The PBS Blog Podcast Ep 5 – Freedom and Responsibility

In today’s episode, we are talking about the responsibility end of freedom.

Freedom has been turned into a scapegoat that many of us have used to justify our beef with structure. Anything that requires us to act in a way that is disciplined, civil or logical we stray from under the guise of having the freedom to choose.

But choices are not without consequences.

We are adults and have long had the freedom to do as we choose. But as there’s a lot going on in the world today, we must remember that our actions and thoughts are not without a certain level of responsibility. Whether we are talking about writing and books or life in general, our freedom is not as free as it seems on the surface.

Today, I want to encourage you to be more disciplined in all areas of your life. More disciplined spiritually, mentally, and physically. Let’s take responsibility for the lives we live.

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Ep 5 – Freedom and Responsibility

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Choose Your Words

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Don’t act like these little black letters have no home outside the blank page. Like murder can’t come falling from your mouth. Like lawlessness can’t come ripping through towns like torn flesh from heavy winds. Choose your words as if the next phrase has the potential to destroy. Examine the shape of them as they exit your mouth. Taste the intention one syllable at a time, for corroded speech is too often praised these days and reveals the unpolished stains of the heart. Deception brimming the mind and falling from the mouth. A surge of power tap dancing in the air only to build nothing on the ground. No substance. No foundation. Just emotion all over the place. A melting pot of empty tongues. Be careful what you say least truth reveals the fairy-tale hopscotching around in your mouth. A collection of letters too light to gravity the ground. Too corroded to fly. Dare you pretend the taste of burnt ash that fell from your mouth and consumed a life did not first have a home in the heart. Choose your words but first guard your heart for out of it the mouth speaks. Amazing all this power in the tongue. This tiny member leaving bodies smashed up against the blog; the stench of bereavement emanating from the first sentence of a post. Choose your words as if the next phrase has the potential to destroy. Because it does.

The Potent Word

 

Can I spit poison into your life just by speaking words into your skin? Or can I speak life into your life by cultivating peace into your heart? Words. So important and potent, life threatening and life creating. We must never forget the power of words, their motives and intentions, their power and potency. I marvel at how easily we curse one another. Every day there is someone trying to clean up the blood they spilled by gossiping behind someone’s back, or begging for wishful deaths to go back to its chamber of meaning. Never tell someone you wish they’d leave this earth, or that you hate their guts. You may indeed be charged with murder before the words escape your mouth. I often wonder why I have taken on the task of this kind of bravery, to become a professor of words. To become part of a community where the next murderer is just one page away from me. Perhaps I have a death wish, releasing words into the air with only the hope that they will bring back life. I publish each post with shaking hands, a trembling finger; a focused mind. Carefully crafting and considering the words I put into the air. Writers. The bravest people I know. Managers of the potent word.

Its Not Just Because Your Black

You were pulled over because your taillight is out, your license is suspended, and you were speeding.

The reason you’re in the condition that you’re in is not because of the white man and its not just because your black. We are in these conditions as a people largely because of our own  lack of accountability for our actions.

A nine year old boy is murdered on the south side of Chicago because of his father’s dealings. Where are the marches at Jesse Jackson? Where is the protest Al Sharpton? Where’s the movement against black people killing black people?

John Singleton said that he will never put another movie out like Rosewood again because black people don’t support it. Rosewood for those who don’t already know is a movie based on a true story, a dramatization of the 1923 horrific lynch mob attack on an African American community.

The Tragedy of Rosewood

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In an article written in The Baltimore Sun, Stephen Hunter lists some reasons why the movie Rosewood did not excel calling it “a fundamentally immature, undisciplined work.” He goes on to say “Singleton probably over-romanticizes Rosewood.” Another major criticism was the cowboy theme, something we also see in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained but if you understand history you would know that blacks were the first cow-boys. The term comes from the plantation where black boys were in charge of tending to the cattle. They were quite literally “cow boys”. So not only do I disagree with Hunter, but critics are missing a key element that contributed to why the movie did not do well.

The conversation always comes back to the Rosewood-Booty Call debate. Rosewood came out a week before Booty-Call and almost destroyed Singleton’s career. Booty-Call on the other hand did extremely well, putting leverage to Jamie Foxx’s career.

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The truth is that the black community must start taking responsibility for its actions. You are not pulled over just because your black, sometimes its because your illegal. If you know the system is biased, why would you behave recklessly? Even the bible says to give unto Caesar what is Caesars. So if I know its against the law to speed why would I risk getting caught? Likewise, a lack of black identity in film is not just because Hollywood does not want to see conscious movies about black people, but black people don’t even wanna see conscious movies about black people! As strangers in a foreign land we have been taught to hate ourselves and we tend to operate accordingly. If I hate myself I’m going to hate everything about myself. Yes, some of you hate yourselves but you can’t even take responsibility for that simple truth. Your afraid of your own people and you think dark skin a big nose, thick lips and kinky hair is the ugliest thing in the world.

Part of Rosewood’s failure is the fact that many blacks would much rather watch Tyler Perry’s, Medea Goes to Jail. You go to bed wearing a wig and you wake up with a wig. You go to bed with make-up on and you wake up with it on both literally and figuratively speaking. You put on elaborate personas because you hate who you are.

