When I wrote Soul Food, I knew a lot of people would be able to relate to a pot of collard greens sitting on the stove. Collard greens are a real thing. It helps a lot of people to have visual images that meander along the path of the written text. Because a lot of people get intimidated or bored when they see a lot of words on a page.
That book is too thick to read.
That article is too long, I couldn’t stay interested.
A common African-American saying, is that if you want to hide something from Black folks, then you need to put it in a book. Even though our literacy rates are substantially higher than during the slavery era, when it was illegal to teach African descendants how to read, we still have a lot of folks who know how to read, but yet they never do. They might skim through a magazine, looking at pictures and headlines, but when it comes to reading and studying the written word, their attention span wanes and they grow disinterested.
If you want to make people listen to what you have to say today, then it would help a lot if you got a platinum grill like Mike Jones (who?) and had two voluptuous women in daisy dukes shaking that thang on either side of you while you do the crip walk. That’s just where we are right now. Welcome to the headline video generation. It’s not just the young folks either, because today’s parents are spending more time watching Beyonce give lap dances on awards shows than they do reading with their children or teaching them their times tables.
In 2005, if you’re not talking about sex, violence, drugs or making money, then you might as well be talking the same language as Charlie Brown’s teacher..’Wah-wah-wah-wah’..Cuz black folks ain’t listening.
Don’t get me wrong..I enjoy watching Beyonce catering too (let's look at that picture again!), but I also know that there’s a time and a place for all those things. And if all you do is get caught up on media hype: television, movies, video games, radio and you never feed your spirit with something real? Then you’re going to go into a state of nutrition deficiency and your spiritual growth will be stunted. You have to have a well balanced diet if you are looking to mature and grow as a human being.
And as much as I enjoyed the musical performances and seeing Will and Jada entertain the crowd, the realest part of the show to me was when Gladys Knight accepted her lifetime achievement award. She made a wonderful speech which highlighted 3 names which she felt everybody had heard before.
"First thanking our Heavenly Father, who watches over us….. Secondly, thanking our brother, the Savior, Jesus Christ, for He is our brother who came down here and showed us how to walk the walk… and finally thanking the Holy Spirit, the Comforter that guides us along our daily path."
Gladys was right on point.
Now the funny thing is, was when the show first started, one of the ‘rules’ that Jada laid down for the evening was,
“Don’t come up here and thank God, if you can’t perform your work in church.”
Of course, this was in reference to all the artist who glorify sex, violence and drugs in their material, but yet have crosses around their neck as if wearing it validates their faith. Like we say on the Southside, “It ain’t what it say, it’s what it do.”
Jesus never asked anyone to wear a cross, He told us to bear our cross (Luke 14:27), there is a difference.
Senator Barrack Obama (IL) gave a graduation speech at Knox College last month. (Click this link to view the entire speech). He had one part in particular which jumped out at me, cuz you know I keep my eye and ear focused on that real..
"But I hope you don’t walk away from the challenge. Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. You need to take up the challenges that we face as a nation and make them your own. Not because you have a debt to those who helped you get here, although you do have that debt. Not because you have an obligation to those who are less fortunate than you, although I do think you do have that obligation. It’s primarily because you have an obligation to yourself. Because individual salvation has always depended on collective salvation. Because it’s only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential."
"It’s only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself, that you realize your true potential." ??? Hmmm. When’s the last time you focused on the big picture? I’m not talking about making money to take care of your family, I’m talking about that BIG picture. It’s something to think about.