QUOTATIONS OF "BLACK"
- Fred Wilson
"Most of my fortitude to continue doing the work comes from the moral outrage I feel about the injustices that Black people endure disproportionately daily."
- N. Abdul-Wakil
"In the end, what matters is not skin shade but pan-African consciousness. Loving your complexion, your nose, lips, hair length and texture, no matter what the politics or trends decide, and simply be. That's the problem with us (African folks). We're still learning how to love ourselves. So used to glorifying others and putting others first..."
- Dredlocks Tree
Thursday, February 21, 2008
When the news of this scandalous email uprising was brought to my attention I have to be honest and say I was so f*&king pissed!!!!! It is subjectively clear to me that this woman had an agenda and simply didn't care who she hurt. How does one air someone's alleged business like that? You run the risk (quite willingly on her part) to destroy the lives of those bruthaz mentioned. Friends and family relationships can be destroyed by allegations. Who gave her ultimate power to decide what is right or wrong with her alleged information to publish to other people?
For contextual purposes, you can read the original email (minus people's names thanks to the stand-up journalism of Justin Smith) from the original source of publication at GBMNews.com
So now, in response to the morally reprehensible act of the woman parishioner of the Mt. Calvary Holy Church (located in Washington, DC) who sent the email to over 300+ parishioners, below is the response of Rev. Dr Yvette Flunder who received the scandalous email as well and who is the presiding bishop over the church. I am proud of Rev. Flunder's compassion and well thought out progressive response in this very serious matter.
ROD (aka BIG ROD)
A few days ago I was copied on an e-mail from an alleged member of Greater Mt. Calvary Holy Church in Maryland, pastored by Bishop Alfred Owens. The e-mail identified by name those persons thought to be Same Gender Loving, and gave great detail as to their attendance at parties, where they lived and with whom, alleged other sexual proclivities and where they served in the ministry.
The e-mail requested that these individuals be taken down from their ministry jobs. Additional results of the included Pastor Owens convening a meeting of those named in the e-mail and polling them to determine who among them were seeking help to be free from a SGL lifestyle. There have been numerous follow-up emails from folks named in the original e-mail that are defensive, threatening and angry. Several have decided to leave the church after many years of faithful membership.
What a tragedy, but the reality facing Mt. Calvary is not unusual. It is indicative of a psychosis that permeates many churches with regard to the presence and involvement of SGL people, who have great love for God and for their church communities.
SGL people who contribute to their own oppression by continuing to support churches that oppress them and are complicit in structures that support homophobia, homohatred, hetero-privilege and encourage internalized homophobia (Similar to battered spouse syndrome) and church leaders that seek to define themselves as straight at the expense of their SGL parishioners by publicly dehumanizing them
Many SGL people have a need for big church and anonymity and a need to identify with perceived success (mega-church) Other causes include their support for traditional church leadership (male pastor and pastor's wife), pageantry, benefit of assumed heterosexuality or ambiguous sexuality, family commitments/ loyalty and opportunity to hide ones other life. For those who benefit financially from the church, secrecy seems to be an economic imperative. Public ridicule of SGL people may often be an effort to hide the reality of the presence of SGL people.
This sickness has resulted in the destruction of self-esteem, open vicious attack against the personhood of countless individuals and their families and has produced self inflicted theological and physical violence, duplicity and inauthentic leadership (some leaders are themselves SGL and or bi-sexual), loss of valuable members, lack of focus on other vital justice issues and ministry destruction. This does not reflect the ministry of Jesus that welcomed and affirmed all. This psychosis also causes destructive behaviors amplified by secrecy and resulting in irresponsible sexual behaviors, and an inability to form and sustain lasting healthy authentic relationships. Are there more churches like Mt. Calvary? Certainly! There are numerous examples of churches disproportionately populated by SGL sisters and brothers, who are not only bereft of affirmation, but who live in an atmosphere of continual debasement, degradation and fear of exposure which leads to suicide, disenfranchisement from the church, addictions and other self-destructive behaviors.
