By Jean Gasho
Having lived in the United Kingdom all my adult life, I have experienced my fair share of racism and discrimination, the worst being from the Scottish Justice System. I do not in any way undermine the suffering of the black race, especially that of the black woman. She is the most ill treated and abused woman in the world, yet without a doubt the most beautiful. Yes I said, and I’m not afraid to say it, the black woman is the most beautifully carved woman on the planet, but she has been made to feel she is the less beautiful of them all. Without even going to her face, her body is a complete work of art, the secret envy of the world, yet her history involves nothing but rape, torture and exploitation. Its not like we do not have proof, I will just mention Sarah Baartman and leave it there. Today there is a billion dollar industry in Hollywood imitating the glory of the black woman, they try to copy her full lips, they try to imitate her hips and buttocks, they even get cancer trying to brown their skin, they go through life threatening surgery just to have a black woman’s beauty. Again, its not like we don’t have proof, I will just mention Kim Kardashian and leave it right there.
But we have now passed the Sarah Baartman era, though sadly some are trying to make money from it. The black race is no longer a slave to anyone. Yes the trauma and the scars are still there with the effects of slavery still popping up here and there today. It was one of the worst man made catastrophes to ever happen to a people in human history, but the fact remains, today the black man is not bound any more. He is free. The bible says there is no slave no free, to God all men are free, He has given us all the opportunity to be who we want to be. Opportunity, fate and destiny do not come from man, but from God. I attended the Screen Nation Awards in London last month where my husband was opening the show as an Opera singer. He is the first black contemporary opera singer from Ghana and God is surely taking him places. The Screen Nation Awards was a turn around for me especially in my thinking.
I finally understood what it meant to be enslaved mentally long after the physical chains are already broken. I realised the amount of power and talent the black man has. Why he still cries for white man’s recognition suddenly became a mystery to me. It was at the Screen Nation Awards where Star Wars actor John Boyega won an award and said, ” To complain about what is going on is not going to benefit us. Be the change you want to be. Be the change. And continue and focus.” At first I did not understand what he meant and criticized him too as the rest of the world did, but now I understand what he meant. The black race can not cry about slavery forever. The black race can’t cry about discrimination forever. The black man can not cry for opportunities in a white man’s world. There is enough power in the black man’s world to be the change he want to be. I realised the black man is still a slave even though the chains are long gone. Here are 5 reasons why;
- The Black Man Is Still Chained Mentally
The chains are long gone, the black man is free, but his mind is still in chains. He still looks up to his former master for salvation, he doesn’t think he can make it on his own without the help of his former master. In 2015 when Viola Davies made American history by winning an Emmy for best actress, she said, ” The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.” Though she was hailed as a brave hero for simply uttering this statement, I see the very opposite. It was a slave woman talking. Why do you think opportunity comes from the white man? Does opportunity not come from God? Has God not given you dominion too? Why do you want to be given roles in the white man’s own domain? When Africans create their own movies and write their own books in Africa, are they roles for the white man? Everyone made noise about the Oscars 2016. It was all about lack of diversity and lack of opportunity for the black man. Well the thing is Hollywood is a white man’s vision. When the white man created it, he did not have the black man in mind, hence the lack of specially tailored black roles. The white man has been kind enough to let you in here and there. Haven’t you made it enough in Hollywood? What you want will never be there. Didn’t the dark and lovely Lupita Nyongo play a slave girl in Hollywood? She even won an Oscar for it. That is as good as it can get for the black woman in Hollywood. You can play slaves here and there but not queens. Have you never heard of Bollywood? Do you ever hear anyone in Bollywood crying for roles and diversity in Hollywood? The Asians create their own roles, they can play kings and queens in their own garden. No white man controls it. They have their own power. They have their own entertainment industry. They have their own award shows. But alas, the black man feels he can’t do this. They even have BET Awards but no, thats not good enough, the black man needs an Oscar. He acts as if he is disabled and cant even create his own movie roles. He cries that Hollywood is excluding him. In everything he does he still wants the white man’s validation. As much as we may deny it, that is the power of mental slavery.
2. The black man hates his skin.
It is the richest of all skin tones. I describe it as the original organic skin. In humans melanin is the primary determinant of skin and hair colour and a few people know that melanin is found in almost every organ of the body, necessary for the brain and nerves to function, and even for the eyes to see. Your ability to withstand the damaging effects of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation depends on the amount of melanin in your skin. The darker your skin is the less risk you have of having skin cancer. In a nutshell, the darker your skin is, the healthier it is. Not only that, the more melanin you have the less your skin ages, that is why generally black people look younger and age incredibly well. It’s melanin power. Sadly during slavery, the black man was programmed to believe that his skin is wrong even though it is actually the best. This mentality has never left the black race. The self hate is intense. They just want to look as lighter as possible, and will even go to the depth of skin bleaching. They mock their darker skinned brothers. They will not even bother to educate themselves on their skin, to them dark skin is ugly and that’s the end of it. I was subjected to a lot of abuse and harassment from my fellow Zimbabwean folk for being with a very dark skinned man. In Zimbabwe and most African countries, black skin is almost a curse. They call the lighter skinned black people “yellow bones” who they believe have been privileged with upper class beauty, and even get preferential treatment in society because they are lighter than their fellow darker brothers. Its a sad state of mind to be in, but maybe one day the black man will be free from the curse of self hate.
