So yeah, I was trying to not even engage in this conversation, but I just got my 4th email from a colleague asking me/telling me I needed to listen to this song because it is so amazing.
Thursday night, Nakeeba Roots brought the song to my attention and honestly, when I saw the visual and the title, I really just didn’t have the energy to engage in the buffoonery.
But then, because I live for Damon Young and vsb.com, I read his commentary on the song.
Now, I read it before watching the video for myself.
I know. I know. I shouldn’t have. But that’s what I did.
Then on Saturday, Jay Cali and I went back and forth through text for hours before I finally relented and watched this video.
Jesus, take the damn wheel.
You know what disappoints me the most about this?
Well there is a long ass list and when we drop our podcast on Monday you will hear all of them. So I’ll just choose one thing.
Joyner Lucas wrote the lyrics for this song. He wrote it from the White man’s perspective and then from the Black man’s perspective and his White man’s perspective is STRONGER and DEEPER than the Black perspective. (Notice I didn’t say more truthful.)
Which means one thing to me:
Lucas’ inner White man has taken over his whole entire mind and he lives from this place of extreme self hate. His #GetOut is real.
I know. I know.
But come on yall. Did y’all read his lyrics?
Or did y’all do like Lucas did and NOT READ ANYTHING before he wrote this song?
I’m so embarrassed for him and by him and with all the teachers and artists who thinks this is revolutionary work.
This is the type of shit that scares me in doing this culturally responsive and relevant work. This song is relevant but sure ain’t responsive. It shows how much our children, teachers and parents don’t know.
I mean, I agree with Jay Cali, that they and Lucas know something is wrong. They may not know the words for it, or the causes of it but they can see it and they experience it and they can speak on it, thought not very articulately.
And you know what, that’s our fault. Our young people represent us and so if they’re ignorant, we are to be blamed.
Lucas’ song is ahistorical and ignores power dynamics. It is rooted only in the here and now and only in the internal and interpersonal struggle of every day life when you’re Black in America.
But that’s the trick.
For us to only stay stuck in this reality.
Nakeeba Roots and I discussed that in the 60s, in the 20s, and in every time we have ever had a concerted fight for our liberation, one of the first steps we took as a people was to LEARN, to read, to inquire, to study, to see not only with our eyes but with the eyes of our ancestors.
That is the the Sankofa lens; we must know the past in order to even understand the present and to gain our full liberation in the future.
I disagree vehemently with Jay Cali, when she said that boy didn’t need to read anything. Or that telling him to read was elitist. FOH, that boy needed to go read all the books before releasing that song. He could have at least watched some Youtube videos of the king of Hoteps Dr. Umar Johnson, he could have watched old Malcolm X videos. Shit, he could have listened to KRS-1 or David Banner. Did this child listen to 4:44? Has he ever heard of Kendrick Lamar or J. Cole?
His ignorance is on full tilt with this song.
He didn’t even try.
And as my girl Erin said, we have to question why this message, this message of reconciliation and hugging it out had to come from this Black boy. That White boy didn’t say anything about hugging it out or loving each other.
White Supremacy is real and Lucas Joyner and this song specifically, is the greatest example of it.
Let’s take a close read.
And let me tell you, I’m not gonna school anybody. I just want us to read the supposed Black Man’s response:
With all disrespect
I don’t really like you white motherfuckers, that’s just where I’m at
Screaming “All Lives Matter”
Is a protest to my protest, what kind of shit is that?
And that’s one war you’ll never win
The power in the word “Nigga” is a different sin
We shouldn’t say it but we do, and that just what it is
But that don’t mean that you can say it just ’cause you got nigga friends
Nigga, that word was originated for you to keep us under
And when we use it, we know that’s just how we greet each other
And when you use it, we know there’s a double meaning under
And even if I wasn’t picking cotton physically
That don’t mean I’m not affected by the history
My grand momma was a slave, that shit gets to me
And you ain’t got no motherfucking sympathy, you pussy nigga!
What is the power in the word Nigga? And for who? And what kind of power? And why shouldn’t “we” say it?
Wait, Lucas your GRAND MOTHER was a slave? Your Grand Mother? And it’s enslaved not slave but ok, I can hear Jay Cali calling me an elitist for that one.
And how exactly are you affected by the history of slavery? I mean just give us one way other than feeling a type of way.
And babe, you want sympathy? What does sympathy look like for you? Because what it looks like in our schools is White women teachers either hyper criminalizing Black and Brown children or celebrating them for being able to string a sentence together in the 9th grade, well because they have it so hard at home.
Sympathy hasn’t done anything for Africans in America.
I’m sorry you can never feel my life
Tryna have faith, but I never felt alright
It’s hard to elevate when this country’s ran by whites
Judging me by my skin color and my blackness
Tryna find a job but ain’t nobody call me back yet
Now I gotta sell drugs to put food in my cabinet
You crackers ain’t slick, this is all a part of your tactics
Don’t talk about no motherfucking taxes, when I ain’t making no dough
You think you know everything but you don’t
You wanna copy our slang and everything that we know
Tryna steal black culture and then make it your own, whoa
Fuck, I’m exhausted
I can’t even drive without the cops tryna start shit
Bruh, I’m exhausted.
