Never Forget: Strange Fruit

Every day, it seems, there is news of another unarmed black man gunned down simply by the police. These actions are eerily similar to the lynching’s that took place in the early half of the 20th century for pretty much the same reason as those murdered by white police in our society today. Let us remember the fallen and never forget!

The reason could be as simple as the concept of “Manifest Destiny”, which speaks to white  privilege. White America has never accepted African American’s as anything more than illegal aliens, in spite of the fact they captured the race against their will and brought to American in chains. I have repeatedly said, “We are a nation of people living in a nation without a nationality” basically because the Constitutions tells us so. You do remember the 3/5th human phrase.

In the wake of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teenager who was shot and killed by Zimmerman in 2012, Jordan Davis, who was also unarmed, and all of the daily killings at the hands of the police in the most recent terror upon black men killed because white men claimed they feared for their lives. Eric Gardner who was choked to death. Michael Brown, John Crawford and worst of all the kid murder while playing in the park. All lynched but just by gun!

Let’s also include the murders and shootings by the police, sanctioned by law, against African American’s such as Oscar Grant and countless others. Then there are people like Garrick Hopkins, 60, and his brother, Carl Hopkins Jr., 61, two brothers from West Virginia, who were shot and killed by a white man for what he claimed as trespassing on his land – when, in fact, they were inspecting a shed on their own property.

The attached  video is straightforward yet nuanced. The song “Strange Fruit” tells a story that must be told to our youth. We must never forget because when you forget history it is destined to repeat itself. We know the importance of Billie Holiday’s recording. But this indispensable video vivid imagery the history of the struggle against lynching, something that was very real, and for Black rights with a wealth of common history of African Americans, Jewish Americans, and the American Left. It is part of our history, part of our heritage. Teach your children and learn this chapter in our past.

The song “Strange Fruit” creates immediate controversy. Call it a grim reminder of an unnecessarily painful and ugly chapter in American history. The song retains its force, because the issues it raises about the legacy of racial terrorism in American society still resonate. The story tells a song that compelled its listeners to confront the past, which was genuinely disturbing then, and it is no less disturbing today.

While many people assume Strange Fruit was written by Billie Holiday herself, it actually began as a poem by a Jewish schoolteacher and union activist from the Bronx, who later set it to music. Disturbed by a photograph of a lynching, the teacher wrote the stark verse and brooding melody about the horror of lynching under the pseudonym Lewis Allan in 1938. It was first performed at a New York teacher’s union rally and was brought to the attention of the manager of Cafe Society, a popular Greenwich Village nightclub, who introduced Billy Holiday to the writer.


“Southern trees bear a strange fruit, Blood on the leaves and blood at the root, Black body swinging in the Southern breeze, strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees. Pastoral scene of the gallant South, The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth, Scent of magnolia sweet and fresh, And the sudden smell of burning flesh! Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck, for the rain to gather, for the wind to suck, for the sun to rot, for a tree to drop, here is a strange and bitter crop.”

Let’s look at the murder of young black men and boys murdered today as a modern day version of lynchings. The murders an evolution of destruction and black people are nothing more than pray! They tell us not to forget 911 and the Holocaust – know this, we will never forget what you did to black people! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

Above The Law


The weekly murders of unarmed black men, not to mention those we don’t know about, at the hands of the police have reached epidemic proportions. To be clear, the African American community have cried and voiced concerns since the days of the “slave catchers” – who are tantamount to today’s police forces. History reports that this is not a new phenomenon; it goes back to the fear resulting from Nat Turner and slavery. To include all of the instances where the police became judge, jury, and executioner.

Make no mistake, police brutality to this magnitude or on any level would NEVER occur in the white, Jewish, or any other communities. Never, they would not stand for it – period! So the question then become why does it happen over and over to people of color at such an alarming rate? Of late, the brutality, excessive force, and killings have escalated, or should I say murder, at a rate of one per day!

The abuse of authority by police is the infliction of excessive force by personnel involved in various aspects of the performance of their official duties. While the term police brutality is usually applied in the context of causing physical harm, it may also involve psychological harm through the use of intimidation tactics beyond the scope of officially sanctioned police procedure. However, in many cases it is sanctioned by agencies and trained by such agencies in the art of war on the black community. More often than not, these agencies engage in a subsequent cover-up of their illegal activity.

