In case you somehow live under a rock and missed it, last Friday, the gates of hell opened and Donald Trump was inaugurated President of the United States. And to no surprise, prior to the inauguration, a whole bunch of Black, Uncle Tom ass celebrities were lining up to get what they hope will be a piece of the pie by cozying up to the orange man that is now our president.
The list goes on...
My problem with these folks engagement with Donald Trump is not on a personal level. Kanye, Steve, and Chrisette can do what they want as private individuals. Why they would choose to engage with our orange President I will never understand, but that is beside the point.
No, my problem lies in the painting of their engagement as something the entire Black community is behind. As if we exist as a monolith and only engage in group think. As if we asked them to be our representatives and need them to speak for us or try to "bring us together." As if we have anything worth coming together for with a man whose campaign was openly bigoted, referred to us as THE Blacks or THE African-Americans and made no real effort to learn about or engage with the issues that matter to us. Remember, we're going to return to a state of law and order in this country. In no universe does that lend itself to good things for Black people.
Here's the thing, we don't need one off voices and people trying to be the charismatic leader of movements and moments of resistance over the course of the next four years. Especially if people have no clue what they're talking about. Plus, singular, often male, charismatic leaders get shot.
No, what we need is collective leadership, a collective agenda, and to get on the same page. We've got to stop acting like giving or rescinding invites to the cookout is all we have to offer and start utilizing our collective power.
That means we've got to collectively decide what kind of America we want to live in. We can't be free until we all are so we've got to care not only about about racism, but patriarchy. Patriarchy, and sexuality. Sexuality and environmental racism/degradation. Environmental racism/degradation and every other -ISM or societal problem that oppressors or marginalizes people. We must practice intersectional politics and be willing to tear down some of the very systems that both benefit and marginalize us at the same time. We've got to care about it all because freedom must be won for everyone for it to really mean anything.
We've got to do the work of making our voices heard - both on and offline. We have to call our Congresspeople and stage protests. We need to learn how the political system works and ways we can make it work in our best interest. We've got to understand that local and state politics matter - in many cases, more than federal elections. As the states, go, so will the country, the Supreme Court, and Congress. We've got to cancel celebrities who misrepresent our goals, aims, and desires. We have to account for the variations of Blackness and do our best to love each other anyway because hate is too strong of a burden to bear.
We have to listen to Black women. Because, well, I'm just going to say it, we have been right all along. We seem to be the demographic group in this country that consistently has some sense.
But ultimately, we have to be willing to speak and do the work for ourselves, that way, we'll be able to repeat it as necessary and make sure that history takes appropriate notes.
"It is our duty to fight for our freedom.
It is our duty to win.
We must love and support each other.
We have nothing to lose but our chains." - Assata Shakur
Here's to getting free - together, or not at all.