Lee Daniels, the director responsible for Precious, The Butler and Empire, has an outlook on race that’s somewhat surprising.
I have insulated myself from much of the political hullabaloo this election season for mental health reasons. Yet, there are just some days where events transpire that I can’t simply unsee, unknow, or ignore. Today is one of those days.
In the words of the great Maya Angelou, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them; the first time.”
This phrase has continually come back to me throughout President-Elect Donald Trump’s political campaign, as he has affirmed his character, or lack thereof, to me, to the American people, and to the world. Very little surprises me about Trump at this point because from the opening statements of his campaign, he has demonstrated that he has no regard for what is right and only has regard for himself.
“How many times do we expect Black people to build our country?” asked Samantha Bee on the episode of Full Frontal following the presidential election. I have asked this question many times and while I appreciate these sorts of sentiments from “woke” White comedians on a national level, at this point I don’t know that the jokes and the efforts to push the point carry much weight.
As a Lil’ Wayne fan, I’m disappointed, and I’m allowed to be.
After his recently shared interview with ABC’s Nightline, where Wayne expressed that he doesn’t feel connected to the Black Lives Matter movement, a lot of Black people reacted on social media and I think we all can admit, it was painful to watch. Many Black folks responded with “stop asking Lil’ Wayne questions about important things” or “what did you expect” from an artist like him? Well I expected more, to be honest, and to count him out of the conversation just because his answers don’t align with the current conversation around uplifting the Black community doesn’t seem right to me.
One thing I’ve learned is that in our efforts to push the Movement, we don’t have people to spare – why are we so opposed to calling him, and entertainers like him, in? Why are we so ready to throw them out, rather than challenge them?
This article was originally posted at Water Cooler Convos.
Last week, a group of Texas State University, San Marcos students walked out of class after their Anthropology professor discussed Black Lives Matter and suggested (correctly) that everyone descends from Africa, as reported by The Tab. While there are some conflicting accounts about what transpired that day, namely from the professor himself, the accounts from students suggest that there was at least some pushback about the historical origins of the human race specifically because it meant that we all come from African Diasporic peoples.
Some people know that Mahatma Gandhi didn’t like black people but many others don’t due to his legacy as a pillar of civil rights. There’s evidence of his racial issues since he called Africans ‘kaffirs,” a derogatory term for black people, in a speech given back in 1896. In response to these types of statements, the University of Ghana recently announced that they’ll be removing a statue of Gandhi from its main campus after a group of lecturers and students voiced their concerns.
Last Thursday, 42-year-old Bayna-Lehkiem El-Amin was sentenced to nine years in prison plus three more under supervision for his role in an altercation in 2015. His case is a cautionary tale about just how well white gay men and white women have cultivated progressive language around gender and sexuality to mask the violence of their whiteness.
The semester before I started classes at the University of Missouri, two students were arrested for throwing cotton balls across the lawn of the Black Culture Center. During my second semester there, a student spray-painted the words “N****r Month” on a statue directly outside of my residence hall. A year after I graduated, students finally had enough and initiated a boycott that led to the UM System President Tim Wolfe resigning.
My alma mater is no anomaly. The events leading up to the 2015 protests are all too common on college campuses across the nation. The most recent to come out to condemn these actions that are usually dealt with in the dark is American University in Washington D.C.
There have always been stories of people becoming seriously disillusioned when they reach a certain level of fame. Part of this may be because they’re living a level of privilege most of us will never reach. But that doesn’t justify being so out of touch that you’re convinced racism doesn’t exist. Unfortunately, that’s the predicament Lil Wayne has gotten himself into.