Misrepresentation

I know we are all still on a high from The Black Panther movie. It’s a great film. While we are in this space–this feeling of pride and empowerment– I’d like those who choose to do so to not let something else go over our heads. If you think about it, it is easy to miss. There’s so much happening around Black Panther, no one has said anything about the misrepresentation of ourselves (Blacks) happening right before our eyes. The misrepresentation I am referring to is The Samson Movie.

If you don’t believe in the bible you may exit now. I don’t expect this to have any significance to you. If you believe in the bible however then there is one thing we must realize about two things that have taken place before our eyes, overshadowed by the excitement surrounding Wakanda and T’Challa.

Both Samson and Nefertiti have been misrepresented. They have both been portrayed as Europeans when this is not the case.

(See my thoughts on Nefertiti Here.)

On February 16, 2018, The Samson movie came out. I don’t believe in coincidences so it’s no coincidence to me that this movie came out on the same day that Panther came out. Naturally, Black people will be excited about seeing themselves represented, for once, on screen. Naturally, we would support Black Panther over The Samson Movie. Naturally, we are tired of seeing white heroes. Naturally, we would miss this. I am asking you not to miss it. I am asking you to pay attention. Now, I am not asking you to go see Samson. Do not misunderstand me. I am asking you to realize that Samson was one of our heroes and he is being misrepresented in this movie. I am saying that Wakanda has got Blacks searching and talking about identity for once, which is great. Interestingly enough, Samson is our identity. The Israelites were black. The Philistines were black. The Egyptians were black.

As we are being represented in Black Panther, we are being misrepresented in Samson. Showing Israelites and Egyptians as Europeans is disrespectful. Do not lose sight of this. It is not a small matter. Samson was a very powerful man, a superhero with great strength. Black Panther is a great film with powerful symbolism and messages (that I hope to address soon. In the meantime, see my recent post on 6 Reasons Black Panther is Popular (and it’s not even out yet) I wrote before the movie released.) In short, Samson’s portrayal as a white man is just as offensive to me as Nefertiti being portrayed as a white woman and no one’s talking about it.

Characteristics of a Proverb 31 Woman

Proverbs 31:10-31

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Who does find a capable wife? For she is worth far more than rubies.

= Capable, Precious, Rare 

The heart of her husband shall trust her, and he has no lack of gain.

She shall do him good, and not evil, all the days of her life.

= Kind, Trustworthy

She shall seek wool and flax, and with delight she works with her hands.

= Works Joyfully

She shall be as the ships of Tarshish, she brings in her food from afar.

= Goes the Extra Mile

She also rises while it is still night, and provides food for her household, and portions for her girls.

= Disciplined

She shall consider a field and buy it; from her profits she shall plant a vineyard.

= Enterprising, Sensible, Prudent w/ money

She shall gird herself with strength, and strengthen her arms.

= Energetic

She shall taste when her gain is good; Her lamp does not go out by night.

= Good Steward

She shall stretch out her hands to the distaff, and her hand shall hold the spindle.

= Diligent, Attentive

She shall extend her hand to the poor, and she shall reach out her hands to the needy.

= Generous, Compassionate

She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household is dressed in scarlet.

= Provident

She shall make tapestry for herself; she is dressed in fine linen and purple.

= Elegant

Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land.

= Influential

She shall make fine linen and sell them, and shall give girdles for the merchants.

= Industrial, Hardworking

Strength and splendour are her garments, and she rejoices in time to come.

= Poised, Balanced

She shall open her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.

= Wise

She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.

= Manages Her Home

Her children shall rise up and call her blessed; her husband too, and he praises her.

= Praiseworthy

Many daughters have done nobly, but you have risen over them all.

= Distinguished

Loveliness is deceptive and prettiness is vain, a woman who fears Yah is to be praised.

= Yah Fearing

Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.

= Honorable

The Bible and Black History

4b97bb3247922b8da36c3838cca7ffdbSpeaking of Black History month, one of the primary concerns I hear among African Americans about the bible is: “Where am I?” With movies like Noah, Exodus Gods and Kings, and The Ten Commandments it is difficult for most black people to have faith in a book that rarely include them. In fact, many of them have been told that the bible is a white man’s book (which is not just insulting to black people but other nations as well). For centuries we’ve been taught that we’re non existent in this book or that we have small rather than significant contributions. But is this true? Were there any black people in the bible at all?

Fun Facts:

  • Location of The Garden of Eden:
    Pishon surrounding Hawilah > East Africa
    Gihon, surrounding Kush > Southern Egypt
    Hideqel, East of Assyria, Euphrates
A skull of Mitochondrial Eve was discovered, and through digitally reconstructing her features, this image was constructed.
A skull of Mitochondrial Eve was discovered, and through digitally
reconstructing her features, this image was constructed.

