Tag Archives: black culture

Now I Do What I Want…or What They Want

Pop Culture is probably one of the most powerful forces that society has. Im not a fan of Jordans, never had a desire to own a pair and I can say that I’m not too invested in Russell Westbrook as a fan, but how come after watching this commercial, not only did i want these sneakers, I actively went online shopping to try an purchase them; it wasn’t until I actually stopped myself and thought about if I genuinely wanted them. I was astounded that a commercial took me this far to find the sneakers in my size and put them in a shopping cart, but when I look at the situation in hindsight, I can’t say Im surprised with my own behavior as a 20 year old influence heavily by pop culture. First of all, I love the song playing in the video, its call “Do What I Want” by one if my favorite rappers of all time, Lil Uzi Vert; secondly, everyone dancing in this video is doing  a dance move that hit the internet and went  viral, its called the Hit Dem Folk.  Once this dance move caught on it resulted in people all around the world posting on social media the Hit Dem Folks Challenge. Thirdly, the commercial is starring one of the biggest athletes in basketball at the moment, Westbrook has fan near and far, nationally and internationally, He’s appeared on the most popular magazine covers, biggest red carpet events and has over 4 million followers on Twitter.

These three aspect alone, a popular and current person in music along with a viral internet dance challenge, starring an incredibly relevant athlete were all things  familiar enough to me and influential enough nearly lead me to buy something I wasn’t even interested in purchasing and wouldn’t ever have purchased ordinarily; I didn’t even realize what the commercial was selling until the very end when it was about to go off and I saw “Westbrook .2” with the Air Jordan symbol on the screen. Its crazy how 60 seconds can completely change ones whole outlook on something they’re fairly certain about before seeing this commercial, i.e. my dislike for Jordan Basketball sneakers. I still might go out and by me a pair of the Westbrook .2’s and the world will keep spinning but if its that easy I think about how easy it is to influence people on purchasing things that mean more than a pair of sneakers. I ask myself, at what point does it change from a culture and a fad, to playing on the influence and persuasion of people and the manipulation of minds?

NMAAHC: Designed for Greatness

I have been to the National Museum of African American History and Culture twice now. I spent hours there each visit and I still haven’t gotten through the whole museum it seemed never ending. Just like African American culture….its never ending. The way the museum is set up for the viewers is to start on the bottom floor in the basement and work ones way all the way up to the top floor; being that there exhibits on every floor. Starting out theres an elevator that leads you the basement, the starting point of the museum. It was dark. It was so dark and quiet; it was eerie. The quietness….the silence was so telling; and ironically, it was in the part of the museum that no one likes to talk about,many people don’t like to acknowledge America’s treatment towards African American in the past and present. This was the ugly side, and the silence was deafening. It was so quiet on the basement level of the museum one could hear a pin drop. The walls were black and there was very little low lighting just enough to see the displays and enough to see in front of  and around one self. The basement floor of the museum broke my heart. Throughout parts of the exhibit you can hear voice recordings of different slave narratives of when slaves were being beaten and drug onto the slave ships from their home countries. I tried so hard to fight back tears walking through the exhibit so I could still enjoy the museum; the crazy part is, I knew a lot about this history and it still hurt me so deeply as if I was learning it for the first time.The thing I did appreciate most about this floor was that they did not start the exhibit with slavery because our history did not start with slavery; we’re more than slavery and the museum displayed that this is not and was not the being of my people. It started with maps and images  of the islands and the continent of Africa and regions of Latin America. Slavery definitely  wasn’t the end of our story and nor was it the beginning.

Original slave block where slaves stood during auctions

As we made our way up to the middle and upper floors we saw the successes and accomplishments by so many black Americans that contribute to our daily lives. So many black Americans are responsible for the technology, culture, styles, trends, products and structures that we know today. Even though I felt sorry and pain at times asking though the exhibit to whole time I can say that I felt pride, I am so proud of my people and I am so proud of my ancestors. I think its important for people to know that black people are strong, anyone living in America back then and today that is black, is incredibly strong.

Nat Turner’s Bible

More importantly, I want other people to know that along with our resilience we are a kind, loving, talented, intelligent, creative, daring, progressive, determined, and IMPORTANT. I think about the museum and I think about what were it to be like if nothing in that museum existed, if  everything in that museum vanished from American history.    America would have absolutely nothing. Nothing, zilch, nada. America would have absolutely nothing. This was highlighted in a major way on the top floor of the museum, all of the accomplishments, success and groundbreaking moments for African Americans in politics, pop culture, in the nation, filled top floor. I had such an overwhelming feeling of pride. At one point on the floor you end up in the center and the exhibit it literally surrounding you, see it here. This nation was built on the backs of black people, from our blood, sweat and tears, our sorrows and our joys.

Tupac Shakur’s Journal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In terms of design its only appropriate that we start from the basement work our way up ascending to the top floor; pointed directly towards the sky that houses Heaven, overseen by the God that made us, protects us, loves us and provides for us. The design of this entire museum, parallels the journey of black people in America. We’re ascending and continuously getting better, growing, achieving, succeeding and progressing in a nation that put us at the bottom, below ground level and expected us to stay there. I think Maya Angelou said it best, “You may write me down in history. With your bitter, twisted lies. You may trod me in the very dirt. But still, like dust, I’ll rise.”  The people that kidnapped us and forced us here tried to bury us, time after time; but what they didn’t realize was that they were burying a seed. We’re still rising.