Tag Archives: black pride

The Greatest Story Ever Told

462_160In thinking about the times in which we’ve lived I can say without a doubt our history ‘is the greatest story ever told’. I am always reminded of the ghosts of the greats who blazed a might trail for us to walk. Black History Month, as short as it is, should be celebrated and taught all year long! It is our responsibility. I was blessed to have had the good privilege to live during the civil rights era to witness groups and individuals fight to end racial segregation and the unequal treatment of black people, which we should never have had to fight in the first place.

Of all the things I am grateful for; is to have lived long enough to witness something ‘no one living or dead’ ever thought would happen. Which was to witness a Black Man elected to be President of these United States of America! To see him and his lovely family exhibit the style and grace representing black people in an extra exemplary way making us proud.

It would be my hope that all of us take this opportunity during Black History Month to reach one – teach one. Share the stories of our struggle with the children. I have added a few of the many significant events and some of the brave and courageous soldiers in the army that changed America or dare I say the world.

Events in the Civil Rights Movement

Solders of the Civil Rights Movement

I am reminded of Malcolm X who used to say “Make It Plain” which meant in essence to bring forth the knowledge. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…


Are You Still A Slave?

FotoFlexer_Photo 1Shahrazad Ali is an author of several books, including a paperback called “The Blackman’s Guide to Understanding the Blackwoman”. The book was controversial bringing “forth community forums, pickets and heated arguments among blacks in many parts” of the US when it was published in 1989. However, as time has past Sister Shahrazad Ali was absolutely correct about the relationship between black men and women.

This is a very important question to ask yourself. Sister Shahrazad Ali gives some real-talk about the current situation in the black community. If her suggestions are followed, Black people will go a long way to break the chains of mental slavery. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


Champion Of The People

th (1)Bob Marley was the Third World’s first pop superstar. In all honesty, I don’t like the term third world because as Bob Marley said one love, which means one world. He was the man who introduced the world to the mystic power of reggae. He was a rocker at heart and gifted songwriter. He brought the lyrical force of a Bob Dylan with the personal charisma of a John Lennon, and the essential vocal stylings of Smokey Robinson into one voice. But to be clear, Bob Marley was so much more and in a class by himself which is why he became a legend!

In 1999 Time Magazine chose Bob Marley & The Wailers’ Exodus as the greatest album of the 20th century. This spoke to his international acclaim where his message continues to reverberate among people around the world. My favorite song is the huge political hit “Stand-up, Stand-up for your Rights”. The true testament of his greatness is the volume of greats artist who have recorded the many great songs he’s written.

Marley, in has life and after his death, evolved into a global symbol of freedom. Author Dave Thompson wrote in his book Reggae and Caribbean Music, laments what he perceives to be the commercialized pacification of Marley’s more militant edge, stating:

“Bob Marley ranks among both the most popular and the most misunderstood figures in modern culture … Gone from the public record is the ghetto kid who dreamed of Che Guevara and the Black Panthers, and pinned their posters up in the Wailers Soul Shack record store; who believed in freedom; and the fighting which it necessitated, and dressed the part on an early album sleeve; whose heroes were James Brown and Muhammad Ali; whose God was Ras Tafari and whose sacrament was marijuana.

Instead, the Bob Marley who surveys his kingdom today is smiling benevolence, a shining sun, a waving palm tree, and a string of hits which tumble out of polite radio like candy from a gumball machine. Of course, it has assured his immortality.”

His songs and music spoke to the struggles of the least of thee and to the souls of the ordinary person trapped outside of the establishment, which has endeared him to his fans and the world. As we celebrate and pay homage to this month dedicated to Black Music; I would be remised not to include Bob Marley as one of the greatest musical legends of our time – if not all times.

I know right now Bob Marley is “Jamming” right now with the ghosts of the greats! And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

@johntwills


The Unspoken Truth

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I celebrate Black History every day – 365 days a year. It has been nearly 400 years since that fateful or should I say infamous day in the year of our Lord 1619. When the first African was dragged onto the shores of this place the slaves called “merica.” Sadly, to this day – not much has changed regarding our destiny.These people were physical slaves, but today most are locked in mental bondage.

Sure there are a few black faces in high places but what about the masses of the race. This group still, for the most part, remain in a destitute situation compared to the “Real Americans”. Therefore, through this blog, I write articles specifically designed to be a potent source of empowering knowledge for the enhancement of the minds of mankind.

