Black Thought

carter-g-woodson-2“Real education means to inspire people to live more abundantly, to learn to live with life as they find it and make it better.”

- Carter G. Woodson

To be absolutely sure, a gentleman’s life earns new significance when he not only identifies his purpose, but he also cultivates that purpose into something tangible that benefits other individuals. It is tragically irresponsible when an accomplished gentleman attains a certain degree of success, only to be miserly and penurious with his blessings. For the blessed gentleman that enjoys prosperity and favor, it is critical that he utilizes his influence to encourage, empower, and educate the under-served, often neglected sects of our society. When benevolence and compassion no longer exists in the hearts and minds of men, the quality of life for both the fortunate and less fortunate gradually diminish. And the best quality of life is something we should all strive to achieve – for everyone. So, operating within your domain of achievement, I urge the gentleman to re-purpose his purpose and seek to promote excellence and success in the lives those whom are underprivileged. And going forward, hopefully, they will perform the same charitable act for someone else.

 

Black Thought

WEB DuBois“Let us realize too that even we disenfranchised have our duties.”

-W.E.B. Du Bois

Responsibility. Every gentleman owns a select portion of this in his community. Regardless of his limiting socioeconomic circumstances, a gentleman must deliver the very best of his talents for the improvement of his neighborhood. I definitely understand that this may be difficult for some gentlemen. One may feel that their status in society does not meet acceptable or suitable standards. However, I say to those individuals who may feel as if life has dealt a cruel poker hand; you still have much to offer. Do not sit idle and allow your gifts to waste and rot. Your community patiently awaits your arrival. Waiting for the “right” time when everything is correct in the world is not an option. What if the “right” time never arrives? The only right time is right now. Do not hesitate. Do not second guess. You are stronger, more intelligent, and more talented than you might realize; it is your duty to improve the environment around you. You possess the necessary tools to make a difference. Act now!

Black Thought

esq-james-meredith-0113-lg“What any human being can do in life depends upon the foundation laid between birth and age five.”

 James Meredith

We are teachers – in some form or another. Now, perhaps a majority of the reading audience are devoid of the appropriate formal certification, but we are indeed teachers nonetheless. Knowingly or unknowingly instructing through our behavior, language, and actions; we shape and mold young, virginal, and formless minds. That cannot be taken for granted. We are, first and foremost, the foreman of fashioning intellectual promise, building emotional stability, and framing principled character. During those early formative years, our guidance and instruction is needed – no – it is desperately crucial to a child’s development. Their future hinges on what we teach them in the present. And that is where we should be – present; never absent from their growth and maturation. It is time for us to lead by example. We are the models of morality. We are the cultivators of character. We are the installers of integrity. We enable enthusiasm for education, and we advocate the accrual of astounding accomplishments. The foundation is ready to be laid. Let’s not wait any longer.

Black Thought

paul-robeson“Having been given, I must give.”

-Paul Robeson

Sometimes, when sequestered within moments of quiet solitude, thoughtful ruminations reveal how incredibly fortunate I am. Fortunate, not in regards to monetary value, rather, fortunate in regards to the many blessings I have reaped tremendous benefit. Yes, I have been given much. Now, I understand that some individuals hold fast to the belief that they earn everything with no, if not minimal, assistance required. Well, sometimes success acts as a vanity whose reflection never grows tiresome to the person looking at it. Look, one cannot be merciless, yet expect mercy. One cannot embrace avarice, yet expect generosity. One cannot espouse hate, yet expect love. Only speaking for myself, I have been granted favor and opportunity. I have been afforded mercy and forgiveness. I have been given love and grace. And because of those realities, it is of the utmost importance that I give back. Giving back – it could arrive in the form of your time, an inspirational word, a much needed hug, or an important professional opportunity. No one ever truly does it on their own. Someone, right now, needs you. And you may need someone. Go ahead, give of yourself and surely you will be given.

Black Thought

booker t washington“Never get to the point where you will be ashamed to ask anybody for information. The ignorant man will always be ignorant if he fears that by asking another for information he will display ignorance. Better once display your ignorance of a certain subject than always know nothing of it.”

-Booker T. Washington

Well, as the expression goes: there is no such thing as a dumb question. So true. As sometimes stubborn gentlemen, we retain this idea within our thick skulls that we know everything. Nothing could be further removed from reality-we simply don’t know everything. Yet, some gentlemen live their existence as if they do. When faced with subject matter that bewilders the mind, they occasionally conjure up imaginary facts and present them as truth. Listen, there is absolutely nothing incorrect about asking questions and increasing one’s knowledge. Better to look the fool once than be a fool forever right? Set aside the arrogance. Put away the pride. We all can benefit from the blessings of another with greater knowledge than our own. Weary are the legs of the gentleman supporting the weight of his own hubris. We don’t know everything. It’s wise to cease acting like it.

Black Thought

Booker T Washington & Family“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.”

