Childish Gambino’s New Video Made Me Cry

If you haven’t seen it. Here it is, in all it’s wonderful beautiful glory

Now, why did I cry? Why did the video make me cry?

Well for one, it’s named “This is America”.  This video is full of truths about our society as a whole, and as I sat there watching it for what felt like the millionth time, I started to shed tears, because the meaning continued to weigh heavy on my heart.

The main point in this video is basically showing how distracted or little we tend to care about what’s going on in society.  As we see Gambino dancing with these school kids, as if nothing is going on.  From the opening scene we hear a chant, basically describing that we just want to have fun and that we just want to have a good life.  Starting off the song with an up-beat, African influenced chant “We just wanna party, Party just for you, We just want the money, Money just for you…” and from there things get grim when Gambino pulls out a gun and shoots a man with his head covered…and utters the words:

“This is America, Don’t catch you slippin up…”

Like…WHAT?!?!?

And the scene afterwards, which was noted by many outlets online, showed Glover handing off the gun to someone else, who had a red scarf of some sort, taking the gun off screen ever so carefully.  And what does he do after all of this commotion? Starts to dance as if nothing happened.  It’s a mirror on how society is taken aback by the sheer horrendous nature of America, but will then turn their eyes to something else as if the event that just happened never occurred.

The dancing in the video is a distraction. The lyrics, while basic in delivery, tells a simple story of our country.  “Police is trippin”, “I got a strap, I gotta carry em”, etc.  but the song alone does not make this the epic experience you should be hearing. The video is what you should pay attention to.

Gambino even goes to murdering a church choir, symbolizing the Charleston shooter from a few years back, and again the gun, which looked like and Assault Rifle, was taken away with care, which Glover, in turn, decides to start dancing again.  Symbolizing the initial shock of a tragic incident, but how we are quick to move along and forget about things again.

And while Gambino is dancing around with his crew, the background is just full of chaos.  The world around us in burning, but we’re focusing on the wrong things. And while all of these things are going on, we’re dancing, rather the Hip Hop community is dancing, and “getting their money”.  That’s what it’s all about.  As a black male in America, the chaos in the background is what we deal with on a normal basis, but society is being blinded. These things continue to happen, and people are out here just “getting their money” but not out here striving to make a change.  Obviously this is just my opinion and how I view it, but as the chaos goes on in the background, we’re just out here doing our dance. Whether that dance be “dancing for the man to ‘get that money'” and not challenge the status quo, or the dancing around people do to avoid the hard conversations.  However, there is a point where  this video screams how much America loves our art, but not our lives.  The outro goes like this:

“You just a Black man in this world
You just a barcode, ayy
You just a Black man in this world
Drivin’ expensive foreigns, ayy
You just a big dawg, yeah
I kenneled him in the backyard
No probably ain’t life to a dog
For a big dog”

If this doesn’t scream “we’re just loved for our entertainment” I don’t know what is.  They don’t love us, they just love our culture.

This is America, where people want to believe it or not.  And this is why I cried.  Because while we are enjoying our lives, there will always be a next time, and a time after that, unless something is done about it.  Being a black man in America only amplifies the hurt, due to injustices that we have to worry about on a daily basis when it comes to police brutality and racism.  And that reality just breaks my heart…

Donald Glover, you are a genius and most of America doesn’t deserve you.

Being Mixed in Today’s Racial Climate

So newsflash, if you didn’t already know, I’m mixed. My mom is white and my dad is black. My mom is like white white. She’s Canadian for goodness sake, I’m not sure if it gets much whiter than that. My dad is pretty black. He’s from Eastern North Carolina (and let’s just settle the debate once and for all. The best barbecue. I’m not arguing with you sorry) and while I’m sure it gets more black than that, we can all acknowledge that’s a pretty special kind of black.

I’m aware that I’ve probably made like 10 racially insensitive remarks already. So if you are offended at all by anything I’ve said…you should just stop reading now. I’m not one for political correctness and I’m not a master of this topic. I’m just a random mixed woman writing at 6 am.

One thing I will touch base on before getting to the more important stuff is my choice of the word mixed. There are very small debates in parts of the world as to what is the correct term to use when discussing people who come from more than one racial back ground. And yes, yes I hear you all now “we are all the human race” or technically “every is more than one race.” Ok great. Please sit your all lives matter behind down somewhere and just listen for once. I purposefully use the term mixed because I like it best. Please insert bi-racial, or multi-racial as you please if it bothers you but as for me and my house, we are mixed. Call it what you want, just not mullato because we might fight.

