I Am More Than Selma
I am an activist! I am a rap artist! I am a published writer, community and event organizer! I am a mother ! I am a woman! I came 50 years later to Selma to commemorate Bloody Sunday and the Voting Rights for African Americans.
I was asked to speak at an event called "I am more than Selma" which is founded by local youth and community organizer Michelle Browder and Veronica Very. They began working with young people to educate them on the history and mobilizing action plans to make changes. I spoke on a panel with the President MTV Rock The Vote, Sabrina Fulton (mother of Trayvon Martin) and others.
The feel of Montgomery was murals on buildings of Martin Luther King Jr. , Rosa Parks and many other Civil Rights Movement activists. There was a red carpet in front of the Rosa Parks Museum with a car sponsor marketing banners everywhere. There was a Caucasian woman that spoke amongst African American that marched on the bridge with King 50 years ago. That helped organize Alabama during the Civil Rights Movement. This Caucasian Alabama resident spoke about how she loved her Black maid, and she didn't know the Civil Rights movement was going on. She said she just learned about Emmitt Till in 2008. This is was just the beginning.
On Saturday I went to Selma to hear President Obama speak. I met up with the Ferguson protesters. As we are awaiting our tickets to get in we were shouting "Hands Up! Don't Shoot!" "No Justice!! No Peace!" The organizers attempted to divide up the group with limited ticketing but the more media that came and snapped pictures we was able to obtain 40 tickets to get in. After 2 hours of waiting to get pass the airport security style entrance we walked into the "special guests" area. Immediately it looked like an award ceremony. One section was for the red carpet style entry to the stage. The special guest section was crowds "oohhh and aweing " on congress people, celebrities. The REAL activists , community leaders, were standing on the side of the stage struggling to see the stage. So when the show began we watched it from a jumbo tron. As another Caucasian Selma resident spoke he explained how he didn't know about the Civil Rights movement and he has seen changes 50 years later in Alabama. Has it really changed?
As I walked amongst whites and blacks line dancing, people blasting music, bbq'ing laughing, and yelling at protesters saying "Black Lives Matter!" Im hearing people talking saying "they always talking about Black lives matter but what about Black on Black crime?" I went to a film festival with Tory Russell - co founder of Hands Up United telling us that they have urban farming, tech programs and a breakfast program. When it was time for Q & A another Alabama resident brought up homosexuality in Alabama!! Tory said "I didn't care if you was gay, green, brown whatever when we was in front of those tanks! I only was looking for people that were ready to resist at that moment!"
BET had a concert featuring Vanilla ice and others I decided not to go. There was an elite ticketed breakfast on Sunday morning I decided not to go. There was a Youth Turn Up concert I decided not to go! There was a fashion show I decided not to go! I couldn't entertain our holocaust!
I saw the movie when it premiered in Dec. "Selma". I wept! I left that movie theater knowing that Martin Luther King Jr. wasn't no punk! He was a revolutionary! A visionary that didn't hold his tongue! When it was time to rally before they marched there wasn't no Elvis concerts! There wasn't a club atmosphere.,. Or was it?
Here we are 50 years later and in my opinion we are more segregated than we were then. We are segregated amongst each other as Black people. What I saw was the "Black privileged vs the common folks of the community " it's the "I don't see color today vs. the police that are killing Black people for being Black because they feel threatened" it's the "I don't know what's going on but I can tell you everything about an iPhone, Love & Hip Hop, Empire episode vs. the Im in the streets protesting I don't have time to watch tv" it's the "lets bring in Vanilla Ice because that's what we think the Civil Rights movement was about vs. the where was Jay Electronica, Nas, Jcole, Lil Boosie rapping "F**k the Police" I mean isn't that what all those people that died on the Edmund Pettus Bridge was saying after they got beat and killed?
Now, I did March the bridge with the Foot soldiers of the "60's. I did see their tears as we marched! I did sing the gospel hymns of the Civil Rights movement but immediately I started chanting "Hands Up! don't shoot!" With only a few joining in. There was a huge disconnect of today's civil rights movement in Selma over the weekend. They didn't treat the parents of Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin, and Eric Garner family with the upmost respect. I guess they wanted to reminisce more of yesterday and ignore the issues of today.
I have helped put together major events from the Millions More Movement, Saviours Day Convention, and numerous hip hop and youth events and never have I experienced so much of a disconnect of the actual reason we was there. They turned the Bloody Sunday into an All Star weekend. I bet if the Jewish community had an annual Holocaust memorial event there would be absolutely No bbq'ing, no line dancing , no Turn up type atmosphere! They won't allow it!! So why do we ?? Why is every Martin Luther King holiday an opportunity for people to party? Why is Black History Month the shortest month of the year but the month where we have Super Bowl, All Star, The Grammys, NYC Fashion week to get our thinking back to partying!
I don't know about you but in December my friend Rumain Brisbon was shot and killed by the Phoenix Police Officer Mark Rine because as Rumain was bringing home food to his daughters, this officer harassed him shot him in his torso and shot him twice in the back as he payed in front of his kids and their mother with McDonald's food in his hands. My closet friend Lakisha Davis 13 year old son Trayvion was shot execution style by the Dekalb County police officer 3 years ago. But before this happened I felt the pain of Trayvon Martins parents so I protested in the streets to show solidarity! I protested in the streets and in the government offices for every injustice I saw. I guess it's real for me! I guess we would stop partying when it hits YOUR family!!! I guess every 38 hours a Black life is killed is not enough for you to want to fight back. I guess it has to be 5 lives within your community, your school , your family to want to seek justice and take the voting rights that Dr.King and others fought for and died for more seriously.
Or is it that the 500 years of slavery wasn't enough? Or even the 19 year old that got killed by another white cop on Saturday while Pres.Obama was speaking still didn't hit home. And the protesters that came from other cities was urged to be quiet in the midst of music playing. 50 years later there is still video footage of young white boys from Oklahoma chanting "hang that nigger"! He's not allowed in our fraternity!" You still want to party? Not close to home yet?
We must respect our ancestors and their works and be serious on the social issues that's affecting us today. Being a Black and Native American woman that saw the affects of white supremacy on both sides of my family it deeply hurts and affects me today. I have two sons that I have to protect and educate I'll be dammed if 50 years from now the next Bloody Sunday Jubilee is a huge foam party with laser show unless we take our history serious TODAY!