-Booker T. Washington

Sure, it would be easy enough to become enamored by the seemingly authoritative, accomplished status of a wildly successful individual. The mere presence of seductive visuals such as expensive status symbols have tremendous influence as they elicit, sometimes, misguided deference from the admirer. However, I challenge the reader to momentarily ignore such material objects. Instead, please divert your attention to the process that granted such accomplishment possible. What did that individual experience during their journey to success? Trust this: The strength of a gentleman’s character is forged on the anvil of adversity. Through weathering distress or difficulty, prosperity is procured by he who believes a challenge is an opportunity. An opportunity to steel your will and seize achievement despite any obstacles you might encounter. Don’t be impressed by person’s materialistic results. Those are nice and fine to look at. Nevertheless, be more impressed with the vanquished adversity that withered in the face of impending success. And then go forth and forge your own.

Black Thought

WEB_DuBois_19181“Let us realize too that even we disenfranchised have our duties.”

-W.E.B. Du Bois

Responsibility. Every gentleman owns a select portion of this in his community. Regardless of his limiting socioeconomic circumstances, a gentleman must deliver the very best of his talents for the improvement of his neighborhood. I definitely understand that this may be difficult for some gentlemen. One may feel that their status in society does not meet acceptable or suitable standards. However, I say to those individuals who may feel as if life has dealt a cruel poker hand; you still have much to offer. Do not sit idle and allow your gifts to waste and rot. Your community patiently awaits your arrival. Waiting for the “right” time when everything is correct in the world is not an option. What if the “right” time never arrives? The only right time is right now. Do not hesitate. Do not second guess. You are stronger, more intelligent, and more talented than you might realize; it is your duty to improve the environment around you. You possess the necessary tools to make a difference. Act now!

Black Thought

james baldwin 2“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

James Baldwin

The knowledgeable gentleman is reconciled with the reality that anything worth the attempt of transforming could ultimately result in failure. Nevertheless, the very real possibility of failure does not deter or dissuade him from focusing his efforts to bring about change. He understands that change is not fully realized when absent an active catalyst. Please note: Fruitful, bountiful harvests are not born to barren soil. Work must be done. And so, if a gentleman desires to see a difference, he must ultimately commit himself to making a difference. A gentleman must steel his resolve and confront what needs to be confronted, failure be damned. So, the question for you is: What do you want to see changed, and just exactly what are you doing about it?

Education – By Any Means Necessary

Malcolm X WindowTruth: Not every controversy – most likely contrived and manufactured – should be dignified with a response. However, allow me to present another truth; ignorance cannot be allowed to injuriously metastasize the young minds of this generation or future generations. Sure, there are far more pressing issues at present that afflict the African-American community, but surely one can grant momentary pause to address obvious stupidity. Because, if left unchecked, the reverence and appreciation that African-American heritage should elicit will slowly dissipate with each passing generation. That cannot be allowed to come to pass. And with that, the subject matter today is hip hop artist Nicki Minaj, and the dubious decision to promote her new single using the image of Malcolm X (pictured above) with profanity and the word n*gga splayed across the top.

Now, was there a social or political point to made by utilizing the 1964 photograph of Malcolm X peering out his window with a M1 carbine rifle in hand? The answer, not surprisingly, is no. Minaj states that her new single, Looking A** N*gga, was written to empower women. Wait…what? Okay, before we delve into that bit of insanity, here is an explanation from Minaj as she states, “It was almost parallel in my opinion because he has this big gun ready to shoot at a lookin’ (expletive) bleep, and that’s how I looked at it,’ she said. ‘I looked at it as this is one of the most memorable people in our history, in black history, who voiced his opinion no matter what, and I understand how my intent was overlooked and I definitely didn’t want to offend his family or his legacy.” Again, wait…what?

Malcolm X and his family lived under the heavy threat of death and assassination during the better part of his latter years, and somehow Nicki Minaj thinks her tribulations with men are somehow equivalent. For the record, the M1 that Malcolm X was holding was not for show. It was not some sort of symbol. He had it in tow to literally protect himself and his family. Look, in the past year or so, Emmett Till was name-dropped in a vulgar lyric by Lil Wayne. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s image was re-purposed on fliers to promote twerk contests for his birthday. And we all remember Russell Simmons and the sex tape parody featuring Harriett Tubman. I remember a time when hip hop championed and celebrated our history. Question: When did some black folks get so damn disrespectful of our past?

And so, this is the problem with fostering an indifference to an overwhelming and spreading ignorance of our history. However, let me digress for a moment. A few weeks ago, my ear happened to catch D.L. Hughley lamenting the fact that Black History Month was the shortest month of the year and schools only teach the same old, same old – such as the history of George Washington Carver. Now, Hughley is a comedian, and given the fact that I was channel surfing, I am not sure if he was joking or serious. But, I can address his argument with this: Teach your own black history – 365 days out of the year. You have the power to do so. With as much information that is available today, it is really sad that we continuously look to others outside the black community to educate us on our history. People…you have a platform…use it!

Facebook. Twitter. Start a blog, hell, it’s free! Start your own platform to educate and spread our rich black history. Many folk use vast Internet space for bulls**t, yes, I said it – bulls**t. We cannot passively stand by as artists such as Nicki Minaj (and many more) reinterpret and redefine history to conveniently fit into their reprobate world. Enough with the stupidity. Our heritage is being manipulated and mocked for monetary gain, and it is time people are held accountable. The temerity, presumption, and ignorance of some individuals today is frightening. But the only way to combat the lack of knowledge is the infusion of knowledge. Crack open a book. Find something useful on Internet. Watch something thought-provoking. Ignorance is not bliss – learning is.

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