In 1939 the great Billie Holiday recorded a song named “Strange Fruit”. The fruit hanging from those trees, were the bodies of Black people that were lynched for hundreds of years here in the good old US of A. Today we are not getting lynched and hung on trees, but we are systematically being exterminated by means of public policy, the legal system, and by officers of the so-called law. The words to “Strange Fruit” are just as applicable today,as they were in 1939:
Strange Fruit lyrics
Southern trees bear a strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black bodies swingin’ in the Southern breeze
Strange fruit hangin’ from the poplar trees
Pastoral scene of the gallant South
The bulgin’ eyes and the twisted mouth
Scent of magnolias sweet and fresh
Then the sudden smell of burnin’ flesh
Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck
For the sun to rot, for the tree to drop
Here is a strange and bitter crop
When is it going to stop, or is it ever going to stop? Alton Sterling; tasered and shot in the chest and back while he was subdued by two Louisiana police officers as he was selling CD’s in front of a convenience store. Philando Castile; pulled over for a broken tail light and shot and killed in the car by an overzealous police officer, while his girlfriend and her four year old daughter watched in horror.
In 1955, Ms. Mamie Till allowed her fourteen year old son Emmett Till to be photographed in his casket so the whole world would see the horror of his disfigured face; the results of an unjust legal system,white privilege and pure hatred. Hopefully the world will understand the plight of the Black race in America today has not progressed as much as people think. These recent, senseless murders were caught on tape for the entire world to see. Yes, the revolution will be televised.
In order to make changes in this corrupt, cesspool of a system we call America, we need to do three things.
- First and foremost, we need to create a true economic power base. A true economic power base is a collaborative, laser focused effort that pools our Black resources to prepare for and execute a true revolution. I’m not talking about going to war, I’m talking about using our economic power to influence politics, media and and society in general. White folks have been using economics to control the world for ages. They invoke preferential policies for corporate behemoths by greasing political palms in return for favors. They have large lobbying groups that front the NRA to insure laws are favorable for gun toting White Americans. They have the Koch brothers that support super PACS that eschew unfavorable policies for minorities and the poor. How many palms are we greasing? How much impact do we have on public policy? How much impact do we have on social influence and the media? NONE!
- We need to control our politics on a local, state and national level. We need to put the people in office that have our best interest at heart. And as I stated above, politics are controlled by economics. We need to start “greasing palms” and holding these politicians accountable for making sure the policies enacted are favorable for our people. We need to make sure we galvanize and vote on all levels, not just when a Black candidate runs. We need to turn out in force for all elections including the local school board elections. We have Black schools that are underfunded and lack the necessary learning materials and quality teachers to educate our children properly. Do you think White people would stand for that? We have Donald Trump whose slogan is “Make America Great Again”. We all know that that is a code phrase for make America White again. We have to put a stop to the political machinations that negatively affect our community and have plagued us for centuries; not years, centuries. We have to start to control our political destiny now.
- We have to become more socially active and bring about social change. We need to start by controlling the media and the propaganda that is spewed on a daily basis by biased media outlets. Social change will not be made until a cause is embraced, a micro and macro plan is enacted, and then properly executed. “Black Lives Matter” is a trying to bring about social change, but with any potential change to the power structure and status quo, it is being met with opposition and other platforms like “All Lives Matter”, and “Blue Lives Matter” that try to diminish and obscure the objective of “Black Lives Matter”. When it comes to media, we need to stop relying on the good old boy networks to give us real news. News is not news anymore, it is more opinion. Fox News, and the Right Wing radio pundits like Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, and Glenn Beck continue to speak directly to the White racists who think they are losing their birthright because too many minorities are in high level positions, or minorities are the downfall of this “great” country. When President Obama was elected, they got frightened because their way of life was being challenged. We need to start supporting our Black newspapers, our Black websites (like this one), and we need to start making strides to acquire more Black radio and television stations where we can control our own programming and not be beholden to some out of touch programmer that thinks all we want to watch is “Bad Girls Club”, music videos, or reruns of “Good Times”. We are one of the biggest consumers of social media and media in general; why can’t we create our own Twitter, Snapchat, or Facebook? Once again, we are on someone else’ platform. Jay Z purchased Tidal (even though he looks like he is about to sell it), why doesn’t he or some other wealthy Black businessperson look at building or buying a social media platform? If we don’t control the media, we can’t control the propaganda that is being sold to the sheep that believe everything they see and hear and who are too lazy to investigate on their own.
It’s time to make a change folks. Let’s start by everyone doing their part and making a stand against the injustice and racial discrimination that is costing us our lives. Whatever way you can contribute to the struggle please do so. It can be as simple as registering to vote so your voice will be heard, you can create a local community organization, you can blog or create thought provoking videos. Whatever you can do, let’s do it now before things get worse. We cannot depend on anyone else to do this for us, we MUST do it ourselves.
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ALSO LISTEN TO MY LATEST PODCAST EPISODE:
Episode 104: Strange Fruit – There Is No Revolution Without Economics