Last night, I watched American Master's on PBS and Marvin Gaye's life was highlighted. He was a gifted man, but troubled. However, his music was a reflection of not only the times in which he lived; the beautiful melodies that he created are timeless and reminded me when Black music was something to be proud of.
I happened to be thinking about him this morning and I decided to go to Youtube and a live version of his classic hit, What's Going On was actually on the site. As I watched it...I reflected back to a time in Black America where we were truly close as a people. The horns...singing...Marvin ad libbing, "Oh, baby..." And then he began to wail..."Eeeeuuuuweeee....I wanna know what's going on." That song is classic. No one can sing it like Marvin. He is missed.
And it is this song that makes me wonder as well...What is going on Black America? What's going on with my people? Tell me...tell me...tell me...what's going on.
When I was coming up, Black Power and Black Pride was the echo in all areas of the Black community. Today, people look at you like you're crazy if you even mention these things. Why? What has happened to us that we don't connect with images, sounds and words that remind us of a time when as a people, we knew what was going on and walked with pride?
Symbolism of the afro represented that the Black man's consciousness was growing...the platform shoes meant that he was also rising. Everything in the 70's wasn't a fad.
To date, Black men represent 42% of the prison population. They have become willing victims of the loophole of the 13th Amendment. Although this Amendment emancipated Black people from chattel slavery; there was a stipulation that many have not really paid attention to:
Section 1. Neither Slavery, nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
(Ratified December 6, 1865)
*This literally means that slavery is legal as a means of punishment for those who are convicted criminals.
Many young Black males think that it is a right of passage to do time in the joint. What foolishness is this?
The attack on the Black male in society has not been taken seriously, but Black women ask: Why do Black men play into the hands of their oppressor?
"Mother...mother...there's far to many of you crying...
Brother...brother...there's far to many of you dying...."
Marvin sang these words over 40 years ago...sadly, it's still a fact today.
Things are happening to our people that are right in front of us...but we just continue to act as though we are sleepwalking.
Contrary to popular belief, there are still people who want to destroy Black folks.
We need to wake up.