So, ok, yes everything in this section is truthful and maybe it’s the historian in me, but give me something to bite into. What does this lead into…
I’m tired of the systematic racism bullshit
All you do is false shit, this the shit that I’m forced with
And you don’t know shit about my people, that’s what bothers you
Oh shit he’s about to hip him to our greatness.
You don’t know about no fried chicken and no barbeque
You don’t know about the two-step or no loose change
You don’t know about no 2 Chainz or no Kool-Aid, you don’t know!
And even though Barack was half as black
You hated president Obama, I know that’s a fact
You couldn’t wait to get him out and put a cracker back
And then you gave us Donald Trump and now it’s payback for that
I’m not racist, I never lied
You’re not a racist? I know. Do you know the meaning of racism?
What on God’s green earth? This is what you follow up the term systemic racism with?
But I know there’s a disconnect between your culture and mine
Yeah, I praise 2Pac like he was a fuckin’ god
He was fighting for his life way before he fuckin’ died, nigga, die nigga!
And all you care about is money and power
And being ugly and that’s the cracker within you
Hatred all in your brain, it slowly start to convince you
And then you teach it to your children until the cycle continue
Blame it on Puerto Rico, blame it on OJ
Blame it on everybody, except for your own race
Blame it on black niggas and blame it on black citizens
There’s a difference between Black niggas and Black Citizens, but you yourself use the word Niggas? I’m confused.
Aim at the black businesses, I ain’t saying I’m innocent
But, I might be any day now
I mean, could you have uttered the words White supremacy? That’s the cultural difference you’re talking about. But the thing is, you would have said those two words and then probably said something about forgiving them.
Treatin’ everybody how you want and any way how
I swear North Korea ’bout to bomb us any day now
And now I’m duckin’ everytime I hear a fuckin’ plane now, shit
You know I make a lot of sense but you just can’t admit it
Sense? Where is the sense in this nonsense?
When Eminem went against Trump, that was the illest
‘Cause even though he’s white, he let us know he standin’ with us
I’m not racist, but I cry a lot
You got me crying right now.
You don’t know what it’s like to be in a frying pot
You don’t know what it’s like to mind your business
And get stopped by the cops and not know if you ’bout to die or not
You worry ’bout your life, so you take mine
I love you but I fuckin’ hate you at the same time
I need you to tell me more about this. I need you to dig into this statement. What do you love and what do you hate?
So let me put on my bullet proof vest for this next comment.
I’m thinking that when your mother is White and your father is Black and you grow up in Worcester, Massachusetts you have a really dynamic childhood that would cement you in a very particular perspective about race relations.
That’s all I’m going to say.
Because I know, all of you knew that that wasn’t Lucas in the video.
This is Joyner Lucas.
One wonders why he wasn’t in his own video. And instead had the dark skinned Black man play the part of the Black man. Is he a rapper? #Don’t judge me for not knowing?
Joyner says the video represents “suppressed feelings that both parties have but are afraid to express.”
Ummmm, yeah. Joyner Lucas needs to READ. But let’s get back to his lyrics.
I wish we could trade shoes or we could change lives
So we could understand each other more but that’d take time
I’m not racist
It’s like we livin’ in the same buildin’ but splittin’ the both sides
I’m not racist
But there’s two sides to every story and now you know mine
Two sides of the story?
Hugging it out?
Baby, I need you to go to therapy and also go through the undoing racism workshops. I’ll pay for you to go.
This is a clear case of cognitive dissonance, with an ahistorical foundation and a total lack of research and systemic thinking.
Black people are not inferior.
White people are not superior.
Racism in not just internal and interpersonal.
But more than anything teachers, parents, adults, we gotta do better. Yes, let’s use this song as a teaching tool, but a tool of what not to do. You can’t come to a gun fight with Kool-Aid, Fried Chicken and Tupac blasting.
White Supremacy is REAL and we live in it. Which means we have to constantly be checking ourselves, our motives, our words, and our actions, to ensure that we are defeating it not feeding it.
And let me just say it, mixed race people, specifically Black and White individuals sit at an intersection that most of us, who are not mixed can never truly grasp and understand and hence the reasons why reading is fundamental.
Knowledge is power.
Knowledge of self is liberation.
Within that vein there are people who wrote better pieces about how dangerous this song and video and concept is: Read Them!
I’m tired because I’m surrounded by racists, White supremacists and those who perpetuate anti-Black rhetoric….in rap songs….titled…I’m not racist….and by teachers who think this ish is great versus seeing it as a learning tool that doesn’t meet the mark of excellence.
Thank goodness for Mysonne.
He gave me life.
REALLY listen to his lyrics.