Anywho…

If you are unaware of the stressful racial climate of today’s world…please read a book, open the paper, turn on the news or just kind of pay-a-fucking-ttention the next time you’re out in public, then come back and read this. It’s not good. It’s never been good and part of me fears it never will be. Yes there has been change and in some areas, progress, but there is still a very, very long way to go. And that’s a post that one of my fellow bloggers could definitely write much better than I could.

What I’m here to kind of briefly bring to your attention and then peace out about is, what your mixed friends may be experiencing right now. And if they aren’t experiencing it, I sure as hell am so it’s important for that reason alone.

It’s tough.

And maybe in a way that you wouldn’t expect.

It’s always been tough to be black, and therefore tough to be mixed if you look even the slightest bit black. Definitely not tough in the same way but tough.

And then there is the general struggle that is to be mixed. Research says I will have a identify crisis regarding what I am. And maybe this is it. But up until this point I have been very much aware of what I am. I’m mixed. And that has never confused me. My parents didn’t ram a racial identity down my throat. And I woke up every day to my white mother and black father in the same household loving me and allowing me to live my best mixed life. The question of “what are you” was always answered with “mixed” then later on when I discovered the fine art of petty the response was “human.” But bottom line, I have never questioned what I am racially. I’m mixed. The best and worst of BOTH worlds. Many many other people have not understood it, have tried to put me in a box and demanded “yea but you gotta pick one” or my favorite “well your dad’s black so you’re black” like my entire white mother just doesn’t count. Bye Felicia.

So my current mixed dilemma…

There is this definite culture right now in the black community of hating white people. Now I’m certain this is nothing new. It’s always been there. Black and white people not getting along is as American as apple pie and lynchings. This is most likely just my generations experience of that. But I am experiencing it all the same, and through my mixed filter, constantly keeping in mind my white mother, grandmother, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandfather when I hear comments like

“White people suck”

“I don’t care what white people think”

“Everyone but white people”

“I hate white people”

“White people are the devil”

I see this and much more, sprawled in my timelines every day, and I have found myself in many a conversation where these statements are made and I just kind of sit there like “ummm hello. Mixed person in the building please don’t count a whole half of me out.”

And I would be lying if I said I hadn’t said some of these things too. It’s hard not too. White people have done some seriously fucked up shit towards black people and continue to do so on a very high, political, systematic basis every day (again another post for another day that I probably won’t write, but think prison system, drug war, legalization of marijuana, gentrification type things). So I totally get where the statements are coming from.

But the reality is, not all white people have done these things or think this way and we get no where by making such broad generalizations and statements. And I know for a fact that many of the people I have heard these things from, do not think this way about all white people, because they have white friends or at the very least absolutely love my mom, but just some pure honesty from a mixed woman…every time I hear those statements I get this sucker punch to the gut of my racial identity and go into immediate fight or flight mode. And I’ll admit, the majority of the time I opt for flight. Like I said. I’ve said these things too.

I’ve even gone so far as to be proud that my moms pretty much “someone’s old granny reincarnated in this white woman’s body.” Yep. I’ve said that. It sounds good. Makes me feel like I didn’t miss out on this black experience of having a black mom. I get excited when I see videos on Facebook about “things black moms say” and I’m like “yea my mom has said 95% of those things too. Yay I didn’t miss out.” But I’ve realized in the last few days, and as I write this blog, that that’s kind of a fucked up way of thinking. My mom’s white. Super white. Blonde hair. Blue eyed. Like I said, she’s freakin Canadian for crying out loud. She’s white! And yea she can throw down in the kitchen with the best of them. And she gets mad and cusses and threatens to never cook for anyone again and she definitely has asked me if I have McDonald’s money more than once. But she’s still white. I still almost cussed this black guy out at Walmart one time in his black lives matter t-shirt for getting an unnecessary attitude with her because she patiently waited for him to move and said excuse me but he didn’t hear it. She’s white. People look at her and assume things based off that and because she’s white she has certain privilege in this world that I as her mixed daughter do not have. But I think she has used it beautifully. She will politely cuss you out for using the n-word in her presence and will hold off on letting you know about her black husband and mixed children just to see if you’re going to say some racist shit first. She is legit rooting for everyone black and will tell you. Shes definitely invited to the cook out. She’s probably made half the food. And her Mac and cheese is quite possibly top 5 that you’ve ever tasted. And even though she meets all those stereotypes about what it means to be black…she’s white.

And I would not change anything about her or my experience being a mixed woman with a white mother.

So anywho, I have said all that to say this. Not all white people are evil. Not all white people are terrible. And just like we do not want all black people to be classified as thugs or gangsters or criminals or dangerous, we get no where and do not further any cause, by speaking in generalized terms in response.

These issues only get solved by open and honest communication with people who don’t look like you. And that can only be done with an open mind and a willingness to learn and understand and not the agenda to change.

