Monday, May 19, 2008

Malcolm, Martin and Personal Transformation


Martin's and Malcolm's public transformation should be an
for all of us. I have spent the evening reading
Martin & Malcolm in America
by James Cone, trying to
determine exactly what I would like to say on Malcolm's birthday.

Just when I was getting tired, frustrated and ready to give up,
I came across a chapter where Cone describes
in the midst of Malcom's death, and the ways
in which Martin was moving closer to Malcolm. Cone writes,

Equally significant was what Martin did not say. He too was
re-evaluating his presuppositions and was moving toward a
greater understanding of Malcolm, especially regarding Black
pride, separatism, and white America's lack of commitment to
genuine Black equality. He began to urge Blacks to be proud
of their "blackness," a word he almost never used publicly
before he turned his attention to the North. The subsequent
rise of Black Power deepened his convictions regarding the
need of blacks to affirm their somebodyness in identifying with
their African heritage. He also started to speak of Black
oppression in northern slums as "domestic colonialism".
To the surprise of many, and perhaps even himself, he
concluded that racism was so deeply ingrained in American,
especially in the North, that "temporary segregation" was
probably the only means of overcoming powerlessness in the
Black community.
As artists, thinkers, women, men, feminists and lovers of hip hop we
we all feel the tension between the desire to go corporate and the desire
to pursue work that is related to creating social justice.

This issue is the subject of endless conversations in our lives.

For instance, last Saturday I noticed one of Filthy's people in a magazine.
I tore out the article and gave it to him saying "I have something for you".

He looked at it and laughed, but soon became melancholy
and I asked why.
He mentioned something about his boy's desire to succeed in his
I responded saying "Yo, he is just trying to shine, ain't nothing
wrong with that".
He shot back, "Shining, is all he is trying to do".

I was deaded because he was right. There was nothing I could
say because it was true.

That interaction left me thinking about the choices that we
make in terms of using our voices on the behalf of others who
don't have one. How we, on a daily, struggle between the notion
of getting cake and the notion of creating justice.

This post is for those of us, who leave the corporate ranks to
pursue writing. Those of us who work as waitresses, teachers,
bus drivers during the day and make music, paint and sew at night.

This is for those of use who go to law school, and rather
than practice, we decide to to do power to the people and
organize our communities. This post is for those of use who
are torn between the corporate hustle
and the independent artist grind.

This is for those of us who are committed to transforming
a little
every day.


M.Z. said...

I feel you, I'm with you if not on your level.

There's something gratifying about coming home from a long day at work & finding something to write about.

M.Dot. said...

Aye Blood.

Good Morning and Amen.

On mommas.

Brandon | Fortyoneacres said...

And its soo sad that many of us (I'm including myself because I teach during the day)have to do something else. Doing public good doesn't pay the bills. Changing the world one mind at a time doesn't keep a roof over your head.

I can see it in hiphop. Take a look a Jay-Z (from Moment of Clarity):
"The music business hate me
Cause the industry ain't make me
Hustlers and boosters embrace me
And the music i be makin
I dumb down for my audience
And double my dollars
They criticize me for it
Yet they all yell "Holla"
If skills sold
Truth be told
I'd probably be
Talib Kweli
I wanna rhyme like Common Sense
(But i did five Mil)
I ain't been rhymin like Common since
When your sense got that much in common
And you been hustlin since
Your inception
Fuck perception
Go with what makes sense
I know what i'm up against
We as rappers must decide what's most impor-tant
And i can't help the poor if i'm one of them
So i got rich and gave back
To me that's the win, win
The next time you see the homie and his rims spin
Just know my mind is workin just like them
(rims that is)"

I find saddness in this. But we must find the balance in our lives becasue we (as a single person) will never be able to help everyone. We can't give all of ourselves. But we (as a collective) can do more than we have been doing...and that is where the hope comes in...the hope that we (still as a collective)can realize our potential to help and change things.

M.Dot. said...

You know what B? For a long time, I have been a capitalist's, capitalist.

