Black Culture As Defined by the Japanese

MsMellody writes:

I would like you (Betty) to write a blog piece on the following Japanese news story. I came upon this video while just looking around on the web…to say that I was shocked would be an understatement.

Let me add this last bit of info – seeing that I am well past this age demographic ( young 20 somethings) I STILL was sadly impacted by this seeming caricature.

And when I say caricature…I really mean it in all it’s glory..a total summation of all the GLARINGLY tacky … outlandish … ways. But somehow the Japanese have synthesized everything we the audience of these blogs would NEVER want to be associated with- nor glamorized!!


That’s A Lot of Black Folks They’re Talking About

Oh man, we need to shut down the music and entertainment industry immediately. Forget Free Speech. Ignorance and stupidity on this level shouldn’t be allowed – in any country on this planet.

There are roughly 150,000,000 Japanese people in the world. I padded the number to include those scattered outside the country.

People who are pure blooded African and of African descent might roughly be nearly a billion, if not slightly more. ‘Cause as you know, there’s too many of us, at least according to the environmentalists who love to only show pictures of black people when they talk about overpopulation. What’s fascinating is that they reason in the same unpleasant direction as the white supremacist sites. Same difference on a bad day, right?

Am I to understand that the twits in Japan claiming they know “black culture” think this represents 1 billion people? I know I am being rhetorical here.

Whose Culture You Talkin’ About, Willis?

Unfortunately, it is a global world. Overflowing with toxic “entertainment” waste. The context of this is garbage in, garbage out. Nothing more. Even the mother in the clip is hip to her daughter’s optional lifestyle, “Sooner or later it will get boring.” Momma is right. Her chubby unattractive crooked teeth offspring might go into Goth next.

‘Cause it doesn’t make a person black or a part of “black culture”, if one:

  • Has hair that turned “frizzy” in primary school.
  • Goes to a tanning bed monthly, weekly, or even daily.
  • Reads magazines showcasing “cool blacks”. WTF does that even mean?
  • Watches music videos full of “cool blacks”.
  • Attends late night clubs to hear hip hop.
  • Has hair braided into small plaits. Even the ancient Romans and Greeks did that, along with the Egyptians.
  • Has multiple piercings, wears tattoos and brightly colored or tacky clothing. I mean, seriously now? (Useless data: the first folks to wear tattoos in the USA among the “mainstream” folks were sailors. That was cool, because you understood – life was rough for them. That’s what tattoos represented. Tough guys making marks of their adventures.)
  • And as we know, the list of stupid, made-up dumb stuff passing as “black culture” could go on…

Let’s be real: being black or of African descent is not an optional lifestyle, something that can be appropriated or worn like the latest fashion.

We Are Not Accessories For Any Funking Group

As Oshun eloquently stated:

I am trying not to throw up at that vid. Ok, this is not “Black Lifestyle”, but a lower class black subculture they are mimicking.

Perhaps a letter writing/email campaign is in order to make them recognize that this is not us and they need to be careful of their labels – to further delineate the separation?

I say glamorize and mimick away. It is a subculture. I don’t care what happens to the cretins that created this trash. I hope it all comes back to bite all the woman hating negroes in the butt. There are already new school white MCs thinking they can call ni@@@s ni@@@s – so good luck to all of them with that.

What I do not like is this, and this may not be the right word, appropriation, co-option of the Black woman’s image whether she be working class or lower class or not. What is up with these folks and thinking that that is ok?? First some WW do it on the sly and now this mess? Is this everyday black face? I am feeling some type of way about this and it is not good.

I can understand the entertainment value of hip hop. It serves to amuse and distract for the period of time one gets immersed in it. That’s all. Just like other forms of “art”.

Hey, Do That Thing You Do

And in similar fashion to Oshun, I would tell this group of Japanese:

“Go ahead. We know it is a strange, bizarre, weird, and artificial construct on your part, since you have no idea, and will never know the true essence of any black culture. There are multitudes of them. Just like you would be thrilled to tell my black behind I could never appreciate, understand, emulate or become Japanese. There’s no way on earth you could ever appreciate and understand what black culture is, or even know what a real black woman is like.