3. The Black Woman Hates Her Hair
Not only is their own skin a problem to them, but the black woman absolutely despises her glory. The biggest curse the black woman has put upon herself is the lack of identity and self worth. She has been made to believe she is just not beautiful enough. She even goes as far as to cover her own head with Asian women’s hair. Some of the hair is sacrificed in Hindu temples, some is shaved of under privileged girls in Brazil. The black woman takes this hair and makes it her pride and glory. She then hides her beautiful crown under the weaves. You see it all dates back to slavery. Before slavery, the black woman’s hair was her glory. It was not kinky hair or nappy hair, it was just hair. Beautiful hair. The most diverse hair. She didn’t even wear it as an afro. Afro came post slavery. Before slavery she adorned her hair in the most elaborate hairstyles. Only the black woman’s hair could be worn in such splendour. She could braid it with strings, mold it with mud, wax it with animal fat, lock it and twist it and even conrow it, weaving colourful beads into it. The black women spent days or even weeks grooming each other’s hair. Black hair took a lot of time and effort to maintain. Hair was not just hair, it was identity and tradition. You could tell a woman’s social status, age or even marital status by the way she wore her hair. But when she was captured as a slave, the white man took her glory away from her. Slave women’s hair was shaved off. At the plantations she no longer had time to braid and groom her hair. She had to straighten it to maintain it or rather cover it with a head covering. When the white man raped her and she produced mixed race babies, she was told her children’s hair was finer than hers. So she despised her own crown and desired the glory of the white woman. Today even though she is no longer a slave, the black woman still maintains what the white man taught her about her own hair. She hates it and will go at any length to imitate the glory of a white woman. I do however understand why most black women wear weaves today, its all they know and all they have been taught. I am not judging them, but the truth needs to be told as painful as it may be to accept.
4. The Black Man Doesn’t Know He Is The Most Talented Man
As I said before, when I attended Screen Nations Awards in March this year, it was a wake up call for me. The amount of talent that was in one place was just unbelievable. The power of that talent. Do we not have black people as the most talented musicians on the planet. But ask yourself who controls the music industry? Is Usian Bolt not the fastest man on the planet? Isn’t Basketball the game of talented black people, yet the white man controls it. Who is the most powerful president in the world, was he not born from a Kenyan father? What talent does the black man not posses? Right now Oresegun Olumide a man in Nigeria is now rated the world best painter, producing a work of art never seen before. But why does the black man hand his talent over to the white man to control and manage? Can he not take charge of his own God given gifts? When the black man starts to take charge of his own talents, he will never again cry that there is no opportunity in this world.
5. The Black Man Lacks Unity
For some strange reason, the black man can not master the power in unity. The concept “United we stand, divided we fall, ” means absolutely nothing to him. Black women would rather go and buy their weaves from an Asian corner shop than from a fellow black woman. If they hear that the shop is owned by a black man, they will not support it, end of. They would rather make the white man richer, or the Asians richest. Not only that, some black men, especially in America are developing a trend of pulling down black women. Some are even making careers out of it, especially Tommy Sotomayor who is making a living from mocking and hating the black woman in the presence of the white men. The unity is just not there. Black people find it so difficult to just love and support each other. This dates back to the slave trade where blacks were divided against each other and made to sell each other out. Some were promoted by the slave masters to cane their fellow brothers. They all fought to please their masters against their brothers. They felt if they supported their brother they were betraying their master. That mentality still rules today. They don’t understand power in numbers. Are they not more black people in this world than white people? The only way the black man could be defeated and taken over was through division. Sadly this did not end during the slavery era, today the black man hates each other more than any race on the planet. Chris Rock said it, and I certainly agree with him, black people just hate black people!
I wrote this article not to bash my black brothers and sisters, but rather to admonish. Sometimes we just need to be honest with each other and look at our own selves in the mirror instead of continued finger pointing at the white man. Complaining and crying is just not good enough for change. Hollywood is not going to create a black heaven for us. Lets create our own Blackwood. We have the power, talent and intelligence to write our own movies and produce them. We can be the change and stop waiting for crumbs falling under the white man’s table. When it comes to hair, I’m encouraged there is now a natural hair revolution with the black woman, slowly the chains are falling. Over the past five years hair relaxer sells have fallen by nearly 30%. Black women are starting to love their glory again. I have not relaxed my hair in 10 years and I have two daughters whose hair I keep natural. I maintain my natural hair by braiding and conrows, I just love the art and flexibility of what I can do with my own natural hair. I am encouraged by award shows like Screen Nation that are created to recognise and honour black talent. We can create change even in the harsh conditions we face today, for I still do not undermine the suffering of the black people today, but I know if we change the way we think, we can go a long way, as the bible says, “For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.., Proverbs 23:7”. If we think like slaves, we will always be slaves. So I am definitely with John Boyega on this one, the battle is in our mind. The only way we can move forward is to be the change we want to be. But how can this happen if you don’t know who you are? Why is your skin even dark in the first place? Why are you black? Why was the black race captured as slaves and not any other race? Why do black people suffer more than any other race? Is Africa not the richest continent on the planet when it comes to minerals and God given resources. Who are the black people? It’s impossible to move forward as a people when you have no identity and haven’t got a clue about your own history. Do you think the history of black people only started at slavery. Learn who the black man was before slavery…and your mind will be freed like never before. You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free. Knowledge is power. You are not a slave any more.