4:44

Ummmmmmm, have you had this record on repeat all weekend?

What? You don’t have Tidal?

You’re ridiculous.

I stayed up until 12am on Friday to listen to the album. I really didn’t know what to expect from the album. I did wonder what a 47 year old Jay Z could rap about that would appeal to me, or to the youth or to the masses. I won’t lie. I kind of doubted him.

I mean Jay hasn’t dropped an album in years and in between that time, at least for me, you had artists like Kendrick, Cole, and Banner drop classic albums. You had Ross and Migos keeping it hot (Please understand I am not really putting Ross and Migos in the same category. I don’t think. Lol!)

So, like I said, I stayed up waiting for it to drop because I have had Tidal since Lemonade dropped. I mean why would I pay for other streaming services if I can pay for a Black owned streaming service?

The album drops and everything in me explodes and as Bae said, he did this one for the culture.

This album is so grown man and so vulnerable. I’m calling it the Iced Tea to Beyonce’s Lemonade.

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I’m sure I didn’t make that up and I read that in someone else’s review. But for real though, this album is in direct conversation with Lemonade and it gave me all the feels.

First of all, because Jay did it for the culture, we here at CREAD are gonna be talking about it ALL WEEK. Yeah, that kind of attention will be paid to this 10 track master piece. We’re dedicating this kind of time to it because it’s possible impact on the hearts and minds of Diasporic people, is that profound.

But what can this album teach a teacher?

Vulnerability and Truth.

Ok, ok, ok, wait I gotta say this. Lemonade spoke vulnerability and truth. That album is a grown woman album, much in the vein of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, much in the vein of any kind of music of an artist that decides to be honest, showing the really sensitive parts of themselves. For me, watching and listening to Lemonade opened me all the way up. Beyonce and Warsan Shire took grown ass womanhood to another level. And it is important for me to say this, because…well patriarchy. When a man does something vulnerable, it is life altering. The only problem is that a woman has probably done it before him and well, it was seen as only being done for women. But when men do it, it’s seen as being done for all of us. We all can relate and it’s somehow universally applicable. My conscious can’t let me complete this post without making sure you know, that I am clear, that Beyonce did it for the culture…first. Like Jay said, she matured faster than him.

Where was I?

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4:44 (and Lemonade) teaches teachers how to be vulnerable and truthful about life. I told you that a few weeks ago I was listening to Dr. Claud Anderson as he spoke about his book and theory Powernomics. Dr. Anderson explains that in order for Black folk to become empowered, we must gain control and exert power in key areas.

First we must practice group economics, aka explicitly and exclusively supporting Black business. Why don’t you have a Tidal account, really, if you say you about Black liberation AND you pay to stream music already? Once we got our money right and run businesses and institutions so that we can hire our own people, we must then practice group politics. We have to make sure that those in power work for us and money and politics go hand in hand. Next, we need to gain control and/or influence over the criminal justice system, the policies and practices that harm our community and then finally we must control the media, our media. We have to be able to influence the hearts and minds of our people.

And because I am a teacher at heart, this made me wonder, well what does that mean, for what we need to teach the youth?

Group economics.
Group politics.
Law.
How to examine and manipulate the media.

But most of all, we need to teach them the necessity of community building and the effects of generational trauma and how to turn that into generational wealth and generational legacy.

In order to do that we must teach them the following:

  • Understanding the ego and taming it. Not killing it, because the ego is there for a reason and as Africans in America we can’t get out of this despair without a healthy ego. (Kill Jay Z)
  • The difference between being an assimilationist and an anti-racist and that assimilation into white supremacy kills. It is a slow and painful death of your mind, body and soul.  (The Story of O.J.)
  • That there is only one version of themselves and that they are here for a purpose, that there is no mistake in them and who they are and that their multi-faceted identity is what we need in order for us to progress as a people. We have to teach them unconditional love of our people and ensure that no one has to live in the shadows. (Smile)
  • Trusting intuition and using discernment in all relationships personal and business. Understanding and activating their third eye in all situations. (Caught their eyes)
  • Being able to examine toxic masculinity in the Black male community and the anti relationship environment that has been created between Black  men and women. Being able to dissect how our culture encourages Black men to be hyper-sexual and anti-monogamy. Yep, I said it. (4:44)
  • There is no generational wealth and personal growth outside of family and community, love and loyalty. “Nobody wins when the family feuds.” (Family Feud)
  • Being able to suss out phonies along with understanding how money works and that it is a tool for liberation. Learning how to make moves in silence and when you need to, how to drop dead weight so that you can continue to rise. (Bam)
  • Being an innovator; Recognizing that just because something has never been done before doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Taking a chance on yourself before you put your faith in others and institutions that weren’t built for your success. (Moonlight)
  • Honoring your past, your beginnings, what you’ve learned from your youth instead of trying to deny your past and upbringing. (Marcy Me)
  • “Daddy, what’s a will?” There is no freedom without generational wealth. You can’t have generational wealth without family and none of this happens without a strong spiritual foundation. True freedom comes from the ways we discipline ourselves.(Legacy)

Now the problem in our schools is that we believe we’re only here to teach reading, writing and arithmetic and of course if we can impart some social skills and empathy then we have been successful. However, anything beyond those things, the child has to learn from their family.

And that’s sufficient for wypipo because they benefit from White supremacy in this country that has given them all the tools to maintain all the power.

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But it is wholly insufficient for Diasporic people. I argue that the descendants of the enslaved need a different kind of education then the descendants of the slave masters.

If you truly believe in education for liberation then you understand that our liberation will not come from the same institutions founded to keep us in bondage.

There will be no textbook or teacher rating system or new state exam that will guide us towards liberation.

This Summer, I ask you to immerse yourself in the music of the culture. I offer you these albums and ask you to pull out curriculum from the lyrics as we do.

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PS: Just wait for our gyal Nakeeba Roots to drop her album.

I sprinkled in a little old with the new and I could have added more but I’ll stop here. What I say these albums all have in common is a deep sense of truth and vulnerability, with the depth for which you must practice in your classrooms and in your relationships with students.

Without that deep truth and vulnerability, there is no education for liberation.

Like I said earlier, we will be digging into 4:44 for the jewels and tools and we expect that you will use them to help you plan for your OWN liberation so that you can effectively lead the youth in your charge.

Legacy. Legacy. Legacy. Legacy. Black Excellence baby, you gonna let them see.

In solidarity.

Posted in #4:44, #cultureiscapital, Community Building, Wounded Healers.

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