Happy Juneteenth 2014!!!

JUNETEENTH: A CELEBRATION OF FREEDOM

WHAT IS JUNETEENTH?

Juneteenth or June 19, 1865, is considered the date when the last slaves in America were freed. Although the rumors of freedom were widespread prior to this, actual emancipation did not come until General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas and issued General Order No. 3, on June 19, almost two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

BUT DIDN’T THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION FREE THE ENSLAVED?

President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, notifying the states in rebellion against the Union that if they did not cease their rebellion and return to the Union by January 1, 1863, he would declare their slaves forever free. Needless to say, the proclamation was ignored by those states that seceded from the Union. Furthermore, the proclamation did not apply to those slave-holding states that did not rebel against the Union. As a result about 8000,000 slaves were unaffected by the provisions of the proclamation. It would take a civil war to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to formally outlaw slavery in the United States.

WHEN IS JUNETEENTH CELEBRATED?

Annually, on June 19, in more than 200 cities in the United States. Texas (and Oklahoma) is the only state that has made Juneteenth a legal holiday. Some cities sponsor week-long celebrations, culminating on June 19, while others hold shorter celebrations.

WHY IS JUNETEENTH CELEBRATED?

It symbolizes the end of slavery. Juneteenth has come to symbolize for many African-Americans what the fourth of July symbolizes for all Americans — freedom. It serves as a historical milestone reminding Americans of the triumph of the human spirit over the cruelty of slavery. It honors those African-Americans ancestors who survived the inhumane institution of bondage, as well as demonstrating pride in the marvelous legacy of resistance and perseverance they left us.

WHY NOT JUST CELEBRATE THE FOURTH OF JULY LIKE OTHER AMERICANS?

Blacks do celebrate the Fourth of July in honor of American Independence Day, but history reminds us that blacks were still enslaved when the United States obtained its independence.

WHY WERE SLAVES IN TEXAS THE LAST TO KNOW THAT THEY WERE FREE?

During the Civil War, Texas did not experience any significant invasion by Union forces. Although the Union army made several attempts to invade Texas, they were thwarted by Confederate troops. As a result, slavery in Texas continued to thrive. In fact, because slavery in Texas experienced such a minor interruption in its operation, many slave owners from other slave-holding states brought their slaves to Texas to wait out the war. News of the emancipation was suppressed due to the overwhelming influence of the slave owners.

 

The Meaning of Juneteenth — Freedom

When blacks in Texas heard the news, they alternately sang, danced and prayed. There was much rejoicing and jubilation that their life long prayers had finally been answered. Many of the slaves left their masters immediately upon being freed, in search of family members, economic opportunities or simply because they could. They left with nothing but the clothes on their backs and hope in their hearts. Oh, freedom!

“When my oldest brother heard we were free, he gave a whoop, ran, and jumped a high fence, and told mammy good-bye. Then he grabbed me up and hugged and kissed me and said, “Brother is gone, don’t expect you’ll ever see me anymore,” I don’t know where he went, but I never did see him again.” — Susan Ross

Freedom meant more than the right to travel freely. It meant the right to name one’s self and many freedmen gave themselves new names. County courthouses were overcrowded as blacks applied for licenses to legalize their marriages. Emancipation allowed ex-slaves the right to assemble and openly worship as they saw fit. As a result, a number of social and community organizations were formed, many originating from the church. Freedom implied that for the first time, United States laws protected the rights of blacks. There was a run on educational primers as freed men and woman sought the education that had for so long been denied them. The Bureau of Refuges, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, commonly known as the Freedmen’s Bureau, were founded by Congress in March 1865 to provide relief services for former slaves. Schools were established and joined churches as centers of the newly-freed communities. The promise of emancipation gave freedmen optimism for the future; few realized slavery’s bitter legacy was just beginning to unfold and that equality was to remain an elusive dream. Oh freedom!

At the beginning of Reconstruction, the period immediately following the end of the Civil War, rumors were rampant that every freedman would be given forty acres and a mule. Ex-slaves petitioned for land and, with federal troops stationed throughout the South to protect their rights, looked forward to participating in American society as free citizens. In some cases ex-slaves were successful in obtaining land. Land grants by Congress allowed several states to establish black colleges.

The optimism was short-lived, however, and soon replaced by a betrayal so soul shattering blacks questioned whether the United States was serious about granting them their freedom. Ex-slaves found for the most part, that despite the Freedman’s Bureau, they were left to fend for themselves. The abject poverty and the racism that maintained it, prohibited any hope for assimilated into American society. In Texas, the editor of the Harrison Flag newspaper denounced as “treasonable” the sale of land to blacks. The Texas Homestead Act, passed during Reconstruction, granted up to 160 acres of free land to white persons only. The Texas legislature in 1866 passed a new set of black codes that attempted to reverse the limited gains blacks had been granted.

Ex-slaves entered freedom under the worst possible conditions. Most were turned loose penniless and homeless, with only the clothes on their back. Ex-slaves were, as Frederick Douglas said “free, without roofs to cover them, or bread to eat, or land to cultivate, and as a consequence died in such numbers as to awaken the hope of their enemies that they would soon disappear.”