So, go befriend a white person today, and if you can’t find one let me know, because my mom is awesome!

Side note: Pastor Furtick with Elevation church recently did an amazing conversation with Charlemagne the God around this topic of difference and conversation. You should check it out.

http://elevationchurch.org/sermons/come-out-of-your-corner/

To assume will only make an ass out of yourself, and leave me laughing at you.

In response to “Justin Timberlake is rebranding himself as a white Man” From The Outline. An article about upcoming album “Man of the Woods” by Justin Timberlake.  

Dear Ann-Derrick,

This is satire, right? It has to be. I hope it is.

But just in case it isn’t…

I’m not a journalist, and I don’t try to be.  I’m just a casual blogger that has a lot to say and I read your post this week, only because I’m a big Justin Timberlake fan.  So yeah I may be a little biased, but I’m not blind.

Or maybe I am…However…

Something tells me that you’re probably not a fan of Justin Timberlake.  Something tells me that you have no earthly idea of how he’s carried himself through the entertainment and music industry for the last 23 years he’s been doing this thing.  We’ll just focus on the last 13 or so though, since his solo career is what you seem to have a problem with.

“Justin Timberlake is rebranding as a white man”. 

???

When was Justin Timberlake ever not white?  Ok Ok, I know, too literal, right?  So let’s look at it from a cultural standpoint.  From the start of your article, you visualize the settings from which Justin’s album teaser is set from (You did a good ass job with that, by the way).  And for some strange reason, I don’t have any idea why, you immediately think “Damn this is some white people shit”.  Just because he’s in some wilderness setting.

“White colonialist fantasies aside, there’s something very familiar about this pivot in Timberlake’s style.” 

These are your words.  Mind you, the album, NOR the single has even dropped at this point when you posted your article, so how is this pivot familiar? What pivot? What are you basing your opinion on? Additionally, how is this quote even related to his race? Oh, the visuals? Because this is some “white people shit”?  White people love the outdoors and wilderness.  But here’s a news flash.  Probably not many, but black people tend to love this as well, but that’s beside the point.  You’re assuming here that Timberlake’s visual association of wildlife to be sort of a “celebration” of his whiteness, and we all know what assuming things get you.

Authenticity is quite marketable now, and for white pop stars that means shifting away from the hip-hop and R&B-influenced sounds that made them famous, and toward the sounds of Southern and country rock. For Timberlake, the pivot should be sonically natural: Originally hailing from Tennessee, Timberlake has never been shy about celebrating his Southern origins. And considering Pharrell and Timbaland are both producers on the album, Man of the Woods is likely to retain some familiar influences.

So why are you even typing this article right now?

But with his insistence in the video that this album will be his most personal yet, Timberlake is indulging in the inexplicably popular fallacy that music with heavy country influences is somehow more profound or emotionally acute than music that is electronic, lyrics that are rapped, or songs that inspire listeners to shake their asses.

Have you heard the track yet? Because all of this assumption is just really causing a problem for me.

Not to straight up copy and paste your whole article here, but you are reaching SO MUCH.  I feel that you are reading too much into this.  Justin Timberlake has essentially grown over the years as an artist.  From a young teen heartthrob (Justified), to the sexy young adult (FutureSex/LoveSounds), to the experienced sexy adult (The 20/20 Experience) to full out husband and family man (Man of the Wild). He’s calling this his most profound and personal because this album is reflecting his personal life.  If writing about your family isn’t considered profound just on it’s own without including race then I’m not sure if you have a full grasp of the word.  How in the hell do you get “Justin is rebranding as a white man” out of this, is beyond me.

Timberlake has a long history with hip-hop and R&B, genres invented and dominated by black people(…)His first single as a solo artist featured legendary hip-hop duo Clipse and was co-written by The Neptunes.

Justin Timberlake has worked with Timbaland and The Neptunes for the vast majority of his solo career.  If anyone is to blame for him appropriating black culture, they share the blame.

Now that that is out of the way, Justin Timberlake’s first single “Like I Love You” with Clipse was a Pop track with a Rap feature. I don’t think I’ve ever heard that track on a single Hip Hop station growing up.  To add to that, Justified was solely a Pop album with hints of hip hop flare due to Timbaland and The Neptunes.  With the exception of “Cry Me a River”, Timberlake’s songs were rotated on Pop stations.

It wasn’t until FutureSex/LoveSounds when Justin got more play on Urban stations and even then only half of the album (if that) consisted of a straight up Urban tone. The rest of it was Pop.  Tell me the last time you heard “SexyBack” on a Hip Hop radio station? Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

With the 20/20 Experience, Justin ventured into Pop Soul, which had his most Urban influence for an album.  But it wasn’t that he was straight up jacking the hip hop style, he involved Pop into something different. Into something great, and I implore you to go back and listen to it.

