LOVE, PEACE & SOUL
Fifty-one years ago this week the iconic, game-changing show “Soul Train” made its TV debut. Not only was it a major moment for the culture because it showcased us for us to see on a weekly basis, it helped promote our artists, our dances and our style. Whether other folk watched or not, we were watching. “Soul” Train literally felt like the original FUBU — for us by us. Now, were there other folk who served as investors, funders and execs giving the okay to put it on the air? Sure. But if it hadn’t been the phenomenon that it was the show would have been canceled after season one.
It was the strength of Black support that kept “Soul Train” alive for so long. It was the magic of Black support that had our artists clamoring to be showcased. It was the beauty of Black support that made “Soul Train” more than a show, but in the words of the late host Don Cornelius, “the hippest trip in America.” “Soul Train” is gone but the power of Black support need not be. Let’s channel that energy toward Black businesses, Blackfolk who stand against the powers that be, Black children in the education system, Black elders and Black communities in general. Because truth be told, we all could stand a little more “love, peace and soul.”
ARE OATH KEEPERS THE REAL AMERICANS?
On a recent edition of the “Rickey Smiley Morning Show,” Jeff Johnson talked about the nerve of the Oath Keepers, a para-military organization that worships the myth of white supremacy that openly seeks to unleash mass violence on Black people, claiming to be the “real Americans.” “These guys aren’t real Americans. They represent the exact opposite of what America stands for,” said Johnson. And to that statement I say, “WTH?”
The Oath Keepers certainly don’t represent America on paper: “We the people,” “unalienable rights,” “democracy” and “equality.” They’re all about “we the privileged white male few.” But in the real-life, nuts-and-bolts of America, the Oath Keepers are absolutely the “real Americans.”
I mean, what is more “American” than inflicting violence on POC or blaming Blacks or any other scapegoat of the moment (i.e. immigrants, Muslins, LGBTQ, women, scientists, etc.) for all the country’s ills? What is more “American” than ignoring facts and promoting some whitewashed version of “history”? What’s more “American” than being more committed to the symbols of democracy (i.e. the flag) than the actual practice of democracy (i.e. standing against voter suppression)?
DON’T GET IT TWISTED
The Jan. 6 hearings are proving to the nation what Blackfolk knew all along; that the conspiracy to overthrow democracy went from the lowest, three-teeth-having, trailer park-living, white supremacists, to the highest levels of lowlife U.S. lawmakers and captains of capitalist industry. So, you can be forgiven for thinking justice is about to “roll down like a river, and righteousness like a mighty stream.” Spoiler alert: it’s not.
We’ll get some symbolic justice crumbs, i.e. a few folk getting sentences to create the illusion that justice is actually blind. But if justice were truly blind, Brett Favre would have been under the jail long ago for stealing $5 million in federal funds designated by law to go toward Mississippi’s poorest of the poor. Donald Trump too. But let Nook-Nook, RayQuon or LaTeesha get caught borrowing someone’s EBT card, and they’re behind bars, no questions asked.