Understanding Cultural Appropriation

Appreciation or Appropriation? This week I tackle the issue of Cultural Appropriation and the excessive use of The N word in the black community with my amazing guests Kadia and Myleka. These discussions are important to have because people need to know this is a real issue, it’s deep rooted, and it has some dangerous ramifications.

Why are we mad? Well, there are some people in the world that strip us of our culture, then turn around and profit from our culture (the same culture that they ridicule), and then try to make it their own. The Plunder is real. For example, check out this video that Cosmo just released about “the new trend.”God knows we’ve been wearing braids for years, why is this new? why isn’t a black woman one of the models? We’re mad because we are being erased in a sense, or deemed not good enough to partake in our own culture, especially in main stream media.

To drive the conversation forward, I used Jessie Williams speech from the 2016 BET awards. He said so eloquently :

” We’ve been floating this country on credit for centuries, yo, and we’re done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight and out of mind while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil – black gold, ghettoizing and demeaning our creations then stealing them, gentrifying our genius and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit. The thing is though… the thing is that just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real”

I asked my guest the following question, What was one of the most offensive acts of cultural appropriation in pop culture? And now I can actually answer this question for myself and say, the worst occurrence, in my opinion, happened this week, where Melania Trump plagiarized Michelle Obama’s speech and then lied about it. Huh? Really? I shot this podcast a week before the Melania Trump scandal, but I am pissed about this. Is this presidential race a joke? Like seriously, why do we have to fight so hard for everything we have, for everything we work so hard to attain, and why are some people so entitled to just take, take, take from us every chance they get?

Anyway, that was just some back story. The podcast is below. Hope you enjoy!!!!

Podbyky

 

 

 

Black-ish confronts Police Brutality and I’m here for it

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I am not an avid fan of Black-ish on ABC, although after the episode that just premiered I want to be. Black Lives Matter and Police Brutality have been the top stories on the news lately. Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Sean Bell, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray and the list goes on, were all killed at the hands of police officers. When will it end? Why are innocent lives being taken by the very authority figures that are supposed to protect those lives? What adds more fuel to the fire is that these officers are taking lives without any repercussion. Nothing is happening to them. They are completely protected under the law. It feels like we are living in 1950’s Jim Crow South where you can take the life of a black man or woman and walk away free of criminal punishment. Like I said my biggest problem with these cases are these officers facing no sort of punishment. No burn. Not a suspension, not a mandate for community service, not 2-weeks in jail, not 2-years in jail, notice I am trying to list the minimum amount of punishment to be received and they receive nothing. They are completely allowed to move on with their lives while the families of these dead victims suffer. Black Lives Matter and this has got to stop.

I say this all to say that I am a personal believer in people using their platforms to address these issues. I am proud of Black-ish for using it’s platform to illustrate the reality of how black families react every time the justice system that is supposed to protect us, fails us. This episode was so multifaceted and the writers used each of the characters to share a different perspective on this issue of police brutality. Bow and Dre struggle with how to explain to their two young children what the state of America is, without taking away their innocence. Bow wants to protect them from the reality of being black in America, while Dre wants to expose this reality to them so they have no surprises later on. Hence, the dispute of the episode is unleashed. What comes out of this episode, is great conversation and dialogue, discussions about Ta-Neshi Coates book which is taking the world by storm, and real life, tear jerking reactions to how devastating it is every time a police officer walks away Scott Free after killing a black teen or adult. The best part about the episode was that the writers were able to mix humor with real life stuff which made it one of the best television experiences I’ve had in a long time.

Without giving too much away, I encourage you guys to watch the episode. I found it on Hulu.

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By Ky Books: Why you should re-read the Autobiography of Malcom X as an Adult

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It seems like growing up everyone had to read the Autobiography of Malcom X, it was probably mandatory in school. Yet, although I was required to read excerpts from the book, I can honestly say I don’t remember reading this book in full as a child and I am kind of happy I didn’t because reading the Autobiography of Malcom X as an adult is one of the most enthralling reading experiences I’ve ever had.

