to be on the receiving end of a call out. We all get served. As we should. We all have something to learn and we all overstep our boundaries; no matter how unintentional it may be. Call out culture? I’m here for it. Silence is acquiesce.