Screen Shot 2016-07-28 at 9.41.26 AMWe are at a real low point in American history. As a Black woman who loves writing social commentary, it is really affecting my ability to do my work. The politics, the culture, the economic situation of the country? All of it is really depressing, beyond depressing. I’m hoping y’all will bear with me through this rant — because I need to let loose on America currently sucking.

I’m absolutely sick and tired of writing about unarmed Black people being shot by police and racism.  How many times should Black people have to depress themselves writing about police brutality before the damn country gets the message that #BlackLivesMatter? How many more stories of unarmed Black people being shot by police, must circulate social media before this country is willing to take a hard look at its racist policing practices and implement laws/legislation or sanctions to protect Black lives from such injustice? Shooting after shooting, story after story, the inaction (on the part of the government) and death remain a constant.

Then when seeking some emotional or intellectual reprieve from the witnessing and internalizing of constant violence and injustice, one is bombarded by a bunch of depressing cultural product. When was the last time there was a really great American movie? Don’t come at me talking about some Marvel remake or another Mission Impossible movie, either. And I want to excite myself about the new movie, “The Birth of a Nation”, but I can’t. I tried to watch the Roots series, and everyone who has told me it was phenomenal, but I can’t bring myself to doing that either. I need an escape from this reality of constant oppression. I have watched the shooting and killing of so many Black people on the daily news in the past few years. Scenes that have eerily been compared to lynchings of the past. I cannot bring myself to viewing violence against Black people as entertainment.

Music culture? It’s like a damn crime scene. A homicide where the victim is hip-hop and R&B, the perp is the racist, appropriating-ass music industry. Who could have ever thought that an entire music phenomenon, that inspired millions globally, would eventually be reduced to parody music for mini van commercials with happy go-lucky all-American White families? Swagger-f***ing- Wagon? REALLY? REALLY AMERICA?! At least Black people put our whole collective foot down on Iggy Azalea and destroyed that career built on making a mockery of Black culture. One must be grateful for that much. That and Beyoncé giving Black women life earlier this year when she dropped the Lemonade visual.

But, as if African-American people don’t already know what it feels like to have cultural product hijacked and watered down, now Black America is all in for stealing and monetizing Dancehall music with little to no credit to the style’s originators? Drake can all-the-way miss me with his “One Dance” and “Controller” tracks. Why Black folk Iggy-Azalea-ing other Black folks now? AND NO RIHANNA IS NOT SPEAKING NO DAMN PATOIS ON THAT “WORK” TRACK. She is speaking lazy. Go to Jamaica and sing Rihanna’s lyrics and ask Jamaicans to translate. They will be just as dumbfounded by the words “dur dur dur” (Dirt) and “wur wur wur” (work?) as everyone in America was when the track first came out, before everyone tried caping for that chile.

Don’t come at me telling me that Drake isn’t from America and Rihanna is from the Caribbean. The American music industry is responsible for this “Dancehall-inspired” music phenomenon that took over the airwaves this year. And it is terrible, by all measures except for the Billboard charts where those songs have remained in the Top 100.

Quite frankly, as a child of the 90’s, I was spoiled. The talent of that era (and even the early 00s) was astounding and there was plenty of it. Whitney Houston — a woman with such a powerful voice and timeless talent– was at the top of the charts. The vast majority of Black artists on the airwaves had to have actual singing abilities. There were different genres of music (What ever happened to rock music or reggae made by Jamaican artists, anyways?). That was before the industry decided we should only have two options: EDM and Pop (with stolen elements from other genres). You can try to call Panda Hip-hop, but I just can’t get behind that classification. After all, I grew up during the era when Tupac and Biggie were rivals who represented Hip-Hop, c’mon now.

Yes, I’m having a “back in my day” rant right now.

I am only 26! I shouldn’t already be nostalgic. This country is making me feel like I should promptly invest in an adult walker and tennis balls for the back legs, which is unfair. I am youthful dammit! Youthful!

So to recapture my youth I…… Play Pokemon Go!?

Before I begin, for y’all playing Pokemon Go!, feel free to come for me in the comments section. Whatevs. Cool. But there is no way in hell anyone can convince me that grown adults should be chasing down imaginary characters in a digital world, in real-time, peering at the world through their phone. It is a safety hazard, at worst. And just looks plain stupid at best.

Evidence A:

Evidence B:

This Pokemon Go! Craze is making me want to stick to hardcore “adulting.” Like organizing my closet and backing up my hard drive on a Friday and Saturday night. I just can’t face the world and have grown folks bumping into me, while staring at their phones, because they are trying to capture a damn Pikachu or something. And y’all damn well know it isn’t at all safe for Black people to be running around looking all suspicious, anyways. What makes any Black person think they should be creeping around some random front yard, or store front, when we get shot for asking for help after a car crash and shopping in Walmart, is beyond me.

For a moment, I thought the whole Pokemon Go! thing would force me to adult so hard I would actually care about politics again. Then I managed to read about (not even watch) some key highlights of the Republican National Convention. The woman married to a man running for the President of the United States stood in front of thousands, in a televised event with millions watching, and delivered a plagiarized speech. Like, for real? Is this thing called American politics reality or reality television, because it’s becoming increasingly hard to tell the two apart. How do newscasters or journalist even take their job seriously anymore when having to report on any of this? I know that there is no way in hell I can offer a serious critique of anything being said or done at the RNC this year. I can’t be alone in this sentiment.

As a young Black woman, I am saddled with debt from college, like most young people who thought they were making a great decision in life by furthering their education. I need to write to make money. Why is America’s lameness tryna stifle my cash flow?

And it’s one thing to be financially broke. To battle economic hardships and inequality. I’m very used to that. I come from Black people who have been fighting that for generations. But to try to thrive in a nation that is culturally and politically bankrupt? Why is this country trying to rob me of anything to keep me intellectually, spiritually or emotionally sustained?

I am in desperate need of sustenance. I think we all are.

One thing that is certain is that highs and lows of a country tend to be cyclical. For every Dark Ages, there must be an Enlightenment. Heck, I’m ready for the next Harlem Renaissance (but we all know that won’t be happening in gentrified-as-hell Harlem anytime soon). Black folk must congregate. We must create. Many of us already are. Our politics are not limited to whatever the heck this two-party system represents. Our politics are grassroots movements like #BlackLivesMatter. Our music and culture are not limited to whatever rules the airwaves or is “mainstream.” The airwaves and the mainstream were never made for us anyways.

We must find sustenance in our Blackness that has historically spurred so much innovation and hope. I hope I can find it soon.

Tags: , , ,
Like Us On Facebook Follow Us On Twitter