Many white Texans disdained black freedom and this utter contempt guaranteed the price of freedom for many would be unaffordable. The sharecropping system that emerged in Texas and all over the deep South kept many blacks from starving, but had little to distinguish it from the slave life blacks thought they had escaped. This was the other side of emancipation where high expectations gave way to heart-crushing disillusionment.

By 1877, the end of Reconstruction, the North had abandoned black Americans to the will of southern whites, who through violence, racial discrimination and Jim Crow laws succeeded in disenfranchising them, resulting in more than 100 years of oppression. It’s not surprising that blacks turned to the only institution that gave them hope–the church.

CHURCH

From the establishment of the first black church in America, throughout slavery and beyond, the church has been the foundation of the black community. During the horrific days of slavery it provided relief and nourishment for the soul with its promise of a better life after death. The church gave the slave dignity and assured him he was equal in the eyes of God. Despite his earthly condition he was loved and valued as a child of God no matter how difficult his burden became or unbearable his suffering was, Jesus, who too suffered, prepared a place of rest for him when his time was up on earth. It was this religious faith that sustained the slave and enabled him to endure his bondage.

The slave owner was able to observe a glimpse of this faith as he heard the incredible music that seemed to come out of the slave’s soul while toiling in the field. If the slave owner had ventured into a slave church, his strong defense of slavery would no doubt have been weakened. He would have seen the people he considered inferior and sub-human without the defensive masks they wore in the fields; in their churches, enslaved men and woman displayed a dignity and stateliness that survived the slave owner’s dehumanizing oppression.

The church was more than a safe house. It served as a launching pad for black leadership and was involved early on in working for liberation. Many free blacks in northern churches participated in the Underground Railroad, raised money for freedmen after the Civil War, and helped keep the black community intact.

The importance of the black church cannot be overstated. It was, and perhaps still is, the single most important institution in the black community. It permitted self-expression and supported creativity at a time when it could have meant death. An example is found in the spirituals, gospel and other forms of music that helped blacks explain and endure their sojourn in America. Blacks were able to use their churches to hone organization and leadership skills useful in the economic, social and political development of their community. It’s no accident that Martin Luther King, Jr., Jesse Jackson and a host of other civil rights leaders got their start through the black church.

Therefore it is not surprising the black church has always played a pivOtal role in keeping alive the meaning of Juneteenth. Religion has always been at the root of the observance of this holiday, which is ironic, considering it is a holiday born out of an institution so far removed from Christian ideals–slavery.

The Black Church provided a haven from the daily oppression slaves faced, but after freedom it was also the center of social activities including the sponsorship of the annual Juneteenth Celebration.

TRADITIONAL PRAYER

The deep spiritual faith of the enslaved is reflected in the traditional prayer below. Similar prayers are often recited in Juneteenth celebrations.

Father, I stretch my hand to thee–for no other help I know. Oh my rose of Sharon, my shelter in the time of storm. My prince of peace, my hope in this harsh land. We bow before you this morning to thank you for watching over us and taking care of us. This morning you touched us and brought us out of the land of slumber, gave us another day–thank you Jesus. We realize that many that talked as we now talked, this morning when their names were called, they failed to answer. Their voices were hushed up in death. Their souls had taken a flight and gone back to the God that gave it, but not so with us. We are thankful the sheet we covered with, was not our winding sheet, and the bed we slept on was not our cooling board. You spared us and gave us one more chance to pray. And Father, before we go further, we want to pause and thank you for forgiving our sins. Forgive all our wrong doings. We don’t deserve it, but you lengthened out the briskly threads of our lives and gave us another chance to pray, and Lord for this we thank you… Now Lord, when I’ve come to the end of my journey, when praying days are done and time for me shall be no more; when these knees have bowed for the last time, when I too, like all others must come in off the battlefield of life, when I’m through being ‘buked and scorned, I pray for a home in glory.

When I come down to the river of Jordan, hold the river still and let your servant cross over during a calm down. Father, I’ll be looking for that land where Job said the wicked would cease from troubling us and our weary souls would be at rest; over there where a thousand years is but a day in eternity, where I’ll meet with loved ones and where I can sing praises to thee; and we can say with the saints of old, Free at Last, Free at Last, thank God almighty, I am free at last. Your servant’s prayer for Christ sake. Amen!
— Traditional with additions from Reverend Wallace Evans

LEGACY OF SLAVERY

The fact that it took a Civil War to forcibly put an end to slavery left a bitter legacy that continues to divide American society. Slavery so bankrupted slave owners’ sense of right and wrong that they were willing to die to defend that lifestyle. A slave-holding minority morally corrupted a nation, and this legacy still haunts the country.

According to historian John Hope Franklin, “the Founding Fathers (by allowing slavery) set the stage for every succeeding generation of Americans to apologize, compromise and temporize on those principles of liberty that were supposed to be the very foundation of our system of government and way of life…that is why this nation tolerated and indeed, nurtured the cultivation of racism that has been as insidious as it has been pervasive.”

