Thursday, December 18, 2014

Why the Black Community Needs to Come Together

A few weeks ago, I watched what is quite possibly the most enlightening film I have ever seen in all of my near-20 years of life. Black Is... Black Ain't was the last film of director Marlon Riggs - whom lost his long battle with AIDS just prior to the film's completion. 

The film has moved me to pose a few questions: What does it mean to be "black" to you? What would you prefer to be called (black, African American, etc.) and why? Is there anything from speech to attire to hair that would make you look at another black person and say, "They're not black enough" or "They're too black"? If so, why is that? How do you feel about the general nonacceptance of homosexuality in the black community? Do you think there's still a need to fight for equal justice? Why or why not?
I highly recommend everyone, that's right, E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E to watch this film. No matter what social class you consider yourself to be apart of, what race/gender/sexuality you identify as, how involved and/or up to date you consider yourself to be with issues in the community, this will speak to all. It was quite bothersome for me to realize that nearly 20 years after Marlon Riggs made this documentary, ALL of the problems it deals with and questions it poses are still very relevant things that continue to divide the black community more and more everyday. It involves everything from the way we speak, walk, fix our hair and even stereotype ourselves. The system was set in place hundreds of years ago, this whole notion of who's really black and who isn't, that light-skinned people (both black and of other ethnicities) are somehow superior to those of darker complexion, that if you carry yourself in a certain way in which you talk "proper" and/or listen to different styles of music that you're acting "white" or "uppity". The problem is, these thoughts that were put into our heads back then, and these stereotypes that were placed upon us have never really left because we have not let them go. I'm sad to say that as a community, black people are still not truly united because so many of us are so quick to bring each other down for being different, want to kill each other for no reason, make each other feel that we don't belong IN OUR OWN COMMUNITY! We're already shaded and oppressed enough by the system. Why make it any worse than it already is? It's time for change, has been for hundreds of years, and probably always will be in this regard. As an individual, one can only do so much. These issues in our community have been staring us in the face for the longest time, but so many of us are focused on the wrong things and don't seem to care about what's important. It's time to wake up. Knowledge is key. Knowledge is power. Nothing's gonna change if as a collective we don't care to make changes. I hope this film sparks a fire in you. I hope you take the time to think. Think about what you can do to encourage commUNITY. Take 86 minutes out of your day and view Black Is... Black Ain't; gain some perspective. Now is as good a time as it ever was.

Until Next Time, Peace & B Wild.

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