Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Dr. Dre, Eminem and Kendrick Lamar will perform at the Pepsi Halftime Show during Super Bowl LVI, Feb. 13, 2022. Photo courtesy Roc Nation.

HALFTIME SHOW

The Root’s writer extraordinaire Michael Harriot recently tweeted, “If the wealthiest Black folks in America teamed up with the biggest stars for a live show online at halftime of the Super Bowl, it would sh*t power & significantly dent the NFL’s ratings. In fact, the only way to prevent that was if someone convinced those stars to… Oh wait.” “Oh wait” is right. How much longer must we wait for our people, all of us, to wake up and recognize our power? Harriot suggested Black big-ballers and shot-callers organize a major flex of their own that would bring the NFL’s premier game to its knees and force them to reckon with our agenda (justice, equality, etc.). Makes sense. But we who weren’t invited to perform during the Super Bowl halftime show have power too. Hell, we saved Democracy for this country more than once. Our 1960s fight for equality tilted the scales of the US/Russia Cold War in America’s favor. Not to mention what we’ve done for science, mathematics, music, fashion, the arts, spirituality, etc. So, whether you’re still boycotting the NFL and standing with Kaepernick or not, we’ve all got to realize the truth of Frederick Douglass’ words, “Power concedes nothing without a demand.”

FEAR OF A BLACK PLANET

In 1990, Public Enemy, the greatest hip hop group in the known (and unknown) universe, released their album “Fear of a Black Planet.” The underlying theme of its songs (“Welcome to the Terrordome,” “911 Is a Joke,” “Fight the Power,” etc.) was that fear of Black empowerment drove the passing of unequal drug sentences (i.e. crack vs. powder cocaine), the blackening of the prison industrial complex and anti-Blackness from Hollywood to Capitol Hill. And even though PE promised “Brothers Gonna Work it Out,” over 30 years later that same fear is alive and well, and seen in attacks on “Critical Race Theory;” in redistricting maps that give more power to white Texans than people of color who drove the state’s population growth; and in voter suppression tactics used to create a white minority rule government in a country that’ll be majority Black & Brown in a hot minute. One social critic recently stated, Black people aren’t Democrats because we love them, but because they are a barrier between us and the party of full-blown white nationalism. Whether we can ever get the Democrats to fight for us the way we’ve fought for them is yet to be seen. But we for d*mn sure better be ready and willing to fight for ourselves, educationally, economically, politically and otherwise.

SQUID GAMES SAGE

ESPN’s Sage Steele, known for her unapologetic anti-Blackness, recently tried to low-key clown President Barack Obama for proclaiming his Blackness. Steele’s reasoning for her confused pettiness? Obama’s father wasn’t in the picture when 44 was growing up. Then Ms. Black-Adjacent 2021, Ellen Pompeo, came after Denzel Washington because she refused to accept his Black authority while he directed an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. She then used her Black husband and Black children as shields against charges of white supremacy and white privilege. A very “Karen” move, by the way. It seems Steele is auditioning for Black America’s version of Squid Games where you win by tearing down folk who look just like you, while Pompeo’s playing Race Tag, thinking just because she’s been touched by Blackness that she’s “It” and gets a free pass to be as “Karen” as she wants. FYI Ellen, being boo-ed up with a brother (or sister) doesn’t exorcise white supremacy from your spirit.