The word “brutality” has several meanings; the sense used here (savage cruelty) was first used in 1633. The first known use of the term “police brutality” was in the New York Times in 1893, describing a police officer’s beating of a civilian. Efforts to combat police brutality focus on various aspects of the police subculture, and the aberrant psychology that may manifest itself when individuals are placed in a position of absolute authority over others. A main cause that supports the unlawful actions of the police is that courts cannot or choose not to see systemic patterns of police brutality. This means they simple use of the word “justified” gives the police a license to kill. Therefore, based on its long history it is believed that without substantial social change, the control of police deviance is improbable at best.

In the United States, the passage of the Volstead Act, popularly known as the National Prohibition Act in 1919, had a long-term negative impact on policing practices. By the mid-1920s, crime was growing dramatically in response to the demand for illegal alcohol. Many law enforcement agencies stepped up the use of unlawful practices. Police brutality can be directly connected to racial profiling and War on Drugs. As a result, African American’s, in particular, perceive the police to be oppressors. In addition, there is a perception that victims of police brutality often belong to relatively powerless groups, such as minorities, the young, and the poor.

The Civil Rights Movement has been the target of numerous incidents of police brutality in its struggle for justice and racial equality, most notably in places like Birmingham and Selma. In the United States, race and accusations of police brutality continue to be closely linked, and the phenomenon has sparked a string of race riots over the years in nearly every city. The atmosphere was made more volatile and visible because the brutality has been videotaped by a bystander and widely broadcast afterward.

Numerous human rights observers have raised concerns about increased police brutality in the wake of the 911 attacks and the War on Terror that has created a generalized climate of impunity for law enforcement officers. This is viewed as contributing to the erosion of what few accountability mechanisms exist for civilian control over law enforcement agencies. As a result, police brutality and abuse persist unabated and undeterred across the country.

While the prevalence of police brutality in the United States is not comprehensively documented, statistics on police brutality are much less available. The few statistics that exist include a 2006 Department of Justice report. Which showed that out of 26,556 citizen complaints made in 2002 about excessive use of the police force among large U.S. agencies (representing 5% of agencies and 59% of officers), about 2000 were found to have merit. Yet only 30 percent of those who acknowledged such brutality filed formal complaints.

It has been noted that local media rarely report scandals involving the police unless there is videotape evidence. There is often a dramatic increase in unfavorable attitudes toward the police in the wake of highly publicized events. Most of these brutality cases or murders of black people at the hands of the police are viewed as “nothing to see here” because the attitude is that “those people” deserve it”.

As a result of what we saw in the Ferguson, New York, South Carolina, Cleveland, Oklahoma, and in fact all over the country we see that the police cannot be trusted nor left to police themselves. You could be next! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

A list of police brutality cases

Forty years ago, Gil Scott Heron told use this day would come “it feels like winter in America because nobody knows what to say”. Except, the Revolution will be televised!!!


R&B Singer Johnny Kemp Dead At 55

Thought Provoking Perspectives:

Bahamian born singer Johnny Kemp, best known for his 1988 hit “Just Got Paid,” has died, according to The Bahamas Weekly. Kemp died Thursday (April 16) at the age of 55 after falling and hitting his head while on the Tom Joyner Morning Cruise, according to The Root. However, there are conflicting reports as to how he died one of which says after falling on rocks on the beach in Jamaica. Reportedly he was to join the cruise in Jamaica. Beyond that, details are still sketchy as to what exactly happened. Our hearts go out to Condolences are extended to his wife Deidre, his two sons, his family and friends. Rest in Peace!!!

Originally posted on News One:

Johnny Kemp Source: Getty Images

Singer Johnny Kemp, best known for his hit “Just Got Paid,” died on Thursday. He was 55-years-old. The details surrounding his death are unknown at this time.

Initial reports state the Bahamas-born singer died while on a cruise hosted by radio personality Tom Joyner. However, Reach Media, the company that produces The Tom Joyner Morning Show, confirmed that Kemp was not on the ship at the time of his passing.

“We have received confirmation that Johnny Kemp has passed away. We do not have any other details. We can confirm he was not on the ship for the Tom Joyner Foundation Fantastic Voyage Cruise,” the statement reads.

Reach Media is affiliated with the parent company of NewsOne.