But keep playing at it: for me, it’s entertaining to watch you all look stupid.”

But Y’all Can’t Do That

Folks, lemme ask you this: Imagine if groups of us walked around with faces painted white, spoke a little Japanese, bowed at everybody, carried swords (I don’t think I’d mind that), wore kimonos, along with those odd flip flops and said we were living a “cool azz Japannezzy lifestyle”, having never stepped one foot in the country? Honestly, I think people would be calling up President Obama and asking him, “What’s up with that?”

To wrap up, I’ll say why this is a problem. In the words of Ms Mellody:

The very idea that people from other countries only take in and synthesize what they see on MTV, Youtube, BET, VH1 and the like. Just the very idea that  THEY think this is the TOTALITY of Black culture..is just shocking in this day and age. ….And yet this is exactly the way some BWs present as well as BMs present to the world.

Just because some of us easily invite disrespect – and call it entertainment or “art” – for a few dollars, doesn’t mean all of us will.

We ain’t asleep, folks. We see what’s going on.

Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

 

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Black Magazines, Black Fashion: Burt-Murray Goes White and Vogue Africa is Fiction

Total Fiction: Vogue Africa

Vogue Africa by Mario Epanya

Vogue (Africa) doesn’t exist, but the pictures circulating the web are fascinating, intriguing, and perplexing. The photographer is Mario Epanya. He wanted Vogue (Conde Naste) to have this magazine showcasing Africa.

I’m curious and would like to ask: couldn’t he find investors in oil-rich Nigeria, diamond-rich South Africa, or booming Botswana to help out? I think his idea is outstanding. We can see from the cover and many more on some blogs – he obviously has the models and the talent.

Why must black men always go to white men with a cup in hand begging for something when he already has all the resources he needs to get started?

Vogue Africa Images

Angela Burt-Murray Prefers White

The Editor-in-Chief of Essence Magazine decided to go interracial, but only for her hiring decision(s). This appears to be the one time she believes in quality and the philosophy of “may the best wo/man win”. She wouldn’t dare encourage black women to seek men (of any race) that’s best for her. She saves the philosophy of seeking quality for herself.

Burt-Murray prefers to suggest black women go to strip clubs to find that purple unicorn “good black man” tucking $1 into LaFlowanda’s g-string. Great idea, Ms Burt-Murray. You gonna keep it real for those young women who are S.O.L. as they face a 2 million black male deficit.

Angela Burt-Murray wrote this stunning, articulate and brilliant essay explaining that the “White editor won’t diminish our love of black women.” The people who run Essence claim they have love for black women.

Oh, yeah! Dis must be love. Is this the kind of love, where your broken bones and black eyes are a result of love taps? That you complain too much, otherwise he wouldn’t have to hit you? You should be grateful he loves you, because no one can love someone such as yourself? Yeah, that kind of love.

She can keep it.

Who Should Replace Her

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t care about the fashion editor hire. I feel her comment about “quality” could apply to the following.

  • Encourage black women to be open to men (any race) who are quality as opposed to any-black-male-with-a-pulse worship. Stop encouraging their involvement with baby daddys, men in relationships, men in jail, ex-cons, men seeking FWB / hookups, and actors who mysteriously cannot find a “date” in Hollyweird.
  • As to her position as Editor-in-Chief, I said it on Huffington.com and I’ll say it here:

Next hire: a white woman to replace Angela Burt-Murray, because that white woman will have the vision and understanding of black women’s issues. Good hire, Time-Warner!

Her replacement can be those white women who sleep with black men featured on the cover of Essence, are given a black pass by blacks who put them on their blogs, defended by blacks who say silly things like “they’re not white”, and are called “black” due to negro-proxy*. That way Burt-Murray’s replacement wont actually be a white woman, but the modern-day black woman replacement we see featured everywhere. We wont even notice the difference.

It’s Not About Diversity

Folks can chatter about the importance of diversity in Burt-Murray’s hiring decision. Yet, I know this: one could literally find hundreds, if not thousands, of unemployed black women desperate for a job. She could have rotated the gig and given many of these black women a chance. Instead we get a high-school level snark essay about issues she think we should protest and boycott. She took the safe bet. I get it. Her bosses told her who to hire; she couldn’t come out and say it. Diversity is a catch phrase for: I don’t write the checks.

