Blackface 101 by Nova Giovanni

blackface

Historically, blackface emerged in the mid-19th century, representing a combination of put-down, fear and morbid fascination with black culture. -TheGrio.com

“For those of us who were never told this history, never paid attention to this history, or totally missed the enormity of it all.”

In this fall season, with Halloween here and gone, we have seen a reemergence of an old concept… blackface. Julianna Hough (I had no idea who she was before) donned it, in a feeble attempt to recreate herself as a Black character from a hit television series. I’ve seen a group of young White men wear blackface dressed as their favorite rappers, then later say they didn’t mean any harm by it, which may be true. More appalling, people even wore blackface this year saying they were Trayvon Martin, a slain Black teen from Florida.

A lot of people in 2013 are offended by blackface without knowing the history behind it, and that is okay and understandable. Perhaps some are wearing blackface without knowing the hurt behind it, and that is understandable but not okay.

Black face wasn’t only disrespectful because of its blatant misrepresentation while attempting to portray Black people,but it boldly said, “we want to have black people as characters, but no black actor is competent enough to play the limited roles asked of them in film.”

The blackface roles in film portrayed Blacks as simple-minded, barbaric, less than human, among other deplorable things. Blair L.M. Kelley wrote on TheGrio.com:

Minstrel shows became hugely popular in the 1840s exposing white audiences in the North with their first exposure to any depiction of black life. They would often feature a broad cast of characters; from Zip Coon, the educated free black man who pronounced everything incorrectly, to Mammy, a fat, black faithful slave who was really just obviously played by a man in a dress. Black children were depicted as unkempt and ill raised pickaninnies. The running joke about pickaninnies was that they were disposable; they were easily killed because of their stupidity and the lack of parental supervision.

Minstrelsy desensitized Americans to horrors of chattel slavery. These performances were object lessons about the harmlessness of southern slavery. By encouraging audiences to laugh, they showed bondage as an appropriate answer for the lazy, ignorant slave. Why worry about the abolition of slavery when black life looked so fun, silly, and carefree? Even the violence of enslavement just became part of the joke.

Now, my question to the people who wear it without seeing the harm in it is, DO YOU STILL THINK IT’S A JOKE?!?!

-Nova Giovanni

www.NovaGiovanni.com

Thinking Out Loud, the book, December 6, 2013.

 

Advertisements

I Love Myself Too Much To Hate You by Nova Giovanni

<!–
grudgefist

I used to hold grudges. I’d like to think we all hold grudges from time to time. Maybe we all don’t and just me and those who continue to read this hold grudges. Either way this is for us.

Nowadays, I try my best not to hold grudges with anyone. I’m not saying there aren’t a few people I don’t still feel hate for to this day, I just mean I don’t hold a grudge to the point that I exert my energy in “getting even.” You see, the best you can show someone is love, worse is hate, but the VERY WORST is indifference. Love says “I care for you and want the best for you.” Hate says, “I don’t like you and let me show you I don’t like you.” However, indifference says, “I don’t like you so much that I don’t even value you enough to waste my time showing you how much I don’t like you.”

You see, when you hold a grudge openly with some people (especially people not used to attention), they can interpret you showing your dislike toward them as some sort of rivalry or it may give them the idea they are somehow worthy of something they may not be worthy of.

Forgiveness is freedom, but sometimes forgiveness isn’t realistic. In some cases forgetfulness is freedom also. Ignore and forget some people until you are free.

A Native American wisdom story tells of an old Cherokee who is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil–he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is good–he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The fight is going on inside of you–and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?” The old Cherokee replied, “The one that you feed.”

Peace.

Nova Giovanni

www.NovaGiovanni.com

The book, Thinking Out Loud, soon come.

Guns Don’t Kill Black Boys. Hate Does. : Why Gun Reform Won’t Help The Hood.

Image

by Nova Giovanni

Caution: I will use the word “hate” a lot. Reader discretion is advised.

Guns don’t kill Black boys. Hate kills Black boys, whether through police violence murdering innocent Black youth or Black youth killing each other. It is all hate. Hate causing an environment of prejudices which justifies police and non-Blacks taking authority into their own hands killing our young brothers because they are seen as disposable. Hate causing our young brothers to kill each other because they don’t value themselves or their futures. What will gun control do to fix that? Not a thing. If there were no guns, hate will pick up a knife and kill. Hate will throw each other off of balconies. Hate will suffocate, poison, sabotoge, or kill through vehicular homicide. It isn’t the tools that are to blame, it is the person that minds need to be changed so they don’t feel a want or need to kill. Besides, gun reform would only control those already looking to buy guns in a legal way. How many 16 year old shooters in the hood bought their gun legally? It won’t even keep guns out of the hoods, some of these guns are just as old as the people shooting them. Instead of getting rid of the guns, let’s get rid of the inclination to want to even use those guns.

