In this episode Kwasi brings back Dutty Bookman to discuss the movement he has helped dub as the Reggae Revival after a panel at SXSW 2027. He also speaks to Koro Fyah of the Bevel Rock camp about his ABC’s at SXSW as well. Bomani interviews the founder of the Uganda’s Bavubuka Foundation, Babaluku, and their chief archivist Gilbert Daniels about Hip-Hop in Uganda and the Lugaflow movement. Bomani and Kwasi also discuss spirituality in independent music, and how the community discusses things like sin. A must listen!
There was no “Tamir Rice Case”. Tamir was not on trial nor did he commit a crime. Tamir was a 12 year old playing with a toy gun (in a state where white people are allowed to openly carry real guns) playing in a playground. This is case about Officer Timothy Loehmann, the City of Cleveland Police department and District Attorney’s office. Tamir Rice suffered from a sanctioned killing by the state, and I am one of millions of people trying to not go batshit crazy about it. Maybe find a life lesson from it to move on from.
The only new life lesson I could pull from the whole incident is to not be that 911 caller. Don’t be the adult who sees that a black child needs to be told a life lesson (in this instance not to play with toy guns as if they are real) and expect the police to come and do it for you. That is not the police officer’s job. “Serve and protect” is like “How ya doin?”. It’s just something you say. The police officer’s job is to be able to prove that they were afraid of a black male, justifying whatever action they take after that. There are officers who choose to go beyond that, and treat their black constituents like people, but all they are required to do to dodge indictment by the law is prove that the black person made them afraid enough to do it. “It”, meaning absolutely anything from beating to shooting them.
I’ve spent my adult life working with young black men, from all economic and social backgrounds, arming them with the rules I have learned to navigate the bi-polar United States that we live in. This world is a complicated matrix of social constructs and unjust laws, a matrix my peers and our elders thought we at least understood (though we haven’t mastered). We knew who the enemy was and how to avoid them. We recognized, painfully, that some were going to be casualties, collateral damage, in this struggle. Some would fall victim to the stray bullet in gang related drive by. Some would have their wallet mysteriously confused for a gun by police. That not withstanding, we knew what neighborhoods to tell them to avoid, what colors not to wear, and how to talk to a badge-carrying officer of the law. This complicated matrix was a math equation we taught in our schools, churches, and after school program. But now, just like “The Matrix” (the popular turn of the millennium movie) this equation we thought we had figured out has an Agent Smith. More accurately, an Agent Zimmerman.
I’m tired of this popular stream of argument spreading amongst detractors of the Trayvon Martin rallies. “…Why is there so much selective outrage on the part of so many?” asked William Bennet in his latest CNN coverage. He’s part of a growing group of people who have the reasons for our outrage confused. The protests around the killing of Trayvon Martin are NOT selective outrage. Yes, black men are murdered daily, but rarely do police departments let the known murderer walk free. That’s what we are protesting. We know the who, what and the when about Trayvon’s murder. We just want 12 of Zimmerman’s peers to find out why. It’s amazing that the “Neighborhood Watch Captain” claims “Stand Your Ground”, when he neither “watched” or “stood his ground”. Even Jeb Bush, the signer of the “Stand Your Ground” law, says that Zimmerman’s scenario doesn’t fall under that law. … Continue Reading
“Mommy, I’m not black. I’m white like Maya”, is what my 5 year old son said standing at the base of the Martin Luther King Jr. monument. His mother had just given him the cliff notes explanation of the civil rights movement. “Why is that?” his mom asked. “Because if they are going to beat me up for going to a restaurant, I don’t want to be black”.
I laughed when she told me this story, and then had a follow up conversation with both of my kids about what was beautiful about being black. It was easy reiterating what their mother said, that what had happened to freedom riders, protesters and sit-in participants was a thing of the past. That it was great to be proud of the color of your skin whether it was dark like Grandmother Barbara Jean and my whole side of the family from South Carolina, or like Maya (my sons name for their maternal grandmother) and her family from Cape Verde (and for the record she is black, she’ll fight you tooth and nail if you tell her otherwise). His mom and I both had proud moments of self satisfaction and thankfulness about everything Dr. King and the millions of us, black and white, that have created a world where my children don’t have to worry about the color of their skin. That is what I thought the teachable moment was. But now, after being obsessed with this Trayvon Martin case, I’m not sure if I was telling him the truth anymore. … Continue Reading