The case with Vogue in Africa and Essence is this: de boss man is de white man. But he’s not the villain here. His priorities are different. His focus is on money: advertisers, distribution, expenses, and circulation. Multiculturalism and diversity are the least of his concerns, but it makes a nice cover when you are forcing negroes to do your bidding.

However, black folks have nothing to complain about. If you want to showcase “black fashion and black beauty” in a high-end fashion magazine put your money where your mouth is.

I will tell you why it doesn’t happen: do black people really believe black women are as beautiful as white women?

Are we able to produce (without begging anybody for something) a first rate magazine? Yes, of course.

The reality is this: the effort has been tried and tried many times in the past, and you know what happens? No one bought the magazine(s).

*theroot.com – has this mess. the “blackest” white people around. this site is dr. gate’s brainchild.

Linky-Loos

  1. thegrio.com: why-africa-vogue-is-considered-out-of-fashion
  2. thegrio.com: essence-one-white-editor-wont-diminish-our-love-of-black-women
  3. thegrio.com: essence-white-editor-caught-up-in-off-color-controversy
  4. clutchmagonline.com: hires-white-fashion-director-leaves-loyal-readers-asking-why
  5. huffingtonpost: essence hires white fashion editor
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African History: The Perfect Armor

I love museums. I try to visit a few every year. Even when I am seeing the same exhibits I can’t get enough of them.

Europeans and Africans

I’m always looking for slices of African history in Western Civilization. I also like to see evidence of black people being in Europe, even before Columbus sailed off to find India and “discovered” the “New World.”

Referring to the following image: the date of this slave trade does not mean that Africans were new to Europe. Historical forces came together in a “perfect storm”, which meant Africans would be sourced as the new (more durable?) labor pool for Europeans to use.

Why? Europe was going through periods of depopulation due to the Black Death. Its countries were always at war, sophisticated mercantile commerce was taking hold, and naval competition for dominance of trading routes was growing. These bold explorations and territorial expansions required bodies.

Armors and Guns

I love love love looking at armored suits. I like that whole ancient European guns, swords, and ancient castle living kinda stuff. I wish someone would make a lightweight, superhuman strong exo-skeleton, bulletproof (bomb proof?) armored suit for today. Now, wouldn’t that be awesome!?! Weird, right? Yet, I bloody love the idea. It makes me think of RoboCop for some reason.

Tell me these armor suits don’t look hot? The black one screams, bad ass! I saw one in the UK that the Japanese had given the British. Aw, I should have taken a picture of that. You talk about nice.

The one thing I do note about all of these outfits, people back then were tiny: 5’2″-5’4″. I think most of the armor weighed upwards of 100lbs, which has yet to include the swords, blades, guns, and other equipment they had to carry.

Check out the guns these folks had back then.


Use your imagination: slave traders with guns, breastplate armor, cannons on ships, versus dark skinned natives who had what? Arrows, poison darts, spears, and diseases to hold off the pale skinned invaders.

Starting in 1420, the Europeans begin to scatter African peoples around Europe, and then the “New World.”

Four hundred years later, around 1865, they followed up by colonizing Africa.

And yet, people still talk today as though black and white people, or if you prefer, African and European descendants just met.

I have to read this book Guns, Germs and Steel at some point, maybe see if I can get an audio version and/or watch the PBS program.

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Black American? or American Who Is Black? Part ii

Please note for those of you who are literalistic: I mean some, not all, when referencing black or white Americans.

I have a confession to make: I rarely think about my race.

I’m not saying that I am color-blind. I don’t even know what sense to make of that word. What does it convey? That’s like saying: I don’t see men or women, everyone is the same gender. That’s just stupid.

I admire all sorts of things about different groups of people, be it their coloring or cultural or religious heritage. I also enjoy being brown skinned. I enjoy my complexion. I like who I am. I delight in it. It’s just that the race I am (in America) is not at the forefront of my thinking.