The light that is being cast on this disparity is no accident t is the active will of God, which must be acknowledged and embraced. This oppression is not making SGL people straight. It is just driving SGL people further underground. The real questions are, what actions are necessary to move churches beyond toleration to acceptance and affirmation and eventually to celebration of the SGL community and their extraordinary contributions to the Christian Community? What is the alterative for those who cannot wait for change to occur? What is the responsibility of SGL people to participate in their own freedom? I would suggest the following as action items for SGL people and their allies to consider and use to frame discussions regarding relationship and involvement in churches and faith-based communities.
1 . Faithful support for affirming churches and faith-based organizations
2. Education regarding a theology of full inclusion of SGL persons in the life of the church
3. Active involvement in inclusive theological education of family and friends
4. Active involvement in inclusive theological education of churches and faith communities
5. Education regarding Human Sexuality
6. Commitment to ethical behaviors that include honesty, authenticity and truth telling
7. Confrontation when misinformation, destructive comments, oppressive theology or dehumanization occurs.
It is time to move beyond avoidance and to move toward the dialogue necessary to heal this painful breach. We would welcome those who are ready to move into God's Bright Tomorrow, as evidenced by the Extravagant Grace, and Radical inclusivity of Jesus Christ to join us in conversation at The Fellowship. Please visit our web page at www.radically inclusive.com and join us at our Leadership Conference in February and our Annual Meeting in June. It is time for change.
Pax Christi! (Peace in Christ),
Rev. Dr. Yvette A. Flunder - Presiding Bishop, The Fellowship
Rev. Dr. Wyatt I Greenlee - Episcopal Assistant, The Fellowship
As a precursor, this entry was inspired by an inquiry by a friend of mine regarding the Black same gender loving (SGL) film called "Blueprint". I responded to his email and decided to share my comments on "Writings on the Black Wall". This serves to nurture the more personal of me as opposed to the nuremous emails I send out there regarding the African Diaspora. Just getting used to this new space of mine. Well, read on...
... As for Blueprint, I LOVE the film so much and YES, I do speak highly of the film and have been using quite a bit of energy to promote it any which way I can. I even fixed up my MySpace page and added a promotional flyer to compliment the Blueprint video I already have embedded on my page.
I mean, all I can say is that the film spoke to in a way in which I connected with the two main characters; not to say their experiences are my own. But the way the story developed I had (have) a vested interest in the characters of where they were going in the story, and eager for them to get to know each other better though one of the characters was being difficult (backstory issue). Also, there was no "chile" and gurl" type dialog in the film (which is refreshing and mirrors my own sensibilities of how I carry myself as a same gender loving brutha) and the two young and early 20-something bruthaz were (relatively) masculine. There were two sequences in the film (I won't say) that I personally would have done with a brutha in real life if I was highly interested in. I like diversity and to experience different adventures in life (the Gemini in me). I like that aspect of the film. Frankly, it is a film I would make, or would have made.
Reactions has been mixed about this movie. Some of the responses have been "oh, it was okay" or "been there, seen that, done dat" to "Man, I really connected with the sensualness of the characters in the "X" sequence of the film", etc. Subjectively speaking, I had a conversation with one friend and we felt that possibly some of the older bruthaz didn't like the film because these 20-something bruthaz were featured (perhaps a longing of something past which might imply why I read the "been there, seen that, done dat" quote) or maybe they'd like to see older bruthaz featured in a Black SGL film. However, it's all supposition of my part and a theory.
You said: "...the main reason you think highly of this film is because it's a black film."
Well... yes and no. I don't blindly support something because it is purely Black. And some people in certain circles have that assumption about me especially when it comes to films. I am discriminating and definitely do not support a film or anything else simply on the merits of it being Black and/or homosexual. Blueprint happened to have a nice mesh of story, being Black and homosexual and worked FOR ME in that context. I've been having more and more conversations with friends about my not supporting Black romantic comedy films with the heterosexist/romantic slant; movies like: The Wood, Brown Sugar, Tyler Perry's recent Why Did I Get Married?, A Thin Line Because Love and Hate and the list goes on and on and on. I have reached a point in my life (after my self-acceptance of my homosexuality 10 1/2 years ago) that I am so fucking tired of heterosexism up in my face every single day from tv ads, to billboards on the streets & highways via car, to couples kissing on the buses and trains of NYC, to music videos, to seeing it depicted in films. So, those are movies I don't support even though they may have a good story and are Black. And a lot of those types of Black romantic comedies are "popcorn" (aka shallow) films anyhow. I always prefer a good Black drama but those are far and few between. Another subject for another day.