Professor Franklin asks, “How could the colonists make (such) distinctions in their revolutionary philosophy? They either meant that all men were created equal or they did not mean it at all. They either meant that every man was entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, or they did not mean it at all…Patrick Henry, who had cried, ‘Give me liberty or give me death’, admitted that slavery was ‘repugnant to humanity’, but (obviously) not terribly repugnant, for he continued to hold blacks in bondage. So did George Washington and Thomas Jefferson…”

This blatant hypocrisy poisoned both religion and the law. Every institution at the slave-holder’s disposal was used to justify slavery. Instead of the slave-owner being considered inhumane, the people he enslaved were. The legacy of racism has grown into perhaps the greatest internal threat that this country faces. John Hope Franklin aptly put it when he wrote that “slavery weakened America’s moral authority.”

It’s amazing that despite living under the most inhumane conditions known to humankind, blacks contributed everything from agricultural inventions, to medical breakthroughs, to music. Enslaved artisans crafted incredible sculptures, designed beautiful buildings and helped build a nation. Blacks preserved a culture and succeeded in passing down a legacy of music, language, food, religion and a lesson in survival. We’ll never know how many scientists, engineers, doctors and artists were lost on the trip over on the slave ships or after they arrived.

Slavery taught America another lesson, one that it too often ignores. Blacks and whites worked together to create an anti-slavery movement that ultimately succeeded. Later they fought and died together to force an end of slavery. Blacks and whites have worked throughout the nation’s history for social justice. This lesson of cooperation must never be forgotten.

While the painful side of slavery makes it difficult for many blacks to celebrate Juneteenth, it is the positive legacy of perseverance and cooperation that makes it impossible for others to ignore.

WHY WE CELEBRATE

J — Juneteenth represents the joy of freedom–the chance for a new beginning.

U — Unless we expose the truth about the African-American slave experience, Americans won’t be truly free.

N — Never must we forget our ancestors’ endurance of one of the worst slave experiences in human history.

E — Every American has benefitted from the wealth blacks created through over 200 years of free labor and Juneteenth allows us to acknowledge that debt.

T — To encourage every former slave-holding state to follow Texas’ (and Oklahoma’s) example and make Juneteenth a state holiday.

E — Every day in America, blacks are reminded of the legacy of slavery. Juneteenth counters that by reminding us of the promise of deliverance.

E — Even on the journey to discover who we are, Juneteenth allows us to reflect on where we’ve been, where we’re at and where we’re going as a people.

N — Never give up hope is the legacy our enslaved ancestors left. It was this legacy that produced black heroism in the Civil War and helped launch the modern civil rights era. It is this legacy we celebrate.

T — To proclaim for all the world to hear, that human rights must never again become subservient to property rights.

H — History books have only told a small part of the story; Juneteenth gives us a chance to set the record straight.

FREEDOM IS ALWAYS WORTH CELEBRATING!

Tonight by Cierra Farquharson

https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/attachment/u/0/?ui=2&ik=fdb66fbf77&view=att&th=1404f39f74947600&attid=0.1&disp=inline&safe=1&zw&saduie=AG9B_P9poKlzUB_C14Xp1ccEwhV7&sadet=1375719218737&sads=0OXJRfTuvImduwpPUIIEJuUKMkc

I don’t want to play peace maker to my apathy and empathy and explain to people why I even feel the former in the first place …

– C. Farquharson

 

Tonight i dont feel like being an activist
I dont want to raise my right fist
And fight for rights we disillusioned ourselves into believing we had
I dont want to gather march rally
Or carry a sign
With a clever slogan
or the names faces and dates
Of those slain
I dont want to think about how my brother
Likes juice and candy as much as the next kid
Or how my sister and i shared a joke about orange juice
How both of them look so different
But are still considered niggers
No a ah uh
To soften the blow
I dont feel like being a teacher or a therapist
Imparting lessons I dont even believe anymore
To children ive been conditioned to think
Are guilty because of their choice in clothing
Or  judge them based on their latest social media posting
Telling them, “if you know better u do better”
Then trying to explain why even with training a wallet or a hair pick still looks like a gun
I dont want to tell students it was never safe to run
Or stand still
Or hide or fight
That “standing your ground” currently only works the White way
Or the green way
However you want to see it.
I dont want to have empathy
Or any feelings for the family of the childs body that still laid on the ground
After school was dismissed
Or offer desensitization and rap lyrics
As reasons why kids still traced the bloody outline
After the police finally came
And took him away
I dont want to play peacemaker to my apathy and empathy
And explain to ppl
Why i even feel the former in the first place
I dont want to tell them Trayvon has existed before
That his last name used to be Bell or Hawkins or Harlins, Wallace, or Shakur
That he emigrated from Africa
Thinking hed have it better over here
I dont want to explain my little laugh at the thought
Or find excuses for my cynicism
I dont want to feel tonight
Like i have to carry a borrowed race on my back
And my actions speak for the culture
Or God forbid the culture’s actions speak for me
I dont want to feel angry or disgusted
That ‘Trayvonning’
Is trending
I dont want to feel
Like i do all the other nights
Like i should find a common ground
Or create a middle space for ppl like me
Caught between tryna make it out of my hometown
And not forget where i came from
But knowing neither side accepts me anyway
Tonight…
I dont want to be different
Or the same
Or called out of my name…
By my own people
Cuz white folks aint even callin me
Tonight,
i just want
to be.

