It’s too bad that America sees Atlanta, black women, and maybe even women in general through the lens of The ‘Real Housewives’ franchise.
When the first episodes of Atlanta aired, my upstate NY hairstylist gasped and gawped about the wealth and glam. Oh, the hair! the BET-ho short dresses! (and the token white girl!)
I had to reply, with that special brand of irony that educators cultivate: “Lovey, I think you’ve probably never seen rich black women before.”
So I did my part to defend the Atlanta women.
But now, they are planning a trip to South Africa (free, of course). This week was the prep episode, including one of them calling the president of Ghana for advice for a trip to SA. (Serious.)
Here’s a bit of recap from Entertainment Weekly:
Phaedra is the new Countess (just one with a sense of humor and rhythm). She’s organizing
a trip to South Africa for the women and she wants everyone to come. (“I wouldn’t go to the damn trash ca
n with them,” NeNe sniffed to Cynthia. They haven’t told her yet the trip is free.) In preparation, Phaedra dragged Kandi’s enormous thighs to an African dance class. “When I think of Africa, I just think of…” said Kandi. ”Naked women with their breasts out,” Phaedra cut in, handling her chest. “Jangy jangy jangy jangy!”
Phaedra and Kandi took part in a joyous African dance class so Kandi can lose some weight (So nice that African traditions, too, are now getting used for weight loss and body obsession, much like yoga—a practice meant to help us go of our attachment to our transient physical selves—has been adopted by OCD white women throughout the US to further draw attention to their physical and sexual selves). But there’s even more:
Phaedra Parks (or the producers) also use this episode to teach audiences a little about the continent the ladies are about to visit, and so that she can “immerse herself in culture”. Parks takes Kandi to, an Atlanta-based history museum about the African-American history. The pair then giggle over a “pec-tastic” slave statue and Sheree peeks under the loincloth, rather than paying attention to the tour guide.
Kandi can’t come up with one adjective to describe what she thinks when she hears “Africa.” Phaedra, however, is not at a loss for descriptions: Africa is, in the mighty Atlantan’s hands, the location of “naked women with their breasts out.”
Finally, Sheree, too, is invited to go to South Africa. “I would not pass up the experience,” Sheree delights. “We can put our grown panties on.” Phaedra’s response: “Hopefully, Africa will elevate us to college-level fights.”
NeNe, sadly, will not be going to Africa, despite the temptations of loincloths, “grown panties”, and the opportunity to elevate fights to the “college-level”.
[NeNe] told Cynthia she wouldn’t go to a trash can with them. Prompting Sheree’s only real contribution to this episode, “I don’t think the b**** has ever been abroad. I don’t think she has any stamps on her passport. Get some damn culture!”
Oh, South Africa. I’m sorry that this is what you’ve got coming.
What’s your thoughts?
A brief clip about when the Nicaraguan contras began to covertly fund their war against the Sandanistas by selling drugs & guns to California street gangs, & how our Central Intelligence Agency turned a blind eye. While black neighborhoods were being ravaged by the crack cocaine plague, CIA operatives actively participated in this devastating drug explosion, protected from prosecution by a secret agreement between the Department of Justice and the CIA.
Maafa 21 Trailer (2 minutes)
The term Maafa is the Swahili term for disaster
It’s common knowledge that Africans were stolen from their homes, locked in chains and taken across an ocean. And for more than 200 years, their blood and sweat would help to build the richest and most powerful nation the world has ever known, the U.S. But when slavery ended, the African’s welcome was over. America’s wealthy elite had decided it was time for them to disappear and they were not particular about how it might be done. What Maafa very effectively shows is that the plan these people set in motion 150 years ago is still being carried out today! That’s why we wanted to feature it on our site, it’s happening right here, and now. For decades people of African decent have accused the west of waging a covert war on the global black community with a goal to eradicate all people of color. Such accusations have usually been met with laughter, ridicule and the accuser labelled as a conspiracy nut. However, the 137 minute film effectively exposes many of the key players in this is a deadly game of chess, where every move is calculated patience is vital and in keeping with the rules of chess, white always makes the first move and this move was made centuries ago. So now the most dangerous place for a black child is in the womb of a black woman.
(See the whole compelling film on youtube or buy it)
The best author on the issue of Television & it’s effects on our minds, culture and world. He briefly breaks down why we all should be concerned!
Peep his book the Four arguments for the elimination of Television and you’ll see why we dig Jerry!
The well documented attack on black womanhood, is not something we should just roll over and accept.
We’re gonna give some examples, so we can stop being desensitized to it. We’re NOT attacking the artists, but you can’t treat what you refuse to diagnose. So we’re attacking the corrosive language, imagery & themes that have been destroying our communities and our awesome women! Check it out:
Jive recording artist UGK releases their song, “Pregnant p***y”.
The lyrics go: “pregnant p***y’s the best you can get – f**kin a b**** while her babys suckin’ d**k sometimes I like to f**k a pregnant b**** on the floor. If she’s pregnant I can satisfy & at the same time give her kid a pacifier.