Cypher Matrix Quote

When you hate yourself but you don’t know that you hate yourself, this is a dangerous position to be in because a lack of love turns you into a monster. The stories of Jason and Michael Myers are not horror stories about supernatural beings. They were stories of children who were teased and abused and have consequently learned to hate themselves and it turned them into monsters. Michael Jackson is a real life example of childhood abuse turned horrific. This man was talented and has made great music but he also turned himself into a monster because he hated himself. He hated himself so much that he changed his physical appearance. That’s because when you hate your inside you hate everything outside and millions of dollars ain’t gonna solve it. Money can’t solve hatred only love can. The only way you can conquer self-hate is love, starting with self-love but to love yourself you have to first know yourself and knowing yourself begins with admitting your faults. Take some responsibility for the part you play in how you are treated. It doesn’t exempt anyone for their wrong but it helps you to move forward in yours.

When you know yourself only then can you love yourself and only then can you be yourself.

“This week marks the anniversary of the Rosewood massacre. Hundreds of black people were murdered and lynched and run off their own land and homes. We must never forget the domestic terrorism survived by our people. In 1997 I released a movie on the incident. It wasn’t one of my more successful pictures box office wise but I think it one of the best I’ve done. The same weekend it was released Booty Call came out. I think more black folks were comfortable watching Booty Call that weekend than Rosewood… Which is a shame…. I feel the more we embrace our history the better we can defend against being oppressed in our present. Just my thoughts this morning.”

– John Singleton

Responsibilities

Yecheilyah-72dpi-1500x2000-e-bookI know I know it’s been a scarce week (or two) here on The PBS Blog. Truth is I began a number of projects years ago that are starting to show signs of fruit. I am completing my first short story series. In fact, Stella Book #1 Releases Next Week which will be promptly followed by additional parts taking me well into the summer and just in time to begin work on Pearls Before Swine Vol. #2 in the fall. Needless to say I expect to have a busy year (yaaasss). But the biggest project, the one I am super siked to be on the finishing end of is the audio for my Third Poetry Book Collection “Womanhood Don’t Begin in Menstrual Cycles”, which releases next month (March). But while I set out to organize my life offline, it led me to today’s post: Responsibilities.

This has nothing to do with projects or books, but life. As we go about our daily routines and the accomplishments of our goals there is a lot missing from the accountability end of this whirlwind of events and circumstances. We must keep in mind that we are responsible for everything we say, everything we do and everything that we write. There’s a quote that says ” We are what we write”, and what a profound truth. I speak and you listen and as a result of my speaking you in turn perceive. You may either accept or reject and that’s your business. I cannot be responsible for the way in which your eyes see, but I can be responsible for influencing what you see. In other words, our personal lives would be so much better if as individuals we took responsibility for who we are and what we are and those things that we influence, good or bad.

A young man dies on the street corner. He is 17 years old. By age 5 he can quote the rap lyric to every rap song known to man. His routine consists of school, TV, food and back again. Homework has been lost in-between. At age 10 he came into the house at whatever hour his youthful activities would warrant. By age 13 he was buying his own clothing and paying his mothers bills. By the age of 16 he was paying her rent altogether. At 17 years old a young man is gunned down on the street corner. The aftermath presents a distraught mother who cannot fathom the animal who would gun down her son. “He was a good boy”, she says. And while I would not doubt he just may have been a nice guy, what was he doing on the corner in the first place? What kind of activities led him there? And at what point does this mother take responsibility for the kind of behavior she approved the moment she accepted what she knew to be drug money? Or perhaps I trip over a rock and scar my face in the process. Oh and I was texting by the way so I wasn’t exactly looking up. I was not paying attention and as such I could not see what was in front of me. This is the kind of accountability in which I speak.

Healing can only come from personal accountability. I can never fix what is wrong with me if I cannot acknowledge my own imperfections. It is important to ask ourselves: “What is it about me that led to this? What is it about my heart that chose this?” Because only until we come fully into the understanding of our personal selves can we begin to make changes. Until then we will never progress in our lives. But once the process of personal accountability has begun, then we will begin to improve on those struggles we once thought were immovable. A bad situation is always a bad situation, but growth is optional. We choose to accept who we are and who we have become. We decide what aspects of our lives will change and which will remain based on our level of responsibility. When we are at fault we choose to accept or deny that fault. And when we have made a mistake we choose how that mistake will change us.

Grown Enough

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She has a secret (that she just does not want to grow up)
But if she could paint Double D titties on her chest
And make them believe there was actually vitamin D in these breasts
And
maybe after sticking kindergarten fingers in her panties her soul can rest,
Draw make-believe pads and place them in her drawer

I guess
Play some games and stuff
She’ll be just grown enough.
You see the secret is that she really does not want to grow up
But if she could just make it to 21
To drink her liver half-dead and tell Hennessy he’s the one
To make her forget she’s had too much
but maybe she just hasn’t had enough
to make her realize that the friends are gone when nothing’s left
and the taste you feel on your tongue is the similac on your breath
telling your stomach to cough up the dance you just had with death cause I know you think it cool,
but your stomach’s not fit for this kind of food
And that boy on the corner ain’t in love with you
But it’s a lot more convenient than McDonald’s cause he can have his way with you
But you’re probably just hearing this for the first time cause nobody ever told you it always hurts the first time
This, grown up stuff
She said she just wants to be
grown enough
Cause her ambition is for time to sit still
Never reaching the point of crazy debt and large bills
But if she could always stay somewhere between Dora the Explorer, and pink heels
Maybe this lump in her throat she would’ve never had to feel
If someone could have just told her that growing up is over-rated
And in this world without Yah you’re a nobody who’s never made it
And a baby-mama going to the clubs every night to get faded
Your childhood crying away cause you played it
Cause you rushed yourself into a place that’s not so puffed up
Trust little girl when I tell you
You’ll never quite be
just
grown enough