What a time to be a Black person in AmeriKKKa. Black men are being shot left and right. Netflix dropped Luke Cage. The 13th documentary reminded us how f*cked up this country really is. Solange released A Seat At The Table. The Black Lives Matter movement is still making every racist out there uncomfortable. Colin Kaepernick got us kneeling in protest of the National Anthem. And The Birth of a Nation hit theaters and has caused all kinds of controversy.
At first, I was reluctant to pay money and go see The Birth of a Nation in theaters. I asked myself, “Why should I waste my money for another slave movie?” To be honest, I was going save my money and watch it on my FireStick, something told me to check the movie out and support Nate Parker. So I gave it a shot and I’m happy that I did. As all we know, the movie depicts the story of Nat Turner, who led a rebellion of slaves in Virginia during the 1800s.
Sidebar: If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend that you check it out. Trust me, it’s not your “typical” slave movie and you won’t be disappointed. To me, it’s a great movie with heart wrenching visuals. This movie was definitely needed “for the culture.”
After watching the movie, I experienced an array of emotions. I was unapologetically proud to be a black man. I wanted to knock out every person that has tried to discredit the Black Lives Matter movement with that All Lives Matter bullsh*t. And I was enraged that our people had to go through what they went through just to get the basic liberties of a human being.
Sadly, the movie also reminded me how certain things back in the 1800s are still prevalent in 2016. The parallels from then to now are truly disheartening and really show that this country hasn’t changed much.
Check out some of the parallels that I peeped from The Birth of a Nation movie. For those of you that haven’t seen the movie yet, I’m about to loosely touch on a few scenes from the movie. So read at your own discretion!!!
Hey Oppression!!! You're Still Alive and Well - Obviously, oppression was depicted throughout the whole movie. However, there was one scene that really stuck with me was when Nat Turner was lynched in front of the white slave owners and their children as well as the other slaves. As we all know, there were lynching parties back in those days and this type of sh*t was a normal thing to do. To me, having the other slaves attend was a calculated way to continually oppress our people and reinforce white supremacy. Has much changed in today’s times?
Today’s systemic oppression comes in many different forms. It’s more subtle as we all know nowadays…well sometimes. This oppression can be found in the workplace, when it comes to getting financing from a bank, the excessive policing in black neighborhoods, the mass incarceration of black men, and the portrayal of black people in the media. I can go on and on. SMH
This country was never built for black people to prosper. It’s like we are the ugly step child of AmeriKKKa. The systemic oppression structure was built to ALWAYS be the winner and be in place for generations. Yeah, we have gained ground in some areas, we are often met with another barrier to our freedom. The oppressive structure that is embedded in the fabric of this country has crippled the black race. The effects are still felt by many of us today.
The Fight against Oppression has ALWAYS been a Struggle - During the movie, “this fight” came to fruition when Nat Turner and his crew rebelled against the slave owners and fought a deadly battle. Although other slaves doubted Nat Turner, he still pushed forward and was determined to free himself and his people from the oppression that was around for their entire lives.
Since the beginning of time, black people in America have been fighting oppression. This fight has been fought in various ways over the years. From slavery to the MLK and Malcolm X days in the 60s. From the Black Panther Party time period to Public Enemy and N.W.A being the voice for black people in the 80s and 90s.
More recently, our fight has been spearheaded by the Black Lives Matter (BLM). This movement was formed in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman (Trayvon Martin's KILLER). Since its formation, the government and many people have tried to villainize this group and discredit what they stand for. Are you surprised? I’m not surprised at all. This is just another way to destroy black liberation and for systemic oppression to continue to win.
The Black Family Structure…Then & Now - Towards the middle of the movie, Nat Turner convinced his slave owner to buy Cherry (Nat’s future wife) at a slave auction and be apart of the Turner "family." This scene made me think of how often this happened back in those days, where slaves were uprooted from their families and sent away. The way I see it, one of the main goals of slavery was to completely dismantle the idea of "family" for slaves and the generations after. This reinforced to the slaves that they were property and not human beings.
Unfortunately, slavery still effects today's black family structure in many ways. The most obvious effect is that most of us don't even know our heritage (our native religion, language, traditions, etc.). And we don't know where we come from. Some of us can only traced our family roots to the late 1800s (if you lucky). Family is everything and we need to continue to build upon it together now.
At the end of the day, we all know we ain’t gonna get our 40 acres and a mule. So it starts with us, especially with black millennials. We are the one to destroy the generational oppression that has impacted most of our families. We have to continue to support the Black Live Matter movement and other uplifting movements that seek social justice. We have to build a strong economic structure that will empower our people. We have to hold each other accountable. We have to stop putting our faith in these corrupted politicians. Let’s hold America to the standards upon which it was built on. We can’t afford to let this flame burn out and wait until something happens. This time is NOW!!! Are you down??? Stand Proud and Stay Black!!!