Songs of Protest

21 After threatening them again, they let them go, finding no way to punish them because of the people, for all of them praised God for what had happened. 22 For the man on whom this sign of healing had been performed was more than forty years old. (Acts 4:21-22)

Peter and John on their way to the temple encounter a lame man and, ultimately, become conduits for healing. This man whom many had passed by numerous of times, on their way to whatever pressing “Godly matters” is now in the presence of two concerned brothers. Peter and John dapped the brother up and encouraged him to “rise up and walk” in the name of that Black Messiah from Nazareth.

Because they had invoked the name of the Black Messiah, Jesus, and stood against the status quo they were unjustly arrested. Their legal protest for free health care got them placed in jail and brought before the corrupt and misinformed rulers. These corrupt rulers did everything in their power to get them to concede and change their talking points. Recognizing that these men had definitely been with the Black Messiah, the rulers made all matter of threats, but, eventually, yielded because the people’s praises were of such a rebellious vibe, it disrupted their desired intentions. These were not just praises of euphoric emotions, these songs of protest appeared to have activated strategies for change. The scripture denotes that the rulers “finding no way to punish them, because of the people, for all were praising.” The songs of protest were such a disruption of resistance that all plans were averted.

DuBois and Cee-Lo: The Fence

Me and my family moved in our apartment complex

A gate with the serial code was put up next

The claim that this community is so drug free

But it don’t look that way to me cause I can see

The young bloods hanging out at the store

24/7 Junkies looking got a hit of the blow

it’s powerful Oh you know what else they tryin to do

Make a curfew especially for me and you

the traces of the new world order

Time is getting shorter if we don’t get prepared

People it’s gone be a slaughter

My mind won’t allow me to not be curious

My folk don’t understand so they don’t take it serious

But every now and then,

I wonder If the gate was put up to keep crime out or to keep our ass in. – Cee-Lo

I think I never before quite realized the place of the Fence in civilization.”- W.E.B. DuBois

The differences between Du Bois’ ideology of fences and gates, retrospectively, is strangely just a means of time and space with Cee-Lo’s perspective in “Soul Therapy.”

Cee-Lo identifies the gate as a mechanism of enslavement or control. Nonetheless, he understands that the gate works the same from both sides: it keeps crime out or keeps our ass in. The gate symbolizes that we are the crime that needs to be held captive so that crime does not get into the greater public. Or, the gate was simply placed there to keep our ass in—locked down.

What Du Bois supposes is that the fence is only for the places that are deemed as valuable. Those space with fences are white Kelly Brown Douglas call cherish spaces. These spaces are places where Black bodies are unwelcome and it is god’s will that white people do whatever it takes to protect those spaces. DuBois notices that the fence is an indictor of privilege. When there is a fence placed in front of the “ugly, one-room, cheerless and dirty” shacks lived in by the poor Black tenants the rent is increased because of the fence.

What DuBois appears to surmise is the objective of the fence changes when you own the land. And not just land, when you own whatever, it makes a difference in driving perspective.

What Does It Mean

We are presently entrenched in a social crucible,

where two simple statements have marked identities: Black Lives Matter (BLM) vs. Make America Great Again (MAGA).

This complicated struggle—

of finding meaning in the midst of death, is becoming overwhelming.

We’re all searching for the perpetual solution to the unimagined question:

What does it mean to be Black in a white, racist society when death is loitering from Covid-19, police, or just everyday life itself?

The success of waking and showering is the goal.

The success of waking is the goal.

Just having a goal is success.

Each journey outside becomes an anxiety laden spy mission

Be safe, wear your mask

I don’t know…I just put my headphones in and listen to Coltrane.

A Love Supreme

Vulnerability During the Pandemic

The older I get the more I realize that vulnerability becomes a necessary part of the arsenal for survival. This pandemic has revealed to many that they are only moments away from life being altered in unimaginable fashions. Therefore, summoning up the courage to go the store for groceries is a herculean task but life threatening to say the least. As one of my colleagues and a friend shared with me during a phone call 3 weeks ago, “Foulks, if I get this virus, I don’t think I will make it.” Those words have echoed in my mind, heart and spirit since that day. And friends, I feel the same way. Knowing my vulnerabilities has given me a freedom. Everyday is a ….

We See You Brother Malcolm

El Hajj Malik El Shabazz

Brother Malcolm, “the Black shining prince”

On those last days, he moved with a particular preciseness.

This Black prophet, re-imagining love.

We see you Brother Malcolm, the fierce warrior for justice.

Those last moments as you apologize to the young sister for raising your voice…

We see you brother Malcolm…

That moment that shaped your life— when the state separated you and your siblings from you mother.

The moment you emphatically uttered, “That if ever the government destroyed a family it destroyed mine.”

calculated evil…

An evil that would lead you from train, to city, to jail and eventually to a nation.

The Nation of Islam…

Asalamalekeim…Walaekeim salaam

We see you brother Malcolm, dancing the lindy-hop

We see you Brother Malcolm picking the lock

We see a youth dispossessed, to become a man passionate about his people

We see you brother Malcolm

I’m reminded of my father urging me not to be like Malcolm

But to don the characteristics of King

See, I remember the story

April 4, 1968 king was killed my father is stationed in Birmingham, AL after being drafted.

He says, “The first white person he saw, he says he knock his motherfucking teeth out his mouth.”

But, yet, he tells me. Be more like Martin than Malcolm.

Ah. I get it.

My father understood Malcolm as well.

See growing up in the south there was a way that one had to “carry themselves.”

My father understood that being Malcolm would get you killed a lot quicker in the south than being Martin.

But, trust me ,when it was needful…one should always channel their inner Malcolm.

Because by any means necessary was a real life mantra.

We see you brother Malcolm.