Written after ‘the Verdict’ 7-14-13

Copyright CFarquharson 2013

Friends for Justice Philly: Fruitvale Station Movie Screening

VIDEO: FRUITVALE STATION SCREENING & PANEL DISCUSSION

On July 22, Friends for Justice Philly, in conjunction with Landmark Theaters, Blues Babe Foundation, and Councilman David Oh’s Black Film Advisory Committee, hosted a special screening of Fruitvale Station followed by a brief, in-theater panel discussion with some of the Delaware Valley’s most prominent and dedicated community activists.

Check out the recap video for our special screening of Fruitvale Station below

Friends for Justice Philly is a group of young activists dedicated toward providing real solutions for many of today’s pressing issues that disproportionately affect the black community. Check out the Friends for Justice Philly website for more information regarding the organizations and young people involved and to keep up with our upcoming events. We believe that it is time to stop talking about the problems and start doing. Collectively we will create, develop and execute programs that will help to educate, inform, and progress our community.

We are currently working on #nextsteps to inform our community of legal rights and legislation that can have an impact on their lives. Stay tuned for the “Know Your Rights Series.

Remember to Like “Friends For Justice Philly” on Facebook.

——————————————————————————————-

Below is unedited and a complete occurrence of events leading up to the killing of Oscar Grant. Rest in Peace Oscar Grant:

 

 

 

 

Unlike the Zimmerman case, this event was captured on multiple camera phones. The footage was released to the media and watched over a million times. The imagery is so captivating that you understand why Ryan chose to put it in the movie. It reminds you of the pure senselessness of this incident and documents another case of police brutality. The officer was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, and did not even serve his full 2 year sentence before being released. This demonstrates along with so many other cases of unarmed teenagers being killed by police, the value society puts on youth black males. Oscar’s life was taken and his mother, sister, girlfriend, and precious daughter are left with only his memory.

C C Stinson

MADE OF SHADE: DR. BELL HOOKS ON ZIMMERMAN EFFECT

 

hooks

Exclusive interview with respected author bell hooks
BY QUASSAN CASTRO

Not everyday do you get to sit with intellectual, feminist, educator and social activist bell hooks.

If you do, it’s wise to fall silent and listen.

bell hooks has written and published over thirty books, including Ain’t I a Woman?: Black Women and FeminismYearning: Race, Gender, and Cultural Politics, Sisters of the Yam: Black Women and Self-recoveryTeaching to Transgress: Education As the Practice of FreedomRock My Soul: Black People and Self-esteemWe Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity and many more works to date.  bell hooks was a Professor of African and African-American Studies and English at Yale University.  hooks was the Distinguished Lecturer of English Literature at City College of New York. She was also Associate Professor of Women’s Studies and American Literature at Oberlin College.

hooks has been ranked as one of the most influential American thinkers and writers of all time by Publisher’s Weekly and The Atlantic monthly.  In this week’s Made of Shade column, hooks joins me to discuss Trayvon Martin, Zimmerman, B37 Juror, the bell hooks Institute and the new Rolling Stone cover featuring the marathon bomber.

Quassan: I was sick to my stomach when I watched Zimmerman become a free man. We’ve had this sort of injustices take place in the past, yet on that particular day, from the pit of my stomach, I felt terribly ill. How did we arrive to this point where something so unjust could take place over and over again?

bell hooks: White supremacy has not only not changed its direction, it’s intensified as black people and other people of color have gained rights and have proved ourselves to be equal. In many ways the Zimmerman case is really a modern day lynching, it’s about racist white people reinforcing racialized power. The outcome sends a message to the world that global white supremacy is alive and well.

Quassan: What are some of the solutions to these injustices that keep arising in our community and around the world?

bell hooks: We can’t combat white supremacy unless we can teach people to love justice. You have to love justice more than your allegiance to your race, sexuality and gender. It is about justice. That’s why Dr. King was so vital because he used the transformative power of love as a force for justice.

Quassan: Wow! African American parents are mortified for the safety of their children as they leave the house into a world that has shown it devalues blackness but also a system exists that does not protect our beloved children. What should these parents say to their children?

bell hooks: First of all black children in this country have never been safe. I think it’s really important that we remember the four little black girls killed in Birmingham and realize that’s where the type of white supremacist, terrorist assault began. That killing sent a message to black people that our children are not safe. I think we have to be careful not to act like this is some kind of new world that’s been created but that this is the world we already existed in. I think we should honor the fact that people do amazing parenting of black children in the midst of white supremacist culture. Partially, it is by creating awareness and creating an activist mentally in children at a very early age. When we lived in the time of separate but [not] equal or coloreds only, black parents had to explain the reality to children who did not understand what was taking place. The work of parenting for justice, black parents have always done. Many white people have much to learn from progressive black people about how to parent for justice. I was just talking with a friend about a little black boy in Kentucky who was being told that the other kids didn’t want to play with him or touch him because he was black. When parents parent for justice, a child knows how to respond. The boy knew how to deal with the situation; he knew they were being ridiculous. That is what conscious parenting is all about.