Nope. This isn’t some underground shock group, UGK appeared on Jay-Z’s “Big Pimpin,” the mainstream song that reached #3 on the Billboard Top 100 charts. They reach little kids everywhere! We need to be appalled!
Pedro ‘DJ Complejo’ Hernandez wrote for Rapreview that UGK was “the smoothest and most accessible” of gangsta rappers. And of course Jay – Z wrote in their song together: You know I thug ‘em, f**k ‘em, love ‘em, leave ‘em Cause I don’t f***in’ need ‘em Take ‘em out the hood Keep ‘em looking good But I don’t f**kin’ feed em. First time they fuss I’m breezin’ Talking ’bout what’s the reasons I’m a pimp in every sense of the word, b**** Better trust and believe ‘em. In a cut where I keep ‘em ’Til I need a nut ’Til I need to be (in) the guts The it’s beep-beep and I’m pickin ‘em up Let ‘em play with the d*** in the truck. (Big Pimpin) He later said he regretted writing that verse, but that’s AFTER it made him and his crew a truck load of money fans and street cred. I respect that he’s changing. But we’ve gotta be more sensitive to what people are feeding us. Gayle King & Oprah Winfrey give praise to Jay-Z on their mainstream Oprah Winfrey & Gayle King Shows.
Peep the controversial photo of Snoop Dogg on the red carpet with two black women in dog chains. This is the same Snoop Dogg that wrote: “I hit her friend from the back While she was at work workin’I was jerkin’ that skirt And f***ing with all her friends that was flirtin’. And when she found out she told me that that s*** hurt (boo-hoo) …Bitch you ain’t s*** but dirt for dirt (b****!) – From the song, “Brake Fluid“.
People talk a lot of freedom of speech, but then get upset when a thug wants to date their own daughters. Snoop is marketed by the mainstream to be adored by kids. He’s been a guest at the Kids Choice Awards not to mention cooking shows with Martha Stewart, and cruising the streets with CNN’s Larry King. This doesn’t make sense. We indirectly applaud lyrics that crush our own women! Peep out the powerful movie documentary by Byron Hurt: HIP-HOP: BEYOND BEATS &RHYMES
These mainstream personalities & corporations validate lyrics and artists that tear the woman to shreds. And even little girls connect the dots when they hear artist call women B****es, and the very next minute they see mainstream personalities embrace these very artists as great innovators and role models!
Speaking of great…artist Usher appears as a Boys & Girls Club representative as part of the organization’s new ad campaign, “Be Great“! And while it’s easy to applaud his talent, should we applaud these lyrics? “I’m bout go have a ménage With this lady and some freaks at the bar who like f***in’ with a star I told her If you f**kin’ with me Really f**kin’ with me You go get some girls and Bring em to me If you f**kin’ with me Really f**kin’ with me You’ll let her put her hands in your pants Be my little freak” from his song “Lil Freak“. Usher another artist that Oprah & Boys & Girls Club applauds as great. I’m sure Oprah didn’t know about his lyrics, but little girls do and the connection is confusing to them.
The point is, we gotta be aware of what we’re allowing to be done. We wrote a song called, “Let your voice be heard” (Strong CD). That’s what we all have to do! We wrote another one, “SOUL SISTER” (SATCR) that addresses this. The hatred expressed in these songs don’t come from the artists alone. It comes from years of white supremacist brainwashing during & after slavery. Let’s stop being double minded, praising these artist while condemning signs of self-hatred, confusion and bad judgement by the youth. They’ve learned it from our generations approval.
Become activist and spread this article to everyone you know!
1 white doll & one black doll (speak volumes)
In the 1940s, the nation was captivated by an electrifying experiment by legendary sociologists Kenneth and Mamie Clark. They asked black children about two dolls, one white and one black. The majority — 63 percent of them — said they’d rather play with the white doll. Most said the white doll was nicer than the black doll and in the most poignant answer of all, 44 percent of the black children said the white doll looked most like them. ”It was groundbreaking in that it sort of changed the way we look at race relations,” Harvard University professor William Julius Wilson said. “Here are kids who felt that being white was more beautiful than black. And that’s pretty devastating.” Fast forward to recent times, a high-school literature class caused Kiri Davis to construct “A girl like me” an anthology with a wide range of different stories that she believed reflected the black girl’s experience. For the different chapters, she conducted interviews with a variety of black girls in her high school, and a number of issues surfaced concerning the standards of beauty imposed on today’s black girls and how this affects their self-image. She thought this topic would make an interesting film and so when she was accepted into the Reel Works Teen Filmmaking program, she set out to explore these issues. She also decided to would re-conduct the “doll test” initially conducted by Dr. Kenneth Clark, which was used in the historic desegregation case, Brown vs. Board of Education. She thought that by including this experiment in her film, she would shed new light on how society affects black children today and how little has actually changed. With help from mentor, Shola Lynch, and the honesty and openness of the girls interviewed, she was able to complete her first documentary in the fall of 2005.
author Tom Burrell
Q. What motivated you to write your book “Brainwashed”?
A. As a black ad man, I was compelled to understand the way that words and images have been used to manipulate how blacks are viewed in this country and the way many of us unconsciously view ourselves. Connecting the black dots on a larger level early on—from slavery and Jim Crow segregation to contemporary commercial and social propaganda—became my passion.
