About this Blog

The title of this blog, "I'm About to do My Thing," was inspired by Jill Scott's introduction to her poem "The Thickness" from her live album Experience: Jill Scott 826+. In this intro, she warns that the content to follow is "real" and proceeds to deliver a beautiful message about self-esteem in young black girls, what can influence and damage that self-esteem, and the entire village's responsibility--"it takes a village"--to elevate its children.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Beyond Lil Wayne: Maybe More of Us Need to Feel Sick

When I glanced at what were clearly side-by-side images of Emmett Till, assuming the caption would reference the Lil Wayne controversy, I had a feeling the image next to the cute, smiling boy's face would be from his funeral. However, I did not expect it to actually show his unrecognizable, brutalized face, which his mother so famously wanted the world to see. After all these years of knowing the story and reading accounts of the events, I have intentionally avoided seeing that face, knowing what it would do to me. Now, here I am, fighting back tears and nausea, as I knew I would.

Rapper and musician O'hene Sav├ínt posted the following image and caption on his Facebook page on February 16, 2013, in response to Lil Wayne's lyric and apparent ignorance:


"“beat that pussy up like Emmett Till.”-Lil WayneI've TRIED not to say anything but I'm a revolutionary so some things I can't tolerate! THIS is what happens when you have ignorant heroes young people...and don't think for a second that this matters to someone who has a majority white demographic. If you're BLACK, Wayne doesn't rap for you. YOUR heritage doesn't matter to him. YOU are disposable. It matters to me though, I'm a soul brother from the lineage of Curtis Mayfield and Langston Hughes artistically. It's UN ACCEPTABLE, and part of the reason that I am just about through with Hip hop. Sorry but I just am... Hip BOP, will be my life from now on MAINLY because Hip hop has been taken over FOR TOO LONG by fools! I'm sick of grown men and women, defending and ignoring disrespect and disloyalty to my community. The CULTURE of Hip hop is dominated by a bunch of bitches and hoes. Bitches who are scared to speak up, and hoes who are willing to do anything for money. Well, I'm not one. Choose your "here-hoes" better. Choose who you support with your money more wisely. That is all...for now.

Read this if you don't know about Emitt Till.
...they took Till, transported him to a barn, beat him and gouged out one of his eyes, before shooting him through the head and disposing of his body in the Tallahatchie River, weighting it with a 70-pound (32 kg) cotton gin fan tied around his neck with barbed wire. His body was discovered and retrieved from the river three days later".

Do you feel sick too? I hope you do, and I hope you take that feeling and pass it on to the children in your lives, whether they're students, nieces, nephews, offspring or neighbors. I don't want to disturb or frighten these children, and I don't want them to believe that knowing their history should be limited to the ghastly aspects, of which there are many. Instead, I want them to understand that all of this history, good and bad, should be respected, and they should be proud to know it. If that involves some repulsion, then maybe that repulsion will help them to grasp the seriousness of the legacies that make their lives possible. I imagine that not feeling sick about these events and the society that made them possible allowed Lil Wayne to say the ignorant ish that he said. Otherwise, he could not have opened his mouth to say it, no matter his creative process. (George E. Curry shares a similar sentiment here.) 

One day, when I think she's ready, I'll have to share stories like Emmett Till's with Mini Mo. Maybe she'll feel sad like I did the first time I saw Roots. Maybe she'll feel angry. Perhaps she'll even have nightmares, but I'll hold her if she does. I'll tell her that, while things like this still happen, our world has made some important changes. Because these things still happen, I'll tell her that we can't forget and that we can't let our children forget.

Bob Dylan shares this same message in his "The Ballad of Emmett Till" (video courtesy of YouTuber leonehistory):


3 comments:

  1. Sickening and infuriating, Mo. An important story to remember and the visual reality is beyond horrific. Thanks for posting.

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  2. I'm feeling speechless right now. Close to tears. But I wanted to let you know that I read your post. Deeply moved, deeply touched. Deeply disturbed.

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  3. Thanks for reading, ladies. It's absolutely sickening and disturbing...and not all that long ago...

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