Quassan: What would you say to Zimmerman if you were able to speak to him face to face?

bell hooks: That’s a difficult question because I believe that he’s such a hater that it’s impossible to speak to him through the wall of hate. Just think, if Zimmerman had never gotten out the car, Trayvon would be alive today. Trayvon was no threat to Zimmerman. A lot of hate had to be inside of Zimmerman, to get him out of the car, stalk Trayvon and execute him.  It’s impossible to answer that. Really we can only be similar to the Amish and ask for forgiveness of his sins.  Some black people might feel the urge to stalk Zimmerman and execute him. I think that’s a real shift in many people’s response to racialized aggression, it has to do with the feeling of powerlessness in the face of justice not prevailing.

Quassan:  Why should Stand your ground NOT exist?

bell hooks: Let’s go back to the co-murderers of Trayvon Martin because they are the white people in Tallahassee who are so obsessively supportive of stand your ground. It is that law that gives the license to kill and that encourages white people to become predators of people of color. We have to look even before stand your ground, white people have always used private property signs and trespassing signs as a way to kill people who are not like themselves.Florida has been the site of this madness, like the Asian who was just looking for directions and was blown away by the white man who answered his door. It was a no trespassing sign, so he was not seen as a murderer. Everybody is saying the decision for Zimmerman was all about the law and we are a country of the law. Well the laws in this country have always been anti-black people and people of color. It’s yet another white supremacist attempt at mind distortion like suddenly we have a pure law on behalf of justice when everyone knows that’s not so.

Quassan; Juror B37 said that Travon Martin played a role in his death to Anderson Cooper during an exclusive interview. How do you respond to her statement?

bell hooks: You know what’s amazing about Trayvon Martin is that he was behaving like any teenager in our society would behave in a normal teenage way. To say that he played a role in his death, is to not acknowledge the amazing fact that despite imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy, Trayvon was just being a regular teenager causing harm to no-one. People who want to believe that he played a role in his death are the same people that want to believe that black children are mini-adults. As if they are threats to the power of whiteness.

” … Ima Bad Bitch …”

I never understood why some women like to call themselves “bad bitches”. I guess they’re entitled to call themselves what they want, but you’d think they’d pick something that doesn’t represent a four-legged animal. People have a history of redefining condescending terms and giving them new meaning, but that doesn’t eradicate the stigma the word carries. Don’t attempt to redefine a condescending term because you feel powerless to stop others from calling [that condescending term]. Demand respect, don’t feed into the [bullshit].

@HarlemCam

“Any person harboring lust in their heart for the opposite sex will burn in hell …”

 

If ‘Heterophobia’ Were Real …

A short film entitled “Love is All You Need?” uses real life events in an alternate universe to explore if “heterophobia” were real.

“Love” creator and director K.Rocco Shields uses intolerance, bullying and suicide to depict what the world would be if being gay was the norm and straight people were in the minority. The film has already won a total of 19 film festival awards.

At present, WingSpan Pictures is currently seeking financing of the feature-length version of the movie, which is reportedly set to star “Twilight” hunk Kellan Lutz.

Check out the powerful short film in full below.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/26/love-is-all-you-need-movie-_n_3164591.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices

“He’s more likely to be dangerous and commit crimes because he is Black …”

Duane Buck & The Systematic Execution Of Blacks – Huffington Post

Duane Buck & The Systematic Execution Of Blacks
Huffington Post
Evidence shows that Duane Buck was convicted and sentenced to death largely because of his race. An investigation reveals a long and deep culture of racism in Harrison County, Texas that has resulted in the “over-execution” of black bodies. Hosted by: …

CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING THIS ARTICLE

“Temptation Is a Movie About Punishing Women …”

Tyler Perry Isn’t Just an Artless Hack, He’s a Scary Ideologue

By  Lindy West

There are a lot of things to laugh at in Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Kim Kardashian’s attempts to move and talk at the same time, Vanessa Williams’s fake French accent for no reason (hoh-hoh-hohhh!), the alien dialogue, the blunt-force moralizing, the sheer ineptitude of Perry’s filmmaking. (Worth noting: None of Perry’s actual scripted “jokes” made the list.) But, that said, it is not a funny movie—it’s a frightening one. Temptation is a movie about punishing women. Specifically, Perry is obsessed with punishing women who stray from the good woman/bad woman binary dictated by traditional Christian gender roles. That is the film’s entire purpose. I watched it 24 hours ago and my skin is still crawling. And I’m starting to believe that Tyler Perry isn’t just artless—he’s reprehensible.

Temptation is framed as a story told by a marriage counselor to her client. The client, some white lady, comes in and is like, “I’m thinking about having an affair! YOLO!” And the marriage counselor is like, “Well, let me tell you a little story, lady. About my, um, ‘sister.'” (The first of a million spoilers: IT’S REALLY ABOUT HER. SHE IS HER OWN SISTER.)

The “sister” in question is Judith—a nice, pretty, church-going “good woman” who wears ugly high-collared blouses, cooks dinner for her man every night, and only has married-sex in bed with the lamp off. Judith’s husband, Brice, is a “good man.” He works hard at a pharmacy all day, wears glasses, and is on great terms with Judith’s mother. They are “happy.” Except that they’re totally not (spoiler #2: it’s Judith’s fault).