However, I like my own definition of self. Yes, for practical reasons, at this point in time, my race is black. Lord knows what tomorrow will bring: What black Americans or the US government will call the group next.

It doesn’t change who or what I am.

And no, I don’t see myself as African American. That’s a misnomer. I was born in Europe, shouldn’t I call myself European American?

I am an American. My cultural heritage is West Indian. I like saying black, because it’s a shorthand term: a political, social subset of Americans with a degree of African heritage, among others.

I have noticed that amongst some generational Americans taking note of your background upsets them. They act like it is an either or choice. Pick one and it’s offensive, pick the other and you are rejecting their social and cultural dictates.

They get upset with hyphenated Americans, or there are others who want people to emphasize the hyphen and fit within their group definition.

White Americans seem to dislike the hyphenation and emphasis on racial / ethnic background.

Black Americans seem to dislike black immigrants who don’t immediately accede to their definition of “black”. For example, a Jamaican, Nigerian, Hutu or Guyanese, etc. may see themselves as a West Indian or African, or whatever first, and not ascribe to being “black”.

Somehow that accurate self-definition is a rejection of them.

I’ve always looked at it this way: black Americans have to stop thinking that immigrants of any color owe them something. They do not. Unfortunately, no one cares if your ancestors fought in the Revolutionary or Civil War or any of the following wars.

They didn’t march and die alone in the Civil Rights movement: some whites and even some black immigrants were right alongside them.

When America decided to change, they felt they were changing it for the better of everyone, not just generational black Americans. Otherwise, the words used in Civil Rights legislation wouldn’t have been “minorities.”

Black Americans also have to stop telling immigrants, Africans and Caribbean peoples, how to define themselves. These people are coming from countries where everyone is more or less the same race.

Who are you to tell them what they are?

Those who complain are the same ones that resent the immigrant for his appearance and progress in this country. Hey, it is a struggle to come here, work, study and start fresh from scratch. It makes them grateful to be here.

They aren’t carrying the scars of past historical racial antagonism with white Americans. So don’t expect them to. They’re not here to do that.

Last, but not least, they come here for a multitude of reasons. If this magnificent country lets them in: they will take advantage of it.

In some cases, that may mean staying, and letting their kids become Americans. Or it may mean going back home to retire after working here a number of years.

Yet, it is not up to black Americans to define who is black in this country.

They have to learn to accept people who come here as they are, and stop demanding more from people who happen to have a degree of African ancestry in common.

At some point, every group assimilates.

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Black American? or an American Who Is Black? Part i

I have a confession to make: I rarely think about my race.

I mean that I don’t wake up every morning and say, “Damn, I’m still black?” or “Damn, where can I go to escape being a black person?” I also don’t see everything through a prism of: this is racist! I don’t go looking for it.

I do think about being a woman, almost all the time, especially at my age, more than anything else.

Why don’t I think about my race? Let me try to put my thoughts in perspective.

I’ve been traveling since I was a little kid. I’ve been to the Caribbean, which have black majority ruled countries. I grew up in a mostly black area here in the USA.

Even as I got older and really traveled overseas to Europe (and other places hopefully!), certain things stood out in my mind. In the Caribbean and elsewhere, I’m a woman first. People may ask, or note, that I am also an American.

I’d get into the specifics of why they know I’m American, but that’s for another posting. The same goes for Europe, well, except for the UK. People assume I am native there. Aside from driving on the wrong side of the road and talking funny, it’s a bit like being at home.

Oh wait, no! No one in the UK clutches their purse when I’m around. I don’t get the “you must be a criminal because you are black” treatment. No one stares at me “funny” when I go into a pub or restaurant. Although I hear from my UK family that the country does have its issues with black people.

The grass is never greener anywhere.

I figure when our (America’s) bad racial habits gets picked up overseas, it will be with a country we are closely tied to culturally. Plus, it’s to be expected with the US media devoted to the demonizing of (American) blacks worldwide. A ton of the entertainment on UK TV / movies / radio / etc. are American. Think of the anti-black pollution served there daily.

Overall, my thinking of race has been tantamount to this: racism is the problem of the person who harbors it. As long as this person isn’t trying to deny me Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, I don’t think about it.

More to follow…

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