Tag Archives: #kings

“ONCE WERE KINGS” – THE RATIONAL POST by SLANG HUGH

I looked at the magazine with the bold title that stated Black History Month emblazon across it with an inviting font for any who wished to learn or reeducate.  It wasn’t a very big magazine, in fact it was closer to a pamphlet, or if I was to be more flattering of its size I’d say it was children’s book thick.  if this collection of pictures and words was a woman it would’ve known I was lying and either slap me for being so rude, or walk away at such an exaggeration about her mediocre frame.  But this piece of history, my history, was inanimate and couldn’t rightfully respond to my thought in kind. Instead it just laid there.  At first I was bothered by the meager size.  Don’t judge the book by its cover, I know, but the lack of mass made me not only judge, but executioner in that moment.  I already was dreading the lack of a true and full history, awaiting me on the interior.  As I stared at the cover, wondering if I should even bother waking the black hulk inside of me, with what I believed to be the prejudged annoyance that laid between those sheets, I noticed something else.  There was a picture of what seemed to be a young black woman’s eyes.  The pic was black and white but I made what I consider a great discernment that she was black.   Perhaps it was the title that sparked this Sherlock Holmes like brilliance.  What I also discovered through my magnified psyche was what the young lady’s eyes said.   They were sad and in, what I saw, as pain.  Instantly I felt sorry for her without even knowing her story.  I imagined that if that cameraman had pulled back 3 or 4 feet, I’d find a scene from one of those “Adopt an African child, for a $1 a day commercials”.  Complete with the “Arms of an Angel” crooning of Annie Lennox, soundtrack to help drive home the disparity.   And then it hits me.  Is this what black history looks like? Is this what we consider a positive representation of black people, in a month that is said to celebrate them? Sad, pitiful and in need of help? Downtrodden, poor and in tears? Is this the poster child of Black History Month?

I’m not one to believe in the necessity of a black history month period.  Black history should be as celebrated as any other history, and treated with the same respect.   It should be taught in schools, with just as much focus as other cultures.    The John F. Kennedy story can’t be told without the Martin Luther King part.  Just as the story of Martin shouldn’t be left without a reference to Gandhi finding inspiration in him.  This should be year-round and not regulated to a month.  My history is not any more important than yours, and it’s not any less important! But fine, February is the month, come and gone, and of course I understand why. There’s is a void and perhaps for now this is the most sand we can get to fill this black hole. The world is more concerned with what is than what should be.  So, February is the closest you’ll ever get to a 40 acres and mule.

All I’m asking is, must the mule be old and sick? And does the 40 acres have to be in the desert?!?!? Our history did not begin with slavery! I know I know, that’s one of those “we all know this” things, right?  Well apparently, the publishers and writers of this book, I mean magazine, I’m sorry pamphlet failed to recognize.  Why not a picture of a great Egyptian Pharaoh on the front? Or how about Mansa Musa the richest black man ever!! Estimated the 4th richest man in history! Like the movie about one of our greatest we “Once We’re Kings”! But why do we seem to have to be regulated to a story that starts with us in chains rather than adorned in gold ones when the story is relayed?  Nothing about Nat Turner’s revolt or the Maroons rebellion against their enslavers. No mention of the strength and resilience the people of that time really showed. Our history didn’t end with civil rights either!! I know I know more redundant facts from Slang Hugh huh?  But the photographer for this cover seems to need a reminder.   Hey why not let a regal picture of great inventor George Washington Carver, or the beauty of the brave Viola Desmond, the Canadian Rosa Parks, grace the cover?  Or how about representing our present victories such as business magnate Michael Lee Chin?

I wish I could tell you that I opened the book and the first pages made this entire blog entry unnecessary.  I wish I could say that.  But as predicted the sigh barely had time to rest in between my fears and actuality.  The actuality, was that the fears were warranted.  Page 1 to 5 of a 15-page booklet was about slavery and the underground railroad, which brought many blacks to Canada.  Such a rich and monarchial his and her story reduce to whips, chains, and brutal fights for freedom. And with that I have a simple request.  Well simple to me.    Keep the little girl for the cover, but next time have her smiling and in a strong stance with her black fist up in pride!  Because despite all that struggle you printed on pages 1 through 5, Page -100 to 0 would show why we were strong enough and proud enough to not only survive but thrive!!  And that is truly BLACK HISTORY.

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THE RATIONAL POST – SLANG HUGH week one – KIDULTHOOD

Perhaps we are too awake to dream.