We need to work on our culture and create an environment of love and self-control. If a 17 year old runs into the streets of a “rival neighborhood” and shoots at other young Black men, that isn’t just murder (or attempted murder), it is assisted suicide. It is assisted suicide because by committing that action he is also showing he doesn’t care about his own life or future and he is willing to deal with the consequences of his reckless actions. Self hate will have you less patient with those who resemble you, it will have you doing drugs and poisoning your body, self hate will have you kill. Self love will have you more patient with those who resemble you, it will make you take care of your body better, it will have you preparing for your future. We create self love by valuing ourselves. We value ourselves by knowing ourselves. We know ourselves by knowing our history and our capabilities. After knowing our history and capabilities, we create higher expectations for ourselves. With self love, value, knowledge of self, and high expectations, the things we can achieve are endless.

Guns Don’t Kill Black Boys. Hate Kills Black Boys.

I Love You.

Nova Giovanni

www.NovaGiovanni.com

What are your thoughts?

If you’d like to share this on YOUR site, feel free to (please share in it’s entirety and give credit back to NovaGiovanni.com)

Do We Hate Ourselves?! by Nova Giovanni

tapedevil

I was driving through West Philadelphia last week listening to a song promoting drug use, rape culture, and random acts of violence. Which song? I can’t remember the title of it, but I’m sure you can think of at least a thousand rap songs that fit the description and use it in place of the example I have given. It was a perfect 72 degrees out, so I rolled down my windows, and turned the music up like I’ve done a hundred times in the past. However, this time was different. I actually LISTENED to the lyrics and felt irresponsible and enabling by projecting this message on others by turning up the volume. This is in no way an assault on rap music, I have been listening to it since I can remember. I know rap has provided a lot of opportunities and jobs to people who wouldn’t have had it if it wasn’t for the music genre. Furthermore, I know the message in these songs are only an outward manifestation of what is happening inside of the artists and/or the success it garners reflects the mindsets of the people liking and buying it.

There are all types of rap music, but which is most popular and why? It is the rap music promoting drug use, rape culture, random acts of violence, and everything else detestable to the tune of a catchy hook and nice instrumental. Some will give a conspiracy theory like, “that is all the White man signs record deals for and promotes.” Even if that claim is the case (which I’m not debating or supporting), there is no denying that it is popular. Why would such filth be so popular unless we are in a way filthy ourselves? When we really think about it with an analytical mind, we may see things differently than before. Don’t you find it kind of uncivilized to go to a nightclub and dance to music and have “a good time” to music telling us to kill ourselves and each other? DO WE HATE OURSELVES?! Of course we don’t (I hope we don’t), but our actions sometimes say otherwise. I’m not saying we should stop listening to this type of music, but with a new way of thinking comes a new way of walking. Hopefully, we can put (or keep) this kind of entertainment where it belongs and see it for what it is – entertainment. We should allow no rapper or entertainer spewing self-defeating rhymes provide us with a melodic blueprint for how to live righteously or right. Nova Knows.

We have to see the bigger picture when looking at smaller issues. I won’t make this a long and detailed post by going into detail about why and how self-defeating behavior and self-hatred is promoted and popular among us (see video below). However, let us look at what purpose it serves. When we use drugs, kill each other, and demean women, someone gets paid in some way. Whether it is the drug dealers (not talking the young man you see on the corner, but the millionaire businessman with the boats and connections), the criminal justice system (police, lawyers, judges, correctional officers, etc.), and so on and so forth. Enslaving our minds has proven to be just as profitable as enslaving our bodies.

We are only free in this country to do the wrong things. We say freedom is being able to do what we want to do-but ask yourself – What makes you want to do a thing? Your wants and desires have been induced. What we want and desire maintain the system of domination and destroy us as a people. Our problems, behavior etc. have a political and economic function. – Dr. Amos N. Wilson

Peace.

