Disclaimer: We Need To Talk is a weekly column written by siKa J. The views and opinions expressed in this article are hers and do not necessarily reflect the position of JessicaSimien.com.
During the late 1980s, I take it Spike Lee had, “HAD ENOUGH!” of the bullshit going on in the world.
Think about it this way – he was born the son of a teacher of arts and black literature, as well as a jazz musician and composer. He has been educated by Morehouse, Clark Atlanta and New York University professors – there was practically no way for this man to think or even live in any conventional way. He had too many perspectives to view to simply settle, so instead he indulged until he could grasp the true meaning of things. Everyone calls him a lunatic because of his controversial nature but to be honest, controversy only exists because someone wants to knowingly parade untruths that another can’t simply allow. Fast forward to today and his messages of yesterday are rated “G” compared to the world we live in now. Right or wrong?
WE NEED TO TALK
In the mid-1990s Spike was called to comment on the rash violence of Air Jordans saying manufacturers shouldn’t be blamed, instead we should “deal with the conditions that make a kid put so much importance on a pair of sneakers, a jacket, and gold.”
(And I ask you, why do you post all of your purchases? *clears throat*)
This leads to the urban side of our race. We are the ultimate consumer, probably to every race and to the least of our own. We buy into anything without reasoning. Due to our lack of education, we also lack the ability to rationalize. Its easier to be thought for, right? The recent death that has affected the hip-hop scene in Jackson has left my heart aching for the children. Rappers and fellas beef over everything they can’t even protect themselves from (social networks, females, raps, cliques, money they don’t have, drugs they don’t need, etc.) rarely realizing their actions will fall upon their children. Then they seek revenge (but you wonder why “they” question our level of anger as and when killed by another race). No one is focusing on developing into a better version of themselves and it leads down a destructive path for generations to come. None of that shit that you think matters does. That “want to change life” for the better is what matters but y’all flushing the wrong shit down the toilet.
Spike has had so many controversial moments in his career, we know he’ll never be done. In May 1999, he was bashed for his joke, “Shoot him with a .44 BullDog” in reference to Charlton Heston, president of the National Rifle Association. He was responding to whether Hollywood was responsible for school shootings, stating, “The problem is guns.” YES SPIKE! If it was a problem in 1999, what kind of problem has it developed into in 2015? We don’t even want to know the answer to this. I know I don’t because I’m too damned paranoid.
Guns roam the streets like people do, which keeps me uneasy at any given time. I wonder why all states don’t participate in gun buyback programs regularly throughout the year and not just after a massive killing has occurred. The hell if I know. There are several solutions even if there is just one problem. Less guns on the street is a start, right? The buyback program intends to reduce firearms on the streets. Citizens turn them into law enforcement without the fear of prosecution. It has proven to lower gun violence and death. Seeing it is a voluntary and anonymous program, I’m confused as to why it isn’t in place every damn where. I’m sure fear weighs in and although I understand, I can’t help but take fear as an excuse.
As horrid as this world is becoming, we can’t afford to play better safe than sorry until we kick the bucket. All that does is make me realize that once we are gone, we will have failed in building a nest to catch and save our children. If we keep dropping the ball, we will never make a shot. Seeing all would not be comfortable with buybacks, it leads me to question the streets. If you men are tired of losing, challenge each other to give up guns, use your words and fists if necessary. If not, who is going to make it safe for our kids?
In October 2005, Spike made beef with the government. Gotta love it. He stated, in reference to Hurricane Katrina:
“It’s not too far-fetched. I don’t put anything past the United States government. I don’t find it too far-fetched that they tried to displace all the black people out of New Orleans.”
This led him to address the government’s previous atrocities with the Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis, just like they ignored HIV/AIDS in the 1980s as seen in the movie, “The Normal Heart,” starring Julia Roberts. This leads me to address the town hall meeting the citizens of Belhaven held with law enforcement official Lee Vance.
Okay…. I have several issues with this imagery that the news happens to be floating for all of us to see and discuss.
1. The advertisement of a white society meeting to fight against crime was a direct hit to the blacks showing what we DON’T do and what we SHOULD be doing. This imagery immediately made me think, the last thing our race wants is to be told what another race is doing and how they are doing it better. Our dynamics will never be leveled so there’s no comparison there. Different strokes for different folks. Y’all know what that shit means. Don’t act like you don’t. And therefore, you catch my first drift.
2. Its nice to see that people can sit down with the law peacefully and form solutions. That is unfortunately not the case for our race. Trust me. I’m sick of the race card too but hell, you know I ain’t lying. Unlike our race, some races have the ability to not fear or distrust law enforcement. The law is Batman and Superman in their eyes while it serves as our dictator, so to speak. We’re aware of the race dynamics of treatment and respect across the board. Now without even jumping into meetings, what they do and don’t do, if our race were to hold one, attendance would be low (consisting of elders and the people not committing the crimes), it would be on CP time, and solutions will be short lived because the meeting probably wouldn’t be organized and dialogue happens to be our weakest suitor. Meetings become just talking because no one has solutions to bring to the table. They’re mainly looking for someone to blame and they usually end in a segrageted gossiping manner, having us leaving out worse than how we came in. And to place the law as the head of a meeting definitely defeats the purpose. This leaves the criminals refusing to talk with them, of all people.