The Garden of Eden stretched from East Africa to the Euphrates River

  • Ham: Means Burnt Black
  • Moses, the Israelite, passes as the Grandson of the black, Egyptian, pharaoh for 40 years – Acts 7:22-23 (This means that he had to look just like him)
  • Kush > Ham’s first born son. Traced back to the Ethiopians and Nubians
  • Moses Hand Turns White – Conveniently left out of every 10 commandment movie is the second miracle. The one where Moses puts his hand in his bosom and it comes out white as snow. Wouldn’t be much of a miracle if it was already white- Ex. 4:1-7

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  • Paul mistaken for a black Egyptian – Acts 21:37-38
  • The Kushites lived south of Egypt in what is called the Sudan today.
  • The Israelites with dred locs: Numb. 6:5, Ezk 8:3, Samson, etc
  • The messiah’s feet compared to burnt brass, hair like wool – Rev. 1:14-15
  • Ethiopian comes from the Greek word Atheops meaning burnt face
  • Joseph looked like the Egyptians – Gen. 42:7-8
  • Egypt: Ham’s second born son < Blood brothers to the Ethiopians
  • Ethiopian > Burnt Face
  • Egypt > Burnt Black
  • Phut: The Somalians – According to the ancient record of Egypt, Phut has been traced back to the Somalians
  • Shem: Means Name
  • Elymites – Descendants of Shem, black men with Afros and full Beards

Black History Fun Fact Friday – Negro Spirituals

Welcome Back to Black History Fun Fact Friday. Today we’re talking about Negro Spirituals.

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“Go down Moses
Way down in Egypt’s land
Tell ole
Pharaoh
To let my people go!”

Negro Spiritual front 1638When you take someone and make them a slave, the first thing you must do is take away their identity. Starting with the removal of the name, you take away all traces of their former selves. You do not just remove a people from their environment, but you remove those things that influence that environment. The slave must have no connection to his former self least he realize he is a slave. If the slave realizes he is a slave, you will have a hard time keeping him in a perpetual state of captivity.

maxresdefaultDuring slavery in the United States, there were systematic efforts to strip the identity of the captive. As such slaves were forbidden from speaking their native tongue and generally converted to Christianity. When the so-called African was taken from the West coast of Africa, it was not a simple transition of country, to ship, to land, but he had to undergo an entire initiation process before stepping foot on the plantations of America. His name, being the most important, was taken from him, his way of life stripped from him, and his history book taken from him. In turn he was given the religion of his slave masters, and his new name reflected the name of their gods. He was made into a Negro.

Being unlawful for the Negro to read and to write, the Negro Spiritual becomes an intriguing study of its own. How did a people who were not allowed to read the bible sing songs with such deep spiritual concepts?

pickingcottonThe words of the earliest known Negro spirituals are taken directly from biblical scripture, are very much poetic, and can be considered in the truest form the literal Spoken Word. The passion in which these songs were sung most certainly adds to the rhythm, texture, melody, tempo, variation, and emotional depth of words. So much so that we must understand that the power in which these songs were sung did not come from a people who made stuff up along the cotton filled aisles of Mississippi and Alabama. These songs were sung with such power because of a people who lived them.

Wade in the Water
Wade in the Water children
Wade in the Water…
See that band all dressed in white….
The leader looks like that Israelite…
See the band all dressed in red…
Looks like the band that Moses led…

MosesIf one was to study the Physical Appearance of the ancient Israelites one will see that they were a dark skinned people. Moses, Abraham, The Prophets and even the Messiah, would have looked like your typical Negro had they walked the earth today. Wade in the Water is a very revealing song, and for this reason it has been revised over and over again. But the original song is a very revealing one. It even compares the captivity of the Israelites to the Captivity of the African who has been brought to a new Egypt, only this time in ships.

runaway-slaves-on-underground-railroadBut the Negro Spiritual did more than reveal factual information that talked about the Old Testament; it was also a way of communication for the slaves who could not otherwise communicate under normal circumstances. Wade in the water was one of those songs that gave hint to the runaway to go into the water when he is being chased. He goes into the water because the dogs will lose track of his scent. Therefore, if he is being hunted down he is being told to “Wade in the Water”.

The same is true for “Swing Low Sweet Chariot”, which was also a song of dual meaning:

“I looked over Jordan,
And what did I see,
Comin for to carry me home
A band of angels comin after me
Coming for to carry me home
Swing low, sweet chariot,
Comin forth to carry me home;
Swing low, sweet chariot,
Comin forth to carry me home

Swing Low Sweet Chariot is a very powerful song. It is not a song about dying and going neither to heaven, but this song could only be sung by people who knew what they were talking about, and who had great biblical understanding. In brief, we see that it echoes the lyric of Revelations which talks about the New Jerusalem coming down like a bride adorned for her husband (‘looked over Jordan’ what’s over Jordan? Israel is over Jordan) and about the messiah coming down with his bands of angels in a chariot.