Story developing…

[ione_embed src= service=youtube width=650 height=360 type=iframe]


View original

Do You Remember Petey Green


If you are a native Washingtonian and can remember the seventies; you know the hippest DJ in all the land. It was Ralph Waldo “Petey” Greene, Jr. a two-time Emmy Award-winning television and radio talk-show host but the people of “Chocolate City” knew him as Petey Greene or the ruler of “Ptown” as he called DC – his town. This man of the people was significant to the community because he overcame drug addiction and a prison sentence for armed robbery to become one of the most-prominent media personalities in Washington DC.

At a time of racial turbulence and unrest, he was known to tell the truth about issues concerning racism, poverty, drug usage, and current events among others. He was credited with calming the unrest as the city burned after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King in 1968 and endeared to city residence for his community support. Greene attended Stevens Elementary School and Cardozo Senior High School in Washington. He dropped out of high school in the ninth grade and enlisted in the United States Army at age 16 in 1947. He served in the Korean War as a medic and was honorably discharged from service in 1953.

In January 1960, Greene was convicted of armed robbery at a grocery store in Washington and sentenced to ten years imprisonment at Lorton Reformatory in Virginia. There he became the prison disc-jockey that made him popular and well liked by fellow prisoners. His gift for talking soon proved beneficial in other ways.

In May 1966, Greene persuaded a fellow inmate to climb to the top of the prison water tower and threaten suicide so that Greene would be able to “save his life” by talking him down. He would later say, “It took me six months to get him to go up there.” This act, combined with his generally good behavior, earned him a reduction in his prison sentence and paroled the following week.

In the summer of 1966, Greene was hired by Dewey Hughes, another notable DC figure, to work as a disc jockey at WOL/1450 AM station to host his own show. Rapping With Petey Greene aired in the Washington Metropolitan Area throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s. His prominence grew, and soon he was hosting his own television show, Petey Greene’s Washington, with a six-year run from 1976 to 1982 on WDCA/20 winning two Emmy Awards. This show won two Emmy Awards.

He was invited as a guest to the White House by President Jimmy Carter where according to Petey “stole a spoon” during the evening gala for a visiting dignitary. In 1981, Greene had radio personality Howard Stern on his show for what was one of Stern’s first television appearances. Stern appeared on the show in blackface, which Greene found funny because it was radio. The audio of this interview eventually was played as part of the 2007 Sirius satellite radio documentary The History of Howard Stern, in which Stern called Greene “way ahead of his time.” Stern later called Greene a “broadcasting genius” in his 1993 book Private Parts.

Aside from being a radio personality and talk show host, Greene was also a community activist, joining the United Planning Organization and founding the Ralph Waldo Greene Community Centre and Efforts for Ex-Convicts. This organization remains devoted to helping former prisoners succeed in legitimate ways and to advocate prison reform. He rallied against poverty and racism on his shows and on the streets, participating in demonstrations during the height of his popularity. Following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in April 1968, and during the subsequent riots that erupted throughout the USA, Greene made statements on air that were credited with quelling the riots in Washington, D.C.

Greene was diagnosed with liver cancer in 1982. As a result of his ailing health, his career as a radio and television personality ended. Greene died on January 10, 1984, thirteen days before his 53rd birthday. He was survived by his wife, Judy C. Greene, and their four children. Approximately 10,000 mourners lined up outside Union Wesley AME Zion Church to pay their last respects.

If you want a good read, pick-up Greene’s autobiography, Laugh If You Like, Ain’t a Damn Thing Funny, was published in 2003. The book is a result of conversations recorded by him and author Lurma Rackley. Petey you were a voice for the voiceless and are not forgotten! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

The Race Card

200_1000theThe phrase “N-Word” was created by white folks to be able to use the word “nigger” publicly and directed toward black people to minimized, and make it appear as if they are not bigots. Factually, when they use the language of their fathers, they want black people to think of them as being more decent and not bigoted. I am sure you have heard the commonly used remark – “I’ve got black friends” but dare not use that forbidden word directed at a black person.

This invented term alleges that someone has deliberately and falsely accused another person of being a racist in order to gain some sort of advantage. The term entered the lexicon of American dogma during the O. J. Simpson murder trial. It was coined when critics accused the defense of “playing the race card” in presenting Mark Fuhrman’s past recorded use of the word “nigger” in the trial for being accused of tampering with murder evidence in prior cases. To avoid being viewed as a racist, Fuhrman used the Fifth Amendment to avoid potential self-incrimination upon questioning as a reason not to destroy his credibility as a witness. In other words, to attempt to appear credible.