The first hint of Judith’s discontent comes when she and Brice are heading home from a romantic dinner. A group of ne’er-do-well youths on the street cat-call Judith as they pass. Judith flips the fuck out and has to be physically restrained by Brice, who tells her to calm down, ignore it, let it go. They get in the car and go home. Judith refuses to speak to Brice for the rest of the night, because he didn’t defend his property her honor by fighting the cat-callers to the death. He didn’t do his manful duty. “But honey, they could have had guns!” Brice says. THEN HE APOLOGIZES TO JUDITH FOR NOT FIGHTING THE YOUTHS. I didn’t see the rest of the scene because my eyes fell out and rolled away.

Meanwhile, at the Millionaire Matchmaking agency where she works, Judith meets Harley—the “third largest social media inventor since Zuckerberg!” (so, uh, LinkedIn? Christian Mingle?). Harley immediately fixates on Judith and begins scheming about how to get his penis inside her posthaste. Harley is rich, sexually aggressive (his dialogue highlights the inhuman weirdness with which Perry writes about sex: “Sex should be random, like animals!”), he believes in Judith’s career (Brice, by contrast, told her that she should stay at the matchmaking agency for 15 years before starting her own practice—!?!?), and he goes jogging with no shirt so ladies will look at his muscles. “I bet you only have sex in a bed with the lamp off,” he tells Judith. (Nailed it!!!) In a clunky counterexample to the cat-calling incident, Harley attempts to murder a doofy bicyclist who accidentally bumped Judith’s knee with his bicycle. He is truly the best man ever.

Oh, also Harley is literally the devil. Linemouth.

You can tell he’s literally the devil because he says things like, “Let me play devil’s advocate,” he drives a sinful red sports car, everything in his apartment is constantly on fire, and every time Judith’s churchy mom sees him she starts screaming, “HE’S THE DEVIL. THAT MAN IS LITERALLY THE DEVIL.” He is literally the devil.

And because he’s the devil, he manages to “seduce” Judith, lure her away from her good Christian life with Brice, nose-feed her mountains of cocaine, beat the shit out of her, and turn her into a cackling demon who hates Jesus and never, ever cooks dinner. Back at the pharmacy, Brice discovers that Harley has been running around giving HIV to all kinds of fallen women all over town. This discovery finally awakens his dutiful aggro side, so he runs to Harley’s apartment to rescue Judith from Satan-AIDS, and then throws Harley through a window. Then Brice gets a new, better, non-HIV-having wife and Judith puts her frumpy clothes back on and goes to church, alone forevermore.

Cut back to this dialogue between the therapist and the white lady:

“How does the story end?”
“Well, it’s still being written.”
“Did [Judith] get HIV too?”
“Yes.”
“Did Brice?”
“No.”
“Thank you so much for sharing this story with me  I’m going to end this almost-affair and stay with my husband.”

THE END. OF THE MOVIE.

Okay. Now. Okay. There are three main areas in which Tyler Perry is fucking over the entire human race in Temptation.

1. Men Do Marriage Like This/Women Do Marriage Like This!

Temptation is a feature-length Chick tract, only with slightly less artistry and nuance. Watching this film as an atheist, it makes absolutely no sense. If you don’t believe in the devil, which I don’t, Temptation is simply the story of a 25-year-old woman who got married too young, is no longer compatible with her partner, is frustrated with her stalled career, and is preyed upon by a charismatic sociopath with a drug problem. Then, because of Perry’s fixation on Christian moralizing, the film portrays Judith’s contraction of HIV (deliberately given to her by an abusive partner) as a fitting punishment for her “sins.” From a godless perspective, this is bonkers.

Outside the confines of traditional gender roles, Judith is just a woman trying to find her place in the world. She is confused, she is sad, she is frustrated. “I feel so dead with you Brice,” she says. In the real world, women are not obligated to cook dinner for their husbands, or eschew casual sex, or put their careers on hold for their partners, or submit sexually to dominant men, or ignore cat-callers, or stand up to cat-callers, or swath their knees in modest hemlines, or be nice to their moms. Women are people. But in Perry’s universe, women are women, and a “good woman” is a very specific and important thing to be.

People can have whatever kind of relationships they want—if a traditional Christian marriage works for you, go nuts—but Perry’s insistence on punishing women who don’t follow his doctrine of subservience is harmful and oppressive. Compliance with gender roles doesn’t make anyone a good person. People are good people because they’re good people. Church doesn’t make you good. Loving your mom doesn’t make you good. Even fidelity doesn’t make you good. Those are all just excuses, loopholes, cop-outs that signify “goodness” without having to actually do the legwork.

When Judith stops being “good,” she is punished. The moral of the movie is explicit: Stay in your unhappy marriage forever because the alternative is Satan-AIDS.

Which brings me to my second point.

2. People with HIV Are Not Your Toys.

Three people in Temptation have HIV. One of them is literally the devil (see above), and the other two are black women who slept with the devil. That Perry would have the gall to use HIV as a punitive measure against black women who don’t fit his idea of “goodness”—black women, by the way, account for 2/3 of new HIV infections among women—betrays a frightening selfishness and lack of empathy. It echoes, very plainly, the old Fundamentalist rhetoric that AIDS is a punishment from god for the sins of the gays. Perry expands that rhetoric, sure—now dirty, filthy women can sin just like gays do!—but the message is the same. Casual sex is a sin and sinners deserve HIV. That. Is. Crazy.

