I’m a feeler – I can’t help it, and this past week has been supremely heavy for me. I was still processing the impact of the Ferguson verdict when news came back that there would be no indictment towards the officer involved in the choking death of Eric Garner. This in spite of it being prohibited for NY police officers to use choke holds and the act being captured on video. And what, pray tell, was the crime that warranted the use of such excessive force? The illegal sale of cigarettes, that’s what. Really? Like, I can’t even with that bogus grand jury *starts to woosah and rub earlobes counterclockwise like Martin in Bad Boys 2*.
Even still, my faith and deep commitment to love (no matter what) has kept me from truly going off and maintaining focus on working towards meaningful change. Listening to music is another activity that has also helped me to unwind and not become overwhelmed with depression. One artist in particular recently released a song that really captured my attention. That artist is none other than Mrs. Beyonce Giselle Knowles-Carter:
While I don’t consider myself a member of the Beyhive, I do respect her business acumen and appreciate her new single ‘Ring Off‘. In the song, Beyonce sings to her mother about how she graciously handled the demise of her relationship with her now ex-husband and faced the difficult decision to take her ring off. Beyonce expresses a great deal of respect for her mother during that time and pride that she chose to take the “high road”. Less a celebration of divorce, the song celebrates those who are honest enough with themselves to choose to make difficult decisions regarding their relationships. As a single woman, I can attest to the social pressure to be in a relationship and the social hierarchy that can sometimes form pitting singles against non. It take much courage to stand up for yourself, especially when in the public eye, and have the audacity to do you.
There was a recent vlog by awesome YouTuber Bronzegoddess01 where she responds to a strawberry letter from a young woman who felt pressured to get married even though her purpose was leading her in a different direction. In the video response, Bronzegoddess01 urges the young woman to first seek her purpose and not worry about “losing” her relationship as anything that is compatible with her purpose will manifest in her life. Her response was consistent with the message contained in one of my fav Bible verses (Matt 6:33), which talks about seeking one’s purpose in God as being the key to having it all. I too have faced the challenge of walking away from something that “seemed” great but was not in line with where my life was headed at the time. But as the song says, “letting go is never the end”, and my faith in God’s direction for my life has strengthened my resolve to not hold onto anything that might hold me back. Salute to all the women (and men) who have struggled with and yet succeeded in making tough life decisions. You are the real mvp!
In my pursuit of financial independence (and after acknowledging that I’m much too impatient to wade through channels to determine what to watch) I made the decision to give my traditional cable package the boot. It’s been approximately two years since I made that decision, and I haven’t looked back. Thanks to streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu, I have not regretted my decision in the least. These services, and Netflix specifically, have exposed me to shows and movies that I probably would not otherwise have watched. The documentaries section on Netflix especially has provided me with an array of interesting items to view – the most recent of which has been the film ‘Blackfish‘. Considering that the film came out in 2013 I’m slightly late to the party, but still glad that I managed to make it. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the film, ‘Blackfish‘ details the story of Tilikum, a killer whale taken into captivity within the sea-park industry and the dire consequences that resulted. Without giving too much away, a consistent theme that emerged throughout the movie was this feeling of regret. Regret about the decision to subject killer whales to captivity, of not fully understanding the ramifications of the sea-park industry on these creatures, and the choice to support psychological and emotional trauma under the guise of entertainment. There was one quote in particular from the film that really stood out to me.
“I think that in 50 years, we’ll look back and go ‘My God, what a barbaric time.’”
It was interesting to observe the transformation that some who were involved in the sea-park industry underwent as they realized the true consequences of their actions and the harm that had been done. As I watched their remorseful and tear-strewn faces, I couldn’t help but wonder when the same degree of revelation about the adverse treatment of killer whales and the respect/humanity they deserve would become applied to Blacks in the United States whose lives have been cut short by law enforcement.
The response of protestors to the Ferguson verdict highlights a growing state of unrest. The legacy of slavery in the United States is something that many try to ignore or treat as if it were antiquated. In reality, it is our lack of reconciling the nearly 250 years of slavery followed by an additional almost 100 years of Jim Crow laws designed to enforce segregation and that supported racist practices and terrorism towards Blacks that has contributed to the current state of race relations in this country. To put things into perspective, there are still people alive today who experienced segregation and Jim Crow. Martin Luther King Jr. would have only been in his 80’s were he still alive. Unfortunately, it is not until America acknowledges the atrocities that were imposed on Blacks and work towards true reconciliation, which includes addressing privilege and dismantling institutionalized racism, that we can work towards true healing and justice. And unlike the above quote from Blackfish, I truly hope that it doesn’t take 50 years before this country has a Laurence Fishburne ‘School Daze‘ moment and truly wakes up.