Social Issues

Kevin Gates You’re Belligerent: Black Lives Do Matter

Kevin Gates is barely relevant to me, actually  barely is an overstatement in this situation. Kevin Gates never comes up in of my conversations willingly, let alone a conversation about music. He never comes up on my Spotify playlists, his albums do not appear on my Pandora radio's and I prefer it that way but when and if I do hear about Kevin Gates it is never anything good. Just to put this into perspective, the last time I heard about Kevin Gates or had a conversation about him was because he had kicked a girl in her face.

Yes, you read that correctly.  He kicked a girl in her face at one of his concerts.

Oh Kevin Gates. If you’re wondering the reason why he kicked this girl in her face, well it was because he told her to stop pulling on his pants. When the girl did not listen he then proceeded to kick her in the face.I know how dare this concert goer, who is probably truly a fan of Kevin Gates, pull on his pants in excitement because she's seeing him in person.

Although that situation was horrible enough, that will not be the situation I focus on in this blog post as Kevin Gates has once again put himself in hot water. The rapper recently decided to give his opinion on the Black Lives Matter movement *sigh*. I really wish rappers and entertainers would stop giving political opinions. Remember when T.I. said he didn’t want a female president because he felt like they were too emotional, ugh goodness.

Anyway, during an interview with 106 KMEL radio station, Kevin Gates was asked about his opinion on Stacy Dash’s comments regarding the eradication of BET and identifying as American versus African-American ( you can find my post about Stacy Dash's comments here). Kevin Gates stated he did agree with Stacy Dash’s comments (of course he did) and further explained his stance and why he agrees with her. He explained his own personal experiences with police officers by describing one situation where he stated he was acting like an “ignorant belligerent nigger” and deserved to be arrested. He then proceeded to say that holding up signs and shouting “Black Lives Matter” is not going to change anything, that “All Lives Matter.”

Wait. First of all, I’m sorry Kevin Gates you were acting like a what?

I do not understand nor do I agree with black people who think they can take the word “nigger” or "nigga" and try to change it's meaning. Even typing the word makes me cringe, it is a word that was used to oppress the black community. It was used to make us feel low, like we were trash, like we were nothing. So the fact that Kevin Gates uses it not only so loosely, but to also describe himself, makes me think that there is a disconnect between what he thinks of himself and how society may view him.

The problem with Kevin Gates statement besides just the use of the word “nigger” is his perception of the Black Lives Matter movement. His perception of the Black Lives Matter movement is toxic because it is mindsets like those of Kevin Gates that hinders change. His viewpoint creates this perception that the Black Lives Matter movement feels as though all police officers are bad. That is not the case. It is a matter of holding those police officers who have decided to shot and kill unarmed citizens accountable, but also figuring out why this is happening and taking the necessary steps to bring inequalities and injustices to the forefront so they can be resolved or worked on.

Not only is Kevin Gates perception of the Black Lives Matter movement toxic, his use of respectability politics is problematic. Respectability politics or the politics of respectability refers to attempts by marginalized groups to police their own members and show their casual and social values as being continuous and compatible with mainstream values rather than challenging the mainstream.

Kevin Gates statement that holding up a sign and screaming "Black Lives Matter" wouldn't change anything, followed by his statement that "All Lives Matter" is a clear example of respectability politics. It is a message to those supporting the Black Lives Matter movement that you need to stop because what you're doing is going against the mainstream. It is wrong and it is unnecessary and you should stop it. The use of respectability politics usually comes in the form of the person speaking to someone as if they are a child and I have no need for it. I have never had a use for respectability politics and the use of it by Kevin Gates is definitely unnecessary.

Let me clarify for those who do not know, “Black Lives Matter” is not simply a saying, it is not something we as black people write on signs protest and feel good about ourselves. No, it is something that was created resulting from a terrible incident where an unarmed black teen, Trayvon Martin, was tragically shot just for being a black teen by a vigilante who thought Trayvon Martin was up to no good. Then after that terrible incident, cases similar to Trayvon Martin's and situations where police officers were involved started to happen more and more, to the point where they are now. “Black Lives Matter” is not something we as black people yell out only to be masked by the sound of “All Lives Matter,” no, Kevin Gates you are wrong. “Black Lives Matter” is a movement in retaliation to the unfortunate realization where black people, including me, see that our lives are not as guarded, are not as safe, and are not as important as a white person’s life may be compared to ours. That does not take away from "All Lives Matter" because of course "All Lives Matter" that is a simple matter of empathy, but saying "All Lives Matter" does take away from the situation at hand, because it causes the person to focus on the "All Lives Matter" statement, instead of the "Black Lives Matter" movement.