The other woman infected by Harley is named Melinda (played by the Brandy), a saintly gal who works at the pharmacy with Brice. “I’m accepting my part in it,” she says. She chose to stay with Harley even though he was abusive and she knew he was sleeping around. Besides, the film takes care to point out, she totally took Harley’s private jet for granted—so of course he cheated! Temptation isn’t a movie about Harley—who, after all, can’t help his sin seeing as he is a demon from hell. It’s a movie about Harley’s victims. Only they’re not portrayed as victims—they’re sinners. They’re to blame. And in the end, Melinda and Judith wind up alone, repentant and meek, while Brice finds himself a new, untainted wife.

Apparently this needs to be said: People with HIV are people. People with HIV are not a rhetorical device that Tyler Perry gets to exploit to keep women in line. People with HIV have healthy relationships with other people, regardless of HIV status. Tyler Perry is a bad person.

https://i2.wp.com/img.gawkerassets.com/img/18jixdclw0wodjpg/original.jpg

3. Harley Rapes Judith.

Here are all of things that Judith says immediately before Harley has sex with her in his private plane: “No.” “Stop it.” “I don’t want to.” “Get off of me.” Judith does not want to have sex with Harley. (There’s another layer of nuance here—one reason Judith doesn’t want to have sex with Harley is that she’s deeply invested in Perry’s beloved gender roles. But the reason for her “no” is irrelevant. Her spiritual weakness betrays her, Harley can tell she wants it, and she’s punished for that weakness.)

He does not stop. He just tries harder. He knows what she really wants, no matter what her mouth and body are saying. She never says yes. He says, smugly, “Now you can say you resisted.” He has sex with her anyway. This is a rape scene. But, in Perry’s universe, Harley is right. She did secretly want it. And that’s the real problem.

Afterwards, for a minute, Judith is disgusted with Harley and with herself. She pushes him away. She tells him never to contact her again. But then! Then! She’s back on the phone with him almost immediately (while Brice is caught up in the football game—doofy doofy dur dur!), telling Harley he’s the best she’s ever had, begging him to have sex with her again. Judith, it seems, is addicted to what the dick did. And now she’s like, “OMG I NEED MORE OF YOUR SATAN BONER AND ALSO COCAINE.” Because that’s how us fickle ladies work.

This idea—that men know what women really want, that resistance can be fucked out of us (or consent fucked into us)—is DEEPLY NOT OKAY. It’s not okay to telegraph this to young men or young women or victims of sexual violence or potential perpetrators of sexual violence or lawmakers or anyone. It’s a paradigm that I was hoping had died out with Pepe LePew. It is frightening.

I’m amazed at how efficiently Perry was able to roll back discourse, human rights, the basics of consent, and storytelling itself in just one shitty movie. Perry has done a lot for the visibility of black voices in popular culture, but that doesn’t make his moralistic subtext in Temptation any less repellant and irresponsible. The world should demand better than Tyler Perry.

Source: http://jezebel.com/5993523/tyler-perry-isnt-just-an-artless-hack-hes-a-scary-ideologue

In a Rap Culture, Rick Ross Glorifies Rape

 

Put Molly all in her champagne, she ain’t even know it
I took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain’t even know it

– Rick Ross

By Anti-Intellect,

Rick Ross raps about drugging a woman, having sex with her WITHOUT HER CONSENT, but he’s not glorifying rape? Right. This dude is fucking shameless. And the nerve of him to throw out all that hollow patriarchal language, “I love my queens, woman are the most precious gifts to known to man.”

Rick Ross Clears Up The Meaning Of The “She ain’t even know it” Lyrics

Patriarchal men are so predictable. Their language give them away: “Women are queens” “Women are the most precious gifts in the world.” Do patriarchal men not realize that idealizing women is just another form of dehumanization? Pedestals are just as much of a prison.

Twitter: @Anti-Intellect

***** *****

What is the “Rape Culture?”

Rape Culture is an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence against women is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture.  Rape culture is perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, the objectification of women’s bodies, and the glamorization of sexual violence, thereby creating a society that disregards women’s rights and safety.

Rape Culture affects every woman.  The rape of one woman is a degradation, terror, and limitation to all women. Most women and girls limit their behavior because of the existence of rape. Most women and girls live in fear of rape. Men, in general, do not. That’s how rape functions as a powerful means by which the whole female population is held in a subordinate position to the whole male population, even though many men don’t rape, and many women are never victims of rape.  This cycle of fear is the legacy of Rape Culture.

Examples of Rape Culture:

  • Blaming the victim (“She asked for it!”)
  • Trivializing sexual assault (“Boys will be boys!”)
  • Sexually explicit jokes
  • Tolerance of sexual harassment
  • Inflating false rape report statistics
  • Publicly scrutinizing a victim’s dress, mental state, motives, and history
  • Gratuitous gendered violence in movies and television
  • Defining “manhood” as dominant and sexually aggressive
  • Defining “womanhood” as submissive and sexually passive
  • Pressure on men to “score”
  • Pressure on women to not appear “cold”
  • Assuming only promiscuous women get raped
  • Assuming that men don’t get raped or that only “weak” men get raped
  • Refusing to take rape accusations seriously
  • Teaching women to avoid getting raped instead of teaching men not to rape

How can men and women combat Rape Culture?