3. Considering all the failures the government has oppressed on our race, what makes you think that of all days NOW they would want to meet and greet? For all thugs sake, I’m sure they would be apprehensive first, as to if it’s a setup considering how many have warrants. Not gonna happen people.
4. I’m going to catch hell behind this one, but oh well, call it a Spike Lee moment. I agree we cannot place a the faults of a city on its elected officials and by all means, I have nothing but good intentions when I say this. You cannot expect people to not look to these officials for answers. You all are always saying who can and cannot speak depending on if you vote. Man, regardless of if you vote or not, the taxes can’t be dodged and for that alone, let these people speak and vent. Hell, you dont know who voted and your assumptions mean nothing. At least they are talking so that we know what needs addressing. Right or wrong? Any who. Elected officials ask for votes, promote that they will decrease crime, increase employment, and they actual patrol the streets during election periods, some stick to it after being elected, some don’t. To defend a man who can defend himself is one thing but to expect a citizen not to question what’s being done when they consented to let these officials take the lead position of their territory is baffling to me. That is a part of the territory they gain whether you feel it is their responsibility or not. That’s not your call.
This is why I don’t care for elections because the hard work ethic is seen before the results but when the job gets rusty, supporters confuse citizens’ outcry as critics and want to spray something on the rust and easily wipe it off as if it doesn’t exist. Your opinion and life story is not everyone else’s. Just because you feel there are other things on the plates of a city’s officials that need more attention doesn’t refute the fact that some people look to them for refuge, hence why they voted. Be sensible to the people. They don’t understand politics and the gist of it. So the people, in my opinion, do have the right to ask what’s up with a solution. Stop telling them they don’t.
5. Who are we left to really trust? Scary question. There aren’t too many directions we can go for help, leaving us to clean up our own mess. Sometimes the government forces its hand and cleans up too…gentrification. I used to despise the word until this week. I hate to say it but how else can we escape the hood if we don’t choose to leave rather than being forced out? I can’t deny gentrification is cruel but also not advancing your family’s growth and safety, outside the hood at that, is cruel too. Complacency and ignorance keeps generations on top on generations living recycled lives in the same projects for decades on top of decades. This is the molding of a generation and you know how toxic mold is. Living this way gives no room for progress, changing the mindset, and defines what “product of the environment” can truly be in the worse way and how we serve as our enemy. That’s one reason why I suggest removing yourself if you see no real hope out of it. Staying only leaves your life at chance’s say so.
The government kills two birds with one stone through gentrification – a truck load of money and decreased crime (almost instantly). I mean, I know we don’t expect them to upgrade the hood and let the people stay. No way. It seems we hold no power to remove ourselves so we become destructive to our own nature leaving the oppressors to have one more thing to snatch away from us. Y’all gotta wake up and stop bullshitting with your lives out there.
The BOTTOM LINE is this – I dont claim to have the solution but I have a suggestion rather than refuting the next venting human.
I suggest brave, bold, courageous men to get in the streets and get dirty. Reek havoc on those youngsters who think they are in control but be productive after the scaring straight because just like any addiction, it has to be maintained and nurtured. Become men not only to your own seeds but to the forsaken ones drenching our streets with blood. Our own blood. These streets desperately need the right men. The boys aren’t becoming men anymore, they’re becoming “aged boys” looking to fit in the wrong places at the wrong times, every time, be that with bad word, women, drugs, money, etc. But ultimately, crime is a major drug addiction that is overlooked by them and they gotta get that crime high/fix frequently unless the mindset is changed as well as the environment they are intaking.
The work is never done as easily as a meeting coming to an end. It’s gonna take a real Spike Lee, “Do The Right Thing” scenario to take place. Desperate and drastic times call for what? Besides shipping them off to battle/war zones replacing the ones that are overseas fighting but would rather be living life and not stealing it, what’s left to do? Go watch the majority of Spike Lee’s race relations, colorism, and conventional thinking films and ask yourself was the man crazy or right on point?
Who cares about being politically correct when the death count is alarmingly growing? Not me. You shitting me? So will the men ever start a revolution towards building safety nets for our future or no?
Spike ends all his “joints” using credits like, “By Any Means Necessary,” “Ya Dig,” and “Sho Nuff,” and frankly, if we don’t get this in order, “by any means necessary,” we are “sho nuff,” destined for Doomsville, your hash tags will be deemed irrelevant, mundane, and repetitive slander (#stopthekilling, #riptos.o.s, #frees.o.s.) and that ain’t what I’m trying to see our world crumble into, as if it isn’t crumbled enough, “ya dig?”