Weed and Our Strivings
It feels like marijuana smoke has been filling the sky more than ever these days. Behind every humyn activity follows a library of music to support it; so the existence of music that speaks casually about “weed” implies a culture heavily influenced by “the green”. In America, Black people have witnessed an undying tradition of music being made for smoking marijuana. Rappers like Wiz Khalifa and Curren$y, coming after the origins of Funk along with the antics of Rick James, broadcast a striving of the Black experience. This striving is born of struggle (shout outs to Leonard Harris) and therefore stimulates an attitude of resistance, distinguished from the functionally passive youth violence.
Consciousness about the humyn controlled core of the social world is taken from Black existence. A majority of the Black population settles into the worker bee sector of the labor force: there are few Black CEO’s and you’re more likely to see a person of color working at a position that only requires our bodies. When low pay labor, or no labor, cannot afford a basic level of survival, oppression takes the form of time. Our devotion to endless tasks clouds self-perception—as participants in a world that is created by humyns interacting with others—because there is no time to just think.
Pot heads know the value of focus, “I don’t know what’s goin’ on/on about this feeling you got me feelin’/Cuz every time I try to leave Im right back again/And I aint going nowhere/Got me walking on the ceilin’/” (Wiz Khalifa, “Up”). Wiz, at the same time, addresses the temporal and spatial (being at the top as opposed to the bottom) dimensions of oppression. First, in talking about time, Ganja gives him that “feeling” of clarity, of being a person capable of honestly initiating relationships with the world (others). Personification of marijuana, like Rick James’s “Mary Jane,” makes sense then; maybe, if Black consciousness understands the racist world as something that can’t be changed, it would be natural for Black folks to strive for conversations with Mary Jane. So when one takes a hit one is obligated to give time to her, since she will not let go of your consciousness until you come down. You will not go anywhere and you will see what she shows you.
About space, pot smokers get high. Wiz walks on the ceiling and strives to go up. Why wouldn’t this have some relationship to the normative position of Blacks in society? Having intimate day-to-days at the bottom of the social world leaves everything above us out of our hands. Going in the “up” direction is symbolic of the need to see the “big picture”. For the Black experience, marijuana places folks to take up space in a libratory way, this is what Bob Marley and the Rastas understood. Self perception once more, seeing ourselves at the top permits us to engage others.