Look here Kevin Gates, while you may not think the Black Lives Matter movement will change anything, let me tell you that it is the actions and the movement behind “Black Lives Matter” that will change something. It is the “Black Lives Matter” activists who are a part of the movement who have met with presidential candidates to hopefully change legislation that will affect police departments and police officers who are shooting unarmed citizens. It is the message that will hopefully change the perception of Americans in the United States. It is the message that will hopefully get America to have conversations and talking about the problems we face because Kevin Gates, that is how you institute change. You get people talking.

Roll Call: The Effects of Call Out Culture

What was supposed to be an action that held those accountable for using their positions or words to hurt others has turned into an action in which we have now turned against each other; the people who were supposed to call out wrongdoers.

If you are not familiar with "call out culture," let me assistance. Asam Ahmad wrote a piece for Briarpatch (Link to article found here) magazine last year where he defines call-out culture:

Call out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists or regular people who have access to the internet to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behavior and language by others. 

Call-out culture was originally supposed to be an action where others who had used language or partook in actions that hurt others would then be called out by individuals in society so they could learn from their actions. Calling someone out was supposed to educate them on what they did wrong, why it was wrong and why it was hurtful to others. If the action was horrendous enough those who called the individual out would expect a consequence. For example, an employee losing his job or an athlete sitting out and missing a couple of games.

People have started to abuse the action of calling someone out, thus creating call-out culture where anyone who says something that someone does not agree with can experience backlash and come under attack. What typically happens with call-out culture is people start attacking and swarming the person on social media and sometimes in real life. It is the individual's behavior behind call-out culture that is problematic because it is generally a one-sided argument and tends to involve vulgar or offensive language against the person.

A person's personal reactions or disagreements have become coded as a defense in the name of doing good, it has become "oh, you didn't do this the way I wanted" or "you didn't say this the way I wanted". It has become less beneficial as people are experiencing hateful language just because they said something that others didn't agree with. As Americans, we are allowed freedom of speech, it's one of the main rights that are heavily guarded besides the right to bear arms. Yet, people are still being attacked for not twisting their language to appeal to everyone.

The excuse of a person partaking in call-out culture saying that the recipient is simply taking it personal and that they are emotional has become prevalent. It is not a matter of people taking it personally but has become a matter of people taking respect out of the situation. Call-out culture in so many words has removed the action of respecting someone else.

People partaking in call-out culture is worse on certain social media platforms, the main ones being Twitter and Facebook, both have become prime venues where call-out culture has taken on a life of its own. Call-out culture intertwines with harassment once social media is involved as someone is then able to constantly "troll" that person and their post or what they have said. Given the fact of how Twitter and Facebook are set up as social media platforms, they allow for easy harassment of others where the action becomes a performance and makes the person a spectacle.

The effects of call-out culture are not visible, but once a person experiences being attacked or swarmed on social media or in their daily life the person may not to be as vocal as they were once before. Call-out culture hinders freedom of speech as the person then does not want to experience call-out culture again so they are then careful of what to say and who to say it to. While many may see people hindering their speech as a victory, if there are people experiencing and being affected by call-out culture just because people do not agree with them, then the act of calling people out becomes pointless.

The action of "calling in" has started to become more frequent. Calling in means speaking privately with an individual who has done something wrong (Asam Ahmad - Briarpatch). Calling in is more beneficial and educational versus calling out. Calling in requires a person to reach out and interact with the person, whereas call-out culture falls short in addressing the behavior or statement of the person, calling in picks up the slack. Yet, why do we need another term to represent the actions of call-out culture? Calling in was what calling out was supposed to be before people decided to abuse it.

You can call people out and educate them at the same time. You can call someone out in a respectable manner, we need to get back to trying to help others instead of looking for an audience and putting on a spectacle in order for call-out culture to improve.

Stacy Dash, You Clueless

Ah, Clueless. The 1995 coming of age teen, comedy, romance? Loosely, very loosely based on Jane Austen's novel Emma. The movie was set in Beverly Hills and stars Alicia Silverstone, Paul Rudd, Britney Murphy, and *drumroll* Stacy Dash. While all of these actors and actresses have gone on to have I guess you could say successful careers (Paul Rudd was in Ant-Man by the way), Stacy Dash has had the most interesting career. Starring and appearing in various roles on shows such as, The Game and Single Ladies, she now makes guest appearances on Fox and Friends.

Oh yes, Fox and Friends. Fox and Friends is Fox News morning segment airing from 6 am - 9 am with Steve Doocy. Unsurprisingly like most of Fox News programs, Fox and Friends is conservative leaning and is known for its rants and attacks against President Obama.

