In the Service of our Ancestors and African Love,
Listen Seeker, I come in peace,
“You must not mistake lip-service and noise for bravery and service.” — Marcus Garvey
There is a social movement in America popularly referred to as “Black Lives Matter.” It’s a new name on much the same old. Originally little more than a phrase at the end of a ‘tweet,’ it now has name recognition as far as staged American elections. As such, you can expect to see BLM where you expect to see the NAACP: around Black death.
Does my Black Life Matter?
By Onitaset Kumat
“Does my Black Life Matter? Does my Black Life Matter?,” repeated Nora Canton’s brother, Kevin. Nora Canton had been gunned down four nights before by a white policeman as she was on her way home from a party. Kevin had himself been shot by a white policeman two years earlier. He cried as the community stood around candles and a framed photo and made claims to assisting his family but he heard them two years earlier and losing his support, he seriously questioned the value of his life. Yelling and tearful, a few people from Black Lives Matter and the NAACP came over to quiet him while appearing to console; their guest speaker, to his sister’s memorial site, had just received the mic and the message promised to be more substantive and emotional than Kevin’s.
Reverend Hall waited for the crowd, and Kevin, to hush, before enunciating, “Black Lives Matter! Even yours,” he nodded toward the surrounded Kevin. The gathered crowd gave a long applause amid several “Praise Jesus,” from Nora and Kevin’s grieving mother. The reverend continued, “We are a strong people, for only a strong people are beaten down without giving up. After all, had not Jesus been beaten down? And had Jesus given up?” Mrs. Canton shouted “Praise Jesus” while raising her napkin. Nora was the second child she lost. She only had Kevin and Michelle left. She had been wearing all black for five years now. Both Nora and Timothy had been slain by officers; and Timothy as well as Kevin had been publicly vilified as their shooters were excused; yet Mrs. Canton kept her hope alive. Between chanting “Praise Jesus” and “Black Lives Matter,” Mrs. Canton was grieving or praying. Reverend Hall kept his speech going in its allotted time, until an audience member had enough.
“Reverend Hall? More like Reverend ‘Hoop and Holler!'” Onlookers stared at the handsome man bedecked in the pan-African colors. Omowale, as he was called, ignored their glares. “Every time something happens, you come from up high to talk some bull–pardon my language–and ain’t nothing changing. You are too much about reaction and not enough about action. That’s why we can’t roll with you.”
“Sir,” Reverend Hall interrupted, “this is a memorial site. We can have our conversation, but you must have some respect.”
“Like you?” rebutted Omowale. “A Sister was slain by a–let’s be honest–cracker. You think if one of us killed a cracker bitch–just calling the real bitch a bitch–that crackers would sit around talking ‘pray’ and ‘what would jesus do?’ or ‘it’s strength that gets us beat down?’; if Black Lives Matter then how we going to sit by and let a Sister die? We need to take action. That’s what I’m about. Eye for an eye!”
Just then an organizer stepped to the stage. She had long braids, wore a Black Lives Matter T-Shirt and an interesting shade of lipstick. “‘Brother,'” she air-quoted, “did you organize this? No? So you need to stop. This is not a public forum. This a restaurant and we paying for this time. So unless you looking to put something significant in a donation box somewhere, you need to go outside. Thank you!”
Omowale and three others, two men and a woman, got up and left. The organizer returned the mic to Reverend Hall who promptly said “Thanks Latifah,” as he continued his speech. Kevin and his mother had to stay. However Latifah and two BLM women went outside to confront Omowale. Expecting a quarrel, Mawuli and others rose and followed the ladies.
“You ain’t giving a donation?” accosted Latifah. To which Omowale laughed. He pulled out a fifty and told Latifah to keep the change. She hid her delight. “You can apologize,” she continued. “I apologize” said Omowale. He then stood there with his hands folded. He was remarkably well-mannered and well-disciplined; the confrontation didn’t look good for Latifah in the least. What’s more, he was much too handsome for Latifah to really be angry at him. In another life, she would be more than happy to have his arms around her as they laid in his bed. Latifah was visibly day-dreaming, so Omowale put his finger up to burst an imaginary bubble, “We done?” he asked. And Latifah asked him honestly with less confrontation in her voice, “What did you hope to accomplish?”
“Action” he responded.
“This is action and you know it.”
“This is reaction. I think they calling you.” No one was calling to Latifah, Omowale was just done.
“Look, I know where you are coming from. But BLM is this generation’s SNCC. SNCC was right. We are right. See that. We could use someone like you.”
Omowale snickered, “Whether SNCC was right for its time is a whole other question; but this is also a whole other time. We’d be a lot farther if we took action into our own hands.”
“I’ll kill before that happens,” winked Omowale.
With that Omowale and his crew walked away from the memorial site. Latifah hid her smile and continued back toward the grieving Mrs. Canton, who had never stopped repeating “Praise Jesus.” Was Latifah right? She would wrestle with that idea for months to come. The onlooker Mawuli, however, was convinced that Omowale took a “man’s” approach and for that Mawuli followed Omowale and inquired about his operation. Omowale gave Mawuli an address, a time and a plastic card; then told Mawuli to be at that address, at that time, and told him to ‘order a green smoothie with extra ice and charge it to that card.’ Mawuli noticed the card was fake but assented. Omowale assured, “Police Brutality ends with us.”