A few months ago, a video of our friend Kenyatta Wilson in the middle of one of her now infamous rants surfaced on Facebook and the internet went nuts! Although there was criticism by some people who were worried about irrelevant details (such as her use of profanity, or the fact that she is a Black lesbian woman), Kenyatta made VERY valid points regarding the current state of Black culture in America. (If you haven’t seen the video, it’s posted below the article.)
Anyone who knows Kenyatta personally, knows that the thoughts and opinions she passionately expressed in the candid video are nothing new, as we often have these conversations whenever we are together. Since gaining worldwide attention from fans and haters alike, she has now chosen to use her new-found platform to continue to enlighten the community and spread knowledge. We got our hands on the first of hopefully many articles written by Kenyatta addressing how race relates to the social, economic, political, financial and educational issues within our communities. It’s definitely a must-read!
SAY IT LOUD! by Kenyatta ‘kEwii’ Wilson
“…being a problem is a strange experience, – peculiar even for one who has never been anything else…” -W.E.B. Dubois, The Souls of Black Folk
Does a problem really know it’s a problem? Can a problem acknowledge itself as a problem? Real question should be, is the problem WILLING to acknowledge itself as a problem? Thinking in terms of mathematics or logic, even circumstance all of the answers to these questions would, of course, be NO, but suppose the problem actually EXISTS; has sound body and mind! Introductory philosophy presents the idea, “I think therefore I exist.” (Descartes) But to exist without thinking, in a world where another being is CONSTANTLY doing the thinking for you is when just EXISTING presents a problem! One can cause a problem, but not physically BE a problem! As a black woman living in America, experiencing and witnessing these conditions we’ve been reduced to or have reduced ourselves to as a whole, in my eyes, presents a problem!
We live in a world decorated with OUR history yet painted in white faces; where sciences and logic and overall society derived from or is in some way, shape, form and fashion connected to us, but our perspective is tainted and justice which we hope to be color blind sees in tints of black and white. Why is that we are the only group of people not conscious of who we are and where we come from? Why is that only a select few of us understand the importance of melanin and the power that comes with it? Why do black people get so mad when other black people challenge them to work to their full potential? Yet, we allow other people to tell us about us about ourselves and teach us their history!
We’ve been a witness to the power we are capable of. Black communities were RICH in unity and understood the concept of community and the importance of entrepreneurship. We fought so hard to be integrated into white society and in doing so have sacrificed the opportunities and advantages that we’d discovered in segregation. We’ve sacrificed the economic power we honed in national martyrdom. No more Milwaukee Bronzeville. No more Black Wall Street. Obama has become the “Great Black Hope” – an advocate, almost a mascot for change and yet, what has changed in black America?
Churches used to be one of the strongest foundations of black community, unity and hope. They’ve been corrupted. The black preacher has discovered the correlation between black praise and wealth. People invest their time, money, family and gifts into churches. Decades ago when you could go and get so much from the black institution, no one could ever imagine that in this day and age all people leave with is the idea of hope. Where we all aim for righteousness, those in positions of leadership often fall short. Lead, but not by example. Condemn others for sins they commit as if they’re exempt from God’s wrath. I’ve sat in church pews where black man stand in pulpits and tell members to honor and appreciate them and the threat is tithe or lose member privilege. Needless to say, I’ve never been back to those churches or any for that matter.
Even in Catholicism, they abide by doctrine. They’ve made their own rules and we had to abide by them. Anything that is outside what they believe to be right and what they think they know has to be destroyed or outright discredited. I was baptized a Catholic, received my first communion and I started the confirmation process, but it was my personal choice not to finish. People watched me grow up and I watched those same people as I’ve grown into my own transition from a deep fondness for me to a burning hate for who they thought I was. Christianity, which is supposed to be built on the foundations of love and acceptance as told by Jesus Christ in which all Christians find their salvation and glory, has turned to cold hate and judgment. Anything they deem unworthy is unacceptable and that includes people like me.
In all aspects of black life, we seem to be struggling. Education. Health. Politics. Large metropolitan areas with concentrated poverty in black communities have unbelievably high rates of homicide and other violent crimes. The largest motivation for people voting in the previous election was the risk of losing their welfare benefits. Where most people find a source of help and relief others have discovered a crutch and in turn have continued leeching the system. Black leaders aren’t real leaders. They wait and bide their time for a large enough tragedy to spread like wildfire through the media. They then race to the podium to compete for the spotlight effecting no real change out of fear of their own lives. Even our music, which in the past has been so revolutionary, so empowering, has become saturated and even detrimental to our own people. Black entertainers sell their own people a lifestyle that most of them don’t live; a lifestyle and image that most black consumers have started to aspire to and imitate while sacrificing their own individuality, uniqueness and growth. We’ve forgotten to BE! Your playing small does NOT serve the world. There is NOTHING enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. (Williamson) I’ll go further and say, there is nothing enlightened about shrinking people around you so that you can feel more secure about yourself. The problem of the Twentieth century is the problem of the color line. (Dubois) The problem of the Twenty First century is the belief that the color line no longer exists.
The original “rant”, uploaded in March 2014
Do you agree with Kenyatta? We want to know! Share your thoughts in the comments below.