In today’s world, they tell us that the gay movement is the new civil rights movement and that black people have “overcome.” Like Malcolm told us; we have been, hoodwinked! Black people have yet, in spite of government law, to obtain their rights as a human beings and nothing close to what is called civil rights. It is my sincere wish that black people not continue to fall into the trap of divide and conquer, which has worked so well for so long. Let us understand the phenomenal history and difficult struggles of the African American experience and learn from the mistakes of the past. Our story is the “Greatest Story Ever Told!!!

The legacy of dependency, apathy, and entrenchment of the American social order from its beginning provides clear evidence of those with a diabolical intent to bankrupt the souls of African Americans based on an ideology of supremacy. The remnants of stolen souls exist today within the people of color, who bear the burden of a system that perpetrated, in the name of God, the greatest crime known to man. Hence, from the beginning, people of African descent were intended to be a nation of people living within a nation without a nationality.

This is without question “The Unspoken Truth”. The words herein are intended to empower by educating people through knowledge concerning issues that many blacks continue to face today from the untreated wounds of America’s forefathers. Let us understand through this knowledge-based examination of the African American Diaspora that I simply offer explanations whereby we can look at and understand the root-cause of the asymptomatic behaviors.

Some people call it a conditioning in “certain” communities while others may call it the Willie Lynch Syndrome. Nonetheless, my view is not an excuse, rather an explanation as to why these behaviors were never unlearned and had been passed down from generation to generation. Over my relatively short lifetime, I have been referred to as Colored, Negro, Afro-American, Black, and an African American, which were the polite terms assigned to make known that people of African Descent were not American citizens.

The concept of African Americans being slaves, physically or mentally, is as old as the nation itself, designed to deprive a people of its culture and knowledge through sustained policies of control. To overcome these indignities, we must realize that education is the single most important ingredient necessary to neutralize the forces that breed poverty and despair. Regardless of how much we are held down, it is our responsibility to find a way to get up, even if the system is designed to protect the system.

We must teach and know that “learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is intellectual death, and courage is knowing what’s needed and doing it.” As tenacious beings, we must understand that there is no such thing as an inferior mind. So I say, it’s time for an awakening, if for no other reason than to honor those who sacrificed so much so that we could live life in abundance.

Be brave and remember this: “You only have a minute. Sixty seconds in it. Didn’t choose it, can’t refuse it, it’s up to you to use it. It’s just a tiny little minute but an eternity in it. You can change the world, but first, you must change your mind”. It is time for change and time for a movement! And that is my thought provoking perspective…

Media Kit


The Nina Simone Biopic

1aHollywood has never been supportive or fair to the Black community, when they rewrite and tell our stories. We can go back to the early days of cinema and see most often our images, like His-Story, distorts our true reality. The black person was always the “buffoon” or the help, and this is being kind. More significant, recently there was a white actor selected to play Michael Jackson in an upcoming movie.

When it comes to our history, Black people’s contributions have been distorted to reflect the white culture’s view of it. Examples are abound; the Ten Commandments, Hannibal, or the most serious distorted depiction was Cleopatra, all played by white people, when, in fact, each were of African Descent.

Recently, the Nina Simone biopic debuted at Cannes. I was waiting for reviews to come out before writing anything about it.  Now a release date is set to be released in theaters on April 22, 2016. As a result, the movie titled “Nina” has been hit with criticism from Nina Simone’s daughter and others over the casting of Zoe Saldana, mostly because the 37-year-old actress doesn’t look anything like Nina Simone.

The long and short of this post is I can remember Nina Simone and have a bit of a problem with the actress chosen to play her in the movie. I think there are a number of very talented black women, who may have been a better choice. Just to name a few, Viola Davis, Kimberly Elise, India Arie (who I think would be my first choice) or Mary J Blige would be more fitting to play the High Priestess of Soul. Since popular votes don’t guarantee selection, the outcome is already a finished product starring Zoe Saldana. I am certainly not saying Saldana is not a very good actress but in my view, she does not fit the character as well as others. I am saying, in my view, just because you can don’t mean you should. Now, with that said, I like Zoe as an actress!

I can recall listening to Nina Simone’s music; I remember seeing her face. I had a childish fixation, because of her strong personality and her being unappologenicly black.  One could extend the inference of esteem extended black people. I wonder what Zoe felt inside every time she sat down and watched the make-up artist apply a prosthetic nose and darken her skin. Please take a moment to think about that process. When Zoe as Nina looks in the mirror, she is promoting mythology. Say what you want about The Great Sphinx’s missing nose, but the full lips still remain after all these centuries. A black person’s nose always gets in the way of European theory.