Nova Giovanni

http://www.NovaGiovanni.com

The Quiet Genocide in Inner City Communities by Nova Giovanni

From the free Ebook, “The MisEdukation of the Nigga”

story by Nova Giovanni

Hello, loyal reader. I’m here with some Ramen Noodle Soup for the Soul. The topic at hand is the genocide going on around us. By definition, genocide is: The deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation. There is no need to ask whether genocide is happening in our American inner cities; it is quite evident. A more relevant question is: are these genocides being facilitated by a force INSIDE or OUTSIDE of the community? The simple answer is: BOTH. It is easy to play the blame game. However, let us remember that when we point our finger; at least three fingers are pointing back at ourselves.

First of all, the prevalence of alcohol and drug use in inner city communities is rampant. Visit any area dubbed as “The Hood” in America, look for a library, and count how many liquor stores you pass before arriving there. Instead of sharpening our minds, we are nearly force-fed intoxicants to pacify us and cloud our judgment. As a direct result, a hectic environment with a heightened crime rate is created. As far as drugs are concerned, there is no way to justify selling poison. However, a common myth is all drug dealers sell these poisons to live a glamorous life. In reality, this is hardly the case. There are many people selling drugs, but not many living a luxurious lifestyle. Perhaps, selling drugs is appealing to those seeking employment and can’t fathom another way of providing for their family. It is easy to look at a tree, criticizing the worn leaves and deformed branches. Just remember, every tree has a root. In reality, more gainful employment would eliminate the perceived need in many people to sell drugs. If you go days without feeding your dog, can you REALLY blame it for tearing open the trash and eating it?

“The instinct to survive is human nature itself, and every aspect of our personalities derives from it.” -Robert A. Heinlin

Another problem plaguing inner cities is bad health. The combination of sexual promiscuity, poor diets, and other factors are turning our communities into a breeding ground for disease from the youngest to the oldest. Sexually transmitted diseases, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes are bigger threats to our personal freedom than foreign terrorism ever has been. Easily accessible and unhealthy fast food establishments is only ushering us to our graves. In addition, the traditional diet we call “soul food” is killing us. Perhaps, it is called “soul food” because it sends us to our creator faster. Furthermore, a majority of people living in these neighborhoods don’t have health insurance. As a result they usually don’t seek medical help for their ailments until their illness is severe and oftentimes the damage is irreversible. Last but not least, another factor in this genocide, be it metaphorically or literally, is the so-called “War on Drugs.” I am far from being a conspiracy theorist, but it is evident that this “war” is also used an excuse to profile and arrest those in our impoverished communities. Consequently, young men are arrested, and become modern-day slaves in a scheme of prison industrialism. For example, Powhatan Correctional Center has a silkscreen, a print shop, and a license plate tag shop. To narrow it down, Powhatan Correctional Center makes ALL of the license plates for the state of Virginia at a rate of around one every 20 seconds. The last time I bought license plates for a new vehicle, it cost me 140 dollars. The inmates working in these tag shops (there are usually around fifty in the shop at a time) only to get a maximum of forty cents an hour. I’m sure we’re all familiar with the rumor that it costs an extreme amount of money to house inmates. That is merely propaganda. Prison is a very lucrative industry with a minimum annual profit of two billion dollars. Television lies, newspapers lie, but numbers don’t. In conclusion, there are many more facets to the genocide in our communities.

Anyone can talk about the problems, it is time to present solutions. I, Nova Giovanni, believe that one of the best ways to change things from the inside out is through education. Becoming formally educated and taking it upon ourselves to learn our own history would improve. Achieving higher education can help us become better established, eventually creating our own jobs and business; thus, employing others. Through self-education and researching the history of our respective cultures, it will definitely fill us with an added sense of pride. Me being African-American, after learning things most schools never teach us about our culture; I started carrying myself with more esteem. I learned Africans built some of the most grandiose and advanced civilizations, and my history didn’t begin with slavery as public schools would have us assume. Regardless of your ethnicity, I’m sure if you research it you’d be surprised to see what you find. After all, the higher we think of ourselves, the better we’ll treat ourselves and allow others to treat us. It’s messed up where they’ve got us. It’s even more messed up where we keep ourselves.

I Love You,

Nova Giovanni

What do YOU think about this article and what do you believe ways to improve the conditions in the inner-city? I’d love to hear them. Email me at NovaSpeaks@gmail.com

The Quiet Genocide in Inner City Communities by Nova Giovanni

From the free Ebook, “The MisEdukation of the Nigga”

story by Nova Giovanni

Hello, loyal reader. I’m here with some Ramen Noodle Soup for the Soul. The topic at hand is the genocide going on around us. By definition, genocide is: The deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation. There is no need to ask whether genocide is happening in our American inner cities; it is quite evident. A more relevant question is: are these genocides being facilitated by a force INSIDE or OUTSIDE of the community? The simple answer is: BOTH. It is easy to play the blame game. However, let us remember that when we point our finger; at least three fingers are pointing back at ourselves.