Through new adult lenses, I can understand Malcom X beyond what the world and the media tried to portray him as, a hateful radical. I see that there was truth in what he was saying, it just was delivered defensively and under the guise of Elijah Muhammad being some sort of prophet from God which just was not the case and a hard pill to swallow as a Christian reader. However Malcom X is such a revolutionary figure in our history and he is often over shadowed by other political figures. Continue reading “By Ky Books: Why you should re-read the Autobiography of Malcom X as an Adult”

Confronting My History

This is what happened when I decided to confront my history in one day.

January 18th 2016

Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I had the day off and decided I wanted to watch all the black historical films that I’ve been avoiding since 2012.

First, let me explain my avoidance. These films as a black person are just hard to watch. They are completely necessary to watch but hard nonetheless. I take on the emotional burdens of these historical films depicting Slavery or the Civil Rights Movement. My mind does not allow me to separate between this being a movie, made by Hollywood, from the fact that this Hollywood made movie is a depiction of actual events and occurrences that took place in the past and so I watch these films as if these movies are real and I am  emotionally burdened by it all.

In spite of this, I just decided I wanted to be radical and not just watch one of these movies but all of them in one sitting. I wanted to watch D’Jango Unchained, 12-Years A Slave, The Butler, and Selma (if I had time, I would throw in the Malcom X movie). I dived headfirst. I started with Selma because it was MLK Day. Selma had a few rough scenes that shook me to my core and made me cry. The police ruthless beatings with the batons, the violence, the hatred, the disrespect, it messed with me but I kept on going.

Next up, I tried to find 12-Years A Slave. I couldn’t find it on Hulu or Netflix. My friends later told me, God spared my mind because that movie is a hard one. One day I will come back to it.

Then I watched D’Jango which was interesting. I liked it. It showed a black man empowered during slavery even though he was a murderer…hmm. What I hated most about this movie was the dog scene where a runaway slave was torn apart by dogs. This was a practice of slave masters during slavery, it just hurt so bad to watch.

The Butler, was next on my list. I was surprised by how great this movie was. It’s really powerful. The opening scene is a tearjerker. The rape and murder of Cecil Gaines parents illustrates how dehumanized black lives were during this time. Cecil Gaines worked hard and made his way into the White House, but he resented his eldest son who was a part of the struggle. His son was apart of the civil rights movement, the freedom rides, the Black Panther movement, and the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa. These historical references added so much substance to the movie and illustrated just how challenging the times were. Certain parts of this movie hurt to watch. Cecil constantly fought to get paid equally as the other white butlers and was shut down and told he could quit. His work as a domestic although underestimated and looked upon as “uncle tom’ish” made a huge contribution to the plight of our race and I thank him for his work and the work of many black domestics of our times just trying to make a living for their families.

January 19th 2016

By the time I watched all three of these movies I was emotionally beat. I tried to go to sleep but I couldn’t. Continue reading “Confronting My History”

By Ky Books: The Education of Kevin Powell

IMG_3677.JPGThe Education of Kevin Powell: A Boy’s Journey into Manhood. I purchased this book after attending a Kevin Powell event hosted by the Brooklyn Historical Society. Kevin Powell addressed the issues I cared about during his discussion ranging from Black Lives Matter, to why it’s important for text books to reflect the contributions that women make in society. He did so in such an enlightened way but I can’t ignore how calm and cool his mannerisms are.He touched on his childhood a little bit, having to live in poverty for most of his life. But to have come from such humble beginnings to being the powerhouse that he is today, I was curious to see what his memoir was all about.

I’ve read many memoirs by woman but I’ve never read the memoir of a man besides Malcom X Autobiography so this was new territory for me. Yet, I have to say I really enjoyed this book. Kevin Powell takes you on a journey of his life from the beginning, as a boy abandoned by his father and completely dependent on his unaffectionate mother. His trajectory into becoming a man was filled with many ups and downs but he is now a successful man and uses his mistakes to help other young men in his same predicament. I loved Part II of this book most because it talks about his life in college as an outspoken student activist and also as a journalist for Vibe Magazine, where he received the opportunity to shadow Tupac Shakur . Kevin Powell was great friends with Sister Souljah and was also on the first season of the Real World which he discusses in this book.

If you’re interested in reading more memoirs, this book is a real treat. A lot of hip hop references and childhood nostalgia will be triggered while reading this.

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