While I do feel Jays sentiment, because the verse you quote eloquently captures "our grind" I can't help but feel that we are missing the big picture re: what it means to sacrifice for others.

Martin Luther King wasn't trying to get his 5mil.
King gave away his Noble Prize money.
Feel me?

But you know what, and this totally reminds me of a post I on my byrd, but it got lost in that "April sauce".

The post is about how we would rather GIVE than SHARE.

Thank you for triggering that memory.

Anonymous said...

for those that wanna go pop
or go corporati, just let them.
For those that follow their heart power to them.
Its in your character and you just gotsta feed your spirit every damn day.
You cant drive a Maybach and speak,write or film the truth.
You just gotta stand strong.

example you study law, that don't mean you need to swim in dollars.
You could be a non profit lawyer in your HOOD. Your peoples gonna feed you, clothe you and ultimately forever LOVE you.

the choice is yours...

M.Dot. said...


Thank you for your comment.

I am curious, what allows you to speak with such conviction about the matter at hand?

Personal experience? Just speculation? I can feel the story behind it.

Anonymous said...

On the real its experience,but I filled in your survey and I forgot to put the way I feel about this issue.

It bugs me out alot.

Its a constant struggle.
But believe if you wanna fight the 'Good Fight' your peoples and even peoples who you never considered as being Fam will reward you. I take Food stamps over a Ferrari anytime.
But than again the Flesh is weak and you gotsta shiel yo ass against temptation.

I hope you will drop a topic one of these days about that tempations ish and how to combat that ish.

M.Dot. said...

I take Food stamps over a Ferrari anytime.
But than again the Flesh is weak and you gotsta shiel yo ass against temptation.

I hope you will drop a topic one of these days about that tempations ish and how to combat that ish.
Fuck that. YOU are gonna do a guest post.

And that shit is gonna be called,
Food Stamp's or Ferarri's.

I am not good at this ish. I am torn on the issue. I think about it three times a day. One of the reasons why I f*ck with Filth is b/c even tho I AM NOT Radical like him, I respect the conviction with which he comes at shit.

I have shine desires. He is comfortable playing the Martin role. Hence the tension. But its good. Keeps me on my TOES.

On mommas. I have a thing for Porshe's. Any hoo, who are you?
I am serious about that guest spot.

Sincerely, and truly thank you for responding and for filling out the survey.

M.Dot. said...

in fact.

It COULD be a conversation b/w us if you like.

I am amped.

neo said...

Why can't I have the Ferrari's and give some to my ppl?

I don't believe only one path is the way to go as far as the corp. grind vs. the independent grind..personally I'm in a place where I'm building on my career yet using that to jumpstart my other "career" so right now both co-exist quite nicely. Of course at some point one may supersede the other and one hopes its the "other"

but I can't see myself completely without both. From a christian perspective you can be a part of change wherever God places you, it don't matter if its corp. or out in the streets feeding the needy.

D Rox said...

It's a struggle, indeed. We want our cake, and to eat it too. But a choice does have to be made. How do we decide? It's a struggle sometimes. When you don't have, you want more. Sometimes to get more, you have to do things you don't want to do. But we do it so that we can ball. Most people know the difference between what's "good" and what's best. We owe it to ourselves and our souls to do what's best... Not everyone is strong enough to do that though.

Model Minority said...

personally I'm in a place where I'm building on my career yet using that to jumpstart my other "career" so right now both co-exist quite nicely.


I cannot cosign on this. You don't see the ultimate sacrifice you are headed for.
There is something FUNDAMENTAL that you give up in the pursuit of cake (an in pursuit of anything).

You are a different person before and after selling crack.

You are a different person before and after making your first million as an i'banker.

I do feel you on being able to DO YOU where god places you, however, minimizing that ASPECT of struggling is incredibly insulting.
Co-existing nicely may be in ya life, but that ain't the nature of it blood. Sooner or later one has to choose. Please believe.

Model Minority said...

We owe it to ourselves and our souls to do what's best

Hey d rox. Thank you for commenting.

The above quote reminds me of Beanies statement "gotta keep my soul clean" from the D'boy anthem, "What We Do".

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