Last Wednesday, January 20th, Stacy Dash appeared on Fox and Friends and discussed the recent backlash against the Oscars. While discussing this Stacy Dash decided to state her opinion in which she said,"We have to make up our minds, either we want to have segregation or integration,” Dash said. “If we don’t want segregation then we need to get rid of channels like BET and the BET Awards and the [NAACP] Image Awards, where you are only awarded if you are black. If it were the other way around, we would be up in arms, it’s a double standard. There shouldn't be a Black History Month. You know? We're Americans. Period. That's it.”

Woo. That's a mouth full Stacy Dash, but also, pump your brakes.

Segregation? Integration? I could have sworn it was 2016, not 1960. When was the last time you heard these terms besides history class? I mean really heard the terms segregation or integration being used when regarding the black community in 2016?

Exactly there hasn't been one because racial segregation was abolished in 1964 with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Which was 52 years ago.

Now let's discuss the bigger problem with what Stacy Dash said besides her using the terms segregation and integration because honestly that just sounds like Stacy Dash is stuck in the past and I refuse to get stuck there with her. The problem with what she said is she focused only on black networks and black holidays, basically, anything dealing with black people. Take a look at her examples she uses the NAACP Image Awards, BET Network and Black History Month which are all geared towards the Black community.

Oh, Stacy Dash why do you hate the black community so much? Or have you forgotten you are also a part of the black community as you are black and that you did play a role on a television show *whispers* The Game, which was owned by BET Network. You know that same network you despise so much.

Why only focus on BET Network? What about Logo tv which is aimed towards the LGBTQIA+ community or WEtv which is geared towards women. There's TBN Salsa, Telemundo, and Univision which is aimed at Hispanic Americans. But none of these television networks were named, it was just BET Network. These networks do not exist to please Stacy Dash they exist because they are aimed towards minority groups. Minority groups is a term referring to a smaller category of individuals which differentiate from the social majority. Most of the time these minority groups do not hold positions of power, they are not the overly represented group which is where television networks and award shows aimed at their communities come in. In the simplest of terms, representation matters.

Lastly, the statement Stacy Dash said towards the end of her outdated rant completely missed what the hashtag #Oscarssowhite is truly trying to bring visibility towards. Once again, in 2016 much like in 2015, films with racially diverse or predominantly black actors and actresses were once again overlooked. In 2015, Selma was overlooked, but this year, even more, films were overlooked. These are films that dominated not only the box office but also got high marks from many critics. Films such as Straight Outta Compton (link to a post I wrote about the film here) Beasts of No Nation, Creed, The Hateful Eight, but also The Force Awakens. It is not a matter of black people needing to make up their minds, it is a matter of us being able to be recognized for our achievements. In the movies listed above the actors and actresses of color did amazing jobs and they should be recognized for such work as white people are recognized time and time again.

If I do say so myself it seems as though the Oscars need to make up their mind, either segregation or integration.


How does a whole city's water system become contaminated with lead? Maybe you should ask Rick Snyder, Governor of Michigan where this is currently happening. If you are not up to speed on the current situation happening in Flint, Michigan let me give you a quick rundown. The city of Flint is currently experiencing one of the worst causes of government negligence that I have ever seen. Flint, Michigan's water is/has become severely contaminated with lead.

No amount of lead is ever good for the body, for anyone, but lead is extremely dangerous for children and fetuses, making any female who is pregnant living in Flint, Michigan at extreme risk.

One of the main things I have been asking myself is how did this happen?

Flint's water problem was discovered in April 2014 when residents of Flint complained of the smell and color of the water. The city at the time was under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager, that's just the first problem.

As a "cost cutting" move that emergency manager decided to stop getting it's water from Detroit, which was treated by the Detroit Water and Sewage Department, but instead get water from the Flint River which would be treated at the city water plant in Flint. That is only the second problem.

The Department of Environmental Quality not only failed to treat the Flint River with any chemicals before the use of the Flint River, but the emergency manager also failed to replace the pipes and lead was pulled into the drinking water. The final problem.

It is now being reported that it seems as though not only did those within Flint's city government not care about the residents health or welfare, but have also went so far as to try to cover it up from being exposed.


How did the Governor of Michigan allow the people of Flint to have water so contaminated that it is now showing up in their blood stream?

How did the Governor of Michigan allow the people of Flint to have water so contaminated with lead levels so high that now the children living in Flint, Michigan will have future health problems?

It is a matter of negligence. It is a matter of accountability.