Conversely, I think I'm probably looked at a little differently among friends because I CHAMPION Black SGL films so (aggressively) much and ALWAYS looking for the next Black SGL film experience or slice of life, and franky I just really have no interest in the white gay films. I hear some of them are good (even from you), and I have no doubt that some of the white gay themed films are good, but I am so tired of heterosxism and white folks as well up in my face all the time that I am bitter and tired of it. Anyway... enough ranting. Had to get it out.
Lastly, I would never "hate" on you for "saying/thinking" anything. If you have a "feeling" that Blueprint might not do it for you, then by all means don't go out of your way to spend the $10 or $11 bucks on it. I just LOVE the film "for me" and enjoy promoting it with passion. I really can't say if Blueprint will be a "worthwhile cultural experience" for you. I might say that about the African SGL film DAKAN (Destiny), however, it's story mirrors the plight of SGL bruthaz here in the States.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Thanks for the follow-up.
The Gaia Community Scholarship and most of the others out there are typical of the criteria by which a lot of adults like me and others in similar situations don't fit into. I believe I told I you that when I went through that email that (floats around the Internet from people forwarding it) listed 101 African-American scholarships, all of the criteria was you either have to be (1) a high school senior, (2) a college undergrad, (3) a college graduate or (4) a filmmaker (in my field) that has a project already finished filming and needs post-production monies to finish or "sweeten" the project. Unfortunately I and other adults don't fit any of those categories.
I'm glad I'm not a bitter person in regard to this topic, but at the same time I think there should be more programs out there that support motivated adult individuals who have a career or life path goal already figured out and wish to get monetary assistance in obtaining their dream. I have no doubt that there may be (scholarship) programs with monies waiting in the wings for people to claim, but it becomes an issue of people simply not knowing about it. I've read on-line and heard on progressive radio stations (probably NYC's WBAI 99.5 FM) of sooooo many monies going back to the government vault because people didn't claim or apply for the grants, scholarships or whatever. Well! If people don't know about it then how can they claim it?????!! While most of these programs are geared toward younger people (which is not a bad thing), the fact also remains that a lot of young folks 18 to 25 in age and sometimes older have no idea what they wanna do, yet have all these monies made available to them from the get-go. I think a lot of people who reach their 18th birthday are not always sure what they wanna do with the rest of their lives. Or people change goals (sometime numerous times) in life which is not uncommon especially in the information age (as opposed to the industrial age where it was common for our parents to reside at the same job for 20, 30 or 40 years) in which we live and can simply roll-over one's 401k plan from one account to the other.
In any case, Cuz, I'm so passionate about this that I'm going to copy and paste this in my Nubian Knights Network: Writings on the Black Wall blog. LOL! I can only laugh for now, I guess.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
ROD's POST GROUP REFLECTION:
BLACK and MALE in America:
Black Males and Understanding Self-Hate
Workshop in Brooklyn
BLACK and MALE in America:
Black Males and Understanding Self-Hate
Workshop in Brooklyn
I just wanted to give a little reflection of this evening's (Monday, January 7th, 2008) group discussion, BLACK and MALE in America: Black Males and Understanding Self-Hate http://www.blackandmaleinameric
First, I should mention these series of monthly workshops are the brainchild of intellectual and motivational speaker Kevin Powell . Kevin periodically has his State of Black Men in American forums which is a tool to teach, motivate and exercise to all men of African descent to navigate through the quagmire of issues that face Black males in every day life. Some of these issues include but not limited to incarceration, unemployment, physical & mental health, health care, relationships, etc Getting back to this Monday meeting, it was my first time there tonight, though I've heard about the meetings for a few months now thru emails. I was quite encouraged while being there as a first impression. And these groups are open to BLACK MALES ONLY!
Interestingly enough, I found the tone of the group to be an extension of the kinds of progressive dialogs I was accustomed to hearing when I was involved as a member and later as part of the leadership of BMX-NY (Black Men's Xchange-New York) in Harlem. More specifically, talks of political & economic empowerment as well as cultural self-determination were definite key points that both BMX-NY and Black and Male in America (BMA) share. The only difference is that BMX-NY specifically deals with same gender loving Black men's issues and the BMA group is tackling a general scope of Black men's issues.
