Wednesday, October 31, 2007
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 companyâ€”doing your part to keep black dollars in our community. He doesn’t show upâ€”doesn’t call. You call his cellâ€”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 worldâ€”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.