Monday, February 8, 2016

The Absence of Blackness

The recent conversations about diversity in the Oscars, politics and other major industries in America should be on everyone's mind, causing us to want to take action. Happening now is the continued is outrage and discussion about Hollywood, White Producers and Writers creating and retelling "our" stories with the absence of our authentic message. The tragic deaths of unarmed American citizens by police officers and citizens over the recent years have caused us to realize that same injustices battled in 1916 are still being battled in 2016. The question now is, what are we going to do different? 

We have to remember that following our societal norms, we expect main stream artists to take on cultural, political and social movement often times losing our own voices and views. This is why an artist such as Nina Simone is critically important to the embrace of Blackness. She challenged not just Black people, but everyone to embrace Blackness, our culture, who we are in America. In 2016 and beyond, we must challenge ourselves to look beyond the presentation of our favorite or the latest artist, to see the message they are conveying, in both the images and lyrics. Then we must differentiate how this influences our realities and the movement for oppression of all people to be ended. 

In the 90's, TLC took on safe sex and women's empowerment when they first hit the main stream sector. Everyone didn't understand or accept TLC's presentation, but it was appreciated because of the message it stated. They presented their message in a creative, out of the box way that changed the mindsets of our culture in the 90's and challenged societal norms, they followed the inspiration of those before them.

America as well as Black Lives Matters Activists, Millennials and following generations must understand that we've been in Formation! We've had Black, White, Yellow, Red, main stream Artist who have challenged and changed the mindset of viewers to embrace, empower and celebrate women, stand up against injustice and work towards a society that doesn't oppress people because of the color of their skin, religion, sexuality or any other label. We learn from our past in order to build for our future. 

Activists and Artists such as Nina Simone, saw the need to empower the Black race and women. So after the "Ode to Black History Month", demonstrated at the Superbowl performance of Formation, Blackness and women's empowerment was put in the face of America in a way it hasn't been in some time. Regardless of the performer, the reasoning or the support given by the performer to any movement, the message should have been clear and upfront. That's what's missing. How have we as Americans, as the Black race, or as people who under the oppressive actions and beliefs of America been inspire to do what's next or what will bring about change? 

Social media activism is powerful, present and certainly here but how does that translate to actual change? We have an opportunity to continue change. The biopic/movie of Nina Simone's life should embraces artistic reflections of current, real life issues that many people in the trenches face. It should reflect the images expressed in her music. This is a opportunity for the Producers to help change the racial tension and current of racial hatred in this country. Her biopic also has the power to cause us to question the sexual preface of women in society, liberation and reversed gender roles of men and women in which Formation shows highly, sexual women as dominant and in control. I realize that the youth and many adults of this generation follow the lead of main stream artist and movement. At the end of the day, it's all about the message and we can make the message of Nina Simone and others who have championed against the prejudices and oppressive nature of America's culture. 

Celebrating a culture is one thing. 
Empowering a movement that brings about change is another thing. 

Making artistic expressions that inspires others...
 to make the change is the thing that we're all seeking.  

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