A quality and comprehensive full color agenda (8 1/2" x11" sheet) for the evening was given out to bruthaz as they assembled into a very big room at Brown Memorial Baptist Church. We were told that the head of the church, the pastor or was it the minister (I'm an atheist so I don't know the differences in titles and duties of church members) of Brown Memorial Baptist Church has been gracious enough to donate the space to BMA for all the monthly meetings. The venue is located at 484 Washington Avenue at the corner of Gates Avenue.
The prodding to get me to go to the evening's meeting was my friend Neal who went to the previous month's meeting and came away encouraged by the positive dialog that went on from what he told me in a phone conversation. He said there were about 30 bruthaz at last December's (2007) meeting.
So when I got there there were already well over that amount of bruthaz there and more. In fact, they had to go get and lay out more chairs in the semi-circled group. So, after finding a seat, I had my agenda in hand, and Kevin addressed the brotherhood as an opening salutation along with meditation. They explained that they preferred to use the word "meditation" as opposed to "prayer" to be totally inclusive of all diverse bruthaz who come into the space.
Afterwards the main topic of discussion was led by Mo Beasley who is a poet, activist and author of "No Good Nigga Bluez". He did an excellent job of leading the discussion and used his poetry/prose in an open mic/spoken word style of presentation in particular segments of the conversation to hammer home the points of the self-hatred we as Black men inflict of each other. The inflictions such as Black-on-Black gun play, drug selling and using, to Black men recklessly spreading their "seeds" to different women to prove their manhood and leaving babies fatherless were some of the things raised through Mo's spoken word. He referenced very often his own real life experiences with friends and family. In between all of this, was a constant interaction from the bruthaz raising their hand and waiting to be called upon with questions, comments, expositions and unfortunately some wanna-be-heard brutha comments.
Toward the later part of the conversation, it did take a bad turn and disrupt the room. Before that bad turn happened, a young brutha (not older than 25) who I knew there from a recent KWANZAA celebration, a discussion group about police brutality at Audre Lorde Project (ALP) and a member of BMX-NY was very honest when answering Mo, the facilitator's question of " who hates or hated themselves?" The young brutha raised his hand to the question. Later on he expounded more on his dislike for himself. He explained that he suffered from the hands of other Black people when he was younger of how "dark" or "black" he was and made fun on him. He literally said that Black people (men) "terrorized" him by calling him "fag" or "faggot". All these hurtful and oral words of expression he said contributed to his self-hatred and that he continues to work through those issues/struggles.
The turn for the worse came not too long after the young brutha said what he said when another brutha a row back behind me when on this tyraid about what's destroying the Black family which comprises of a man and a woman in his mind. He yelled out incarceration, unemployment, guns, drugs and a man with another man. At that moment, the young brutha looked at me and I looked at him, and we were clear by our expressions of " Oh, here goes one of those guys on his homophobic binges and tangents".
As the brutha had the floor and went on I felt my blood boiling. After a few minutes of his ranting and mentioning homosexuality in a negative light again, I simply yelled loud and out of turn with no raising of my hand and not within group protocol, workshop in Clinton Hills, Brooklyn, New York. "MAN, YOU NOT GONNA BE DISRESPECTING THIS YOUNG BRUTHA AND MYSELF IN HERE BECAUSE WE'RE HOMOSEXUAL..." and before I could blow his shit up and finish him off, Mo Beasley, Kevin Powell and brutha George (another leader behind the scenes) had to calm the room down to restore order and shouts of "BRUTHAZ! RESPECT! RESPECT!" came from George.. And both Kevin and Mo drew upon the self-hared trying to creep in the room. I lost it because I refused to be in a space that is meant to affirm, support and LOVE each other as Black men and be minimized like that. My outburst was wrong, of course, but I wasn't going to let homophobia in the room go unchallenged like that. As Dr Joy DeGruy-Leary said in one of her lectures, "...you're not going to erase me. I am here...."