On the other hand, Swing Low was also a song about The Underground Railroad. Swing low, Sweet Chariot also refers to Ripley, a “station” of the underground railroad where fugitive slaves were welcomed. But this town was on a hill by Ohio River, which is not easy to cross. So, to teach this place, fugitives had to wait for help coming from the hill. “Swing low, sweet chariot.

“Halleluyah I’m a travelin

Halleluyah ain’t it fine?

Halleluyah I’m a travelin

down freedom’s main line”

– 1961 Freedom Song

Negro Spirituals did not stop at slavery, but for every movement of African American people, each was followed by a certain cultural theme. The times did not change without a change in tune, in clothing, in hair style, and in thought. From the plantations of chattel slavery to Jim Crow and Civil Rights, to Black Power and Revolution, every movement we have been or are a part of, has had its own unique sound that taught you something about the state of Black people during that time, about the movement and even how to move. Our music is therefore in a sense always an extension of The Negro Spiritual.

Thank you for stopping by for this week’s episode of Black History Fun Fact Friday. Here is last week’s episode in case you missed it:

Convict Leasing

I Understand

BlackJesus

As if I had not awakened
from a slumber of lies
baptized in tradition’s rebellion
As if I had not been unplugged
From the matrix of deception intoxicated by the signs of the times
I finally understand
As if you had not left prophecies etched on the calcium of my bones
Like you didn’t leave your footprints in the sand drenched blood
dripping from the curse of our ancestors lips
Like you didn’t carve your every scripture into my very skin
like a big brothers reminder that there is always a rainbow above our father’s head
And above your sister’s head
When it rains
I understand now
You see Endurance
the prominence
comes like a splashing dose of faith
like a car accident that knocks me off my feet
and kills me
I get it
18 years later
The irony
Of life and death
finds itself a home in this house of poetry
scattered somewhere across Yahoshua’s piercing skin and these broken bones
for this I know
somewhere between the compassion of Moses intercession, the call of John’s cry
to the forgiveness of my wretched sins
They mock you more than they did back then
today
Though you chose to wear the bravery of our lustful scars upon your skin
Your narrations written a thousand times greater than the stars
that your faith taught us never to put our trust in
cause milky ways never shed its blood for us
I swear
Of all the times I daydreamed in childhood
I never saw chocolate fall like snowflakes of obedience hammered to nails
Cause Cocoa beans never gave itself for me
But your salvation’s never been a fairytale
But they mock you now
As they did back then
And sell your story for gold encrusted tithes
they don’t know why
or what it’s like for a father to give birth to a son
For salvation to give birth to the sun
You are a millions times braver
Than the best solider and your skin shines brighter
Than the sympathy beating inside the chest of broken legs and wounded body parts
You are far braver than one trillion purple hearts
Or bleeding pens on the white paper of a soldier’s goodbye
deaths footprints on cold caskets
we should be ashamed
cause we value metaphors and similes like the colors of picnic baskets with healthy fruit
but there ain’t enough poems about the day they hung you
the burnished brass of your skin tone and the wooly texture of your hair
centuries before we knew what a lynching was
but at least we understand
that you was, and you are
and you will be
this
I do understand

Exodus Gods and Kings: Whitewashing History

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The ancient Egyptians were the descendants of Noah’s son, Khawm, or Ham in English. Khawm means black, hot and burnt. Kush is Ham’s first born son. The Kushites are the Ethiopians and Nubians today. Ancient Ethiopia was located south of Egypt in what is called the Sudan today. Ethiopian comes from the Greek word Atheops, meaning burnt face. Egypt, Ham’s second born son, name means Burnt Black. The ancient Egyptians called their land and themselves Khemet, which in their tongue means “THE LAND OF BLACKS.”

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The word Khemet is nothing but a variation of the word Khawm in the language of ancient Egypt. Shem’s descendents, the Israelites, are also a black skinned people. This is why they were often able to hide in Egypt and why they were often mistaken as Egyptians (as in the Israelite Moses who passed as the grandson of Pharaoh for 40 years). On the other hand, the descendents of Noah’s son Japheth has been traced back to the Russians, Celtics, Ashkenaz, Goths, Greeks, Indo-European people, etc.

Why are these basic Historical foundations excluded from today’s movies?

You telling me you couldn’t cast Denzel Washington as Pharaoh? Not even Idris Elba? Chiwetel Ejiofor is good enough for 12 years a slave but he can’t be Moses?

 
You couldn’t have made Angela Basset Pharaoh’s wife? Vivica as his daughter? Like could Jada Smith just be Mary? After all, the Egyptians did look like these people, or am I the only person who notices that Egypt is not in Europe?

 
And where are all the black producers with the capacity to make movies? Tyler, can we get an exodus movie? Spike Lee? John Singleton?