What Does a “Bad Dude” Look Like? #TerenceCrutcher

I am constantly amazed about the police shootings that occur throughout this country–black, brown, yellow, green, orange, purple, and white. Every time, I think I have seen it all, another hashtag is created, and I am left sitting here shaking my head. My heart heavy. My soul just a bit more empty. Wondering what more can I say. Thinking how much more can I give. Saying what else can I do. Then, I stop my pity party and remember this is not about me. It’s about us, our community, and our next generations.

(Warning graphic content in the video)

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Can somebody please tell me, what does a “bad dude” look like? In the video below, one of the helicopter police officer (yet to be identified) can obviously tell from way up in the clouds that Terence Crutcher is a bad dude. Really??? Get the heck out of here with the stupid ish. Was it because Mr. Crutcher was black? Was it because Mr. Crutcher was big? Was it because Mr. Crutcher was a man? Or was it the perfect trifecta, Mr. Crutcher was big, black man. If that is not some classic stereotypical profiling, I don’t know what is. I wish the bad officers out there would let me know what a bad dude is so that I can give a heads up to my brothers, my cousins, my father, my uncles, my nephews, and my godson. Better yet, let me know what a bad one, bad girl, etc. looks like so I know how to protect myself.

So now I know that I cannot:

  • Have my car stall on the road #TerenceCrutcher
  • Ask why I was pulled over #SandraBland
  • Reach for my identification #PhilandoCastile
  • Try to reach for a child in my house #AiyanaStanleyJones
  • Be the victim of a botched raid #KathrynJohnston
  • Walk to get some tea and Skittles #TrayvonMartin
  • Leave from a party #RekiaBoyd
  • Do my job #CharlesKinsey
  • Worship in church #CharlestonNine

The list can go on and on. Did all of the people look bad? No. Were they all bad? No. So somebody please tell me. What does a bad dude look like?

Sandy Still Speaks #OneYearLater

One year ago today, my beautiful Soror,
#SandraBland, died in police custody. #SayHerName #SandyStillSpeaks

Wake Up! #AltonSterling

People want to sign petitions against Jesse Williams for speaking the truth. Fans of Lecrae threaten to stop listening for posting the truth. Politicians threaten to walk away and not support a single bill because President Obama wants to uplift communities and speak their truth. Facebook shuts down pages because they write the truth. Well hear this truth…

Our people are continuing to be brutalized and killed by the police on a daily basis. For each Alton Sterling, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Alexia Christian, Michael Brown, Rekia Boyd, there are many others that you never hear about. People killed while handcuffed in police cruisers, people sitting in their homes, people having mental health issues, and kids playing with their toys. Many are captured on tape, but many Americans still do not believe that police brutality is a systemic problem. When will  people wake up???

 

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Independence Day

Today is the great day known as Independence Day. Many are celebrating with their family and friends. They may be having a cookout in their backyard, enjoying a local parade, going to the shore, or enjoying a local concert. This great day of celebrating will end with a grandiose display of fireworks set to a mix of contemporary music and patriotic tunes that make us proud to be an American. We sit back, smile, and reflect. Wow…it’s so great that we are independent and free. Whoa hold up…

I’m not sure about you, but I don’t think that all of us are so independent and free. Many people are still fighting for equality. We are still fighting to live in a nation where privilege is not limited to only white, cis men. We are fighting for equal sentencing where someone’s daddy is not worried that he won’t have steak for six months. We are fighting to have less regulation over women. Why do guns get a better deal than my body? We are fighting against police brutality—Michael Brown, Rekia Boyd, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Tanisha Anderson, Freddie Gray, Mya Hall, Jonathan Sanders, and Sandra Bland should never be forgotten. We are fighting to keep families together instead of building walls and deporting anyone with melanin. How do you plan to make America great again? Do you plan on pushing everyone out based on the one drop rule?

As we continue in this year, let’s continue our fight for equality for all. Fight hate and discrimination with your words and actions. And as always…march to the beat of your drum. 

Jesse Williams: 2016 BET Humanitarian Award Speech

“Peace peace. Thank you, Debra. Thank you, BET. Thank you Nate Parker, Harry and Debbie Allen for participating in that (video).

Before we get into it, I just want to say I brought my parents out tonight. I just want to thank them for being here, for teaching me to focus on comprehension over career, and that they make sure I learn what the schools were afraid to teach us. And also thank my amazing wife for changing my life.

Now, this award—this is not for me. This is for the real organizers all over the country—the activists, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers, the students that are realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do.

It’s kind of basic mathematics—the more we learn about who we are and how we got here, the more we will mobilize.

Now, this is also in particular for the black women in particular who have spent their lifetimes dedicated to nurturing everyone before themselves. We can and will do better for you.

Now, what we’ve been doing is looking at the data and we know that police somehow manage to de-escalate, disarm and not kill white people every day. So what’s going to happen is we are going to have equal rights and justice in our own country or we will restructure their function and ours.

Now…I got more y’all—yesterday would have been young Tamir Rice’s 14th birthday so I don’t want to hear any more about how far we’ve come when paid public servants can pull a drive-by on 12-year-old playing alone in the park in broad daylight, killing him on television and then going home to make a sandwich. Tell Rekia Boyd how it’s so much better than it is to live in 2012 than it is to live in 1612 or 1712. Tell that to Eric Garner. Tell that to Sandra Bland. Tell that to Dorian Hunt.

Now the thing is, though, all of us in here getting money—that alone isn’t gonna stop this. Alright, now dedicating our lives, dedicating our lives to getting money just to give it right back for someone’s brand on our body when we spent centuries praying with brands on our bodies, and now we pray to get paid for brands on our bodies.

There has been no war that we have not fought and died on the front lines of. There has been no job we haven’t done. There is no tax they haven’t levied against us—and we’ve paid all of them. But freedom is somehow always conditional here. “You’re free,” they keep telling us. But she would have been alive if she hadn’t acted so…free.

Now, freedom is always coming in the hereafter, but you know what, though, the hereafter is a hustle. We want it now.

And let’s get a couple things straight, just a little side note—the burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander. That’s not our job, alright—stop with all that. If you have a critique for the resistance, for our resistance, then you better have an established record of critique of our oppression. If you have no interest, if you have no interest in equal rights for black people then do not make suggestions to those who do. Sit down.

We’ve been floating this country on credit for centuries, yo, and we’re done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight and out of mind while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil—black gold, ghettoizing and demeaning our creations then stealing them, gentrifying our genius and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit. The thing is though…the thing is that just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real.

Thank you.”

Jesse Williams, 2016 BET Humanitarian Award Speech

Jesse Williams Dropping Serious Knowledge #BETAwards

“Freedom is always coming in the hereafter. But the hereafter is the hustle. We want it now.” –Jesse Williams

Jesse Williams spoke the truth at the 2016 BET Awards. I hope people weren’t just emotional for the moment. Rather, let’s continue to take action.