Mo drew on his experience and admittance that when he entered the performing arts as a Black male that a older same gender loving brutha (mentor) took him under his wing and had valuable life lessons to show him so Mo could navigate his way to freedom of expression, especially in an art form where one's masculinity can be challenged by the masses. And Mo expressed that his mentor was totally respectful and wasn't trying to initiate any sexual overtures; it was simply showing a young brutha how to navigate life in the performing arts.
At that point the room was much lighter again in tone and the conversation resumed on its very, very fruitful pace. At this time I should tell you that the room was packed with over 100 bruthaz in attendance. It was an incredible sight to see!
Then a dark skinned brutha stood up and started talking in Spanish. There was a moment of pause for me as I didn't know what he was saying. Then he spoke in English and said (paraphrasing) " My name is Carlos Santiago and I'm Black and Latino. And this shows you that we are all very diverse in this room and that is to be respected no matter what". And that was the icing on the cake that despite our different hues of brown tones, we are far more diverse than what appears to be scene whether it be sexuality, ethnicity, etc.and that we can still come together for the issues that need our attention. Harambe! (Let's pull together!)
It was a great night to remember and I will definitely be back and participate. They are looking to not just sit and talk for 2 or 3 hours and fell good but to put some serious action in place. There's a Black networking resource guide that is on the horizon and 4 sub-committee groups that need Black bruthaz to be on to increase the group's resources.
Also, as part of the agenda, there is a 30 minute networking session where bruthaz are encouraged to hand out business cards, socialize and build relationships to help each other and strengthen the community. EXCELLENT!!!!!! LOVED that!
I can't emphasize enough how much of a great experience it was. Which ever bruthaz read this emial/post/blog listing, I hope you can get involved. YO! The ultimate enlightening y'all!
I will send out follow-up emails of next month's meeting. Meanwhile, information at a glance is below.
LASTLY, after some prodding from a few friends for quite some time now, I have decided to start the Nubian Knights Network: Writings on the Black Wall BLOG. Yeah, I know... yet another blog, right? It's a natural progression despite my disgust at so many blogs out there where half of tem ain't about nothin'! However, it will complement my Nubian Knights YahooGroup... just more personal. This email/post will serve as my first official blog realease.
Thanks to all my FRIENDS for their LOVE! I appreciate and LOVE you all, too!
Harambe! (Let's pull together!)
ROD (aka BIG ROD)
ROD's Space: www.myspace.com/nubian_knights
BIG ROD's Photography: http://big-rod.myjalbum.net (Turn Ya Speakers On 4 Some Bangin' Music While Ya Lookin')
Join ROD's Network: http://groups.yahoo.com/group
Topic: "Friends, Family & Marriage: Black on Black Relationships
Workshop Leader: George Mitchell
Monday, March 3, 2008
Monday, April 7, 2008
Monday, May 5, 2008
Monday, June 2, 2008
Monday, July 7, 2008
Monday, August 4, 2008
FREE Black Male Empowerment Workshops in Brooklyn
Kevin Powell and Black and Male in America (BAMIA)
The Black Male Empowerment Workshops…
A MONTHLY SERIES FOR MALES ONLY
(all ages of males are welcome)
Admission is FREE
Topic: " Knowledge + Action = Power
...An Economic Empowerment PLAN
for Black Males"
BROWN MEMORIAL BAPTIST CHURCH
(Pastor: Rev. Clinton Miller)
484 Washington Avenue
at the corner of Gates Avenue
The Fort Greene section of BROOKLYN, NEW YORK
(A or C to Clinton/Washington stop)
No RSVP Needed,
and seating will be on a first-come basis
PLEASE BRING A PEN AND NOTEPAD AND PLEASE COME PREPARED TO WORK, LEARN, AND SHARE….
For more information call 718-390-3520 OR
email us contact@blackandmaleinamerica
Visit us on the web at www.blackandmaleinamerica.org
PLEASE NOTE THAT each month there will be a workshop dealing with some aspect of development and empowerment for Black males, be it financial literacy and responsibility, taking care of our physical, mental, and spiritual health, stopping the violence in our communities, how to become a mentor to Black boys and young Black men, understanding the history and state of hiphop, nurturing fatherhood skills, and so on.
PLEASE ALSO NOTE the following dates for this year-long monthly series at Brown Memorial Baptist Church….