First of all, the prevalence of alcohol and drug use in inner city communities is rampant. Visit any area dubbed as “The Hood” in America, look for a library, and count how many liquor stores you pass before arriving there. Instead of sharpening our minds, we are nearly force-fed intoxicants to pacify us and cloud our judgment. As a direct result, a hectic environment with a heightened crime rate is created. As far as drugs are concerned, there is no way to justify selling poison. However, a common myth is all drug dealers sell these poisons to live a glamorous life. In reality, this is hardly the case. There are many people selling drugs, but not many living a luxurious lifestyle. Perhaps, selling drugs is appealing to those seeking employment and can’t fathom another way of providing for their family. It is easy to look at a tree, criticizing the worn leaves and deformed branches. Just remember, every tree has a root. In reality, more gainful employment would eliminate the perceived need in many people to sell drugs. If you go days without feeding your dog, can you REALLY blame it for tearing open the trash and eating it?

“The instinct to survive is human nature itself, and every aspect of our personalities derives from it.” -Robert A. Heinlin

Another problem plaguing inner cities is bad health. The combination of sexual promiscuity, poor diets, and other factors are turning our communities into a breeding ground for disease from the youngest to the oldest. Sexually transmitted diseases, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes are bigger threats to our personal freedom than foreign terrorism ever has been. Easily accessible and unhealthy fast food establishments is only ushering us to our graves. In addition, the traditional diet we call “soul food” is killing us. Perhaps, it is called “soul food” because it sends us to our creator faster. Furthermore, a majority of people living in these neighborhoods don’t have health insurance. As a result they usually don’t seek medical help for their ailments until their illness is severe and oftentimes the damage is irreversible. Last but not least, another factor in this genocide, be it metaphorically or literally, is the so-called “War on Drugs.” I am far from being a conspiracy theorist, but it is evident that this “war” is also used an excuse to profile and arrest those in our impoverished communities. Consequently, young men are arrested, and become modern-day slaves in a scheme of prison industrialism. For example, Powhatan Correctional Center has a silkscreen, a print shop, and a license plate tag shop. To narrow it down, Powhatan Correctional Center makes ALL of the license plates for the state of Virginia at a rate of around one every 20 seconds. The last time I bought license plates for a new vehicle, it cost me 140 dollars. The inmates working in these tag shops (there are usually around fifty in the shop at a time) only to get a maximum of forty cents an hour. I’m sure we’re all familiar with the rumor that it costs an extreme amount of money to house inmates. That is merely propaganda. Prison is a very lucrative industry with a minimum annual profit of two billion dollars. Television lies, newspapers lie, but numbers don’t. In conclusion, there are many more facets to the genocide in our communities.

Anyone can talk about the problems, it is time to present solutions. I, Nova Giovanni, believe that one of the best ways to change things from the inside out is through education. Becoming formally educated and taking it upon ourselves to learn our own history would improve. Achieving higher education can help us become better established, eventually creating our own jobs and business; thus, employing others. Through self-education and researching the history of our respective cultures, it will definitely fill us with an added sense of pride. Me being African-American, after learning things most schools never teach us about our culture; I started carrying myself with more esteem. I learned Africans built some of the most grandiose and advanced civilizations, and my history didn’t begin with slavery as public schools would have us assume. Regardless of your ethnicity, I’m sure if you research it you’d be surprised to see what you find. After all, the higher we think of ourselves, the better we’ll treat ourselves and allow others to treat us. It’s messed up where they’ve got us. It’s even more messed up where we keep ourselves.

I Love You,

Nova Giovanni

What do YOU think about this article and what do you believe ways to improve the conditions in the inner-city? I’d love to hear them. Email me at NovaSpeaks@gmail.com

“Be Realistic” by @NovaGiovanni & @Al_Patron

Nova Giovanni:

Hello, loyal reader. By popular demand – I’m back with my brother, Al Patron. The topic at hand is REALITY Are you dealing with reality or this dream world you’ve created? They say “perception is reality”, so what do you perceive? Furthermore, are you deceiving yourself? Lets delve further into this. Have you lied to yourself and others so much that you now believe your own lies? Countless times, I log onto the internet and see men insulting women that in reality they would never have a chance at even hugging. Instead of insulting these women with more going for themselves than all of the women you’ve ever dated combined, how about you use that time to progress yourself? How about you enroll in school, get a job, or at least watch some educational YouTube videos? Move out of your mother’s home, get some assets, and maybe THEN you won’t be limited to dating girls fresh out of high school. No matter how achieved you feel about degrading people half a country away online, just remember – you’re still the same loser when you log off that you was when you logged on. Talking bad about people you don’t know says more about you than it says about THEM… Nova Knows…

Al Patron:

I’m all for being inspired, motivated & in turn sharing said inspirations to motivate others BUT fuck your dreams, this is reality. I usually don’t give a shit what other people say or do but when it begins to have an adverse effect on me, then we must address the issue. What I need you all to go ahead & do is be more realistic. For example, dudes are so often inclined to say “I’d fuck the shit out of that Halle Berry bitch”. Who said she had any designs of letting you “fuck the shit out..” of her? Why is she a bitch again? I’m pretty sure “That’s not gonna get you that ass” like the legendary Calvin from Paid in Full would say. This is advice, not to be confused with criticism or ridicule because I really could care less but understand the difference between careless & care less. The lack of tact shown by some aka careless effort reflects on the brand known as man. See some females can’t unblur that line between a man & a male of age & they confuse us all for boys. Cut down on the delusions of grandeur & start doing simple math. If you’re at a party, instead of shooting for the stars & hitting nothing but sky, be realistic. 300 females in a party, you should be able to go 3 for 300. That’s 1%. Leave the women to the men who they deserve & be happy with what you can get. This is NOT a form of settling, it’s a form of curbing your lofty expectations & having you not settle for a lonely night.

Nova Giovanni:

Great points, Al. Furthermore, whats going on with these aspiring musicians who love talking about how much better they are than other musicians in the position THEY want to be in. These people usually say things like, “Maaan, Wiz Khalifa is wack! His bars are so simple, he just knows how to ride a beat!”… Aye, fool! Shut yo wack ass up! Those beats are worth more than your annual salary, and besides – he’s FUCKING AMBER ROSE!!! Instead of talking down on the people doing better than you in an area you aspire to be in – how about you study and learn HOW they got into that position? I bet you they spent their time working on their craft and not insulting someone else’s art. I bet they spent time building relationships with those in a position to help them and not sending them hate tweets. What if one day you DO put out music worthwile of listening to and it reaches those same people you’ve been harrassing. Are you prepared to hear, “You have talent, but your name looks familiar. Oh yeah, you spent all that time sending me bullshit online. Fuck you, miserable muhfucka!!!” You’re destined to be in your mother’s basement forever & the only thing you’ll have to look forward to is sneaker release dates. Oh well. YOU GOT THEM FOAMS, THOUGH!!!

Al Patron:

Being “on the grind” consists of way more than tweeting links to a bunch of music no one past your block will listen to. Nobody cares that you’re “in the stu makin hits” you know why nobody cares? Because you’re not. Let me guess, “I do it for my my community cuz at the end of the day, they all I got”. No one wants to hear that bullshit. Christopher Wallace said it best, “Don’t be mad UPS is hiring” because all while you’re pursuing your “lifelong dreams” Con Edison is on your ass & you’re about to be in the dark with nothing but incense & candles for lighting. I want you all to be great & giving us 3 minutes & 20 seconds of audio nonsense, ok? Got it? Some of you probably could care less what I have to say about this & that’s fine but let’s do some more simple math. How many players are on NBA rosters? For example, there are 30 teams & 15 players to a team, that’s 450 human beings that get paid to play basketball in the biggest pro league in North America. Now think about how many human beings play basketball around the world? I’ll just presume the number is upwards of 15 million. Let’s look at this dynamic for a second. 450 players in the NBA, 15,000,000 human beings who play basketball in the world. That’s 14,999,550 humans that aren’t in the NBA. Be realistic, the numbers aren’t in your favor. Allen Iverson isn’t in the NBA right now, think about this the next time you want to go “spit 16 of fire” on a track that maybe only 30 people will listen to past the 1:00 minute mark. Contrary to popular belief, it is perfectly legal to earn an honest living outside of rap, sports & drugs. “Grinding” is whatever you make it to be, whether it be UPS, FedEx, CVS or being a chef. Always remember, to be Antoine Walker then, you have to be Antoine Walker now. Be realistic.

-Nova Giovanni & Al Patron 

http://www.NovaGiovanni.com