When I look at Nina Simone, I see a messenger with a wide nose and full lips. When I look at Zoe as Nina, I see someone in a cloak walking a windy road to an awkward redemption. I share no empathize with her being a puppet. This brings us to the supreme capitalists, who hide behind corporate curtains to profit from these deceptions. Some would say they robbed Nina’s grave, re-branded the artifacts with plans to sell and will settle all lawsuits after they count their money.

If you know or love Nina’s music, or if you dishonor her integrity means you hear her sound but not the woman of valor. What it means is that those people want soul music to be packaged in coffee bean blonde even though she told you black is the color. It means they don’t think Nina’s beautiful or glory is important, and only God knows what they think of the rest of us. This is my distain with regard to the casting. I have not seen this movie, but images are everything, and so far I feel disrespected.

Nina was not here to entertain us with dance and radio formatted songs. Her lyrics, her staging, her expressions, her espresso complexion adding another tone to the ebony and ivory, her ornaments, her natural follicles underneath the crowns adorned and the cigarette smoke she blew out her oval lips and ancient nostrils were all elements of her protest artistry.

The bottom line is that Hollywood, as it always has is driven by dollars and exploitation. I am sure Spike Lee faced a fair share of studio battles. I would venture to say that some studio executives approached him about having some white man play Malcolm X to test his integrity.

Nina Simone is dead but not gone the mind of those who knew and loved her. In the ongoing war of legacy versus exploitation, one spends a sacrificial lifetime to create a self-portrait with uncompromising colors only to have others betray your portrait with an unreal replica. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

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Nina’s Family Response


America’s Shocking and Ugly Truth

 A picture is worth a thousand words.

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Enough said, and that’s my thought provoking perspective…


The Story Continues

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I often speak of visiting those places I call Brownsville, you know, those segregated places mandated by law as a result of the wretched system of “Separate but Equal”. I try to resurrect the ghost of the greats that changed the world, which have caused me to live a life promised to all Americans. Having said that, I readily admit there is still a long way to go.

I have shared the African American journey that no doubt is the greatest story ever told. Maybe let me say this more succinctly by quoting Jesse in terms of witnessing our story coming “From the outhouse to the White House”. The irony of this was that Africans were dragged onto the shores of this place the slaves called “merica” to now having a man of African descent in the White House as President. Frankly, this is the most significant event since Christ rose from the grave.

This evolution brought about our acquiescence to political agendas, abdicating our own economic self-sufficiency for the greater good and most working diligently for the economic well-being of African American people. Since the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments were written many have died for the rights described therein, and we continue to fight for equality still.

Let me leave you with this thought from “The Mis-Education of the Negro,” the most profound novel ever written in my opinion, originally published in 1933 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who is known as the father of Black History Month. I might add that this book should be mandatory reading for all African Americans – young and old.

The thesis of Dr. Woodson’s book is that Negroes of his day were being culturally indoctrinated rather than taught in American schools, or not even given the advantage of education. This conditioning, he claims, causes African Americans to become dependent, seeking out inferior places in the greater society of which they are a part. This assertion is clearly evident nearly eighty years later.

He challenged his readers to become empowered by doing for themselves, regardless of what they were taught: “History shows that it does not matter who is in power… those who have not learned to do for themselves and have to depend solely on others never obtain any more rights or privileges in the end than they did in the beginning.”

This goes beyond the imagination, irrespective of the many promises that have been made and broken, that fairness exists. Religion teaches us when we die there is a place where there is a mansion with streets paved with gold. Be that as it may, let’s agree with the great Curtis Mayfield who wrote: “we are people who are darker than blue”. He also said, “People get ready there’s a train a comin. You don’t need no ticket. All you need is faith to get on board…”

Some of you may know George Orwell’s statement about history:

Whoever controls the past controls the future, and whoever controls the present controls the past. And whoever’s in charge of a culture decides what history we get, or tries to decide what history we get, and our job is to look beyond that and to try to find our own history, the one that they don’t want us to have. You know what I mean by “they.” I won’t—I won’t give you any names, but there is—there’s always a “they.

“Black History is American History”. We have witnessed the first man of African descent elected president of these United States, and I am thankful to have lived to see what no one living or dead ever thought would occur. God Bless America but the train has not reached its destination, and the greatest story ever told will continue! And that is my Thought Provoking Perspective…

“Just a Season”
and
Legacy – A New Season 

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