However, the purpose of the term race card is used to exploit prejudice against black people for political or some other advantage. The use of the southern strategy by bigoted political candidate is a version of playing the race card in reverse. For example, when former Senator Jesse Helms use of it during his 1990 Republican Senate campaign. He ran an ad showing a black man taking a white man’s job intended as a criticism of the idea of racial quotas. Many people interpreted the ad as trying to play to racist fears among white voters.

Ronald Reagan used it when you used the phrase “welfare queens” in his campaign and so did his vice president poppa Bush when he used the picture of a black murderer to suggest how tough on crime he was by using the image of a black man implying that all black people are criminals. Therefore, it is the whites who use this to accuse others falsely of being a racist to gain an advantage. When in reality it is more likely they are the racist.

Stanford professor Richard Thompson Ford has argued that the race card can be played independent of the person making the claim, or the race in question. An example cited was the Hillary Clinton campaign claiming that Obama won the 2008 Democratic Primary in South Carolina due to the disproportionate number of black registered Democrats in the state, implying more racism in the general population. George Dei in the book Playing the Race Card argues that the term itself is a rhetorical device created by white folk to use in an effort to devalue and minimize claims of racism.

Understand “N-Word” is a code for using the word “nigger”. Now, since everyone knows it. White folk are in essence using “nigger” and feel comfortable doing so when they say N-Word. We know white people use it amongst themselves and teach their children to know what it means. So it could be said, it is a way to live their father’s sin.

News flash – black people know you use the word “nigger” and understand why you do. It’s no secret! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

This is a MUST SEE VIDEO!!!

Michigan Cop Fired For Unlawful Arrest & Beating Of Detroit Man

Thought Provoking Perspectives:

The fired ex-cop, Melendez, past was also revealed during court on Wednesday. The officer has been involved in numerous civil rights cases, including an indictment for a shooting that happened during an unwarranted raid in November 2003. The city eventually settled with the victim’s son for $50,000 after the officer and several others entered the home of Ernest Crutchfield II, fatally shooting him. Yet, the union argued that he should not be fired.

Originally posted on News One:

[ione_ndn_embed video_id=28900696]

The Inkster, Michigan police officer involved in the beating of Detroit native Floyd Dent has been fired, according to Michigan Live. 

William Melendez was officially fired on Wednesday after his five-day suspension for the incident. Dent, 57, reportedly ran a traffic light in January and was pulled out of his car by Melendez and another police officer.

Dash cam footage caught the officers beating Dent, who was already on the ground. Dent was arrested and charged with resisting and assaulting police and possession of cocaine. Several rallies and protests have occurred since the footage hit the internet in March.

Due to the graphic video, the charges of assault and resisting arrest were dropped, but Dent was still arraigned for cocaine possession Wednesday morning.

Teamsters Local 214 Business Representative, and union rep for Melendez, Al Lewis shared his thoughts on the termination of the officer. Lewis believes the…

View original 221 more words

ADHD Wars Against Black Boys: Dr. Umar Johnson Details How To Combat Misdiagnosis Of The Learning Disorder

Thought Provoking Perspectives:

“When it became ADHD, it opened up a vacuum that allowed for nearly every child to be diagnosed to prescribe medication, because previously it was attention deficit disorder — once they added the word hyper, it opened up the opportunity for medication.”

Originally posted on News One:

[ione_embed src= width=612 height=467]

Why are we medicating so many of our young African-American males for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

Recent studies show that there’s a 70 percent increase in ADHD identification for Black children. Black boys are diagnosed with the disorder at a higher rate than any other group of students in the United States.

Educator and school psychologist Dr. Umar Johnson says one way that schools deal with perceived “bad behavior” is to diagnose and medicate students for Attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.

Dr. Johnson joined Roland Martin Wednesday on NewsOne Now to discuss his book, Psycho-Academic Holocaust: The Special Education & ADHD Wars Against Black Boys, the increase in misdiagnosis of ADHD in the Black community, how to combat the American education system’s use of ADHD, and behavioral disorders that stigmatize African-American youth.

“ADHD as a diagnosis came to us in 1980,” Johnson told Martin. Then it was…

View original 694 more words


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,753 other followers

%d bloggers like this: