Cultural Relevance. Royal Timing. Heal. Elevate. Triumph.

image

The year was 1997. (Insert laugh here). And I am cleaning the basement of my childhood home. My mom owned a daycare at the time and it was my turn to disinfect it, in its entirety. I was just about finished but I still had to mop. It was about two or three o’clock in the morning. That’s when the good, lyrical shit would play on the radio; at least in Detroit. Method Man’s “All I Need” just went off and the deejay said check out this new Jay-Z.

Full disclosure, I was originally a Nas fan. “The Message” off of “It Was Written” can still send me into a melodic, introspective trip. The line “a thug changes, and love changes and best friends become strangers” is always at the back of my mind when I interact with people. “It Was Written” taught me that change is inevitable; that it’s nature’s way. How “Street Dreams” drops next is supreme. I had seen the Reasonable Doubt videos, but I was the daughter of a middle class mother, whose father’s ambitions were a mystery; so I couldn’t relate.

Back to the basement, the beat dropped. I stopped mopping, long enough to listen—to feel it. The song was “A Million and One Questions/Rhyme No More.” I became a fanatic instantly. I sat in one of the yellow toddler chairs. I was just impressed with the word play. The thing about rap for me is that it lets you know that the King’s English is bastardly. It reaffirms that the things that we create as people whose hue is darker is sweeter. Worth stealing is what they could argue. Then, the beat switched mid song. And that was it for me. I’ve purchased every album since.

That break is also why I love me some Kendrick, reference “DNA” and “The Heart Part IV.” Furthermore, this idea that DJ Premier is somehow not succinctly sonic is the most asinine thought I’ve ever heard.

I have been waiting for this album since then. Jay-Z has since created valid songs but I’ve always felt like he was holding back. It’s not easy being vulnerable or speaking freely politically once you reach a certain status. On Magna Carta Holy Grail, I could hear Shawn seeping through and I definitely heard it on Jay Electronica’s “We Made It.” It was a long journey for true fans. We had to endure through two best of both worlds. [Disclaimer: I did not buy these albums. I abhor the Pied Piper and individuals like him]. His crossover status meant not hearing B-side records at concerts. Honesty is probably the most lyrical way to approach any song. We ask for responsible, conscious artist; what is better than rapping about the importance of family, wealth and the necessity of maturity.

I won’t critique this album like I have others, because it’s much too precious. Each song has something to offer. Each song left my soul full. I will say this (insert laugh here too). I can appreciate that he didn’t just have Damian Marley on the chorus of the song.

Now, back to my all day listening party.

Advertisements

School Choice May Leave Some Behind

powerful-education

During his presidential campaign, President Donald Trump promised to re-purpose $20 billion in school vouchers for low income families while visiting an African American charter school in Cleveland, Ohio.

Betsy DeVos, a Michigan school choice advocate and billionaire philanthropist, is Trump’s nominee for secretary of education. Yesterday, the Senate panel approved DeVos’ nomination after publicly appearing to have failed miserably.

Debating her qualifications and potential conflict of interest range from her knowledge of educational pedagogy to financial investments. It has been reported that she has financial ties to a charter school, an online student  lending company, and a for profit online charter school company.

Her advocacy for private school voucher programs has made her the ultimate public education adversary. Teacher unions across the nation oppose her nomination. Her idea of education reform has caused a great deal of mobilization.

School choice gives low income families the opportunity to use vouchers to attend private schools that participate.

Where would this $20 billion come from? The 2017 budget request for the Department of Education is $69.4 billion, which includes Pell Grants. Special Education and Title 1 would receive a combined $28.4 billion in funding.

Title 1 is a provision of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 that allocates funding to impoverished schools and school districts. Concern has been expressed that the Trump’s voucher program will take away from the overall educational opportunities from disadvantaged students, who receive public education.

Although, school choice gives some parents options. It doesn’t seem to promote equitable education. While choice and option on the surface are synonyms, parents should be able to select the best option from many choices. Separate is the racial component while equal addressed class disparity.

Rob Goad, former congressional aide, is assisting President Trump in formulating a school choice plan. Goad helped Rep. Luke Messer of Indiana launch a school choice caucus in 2014. DeVos’ family and organizations donated millions to the school choice initiatives in Indiana.

On Trump’s website, it states “If the states collectively contribute another $110 billion of their own education budgets toward school choice, on top of the $20 billion in federal dollars.” State contribution “could provide $12,000 in school choice funds to every K-12 student who today lives in poverty.”

Vouchers have had both positive and negative impact on student achievements in states such as Ohio, New York and Louisiana. There are no definitive studies that state significant academic gains. Moreover, many districts don’t have the private schools to participate. Many cities are dealing with numerous school closings and consolidations. Often the voucher doesn’t foot the bill for the entire cost of private school tuition, let alone supplies needed or the necessary transportation.

In 2006, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reported a substantial achievement gap amongst private and public school in reading and mathematics for grades 4 and 8.  But per Paul E. Peterson and Elena Llaudet the advantage disappears in math for 4th graders and equality is maintained, while similarity is achieved in math for 8th graders and lost in reading after statistical modifications are made. Often these reports have sample size inconsistencies and methodological problems.

African American students need expectation. Vouchers and resources can’t fix a pupil who is being taught by an individual that looks at him through the lens of statistics. Often a child’s experience is vastly different than her teachers. When the educator doesn’t believe, respect can’t be established and the opportunity is lost.

Application of education is to be able to further utilize resources with the intent to be viable within one’s community. Bad parenting is not the blame for poverty, overcrowded classrooms, little to no resources, outdated curriculum and antiquated early childhood collegiate programs.

Education is not the place for an adult’s idle mind or savior complex. Just elevate their minds. Give them the tools to save themselves.

Evidence shows the no one way of schooling solves the educational crisis in America. There are several issues that need to be addressed. Hopefully, DeVos’ dedication to school choice doesn’t ignore them.

Despite the public’s outcry, her political donations or her anti-LGBT sentiments aside, a DeVos confirmation should be expected given Senate Republicans have a 52-48 majority. She needs 51 votes. U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) are in opposition. There’s still Mike Pence’s vote.

 

 

 

Azúcar Reina.

qs2Courtesy of the Hollywood Reporter

No show has ever managed to get me that invested in its characters by the first episode. Maybe it’s because Dr. War, Glynn Turmon, was brilliantly chosen as the father of the three Bordelon siblings, played by Rutina Wesley, Dawn-Lyen Gardner and Kofi Siriboe’s Ghanaian self. Either way, I was had. I cried Pacific Ocean tears. I’m not as robotic as I used to be since the birth of my daughter.

Every time I see the word sugar, it is imperative that I give an oral tribute to Celia Cruz and shout, Azucar! Hence, the title of this critique. The backdrop to this drama is an ailing sugarcane farm in Louisiana. DuVernay’s series directorial debut is an adaptation of Natalie Baszile’s “Queen Sugar.”

What I like most is Ava DuVernay’s ability to wheel you in to view all involved as humans, flaws especially and still love them. I felt immediate compassion for Ralph Angel. As he headed toward the store. Dads often struggle with their value and their inability to financially provide. Often having to sacrifice the most pertinent thing, themselves. I was connected to Charley’s fix everything attitude and recognized Nova’s take charge spirit. Head strong confidence can either collectively build great empires or destroy all that crosses their paths. Photographic excellence will be king in this series, visceral even.

Dondre Whitfield sealed the deal. It was refreshing to see him on the screen again. It is clear that casting was seriously considered. On the small screen, it seems as if it takes a cast seasoned or not at least 3 or 4 episodes to gel. There are seasoned actors with the right sprinkle of novice (not completely brand spanking new).

The black girl magic is so lit at OWN Network. DuVernay’s directorial team consist of all women. I’m noticing a trend in Black Hollywood, they’re showing the world the true definition of inclusion and equality through sheer access to opportunity.

I am going to enjoy watching a predominately black cast weave in and out of drama, pose solutions without the dreaded narrow minded scope that is normally portrayed. I now understand Tyler Perry’s recent Instagram post. I’m antsy like a mug for episode three.

Other cast members include Bianca Lawson, Greg Vaughan, Omar Dorsey, Tina Lifford, Timon Kyle and Nicholas L. Ashe. Tune in tomorrow night at 10 p.m. and every Wednesday to see if these siblings can set aside their differences to save their family farm and help each other cope with life’s challenges.

 

ATLANTA. IS.

atl

Courtesy of Google Images

I’ve always wanted to live tweet/facebook about a show except I also don’t want to be one of those people you threaten to delete from your life because they ruined a show for you by giving you a play for play for every climatic scene. Shock and awe value can be completely obliterated if you dare to tune into social media whilst you can’t catch your show because you’re too busy adulting.

So I wrote my fleeting thoughts down about ATLANTA. So this verbiage ain’t about being grammatically correct. And I think I manage to not drop any serious spoilage.

FOR WHATEVER REASON YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED IT YET, GETCHO LIFE:

Episode 1

Yo bf’s weird ass dream but its always about some chick, this ain’t titanic my dude

(this aint a spoiler because this so real life)

Black parents are the worst and the best, the mama is too trill for dat

When yo cuz got that one friend that don’t make sense but they both stay high so its kool

Downsouf beats bang!

All it takes is two seconds

I feel like I’m watching an Outkast album, like in the dungeon and when i walked upstairs I ended up in the “international playas anthem” outtakes

damn! 22 mins went fast as hell

Ep 2

Is it worth it keeping somebody else above water?

Sometimes its best to laugh until you can’t and savor that shit

A stranger ever start a conversation with you and tell you they whole life

And then that one friend say some real shit

He aint neva lied about 90s music

That lemon pepper shit be having MSG in it better known as meat crack

so…instant, loyal clientele

Fame be so fast seem like

Fans always love the song you hate

Lol lmao lol hhahaahahahahhahahahahahhaha (jail scene)

WTF!!?! (because it ended)

I love this song. Hooked!

I was gonna love this show regardless because of Donald Glover. Because Donald Glover is the shit. And hot (because nerds are..)! Plus he had me at biblioteca. Thanks to Outkast, I will forever think that ATL is a separate universe that’s just as black as Detroit used to be and free as George Clinton. This show ain’t contrived. It isn’t using outdated slang. The shit just is. I wonder if that’s because the writer’s room is black, blackedy black, black. I see u Donald. I believe!

Tune in Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on FX.

 

 

Mississippi Mud²: Part Two

PhotoGrid_1466206722562

Part Two Mississippi Mud²

 

Q: Is there another way to express waking up instead of waking up? Because folk stay woke but folks stay folks?

A: Be aware. You can be a nigga and be aware. Look at Lil Jon and Eastside Boyz.

Q: What are they aware of?

A: I’m sure Little John and the Eastside Boyz are aware of the conditions that we’re in as people. They’re extremely intelligent. Look at Two Chains, he’s educated and I think that he is aware.

Q: So it the purpose of being awake one’s capability to pimp the system?

A: No, it’s to be able to promote a conscious way of thinking.

Q: And Lil Jon and Two Chains take advantage of that?

A: Definitely.

Q: How so?

A: The market to the uneducated and unaware but they have made attempts to elevate the consciousness of their audience through imagery and content. Two Chains, not Lil Jon [insert laughter].

Q: How do you keep your mind safe, considering sex and love are equally just as mental as they can be physical?

A: I don’t allow myself to be accessed by any and everything. I pick and choose what has access to my mind. I’m conscious and aware of what has access to my mind, at all times.

Q: Why?

A: With the wrong influence or message, I can act out or someone could act out. The influence could not be necessarily good for the community.

Q: Considering sex is why we’re here and it ensures future generations, why isn’t procreation more strategic?

A: Because we procreate with the phattest ass, who got the best hair, we’re not thinking about the future generation or the actual building of a nation or helping with the community—we just out here having sex because somebody look good or makes us feel good for a moment you’re not thinking about tomorrow.

Q: So you think that procreation is in the ball court of men?

A: No, it’s in the ball court of all of us that are involved in creating because it takes two to create.

Q: Can making love be just as pleasurable as having just sex?

A: It’s more pleasurable because it allows you to express emotionally something that you can’t express when you’re just fucking somebody. But we do like to fuck. Oh yea!

Q: Do you think rhetoric has altered our philosophies about sex and potentially love too?

A: I think Disney fucked us up. I think Disney got us all out here looking for princes and princesses and we waiting on these frogs that we’re lying next to, to turn. Sometimes you just got to love a frog for being a frog.

Q: That’s what Disney says, though.

A: Well, I never actually made it to the end of the movies.

Q: I mean when people talk about that, people refer back to Disney as if it’s completely unrealistic, like what part is unrealistic? The message is, don’t change yourself for love or anything. I mean it’s probably lost on children, but its there.

A: The part where Mansa Musa left back home in Timbuktu on an excursion and spread his wealth and wisdom through Africa. Can we get the version where Hannibal left his wife and children to go and assert dominance of his empire further into the Roman Empire and northern Africa? The real version of these heroes so that we can have some sort of realness in our culture. We still got brothers going off to war to build a bigger empire. We still sisters working 16-hour shifts to provide. We got Queen Assantewas and Hapshepsuts that’s taking over kingdoms. I don’t know what the fuck that got to do with the question, but it sounded awesome.

Q: Now, that this is the second rendition of Mississippi Mud what are people saying?

A: Everybody is excited. The whole city is buzzing, with excitement. They really want to be under the roof of that energy. People are more so talking about the energy and the art. [Insert inebriated long pause and laughter] Everyone is interested in going to this one. Everyone is talking about how necessary the event it is, the necessity of it.

Q: What are you hoping for, this time around that wasn’t present that first time?

A: More substance, we have a lot of sensation. We have to do a lot more to feed the substance of the event because, in African culture, our rituals and our celebrations they was always substance. It was not about the sensation, when we came to America we bought into the sensationalism. Everything we do is about sensation, everybody loves sex but there’s substance to an exchange of energy, physically and spiritually. And I want more of that to be in Mississippi Mud.

Q: What’s the substance?

A: The substance is frequency, energy. The substance is the connection. The substance is emotion and intimacy.

Q: The other day you posted an article about not having sex with anyone you do not want to become, how does that play a part into the substance? Is substance necessarily always good or is it bad too or bad for you?

A: In our original culture, there wasn’t bad or good, there was balance. So, if you became somebody or allowed some spirit you didn’t want to be there you balanced it out by finding somebody that could correct your imbalance. It was about a chemical reaction, physical reaction, science, and mathematics. Now, it’s like I like you, you like me now check the box for yes or no.

Q: Do you think you’re balanced?

A: I think I am extremely balanced.

Q: Were you always balanced or have you become balanced?

A: I’ve become balanced.

Q: As a black man, what has been your experience non-sexually in regards to sexuality?

A: Being a father, that’s sexual but not sexual. I have to love somebody beyond physical gratification. I have to love my child and her mother for who they are now, for who they are going to become; no matter what.

Q: Have you loved that way before?

A: Yea, my mama, and my family but not the way I love my child.

Q: No, no, I don’t think you can compare that, what I’m saying have you loved without the satisfaction of the flesh?

A: The mother of my child, that’s why she’s the mother of my child.

Q: How do you hope for people to evolve from the experience that you are providing, rather it be sexually or not?

A: I just hope they get home safe.

Q: How may loving your body or yourself in general, become an important ingredient to sexual freedom?

A: You can’t tell somebody what makes you feel good if you don’t know what makes you feel good.

Q: In your humble opinion, how do we take ownership of our bodies?

A: Dancing naked in the mirror to traditional African music, intoxicated, drunk; and monitor yourself spiritually.

Q: How do, you, monitor yourself spiritually? I mean you can’t answer for everybody else. Is that a secret?

A: No, it’s not a secret. I monitor myself by finding my insecurities and strengthening them.

Q: You mean strengthening them or alleviating them?

A: I haven’t got to the point where I can just totally get rid of them. I strengthen myself.

Q: What if we took “ownership” of our spirits?

A: We are spirits having a human (physical) experience. We have to remind ourselves that we are spiritual beings. We’d be better off.

Q: If we were all surviving what would love look like then?

A: Bigger.

Q: In what, capacity?

A: It wouldn’t be monogamous.

Q: So if we were surviving, we still would need polygamy?

A: Yes. We would need monogamy as well.

Q: When I was researching on what to ask you, I came across an article of a person that found monogamy to be hard, difficult and something he didn’t prescribe too but also that it was an advanced version of love. He thought that it took great courage, that society has been judging monogamy the wrong way. We always bring up nature and the past but if the things around are to evolve than the things in us should evolve too.

A: True.

Q: What do you think about that?

A: Not all evolution has positive effects on nature. Our technology is an evolution but it hasn’t had a positive effect on our nature. There are some positive things about monogamy but there are some negative aspects as well. We have placed everybody in a box and that we expect everybody to be the honest truth. If we want to love somebody unconditionally, you have to love them for who they are and how they love. Some people are not monogamous, they are polyamorous. Some people are not heterosexual, they’re homosexuals. Some people are not heterosexual or homosexual, they’re binary or bisexual. Some people are asexual. I don’t think that it should be just one thing to express the love you have for a person.

Q: So you think the box has turned us into liars?

A: Yes…I don’t think that the box has turned us into liars. I think that box has provided us with the opportunity to fail.

Q: You don’t think that if there was more truth the opportunity to fail would cease to exist?

A: It would still be there. It will always be there but with more facts the less chance there is of failing. Relationships fail because of no communication and less facts, more lies. When you have that, you’ll have a failed relationship because the two parts can’t relate, they can’t connect. There’s a disconnect.

Q: If two can communicate, they can find out if they don’t relate and move on to the next.

A: Exactly, or grow as a whole.

Q: If we were all surviving and loving the way we want to love or need to love, what would it feel like?

A: Selfish. Whole. Ambiguous. Elusive.

Q: Sexual freedom, free love is selfish?

A: Yes, because under the constraints of monogamy it’s about subduing that freedom.

Q: Well, my question was not in reference to monogamy. Because sexual freedom, there is no restraint. To me, sexual freedom is choice without judgement.

A: That’s deep.

Q: But if you can’t communicate what you want or you’re afraid to communicate what you want, you can’t choose without considering others.

A: True.

Q: So again, if we were all surviving…

A: We’re all surviving now.

Q: No. Let me rephrase the question. If we had all survived meaning no more need for hustles, no more struggling, what would love look like?

A: It would look like peace, happiness. It would look like Umoja. It would look like dashikis in the summer time. It would look like children running through a fire hydrant. It would look like double rainbows. It would like primitive peace.

Q: But that happens.

A: It does happen.

Q: It doesn’t happen for everybody, though, but it happens.

A: And it doesn’t happen for a long time. It would look like a dot within a circle.

Q: The dot would be content with being the dot or would it want to become the circle?

A: It would all be one.

Q: What does that feel like?

A: A Basquiat or a Prince song. A prom in lingerie.

Q: How in the hell does that feel, lol?

A: Being covered in Mississippi Mud. [Insert laughter]

Q: Is there anything else that you would like to add?

A: Ben Jones parties go hard and I’m drunk as fuck. Yo, you got to get an interview by The Karamoko Way. This shit was fun.

Mississippi Mud: Saturday, June 18th, 2016 10pm-4a
Club Reign 2055 Gratiot Detroit, MI    @
 St. Aubin , East of 75

FOR MORE INFORMATION BEN JONES CAN BE CONTACTED THROUGH FACEBOOK MESSENGER (BENJONESDETROIT) or by email: benjamin_jones@live.com

 

Mississippi Mud²

PhotoGrid_1466202697094

What if it’s not so much about sex, but it’s more about how we treat each other so that we can express ourselves freely, sexually. I write this as I ironically watch the “no ifs, ands, or butts” episode from “Sex and the City.” I enjoyed the progression of the show but I am not ignorant to the fact that the show did not showcase sexual freedom that looked black. Unless, you count the brief relationship Miranda had with Blair Underwood or that one time Samantha had relations with a black guy, who was referred to as a “big black pussy” during Carrie’s narration. The lunch conversation about black talk, being politically correct and affirmative action was awkward. It was the show’s way, off at best at including us. I’m a person, it’s really that simple. Interestingly enough, when Chivon’s sister, Adeena, expressed her displeasure with their intermingling she told Samantha that she’d send over some Mississippi Mud pie.

So, how do you interview the creator of Mississippi Mud and recapture the raw, intrigue for a second time, for those that were going to attend the event and others that weren’t interested either way; yet valued the conversation of the Q&A? Add liquor.

Hello everybody! We are attempting this interview, a little different this time, with the help of influence…a number of influences.

We fucked up! I’m dizzaayy!

Q: How do you put on a show like this without crossing the thin line of objectivity?

A: I look at this show as a complete art piece and as an artist I express myself. I have an image that I want to portray but I don’t be thinking like damn am I objectifying my muse or am I objectifying myself. I just feel that it’s my duty to express myself. I don’t really think about the word objectivity. It doesn’t come into my frame of mind when I creating a body of work.

Q: How do you love black women/men or their bodies without objectifying them?

A: It’s hard. Shit! We is the shit. That’s an object the shit. And we is it, whatever it is, we is it definitely. There is nothing like making love with that black energy. There’s nothing like it. You know so it’s hard. I don’t if I’ve mastered that myself. You know I be like this some good pussy, object. That’s a phat ass, object. Nice titties, object. Wheeww she got a nice complexion, object. You know, I just love us. I love everything about us mentally, physically and spiritually—temporal to metaphysical.

Q: How do you define objectivity?

A: Objectivity is. That’s deep! Objectivity means to take advantage of a thing for your own gain and satisfaction.

Q: Have we managed, as black people, to fetishize ourselves in the same ways our ancestor’s captors did?

A: Definitely, when we go on porn sites we go for the black stuff, every now and again we dabble off into that but for the most part we for the ebony section or the black woman section. We have categorized ourselves in our minds and we have accepted the categorization.

Q: What was the best thing(s) about the first Mississippi Mud?

A: The energy. The energy was so fucking dope. It was a whole bunch of sexy, black people. People were in love, some people trying to get in lust. It was just a bunch of good vibes, under one roof, one energy, one vibration, one frequency.

Q: What did you learn?

A: I learned that we have to be careful with sex. It is not to be taking lightly and we need to have more of it. People need to have more sex. More holistic sex, holistic in the sense that satisfaction isn’t one sided. More guys are being satisfied and women are not being satisfied. And we don’t know how to make love to each other.

Q: Why June 18th?

A: June 18th is the day before Juneteenth. One this day we celebrate our freedom and what better way to celebrate your freedom than getting physically naked and take freedom of your naked self. And do what you want to do, at least for a couple of hours…just feel free, unadulterated, no supervision. Just free. No cell phones. No worries.

Q: What do you say to people that believe black sexual/love expression is a tiny problem compared to other issues we have?

A: This is a big problem because the first chakra is the root chakra. And at the base, we need to learn how to love ourselves physically. We have to learn how to love ourselves physically so that other people can love us. Ain’t nobody gonna love you more than you love yourself. You have to take pride in loving yourself. Self-love, sex, and masturbation and all that shit. You know it’s big, black sex is big. No pun intended.

Q: A person could just log onto any of the millions of porn sites, visit heavily black populated cities or Africa why is Mississippi Mud still important after already having one?

A: Mississippi Mud is important because I want it to be a spiritual experience that we have annually to remind us to take pride in closeness, in our love. I feel like heterosexuality and homosexuality are under attack and the base of it, it’s really love. And what better way to celebrate than together with some people, some art, some good food, and party. Hopefully, go home and make some love or find a dark corner and make some love. We scared to make love. We scared to dance with each other now. We go on one side of the room, the other person goes on the other side of the room. And we wait for someone to say something to us or we stare at our phones on Instagram; while we’re at the club. I’m drunk.

Q: There was a certain energy at Mississippi Mud, the naysayers couldn’t feel it but it was there. What do you think or know contributed to the energy?

A: The spirits in the room. We are spirits having a human experience and the spirits were in the room and the contributed heavily to the texture of the feeling that we all were receiving. It was necessary.

Q: I’m trying to catch up with you.

A: How I am trying to catch up with you, I’m Juicy! You’re the one trying to be Gaddafi on the liquor.

Q: I said I’m trying to catch up with you.

A: Is this on the record or off the record?

Q: Everything is on the record.

A: Whose idea was this? Do you do all of your interviews like this, young lady? [Insert laughter]

Q: So, why do you think there were people that could not feel it?

A: It wasn’t for everybody. It’s not for everybody. Everything ain’t for everybody and I feel like people were there with arms folded on the defense. So if you don’t allow something to come in or invite something to come in; it’s going to have to break itself in. So you lock your doors and padlock all the windows, you’re not going to get the feeling. It’s like the Holy Ghost. I’m sorry church.

Q: But the locked doors and windows can’t save you, though?

A: It can’t because it’s going to overcome you. It’s going to overcome you, whether it’s the pheromones, the abundance of flesh, the abundance of smiles and laughter, or genuine vibes it’s going to overtake you or you gone have to get the fuck on. Get your shit and leave. Answer that text message you got, in the car because there is a no cell phone policy. [Insert laughter] I’m drunk.

Q: Why do you think people and stood on the sidelines with that type of energy?

A: They’re voyeurs. They’re voyeurs. Voyeurs like to watch. They like to pretend to be prudish. That’s their thing, that’s their fetish; to watch and pretend. I don’t like this. Some of us like to watch, it’s okay lurkers. You can watch, we not going to stop giving you things to watch. This is three types of whiskey. The Karamoko Way gets you drunk.

Q: Why be so open about sex?

A: It’s already open. It’s all over the radio. It’s all over the television. I think people are just bent out of shape because it’s black sex. Black sex is offensive and I keep reiterating that. Now, if this was white people getting naked riding their bikes through the city, nobody would give a shit. But when black people get on our bikes and ride butt naked through the city, oh we’re breaking some type of law. It’s going to be some city ordinance saying that if your dick is over three inches then you can’t ride your bike. And if it ain’t one, they’ll make one by the morning and they’re going to have your ass locked up. White people get to do what they want to do. Black people, we got to just let our wang out! I’m drunk as fuck.

Q: So is Mississippi Mud the equivalent of that, does it give black people the opp…

A: Black people don’t need an opportunity. We do this shit on the regular. I’m providing us with the atmosphere. I’m providing us with the atmosphere to feel comfortable, in our own skin. But just once in a while can we be comfortable to black. Sometimes it’s just uncomfortable to be black. Have you ever been in a room full of people of different races? You can just feel the tension. For one second, I just don’t want us to feel no tension about nothing—our weight, size, age, look, nothing. Just be free. Just be Africa, for one minute. Just be Mississippi, for one minute. Feel your heritage and your culture, just for one minute.

A: Other than not contributing to rape culture, what’s the universal benefit of talking about sex, in real ways?

A: Education, we lack sexual education in the black community and that has been our downfall. We don’t talk about it openly, in our churches, in our schools, our recreational facilities or after school programs and our homes. We don’t talk about black sexuality. And it’s not just straight; it’s not just homosexual—black sex is not just one way. Black sexuality like I said, it’s big. It’s very big and it’s very diverse. It’s been diverse since the beginning of time, from my studies. Whether we want to acknowledge or not it’s going to be here. We need to start talking about it openly. It’s a big thing in our community. Intrinsically, in our DNA and ingrained fertility is. That’s the dilemma that we’re in right now, how do we procreate and not just create? How does everyone find the love mate or partner in even situations and circumstances? What the fuck, these questions are deep?

Q: Sexuality is fluid, should there be boundaries?

A: I feel like whatever you want to do within the boundaries of mainstream should be followed. That’s what I believe because laws change on the needs of the people and governance change on the needs of the people. Who knows why God chose a fifteen-year-old teenager to get pregnant with the son of God but it happened. Who knows why my mother was pregnant at 15 with me, but it happened and when you think about sexuality and children it’s not supposed to happen but God’s truth is; it’s happening.

Q: Do you think, sexuality is what it is, it’s fluid, there are no real boundaries but that humans have devolved?

A: Hell yeah humans have devolved. If humans had evolved my phone wouldn’t be smarter than me. It wouldn’t be a smart phone; it would be a dumb phone. I think that we have definitely devolved. We’ve devolved so much we can’t reproduce things that we’ve done in the past like the pyramids or civilization. We’re not civilized right now. We’re not a civilized society.

Q: Do you think we’re uncivilized because we measure evolution based on what we can make and not we can do?

A: I definitely think the problem is technology. Technology is out evolving humanity and we’re losing our humanity in our technology. We don’t know how to be close to each other anymore. We don’t have to socialize with each other anymore in the physical sense. We’re losing the touch; we’re losing the importance of flesh. In a minute, flesh is going to be very expensive.

Q: How?

A: People aren’t going to accept minimum wage jobs. They’re going to want actual money for the flesh to be there. People are going to require more for their time because they’re going to know their worth. I think that we’re waking up. I know that we’re waking up.

Mississippi Mud: Saturday, June 18th, 2016 10pm-4a
Club Reign 2055 Gratiot Detroit, MI    @
 St. Aubin , East of 75

FOR MORE INFORMATION BEN JONES CAN BE CONTACTED THROUGH FACEBOOK MESSENGER (BENJONESDETROIT) or by email: benjamin_jones@live.com

 

Bring it on if you think you hang. And if not then let me do my thing: I deserve complexity.

PhotoGrid_1455042560933-1-1

                                                                        Photo Courtesy of SuperSelected.com Art created by Shoshanna Weinberger and T’Air Carroll.

Eight days ago, I came across a picture of an African woman. A mother, a daughter, a sister, an aunt; and possibly a wife—she was in pain. She was covered in batik. Her veins were no longer dormant; they were alive, distinct and attempting to cut through her face. Spit had taken residence in the corner of her mouth. She was crying so hard, the hurt was so genuine, so consecutive that no tears could come.

On January 30, 2016, Boko Haram attacked and killed some 86 people in Dalori, a Nigerian village. And my heart tightened. I screamed expletives after expletive. I thought to myself, when will it be safe for us to stop crying? When would peace be revolutionary? I wanted to console this woman, but what does that sort of comfort even look or feel like?

We are to believe that as early as April of 2014, government officials on the state and local level knowingly poisoned Flint residents. Mario Woods was shot and killed on December 2, 2015, by more than 15 rounds by five officers of the law. February 5th was Trayvon Martin’s birthday. February 7th was Sandra Bland’s birthday. She would have been 29 years old. He would have been 21. There are tragedies that are nameless and unpublicized that are plaguing black communities throughout the diaspora.

On Saturday, February 6, 2016, Beyoncé dropped a video for her first new song since 2014. She was set to co-star with Coldplay and Bruno Mars for the Super Bowl 2016 this past Sunday. I sat in my sister’s living room, after having an unproductive day (not of my doing) and clicked play. And in seconds, in seconds; I was revived. I hadn’t even taken a sip of my South African, red wine. For clarity, not like oil rubbed on foreheads or even submersion under water. My confidence was renewed instantly. I don’t want you to think religion; I want you to feel spirit.

Like in 1991, when Whitney Houston sang “A Song for You” for the returning troops from Desert Storm. At one point she leans back while sitting in the chair and hits this note that I swear God is tap dancing up my back. Beyoncé told the world that black women are magical, that blackness cannot be contained.

Apparently, Beyoncé does not deserve complexity. And I took offense because if she can’t neither can I. As a community, a litmus test has been created to prove if you’re conscious enough to wax poetic about our collective pain. Men are to be however they want and “intelligent,” it seems. And women are to be silent, fully clothed, fist raised and ready. Any divergence from these boxes and guidelines you are unsuitable to express or create for blackness.

The video is hawt. The images are piercing. The fashion is there. The cameos are there. The message is there. The historical references are there. You mad because you didn’t think to create a black power trap song geared to push black women toward their greater potentials, even if in small steps. A seed was planted; all it takes is a mustard seed. Why not call Beyoncé prophetic? Can’t I quote Toni Morrison, twerk in 5-inch heels and take shots of top shelf liquor with no chaser and love my people? Can’t I wear blonde weave, subscribe to Vogue, light incense as I listen to Project Pat while writing an inspirational speech for black girls at Timbuktu Academy and have tattoos of Africa and Adinkra symbols on my buttocks with Fanon, Diop, Welsing and hooks residing on my bookshelves? Can’t I knuck if I’m buck, drink Cabernet Sauvignon, donate to families in need and be ready to protest on anybody’s Michigan Avenue, with fire engine red locks? No!!?!

Tupac Amaru Shakur has been on both sides of the law, throughout his celebrity. Some of 2pac’s lyrics are misogynistic; however, he still found the fortitude to pen “Brenda’s got a Baby” and “Dear Mama.” Shakur often spoke of the greatness of African people. His opinion was never in question; his behavior never negated his philosophy or love for his people. Folk is waiting on the third day right now, for his resurrection; some don’t even believe that he is dead. King’s adultery still allowed him to have a dream and be a supreme leader for both our human and civil rights. James Brown domestic violence, tax evasion, alcoholism can’t nick the legend that he is or those he inspired. Brown made it hipper to be black, at a time when blackness was synonymous with expiration dates. There’s these invisible rose colored glass when it comes to consciousness and masculinity.

Otis Redding wrote “Respect,” for Aretha Franklin. Franklin can play the piano. Aretha is the queen. Smokey Robinson wrote for The Supremes, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, The Jackson 5 and himself. Are these artists still legendary? I thought so. “Remember the Time” was co-written by Teddy Riley, Michael Jackson and Bernard Belle. Stevie Wonder also wrote for Michael Jackson, a number of times. Michael is the kang. Jackson was a lot more vocal about the mistreatment of Black people than most know. Many believed that his physical appearance was a testament of self-hatred except he had discoid lupus, vitiligo, and contempt for his father. Michael Jackson was proud of his heritage. Do you remember a time when ancient Egyptians were not white?

The idea that an artist is superficial if they have managed to have profitable careers is ludicrous. From “Urban Hang Suite” to “BLACKSummer’s Night,” musically Maxwell has evolved; for that change to occur one must grow and experience new and different things as a person. Editorially, let me just say after child birth your world view changes, fear becomes a lie, everything that you are or are not is magnified and your new mission becomes to become who you are meant to be the best way you know how and see fit.

Everyone wants to reminisce about the good old days when music was “authentic”—a time when everybody wore afros. We can’t speak of that golden era without being honest about the sexism and the fact that our organizations were able to be infiltrated; which led to many of our leaders being assassinated. Everybody smells like roses is what the debates and think pieces tell me. To be black is to be good and respectable. The symbolism of the visuals in the video and the countrified lyrics was an honest celebration of what it is like to be a black woman, generally speaking of course and without definition of course. It’s okay for black women to embrace our sexuality, to pronounce our beauty; hence, the white negligee B was rockin’. The visuals were supreme blackness for me. A carnival of the vastness that is to be black, to be a woman—she gets to speak on it because she is those things. The hair styles, the confrontation against police brutality and enslavement, outdated standards, gender roles, the pain, the survival and the “fed-upness.” We’re so conditioned to having to provide evidence of our humanity, that naturally, we doubt each other.

You don’t have to like Beyoncé as an artist. You don’t have to buy concert tickets or albums. You don’t even have to agree with her business acumen. But you can’t deny her agency to express herself and her own means to define womanhood, blackness, music or to confront social constructs and the mistreatment of people. Beyoncé donated over $250,000 to help to create a fund for the victims of Hurricane Katrina back in 2004. Her personal image is all about the empowerment of women. It might not be Mahalia Jackson regalia but it is most definitely a little Chaka Khan, Tina Turner, Diana Ross and Donna Summer.

We’ve bought into the exclusionary practices of that when one of us speak or does something; it speaks and represents all black people, too. The beauty of blackness is that it is everything. The alfa na omega baby! The spectrum is so omnipotent that to define it, is to disgrace it.

Beyoncé is not a child. I do not expect her music or the images she portrays to raise my daughter. What I will do is have real conversations with my daughter about sexuality, language, objectivity, her thoughts and we’ll design what being a black woman is together until it is her time to define it for herself. She knows that she is beautiful, smart, and strong; and that she’s of African descent and proud of that. She is one-year-old. I’m currently defining blackness for myself. I have the respect for my people to disagree with them without degrading them.

The Super Bowl performance was the trinity of divine femininity. A homage to the Black Panthers, Michael Jackson and Malcolm X, was history in the now. For the record, I applaud Beyoncé for having Blue Ivy in the video. It would be a disservice to hide who she is from her daughter. It is a disservice to hide your femininity from your daughters.

But clearly, only shake ya ass. Might start a revolution. There’s power in our hips.               I’m blackalicious and loving it.                                                                                                     I have danced to mourn the deaths from the attack on the Dalori village.                     You should too, gone head twerk a little.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.