  • Avoid using language that objectifies or degrades women
  • Speak out if you hear someone else making an offensive joke or trivializing rape
  • If a friend says she has been raped, take her seriously and be supportive
  • Think critically about the media’s messages about women, men, relationships, and violence
  • Be respectful of others’ physical space even in casual situations
  • Always communicate with sexual partners and do not assume consent
  • Define your own manhood or womanhood.  Do not let stereotypes shape your actions.
  • Get involved! Join a student or community group working to end violence against women.

Source: http://www.marshall.edu/wpmu/wcenter/sexual-assault/rape-culture/

*Black Girls Are Ugly*

 

By Micky 

 

Most statements in life fit into either the ‘fact’, ‘fiction’ or ‘opinion’ category.  However, it seems that some black men (and I use that term loosely), are attempting to break the rules of life, and believe if they repeat their opinions long enough, they will start to become factual. What they have achieved, in fact, is a whole new category of ‘delusion’.

 

Black girls are ugly’– fiction. Correction, ‘black girls are ugly’– opinion.  Sorry, ‘black girls are ugly’– delusion.  ‘Black guys who say black girls are ugly should have been the product of masturbation’– FACT.

 

A recurring topic of conflict between black males and females is the black males’ denunciation of the black female race. I’ve seen and heard black males constantly put black females down ‘all black girls are ugly’, ‘I can’t run my fingers through a black girl’s hair’. Can we pause just for a second to question what the pressing need is for you to run your fingers through any girl’s hair?  Okay, I get the romantic gesture of maybe playing with a few strands, wrapping them around your finger while you gaze lovingly into her eyes. But to take your four whole fingers and thumb and push them through the length of her hair, roots to end? Um.

Okay, let me continue. Now, I’m not one of those black girls with a Jackson 5 afro, who believes every word India Arie sings is gospel and who spends 140 characters of every tweet proclaiming that ‘black is beautiful’.  I am actually of mixed heritage and therefore feel I have an unbiased opinion of this issue. After all, if it wasn’t for interracial dating, I wouldn’t exist.  But I totally get why black girls would have issues with interracial dating, and the reason for that is YOU. Let me clarify some things for you though. If Tom wants to date Shaniqua, it is highly unlikely that any black girl would have an issue with this. Why? Because Tom doesn’t cuss Laura, Jess and Beth in order to appreciate Shaniqua. He appreciates Shaniqua for being Shaniqua.  However when Tyrone wants to date Chloe, it’s often because Shaniqua is ‘too loud’ and Shaniqua is ‘too hard to deal with’ and Shaniqua ‘argues too much’. How often do you hear black men say ‘I need to get me a white girl’? Not because he loves the glossy, milky radiance of Caucasian skin and the way her wispy hair blows in the wind, but because the alternative is ‘too hard’ to handle. Are white girls not insulted by this?  Being the easy alternative is not a compliment but some will sit there and giggle and blush when a black male is cussing black females.

A girl is not beautiful because she is black, neither is a girl ugly because she is white. Let your choice be a girl you find attractive who, only HAPPENS to be whatever race she is. Black girls do not ‘hate’ on white girls in interracial relationships because we want the black guy in the relationship. Negro, please. However, black men are the cause of this resentment we feel towards such relationships and therefore should take responsibility for it. I believe everyone is entitled to their own opinion and their own preference. What I don’t condone, however, is an insulting, offensive public declaration of your preference.

One thing that REALLY gets to me is the phrase ‘she’s nice for a dark skinned girl.’ We all know that dark skinned girls bear the majority of the insults. It shouldn’t be like that, but it is. How dare people suggest that being dark skinned is a disadvantage? Like it’s the Paralympics -‘he plays football well for a blind man.’ As if being darker already puts you at a disadvantage and therefore if you’re pretty, you deserve bigger recognition. And who has defined what shades are beautiful? Largely, the media has. What’s interesting is that black females don’t fall for this.  We see the likes of Gabrielle Union and Kelly Rowland we see beauty. Maybe inwardly we’re affected, but it’s very rare that we would publicly express these thoughts should they exist. We have grown something called solidarity. Why put our sisters down when the rest of the world already does? Black men, strengthen your minds. Your opinions are weak because the minds they come from are weak.

 

One of the things I have learned growing up, is that the people I am attracted to, attract me because of their qualities, not because of someone else’s apparent downfalls. What do I mean? By all means, be with Becky, breed Becky, MARRY Becky because to you, Becky is amazing. NOT because, Shaniqua is too loud, and Shaniqua is too much to deal with and because you can’t run your fingers through Shaniqua’s hair. Speaking of hair, you have a problem with weave? My brain cells aren’t able to wrap around the foolishness of this statement. How many of you would approach Meagan Good with an afro? You hate that black girls wear weaves, you love that white girls have ‘natural’ hair? Do you even know how many white girls have hair extensions? Trust me when I say fake hair is not just a ‘black’ thing.  Why must you be negative about one race in order to be positive about another? And while you, black men read this blog, cussing my views, calling me a ‘hater’, your mother, Shaniqua is downstairs cooking your dinner.

By Micky

Source: http://www.hoodvoice.co.uk/hood-blog/dear-black-men/

Twitter: @JamaineJones