Excerpt from Tolson

Towards the end of the poem Liberetto starts beginning his sentences with “The Parliament of the African peoples…”, a strong ending to an entirely powerful piece; this statemential suffix was used to describe different parts of black government and culture. Although this may sound strange but as an African American person I don’t actively think about that culture that I follow or how much it effects life around me, especially in government. After reading that ending I realized how much of heavily black ideas are integrated into not only our culture but also our politics. The entire black identity seems to be based around this idea of freedom as a result: freedom from slavery, freedom to be oneself, and freedom of knowledge.

The Idea of African American Universality

I revisited the excerpt from “The Philosophy of History by Hegel” and although I didn’t agree with most of the piece morally, the idea of African American Universality did intrigue me. The more I though about this idea I realized that from my point of view one of the biggest things holding back the African American race as a unit is this kind of monolithic thought. Although we just barely starting to move away from this kind of thinking in more progressive circles, it still definitely affects our community from the root to the peak. If a young African American child from Brooklyn tries to introduce his other black friends to rock music that he genuinely cares enjoys he would undoubtedly be asked “Why you fucking with that white shit?” That kind of response will undoubtedly affect that child and make him less susceptible to try things outside of his community which undoubtedly leads to the cycle of negative ideas and practices in our own communities. This even affects African American political choices because the stereotype that “all black people vote democrat” is reinforced in our own community and any deviation from that is once again demeaned and looked down upon. I believe that for the community to progress we need to allow different streams of black thought to be voiced and change the rhythm of monotony.

Afrofuturism in “The Chief”

After this Wednesday’s class, I started to play my music on shuffle and was reintroduced to the album “The Chief” by Jidenna which is in my opinion the perfect example of Afro-futurism. The album is classified under the genre of rap but it has very traditional Afrocentric beats melded into classic boom-bap of the present. The album opens with an old Nigerian guru telling a story with the hidden moral of being careful who you call your family, because family are only closest to you to so that they can kill you easier; then it smoothly slides into the second part of a song with a simple African drums keeping the rhythm and rigid powerful rap. Another song on the album named “Long Live the Chief” does the same thing, opening with tribal/techno esque drums that meld shockingly well with the kind of “Kanye” tone of his voice; Rapping about his successful from nothing with such vivid afrocentric metaphors with terms that are relatable to today’s current climate. This song takes from the previous generation by paying homage to Nigerian culture in such a beautiful way, building on the music of the past and to make the music of the future.

Weekly Response #1

During class this week we spoke about the one of the opening scenes in “Black Panther” when T’Challa enters the city. Specifically, the scene’s special attention to detail and the culture of Wakanda itself. I noticed the language imprinted on the buildings in class wasn’t English which brought about a new class conversation about the idea of inclusion. There seems to be a common theme juxtaposing “reality” and “what could have been” with comparisons between America/Wakanda and T’Challa/Killmonger. To speak some more on that, I believe that since Wakanda is such a secluded nation that it began to evolve on its own without influence from the western world which explains while there was such a thick mixture of tradition and technology. I also believe that the filmmakers were trying to bring attention to how successful black people could’ve been if slavery had not occurred. However, the “what if it hadn’t?” question about slavery always troubled me because as a black man I honestly believe that oppression is honestly a sizeable part of what makes black culture so strong and unique. Maybe this is the wrong interpretation on my part but honestly, I think that the idea of using the fact that my ancestors died for me to fuel me to honor them by being one of the most influential people to walk the Earth.