We, as voters, do not hold politicians to a higher standard. We do not hold our government to a higher standard. We do not hold politicians accountable for their actions. There are many politicians who have made tremendous mistakes at the state and federal level, but instead of us asking for them to be held accountable for their actions we gloss over the subject as if not expecting anything less. Yet, not holding the government or politicians accountable has caused situations such as the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

It was severe negligence on the end of the politicians and the government that they did not care enough about the residents of Flint, Michigan to make sure they had adequate and are drinking water. They do not care about the 8, 657 children younger than six who are now exposed to lead due to their negligence. They do not care about the unborn children of mothers who live in Flint. The individuals who visited Flint unaware of the situation at hand now exposed to lead.

The argument that the Flint, Michigan water crisis is a racial issue has now arisen shown in the image above.

Complaints of the smell, taste, and appearance of the water began in April 2014, which was now 2 years ago. They also raised health concerns and started to report hair loss and other problems.

The question that is presented is that if Flint, Michigan had been predominately white would the pleas and complaints of Flint's water have been taken more seriously?

The question is valid when residents complained and reported the appearance of the water to Flint, Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality they did not seem concerned with what they were saying. There was no sense of urgency on the government's end and there have also been reports that the government was lying by telling residents that the water is fine, more so trying to tell residents to be quiet, it's all in their heads.

It is evident that Flint is a predominantly black city where many of its residents are also working class or poor. Making the Flint, Michigan water crisis an issue of not only race but also class inequality.

To make the Flint, Michigan water crisis solely about race would be an injustice. It is about more than that. As I stated earlier it is a matter of accountability, it is a matter of negligence, and it is a matter of an underlining financial crisis happening in Michigan that no one knew how to handle.

It should cause Americans to ask who is the person orchestrating my government and who is behind the policy that will ultimately affect me? Who do I go to when things are going amuck in my city? Who will be held accountable?



Hillary Stop Dabbing *sigh*

Oh Hillary. . .

If you do not know yet on January 11th Hillary Clinton went on the Ellen show once again and learned a new dance, the "dab."

The dab is done by predominantly black artists, actors, and athletes and can be seen being done on "Black Twitter" in the form of gifs or vines. Although, the dab has now become an internet craze and you can see individuals of all races and ethnicities doing the dab.

Let's be honest, the dab was done by black artists first and there's even an argument over who started the dabbing phenemonon within the black community, but that's beside the point at hand.

Hillary Clinton went onto the Ellen show and was taught the dab by one of the DJ's on the Ellen show who has not only had the "honor" of teaching Hillary the dab, but as well as the Whip and Nae Nae when Hillary appeared on the show previously.

The problem is not with Hillary learning to do the dab. Believe me, I have seen a lot of white people on twitter imitating as well as really committing themselves to doing the dab. The problem is this is a presidential candidate who instead of talking about substantial policy that would help the black community as more and more black men and women are dying at the hands of police officers or in custody, this presidential candidate is dabbing on national television.

The problem is that this is a presidential candidate who instead of talking about how black men now constitute nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million incarcerated population. (If you do not believe me here's the link taking you nice fine people to the statistics)

The problem is this is a presidential candidate who has not only been secretary of state, but also the spouse of Bill Clinton. A past president who's campaign focused not only on minority voters, but who also landed the presidency by 83% of black votes and a whooping 61% of hispanic votes (Statistics here)

The problem is this is a presidential candidate who is dabbing on national television on the heels of the Tamir Rice verdict. A case where a 12 year old black boy was shot outside of a recreation center because he was playing with a BB gun. A BB gun that most kids, especially boys, play with but yet in Tamir Rice's case it cost him is life because he is black and in White America black boys are seen as threats before they are ever seen as children.

The problem is this is a presidential candidate who feels that the only way she can connect with black voters is by doing a dance that people do for fun instead of talking about real life issues that affect us on a daily basis. This is not only about the influx of crime against black people since the Mike Brown case because that is not the only thing that affects us. It's the systematic oppression, the way in which white people keep us and our children in food deserts meaning we don't have access to healthy food choices and that probably comes from white people wanting us to die faster. It's the income disparities between blacks and whites that keep us in these neighborhoods not allowing us to move up in hopes of something better. And before someone says, "Oh here another black person goes blaming white people" it's not a matter of me, or black people blaming white people for our problems, it's a matter we know these problems exist and they have always existed, but most white people choose not to acknowledge them. It's okay to acknowledge when bad things have happened and to take accountability for them. Once accountability is taken these problems can be fixed because these problems can then be talked about.

Hillary Clinton is a presidential candidate that is campaigning in the hopes of being the face of the United States and making decisions regarding our country. Yet, if these are the decisions that she is making as a presidential candidate running for office I am not hopeful of what she will do if she is to win office.

But that's it I'm going with Bernie Sanders.