Again I don’t think that you’ve really listened to Justin’s music.  Which I guess you don’t really have to, to come up with this crazy notion of an article you’ve written here.  Also, I feel that people of color don’t really appreciate Justin’s music other than his singles that play on urban hip hop stations.  Justin has never branded himself as black.  People just tend to have this mindset that he’s appropriating the culture and I feel that that’s where you get this notion about him branding himself as a black person.  And you know what, it’s fine to feel that he’s appropriating the culture, because to an extent, he is, but I feel that he’s appropriating by association, and who’s to blame for that?

Maybe that’s a conversation for another day…

 

Edit:  After speaking with a few friends on this topic, I may have missed the ultimate point of the original article.  However, I do feel that the original author is jumping the gun prematurely at the fact that the music has not been released. So who knows if Justin will be embracing his “white roots”.  Being able to “play the field” due to privilege is more of a societal issue than it is a personal issue. And maybe one day we can work on that.

Much Love

 

Artist Spotlight: Pell

 

pell-girasoul-artwork

I feel like I’ve been slacking on the music rec’s for you guys recently and I apologize for that.  So today I’ve decided to do a Spotlight on one of my favorite artists right now, Pell!

Pell is a little known artist hailing from Jackson, MS but originally from New Orleans.  He had to move due to Hurricane Katrina, from my understanding.  One of the best Indie artists I’ve come across, his style and flow reminds me somewhat of B.o.B., but he has his own swag.

With only one full length album under his belt, you’d probably ask how could someone you’ve never heard of can be so talented. Well, that’s just the joy of independent music.  There’s a whole entire world of music out there that youc an explore.  Pell just recently dropped a 6 track EP that lives up to the greatness that was his first album and I can’t wait to hear more from him.  If you want to venture out of mainstream rap, do a quick search and check him out.  Or check out my short playlist on Spotify!

For the Pell of it – Spotify

 

Wednesday Weekly: All About The 90s

WW9WW5Wedweek

 

 

 

 

Today I’m hitting you all with THREE! Not 1, Not 2, but THREE playlists for the Wednesday Weekly! (Mind you, two of the playlists have already been featured, but I got a theme going on here so why not, right? )

Anywho, I have three bangers just waiting to be listened to to get you through your workday. Or maybe you’re not working and you need some good ol “cleaning the house” music.  Or maybe you just want something different to listen to.  Whatever the reason, I got you right here!

Early 90s Hip Hop/R&B (Vol. 9)– Explores some of the most influential artists of the early 90s Hip Hop and R&B scene where a lot of artists seem to get their influence from today!

Late 90s/Early 00s Hip Hop/R&B (Vol. 5) – That nostalgic era of Hip Hop/R&B that we used to jam to in middle/high school

Sounds like the 90s/00s (Vol. 1)  – Newly released songs that are clearly influenced by the many hits of the 90s and early 00s

Enjoy!

Wednesday Weekly: Crunk Anthems

WW6

So this weeks Wednesday Weekly is coming at you a little earlier than normal, because I know you all need a little CRUNK JUICE in your life this week and I DO WHAT I WANT (lol).  These songs bring back memories of High School and College that I will never forget.  I have NO IDEA how more people didn’t die after listening to these songs; Some are so angry, lol.   I was listening to this soundtrack at work yesterday and wanted to curse out EVERYBODY who looked at me sideways. So if you just need some “eff it” music for the day, a reason to “walk it out” or “2 step”, or you just feel like twerking in your office chair, this is the playlist for you!

Spotify
Apple Music

Music Spotlight: “Wash & Set” by Leikeli47

wash-and-set-album-stream-leikeli-47-1504885723-640x640Ok if you haven’t figured this out already, I am kind of a music head…kind of and I just like sharing music with others.  Most of the time my tastes don’t line up with whoever I’m sharing stuff with because I try to push the envelope to get people to open up their mind to different styles.

One of my favorite new releases of the year!

Leikeli hails from New York and dons a ski mask pretty much 24/7 making her that more interesting to me. She’s so creative, and I can guarantee you that you’ve never heard anyone like her in todays rap game.  “Wash & Set” is an awesome piece of work.  You can tell Leikeli is all about loving the skin she’s in, being a woman and being f**king unapologetic about it.

Tracks to make sure you check out:
“2nd fiddle”
“Attitude”
“Bags”
“Elian’s Revenge”
“Braids tuh’da flo(w)”
“Wash & Set”

Enjoy!

Spotify
Apple Music