Archive for October, 2007

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Nigga’d Out 2.0

EE  Fatal Overdose Niggad Out 2.0
Have you ever felt nigga’d out? Sure you have, I’ll elaborate:

You know, you wake up feeling good, but then you get in your car and it all goes downhill. All the music is about bending you over, getting money, how hard someone is (literally and figuratively), and all sorts of other things that, although you couldn’t make out all the country slang, you’re pretty sure were obscene.

You go to get your blah blah latte mocha thing and a sista with beautiful braids greets you with a smirk and an eyeroll. You apparently have caught her in the midst of a very juicy text messaging session with her friend. You apologize for interrupting.

Next, you go to your local state agency to do some routine transaction like renew your license or apply for a business license and the customer service rep, a young black man who badly needs his cornrows re-done, acts like you are disturbing him by asking for his help. Like it would kill him/her to stop surfing Black Planet for 10 minutes and assist you. I mean, PhattButt98 isn’t going anywhere.

While walking from the parking garage to work, you pass a corner where a bunch of teenagers pontificate on life. You are astounded by their ability to break life down into three elements, no not earth, wind, and fire, but: bitches, niggas, and money. And they had an uncanny talent–no matter what the conversation, the most obscene words were always spoken the loudest. Shouldn’t they be in school somewhere, anywhere?

You hurry home to meet the guy putting in your new ceramic tile in the kitchen–you went out of your way to hire an African-American owned company—doing your part to keep black dollars in our community. He doesn’t show up—doesn’t call. You call his cell—its off and the mailbox is full. And while he may not have had time to show up for the job he clearly had a window of downtime earlier that day in which he cashed your check.

You check your email. You are bombarded with the latest batch of “ghetto” pictures from your friends. Photos of women and men who have taken to adopting pimps and ho’s as their fashion role models. Kids are now going to proms in outfits that could get them arrested in four states. (sigh). And their mama was the one who made it.

You turn on the tube and slip into something more comfortable.
I love New York is on.

You check your voice mail. The person you met last night at the grocery store has three kids by three people.

Flava of Love. Cribs. Maury.

Still not having made the move to Netflix, you head to the video store and as you stand in line a too-young African-American pregnant girl is feeding her two year old a Twix bar and Nehi grape and cursing him out.

You head to your car, you feel low. Are you depressed? are you angry? You can’t quite put your finger on what you’re feeling. That feeling, my friends, is called being Nigga’d Out. That feeling of dread that makes you look around at our community and say to yourself, we’re doomed. You wanna holla and throw up both your hands, but you just don’t have the energy.

But there is a cure for this common malady. Its called a Black People Re-fill (BPR). Just when you think there is no more hope for the black community, a BPR can bring you right back and restore your faith in this beautiful race. This is not to be confused with CPR although they both bring you back to life.

No need to consult your physician, you can find a BPR in any city on any evening or weekend. Go to a neighborhood street festival or a museum or a gospel concert. Go to an African-American museum, a soul food restaurant. See some African dancers or a children’s choir. Go see an August Wilson play or rent Uptown Saturday Night with Cosby and Poitier. Go see a Romare Bearden art exhibit or a local rendition of Porgy and Bess. Listen to Barack Obama or Cornel West speak. Read Walter Moseley, Toni Morrison or Henry Louis Gates.

A good BPR exposes you to all the beautiful things about us that are eclipsed by a suffocating popular culture. You are reminded that there are people living well, giving back, setting the standard, striving for excellence, providing examples for our children. All hope is not indeed lost.

A BPR lifts your spirits and once again brings you back to the place where you believe all things are possible. A place where you can see that the souls of black folk are among the most beautiful and vibrant in the world. A place where we are kind to each other, embrace our culture and strive for excellence at all times. A place where we are strong and value life and family.

With all the negativity in the world—some imposed, some self-inflicted, it is important you know that a BPR is only as far away as your city newspaper or the internet. Grab onto a BPR and hold it tight during those days when you get down on yourself and down on your people.

Like CPR, a BPR breathes life back into the potential of the black race. I got mine ready, do you have yours?

Because more than likely, you’re gonna need it. Soon.

Hating: A Critique

ee fish Hating: A Critique

Although a marvel of linguistics and a true ode to black folk’s creative genius when it comes to language, the terms “hating” or “hatin” have turned on us. We have now become a community essentially unable to criticize each other. I mean, it doesn’t matter how justified the criticism, it can be blown off ever so easily by the phrase “stop hatin.” Now, for sure, we’ve all heard women who said “Beyonce aint all that” or guys who will proclaim “Kobe Bryant really isn’t that good.” OK, now THEY’re hatin. Fo sho. But, generally, nowadays you really cant give a piece of honest advice about the most basic things without it being dismissed as hating. The concept has become our own worst enemy. We don’t listen to advice, we don’t take fashion tips, we don’t seem to believe that anyone could possibly have anything worthwhile to contribute to our lives because, of course, whatever they say, if we don’t like it, they must be hating.
Have we lost our ability to take criticism? Has it become easier to believe someone is hating on you as opposed to you really may be too fat for that freakum dress? Is it easier to believe someone is hating on you, as opposed to, at 35, you really may be too old to have the A Bay Bay ring tone ? Taken to its logical conclusion, our belief that everyone is hating on us all the time can lead to us never improving and continuing our bad decisions and bad behavior. Believe me, more often than not, people really aren’t hating.
Your best friend is not hating on you. Its just that maybe a $700/mo. car payment at 22% APR just isn’t a good idea.
Your boss isnt hating on you. Maybe being late every other day really is unprofessional.
Your sister isn’t hating on you. By eight, maybe your son really should know how to read.
So lets stop with, what I call, the hating write-off. Its stifling our growth!! Believe it or not, most people are trying to help you not make a bad decision. It could be about your man, your woman, your money, your style, your hair, your breath, your housekeeping, but there is value in listening. There is value in humility and the knowledge that you really don’t know it all and you really may not have it all together. Maybe you really are obnoxious and talk too loud, maybe you do need to lose a few pounds, maybe your weave is a mess, maybe you really are too old to dress like that, maybe your kids ARE bad, that’s life. But how will you ever do better if you ignore all criticism with a blanket hating write-off?
Our lives should be a constant quest to improve. Lord knows there’s always something we could be doing better. And there’s no greater gift than friends and family who are willing to help you along your journey with guidance or advice. So the next time you feel someone is hating on you, just stop and think for a moment—are they REALLY hating? Or could it be that a 50 year old man maybe, just maybe, shouldn’t be wearing cornrows….?