words can’t explain how inspired i was over the weekend at afropunk. the vibe was amazing, hundreds of people of color were in one venue simply loving life, music, culture and each other. the spirit of social activism was in the air as signs were posted that said no to all forms of oppression and people staged a “hands up, don’t shoot” demonstration to protest police brutality. it was undeniably the best experience that i’ve had all summer.
hey good people, i hope you enjoyed your weekend! we visited brooklyn for the afropunk festival this weekend and had a blast. between three stages, vendors and food trucks, it felt like a playground. i have way too many dope shots to share in one post, so i’ll keep this one simple and share more later this week.
kimono, afrodesiac worldwide (available this fall) | crop top, american apparel | pencil skirt, zara | necklaces, topshop for nordstrom | lipstick, kat von d
charly and margaux, known as chargaux, are two sisters killing the violin and viola. their music is the perfect mix of jazz and r&b with hip hop influences — AND their style is impeccable. i’m head over heels in love with their music.
all pics via the chargaux website
orange is the new black actress uzo aduba won the series’ first acting emmy last night during the creative arts emmy ceremony. she looked stunning as she accepted the best guest actress in a comedy series award for her role as “crazy eyes.”
these thoughts from my partner about the protests occurring since michael brown’s murder reminded me that many folks may want to join the movement to end police brutality, but aren’t clear on the importance of political organizing or the steps to take.
i’m sending encouragement and love to those new to movement building and share the recommendations below on how to capitalize on this critical moment:
1. know the facts. it’s important that we know the facts surrounding not just mike brown’s murder, but also those of countless other black men and women who have fallen victim to the police. for quick references, check colorlines, the root, salon and an amazing article titled “this is why we’re mad about the shooting of mike brown” on jezebel.
2. be critical. what do claims of looting and mike brown stealing cigarellos from a convenience store (that didn’t call the police) have to do with his murder? be a critical consumer of information and notice how those in power will criminalize a victim before taking decisive action to pursue justice.
3. go beyond mainstream media. some of the most comprehensive accounts of what’s happening in ferguson aren’t coming from fox news or cnn, but folks who are on the frontlines and reporting live. these twitter accounts are my favorite sources: @antoniofrench, @felonious_munk, @awkward_duck and @trymainelee.
4. use social media wisely. hashtags are an invaluable resource. by simply clicking #fergusonsolidarity, #ripmikebrown, #mikebrown, #handsup, #dontshoot and countless others people around the world can get the latest news and stay connected. it’s also a channel to display demands to elected officials.
5. plan an action. but first, pay attention to those in ferguson. take the lead of those on the ground in ferguson when planning a solidarity action in your city and determining your demands. i highly recommend checking out the dream defender’s tips on the subject.
6. remember power concedes nothing without a demand. this brings me to my next point: rallies can galvanize the masses and bond those pursuing justice; however, they should not just be chanting sessions. while you have a microphone and people’s attention, state your demands clearly. here’s a list of the initial demands from community members in ferguson that was shared on twitter:
7. brace yourself. if you plan to play a leadership role in a direct action or protest, plan beyond the actual event. those protestors who are inspired to do more will need to know your next steps. don’t lose the momentum.
8. make a financial contribution. reach out to those on the ground in ferguson via your direct connections or social media and find out how you can help fund their movement. there are suggestions going around on twitter if you’d like to learn more.
9. stay woke. there are interlocking systems of oppression facing black and brown communities throughout this country, and your hometown or neighborhood could be the next ferguson, missouri. get involved now with organizations serving youth, pursuing food justice, seeking to end police brutality and other causes to serve as an agent of change.
10. never forget. now that your consciousness has been raised about the plight black people face in american society, never forget. righteous indignation should propel us to pursue social justice by any means necessary. as a voter, consumer and community member, seize your power.
let’s stand in solidarity with the residents of ferguson and force the world to end the system of white supremacy by recognizing the value of black lives.
hip hop artist j. cole has released a heartfelt song titled “be free” in response to mike brown’s murder. reminsicent of nina simone, he sings “can you tell me why/every time i step outside i see my niggas die?/ i’m letting you know, that it ain’t no gun they make that can kill my soul…” the song gave me chills.
here’s what he had to say on his blog:
There was a time in my life when I gave a fuck. Every chance I got I was screaming about it. I was younger. It’s so easy to try to save the world when you’re in college. You got nothing but time and no responsibility. But soon life hits you. No more dorms, no more meal plan, no more refund check. Nigga need a job. Nigga got rent. Got car note. Cable bill. Girlfriend moves in and becomes wife. Baby on the way. Career advances. Instagram is poppin. Lebron leaves Miami. LIFE HITS. We become distracted. We become numb. I became numb. But not anymore. That coulda been me, easily. It could have been my best friend. I’m tired of being desensitized to the murder of black men. I don’t give a fuck if it’s by police or peers. This shit is not normal.
I made a song. This is how we feel.
slow clap for a black artist who’s motivated to use his influence as an entertainer for his community’s well-being. salute j. cole.
cities around the country held marches and rallies yesterday to protest the murders of unarmed black men and women. sparked by michael brown’s killing by a police officer in ferguson, missouri, news reports are saying 1,000 people marched through dc demanding justice.
the footage below is from dc’s protest that was lead by the local chapter of black youth project 100.
social media activism certainly plays a role in raising people’s consciousness (i’m thankful for this outlet while i’m visiting my small hometown); however, i encourage people to do something more. the world is watching, and it’s time to speak truth to power.
check my blog soon for ways to get involved in the movement to end police brutality and violence against black communities.