We have all dreamed as kids. Ambitions of being firemen, joining the police force, or even being a superhero were a natural part of our youthful existence. Some of us simply want a family, to be a mother or a father one day and raise dreamers of our own. These dreams tend to drive us for a great portion of our adolescence. Often growing bigger and stronger than a tree when planted in fertile soil. Immovable, due to that soil being our naïve and young minds. Maybe it’s that in our development years we are still somewhat asleep. I don’t mean literally, although that may be true, because we sleep a lot more as children, which probably contributes to this theory, but figuratively. Our eyes are partially closed to the world at large.

Especially to the negativity, to the idea that some things are impossible. Or that gender, color, race, and economics are obstacles we can’t overcome. We don’t even fathom these to be rules at those ages. I mean I used to tie a bed sheet around my neck and believe I was as strong as Superman and could fly. It was only my parents’ strong Jamaican accent telling me “Stop the foolishness!” that would wake me from my cognizant slumber devoid of reality. We benefit from not really knowing what is expected of us, gain from the lack of practical responsibility, and thrive from simply not knowing that it’s possible to fail.

So we fly, we pretend, we imagine, we play, and we have fun with our lives. To us in those early stages the math is simple, if you want to run, you run! You want to jump, you jump! Oh you’re bored? Go play!

Somewhere along the lines we grow up and the simple addition and subtraction becomes trigonometry. The weed of practicality invades our mental greenhouse and blocks our dream tree from the sun until it not only stops growing but becomes almost non-existent. Whether in school where we are basically taught to defer our dreams for good careers and credit. Or at home, where our parents dreams becomes our own and our will to make them proud make our dreams become more and more lofty and sometimes unattainable. With age and responsibility we lose the fiery enthusiasm. Do you remember what it was like to fall in love with something as a child, or even as a teenager? How much you threw yourself into dancing, or sports, or drawing, or gimp!? I would spend what seemed like hours playing basketball, trying to do the same move I saw on TV the night before. Or literally days perfecting memorizing lyrics I wrote so I could rap them over the phone with my peers.

At the time I didn’t realize it but it was my ambitions, my goals, more accurately my dreams that fueled the vehicle for perfection. It wasn’t work then, it was just doing what felt right, what felt good. Eventually our dreams become similar to our physical flexibility, you stop trying to touch your toes and after a while you can barely even see them without feeling a great strain. And rather than go to the gym we grab another bag of chips and go right back to the couch. And in sets the defeat.

See the cycle? Somewhere someone gave us the idea that if we haven’t achieved certain dreams by a certain age then, quite frankly, you are a failure!! And that is simply a lie! Hence why SO many adults are walking this earth with a black cloud on a string. Carrying around their failures like a pet on a leash, who shits all over the place and not only do you not poop and scoop but you step in it and drown yourself in the crap. This is no way to live, and a sure way to die while still living! Many zombies walk this earth way before Walking Dead was scripted.

Now I’m no expert. In fact I’m writing this from the perspective of a man who has lost his dreams along the way, and I’m currently trying to find them again. And probably like some of you reading this it’s hard to believe that my desires are still attainable. Like many of you I’ve had others give words of encouragement and while I listened, inside I was rolling my eyes eagerly waiting for the conversation to be over, so I can go back to NOT LIVING. Or I’d have excuses that I was convinced were valid reasons ready to fire back in defense. I simply no longer could wrap my mind around how I was going to be an adult and fulfill my childhood ambitions at the same time. I’m starting to realize that the answer to that is in the issue.

Dream as a child and act as an adult.

A child will think of doing something and go and do that very thing immediately, without considering the consequences, but their attention is easily switched when something more enticing comes along. An adult will take their time, plan their steps and act accordingly, provided it suits their needs. You have to find a way to combine the two.

Act on your dream….NOW, while planning for the outcome of success. The math is simpler than we care to believe. The steps which are only three fold to me. Find your dream, prepare for it and then make it reality. You may not have the money to take your model portfolio pictures but you have a camera phone, and a mirror to practice every day until you get the money. You may not have the resources to start a business, but have you asked a store owner how they got started? You may want to lose a few pounds but can’t stop eating that pizza, have you joined a gym yet? We have to stop making excuses for the way we CHOOSE to live and make the CHOICE to LIVE!!

They say life is about the pursuit of happiness, but to me it’s more about the pursuit itself. Happiness comes in progression.

Dare to dream as a child but act as an adult.