Q. What makes you an expert on the so-called Black Inferiority complex?
A. As the former founder and CEO of one of the top ad agencies in the country, I bring more than 45 years of advertising and marketing expertise with black consumers and social behaviors to the table. Brainwashed, to my knowledge, is the very first book that talks about the selling of race-based inferiority from both a historical and contemporary marketing perspective, and its devastating impact on both blacks and whites. I wrote this book to serve as a catalyst for deprogramming society from the myth that blacks are innately inferior to whites.
Q. What is the genesis of the White Superiority/Black Inferiority brainwash attitudes?
A. American slavery. It was in America that Africans were chained and branded, both physically and psychologically, as subhuman beasts of burden. It was here that we were first indoctrinated with the idea that we were, in fact, not humans at all, but property.
Q. How do propaganda and brainwashing fit together? Why did you choose such a strong term?
A. Propaganda is the outer layer of this brainwashing onion. In the marketing world, propaganda is the first tool of persuasion. Brainwashing is the outcome, but propaganda got us here, and its continued use keeps the inferior/superior mind game in play. Instead of using torture and other coercive techniques, the stealthy, media-savvy propagandist uses mass media and other forms of communication to change minds and mold ways of thinking. I have no intention of shying away from the term propaganda. I say we use it—take what was thrown at us, shuck it off, and replace it with “positive” propaganda.
Q. Many of the events covered in your book took place hundreds of years ago. Aren’t you encouraging readers to wallow in the past?
A. The Black Inferiority campaign has left us with centuries of unresolved trauma. We can’t move forward as a collective until we have honest and detailed conversations about the painful influences of our past and the connections to the present. Until we are fully cognizant of the triggers that enable social, political, familial, and personal dysfunction we will be forever trapped in a counterproductive cycle.
Q. Didn’t the media brainwashing that you speak of die in the wake of the Jim Crow and the civil rights era?
A. While some might argue that racist media practices died with the end of the Jim Crow era, a few thousand folks stranded for days on sweltering rooftops or in neck-deep, toxic floodwater in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 might disagree. We now know that many of the 24/7 news accounts of black-on-black sniper attacks, mass murders, and the rape of women and babies were largely unfounded. As if stuck in a vortex, mainstream news outlets today still heavily focus on the negative aspects of African American life while ignoring or downplaying our positive contributions and efforts.
Q. You say that “Black people are not dark-skinned white people.” Explain.
A. Too often blacks and whites live in different worlds. My point is that black Americans, because of our heritage and history, have a unique culture that could best be reached through strategies, words, and images subtly or overtly related to those historical and cultural factors.
Q. What are some of the lessons you learned about black Americans during your tenure in the advertising business?
A. Burrell Communications’ research of the 70s and 80s showed that African Americans have distinct psychosocial needs, desires, fears, hopes, and aspirations, all born of the circumstances arising from slavery and a history of racial oppression. We discovered, for example that:
• Black preference for high-end status brands was driven by the need to compensate for feelings of low self-esteem.
• Our penchant for a lopsided spending/savings ratio grew out of our need for immediate gratification, based on a chilling pessimism about an uncertain future.
Q. Did the “black pride” feeling of the 60s and early 70s weaken the Black Inferiority brand?
A. Yes and no. During that exciting time in our history, we paid lip service to being black and proud, but the sudden conversion was not supported by the necessary psychological machinery to make the change permanent. Even today, we have no permanent cultural mechanisms to undo what a 400-year marketing campaign has achieved.
Q. Have you had first-hand experience with race-based inferiority issues?
A. I’ve experienced race-based lack of self-esteem first-hand. It was not based solely on low income or poor education. As upwardly mobile as I was, that programmed sense of innate inferiority climbed every rung of the ladder of success right beside me. Over time, I’ve learned that the root of the problem wasn’t what was being done to me—it was what I’d been brainwashed to believe about myself.
Q. How does the election of President Obama impact the Black Inferiority campaign in America?
A. Images are powerful. Never before has America seen a black man occupying the highest office in the land, delivering the State of the Union address, drafting and promoting national policy, or disembarking from Air Force One with his black wife and daughters. From a marketing perspective, this is powerful, life-altering stuff. Barack Obama, through intelligence, will, self-determination, and yes, not a small confluence of favorable circumstances, may have reached his Promised Land, but tragically too many black Americans are still wandering in the wilderness.
Q. Are black Americans finally making measurable progress in this country?
A. The National Urban League’s annual report, The State of Black America, presents some pervasive and depressing themes: social chaos, irresponsible spending, economic stagnation, and disproportionate death and incarceration rates. No matter what the category, blacks statistically trail behind whites and other ethnicities, and in some areas, such as educational achievement and overall life expectancy, our numbers are actually getting worse.
Q. Your book stresses that whites as well as blacks have been influenced by the Black Inferiority campaign. If that’s the case, why don’t you have tools and/or suggestions to help whites overcome this toxic mindset?
A. My expertise is with African Americans—our history, our motivators, and our behaviors. I wouldn’t presume to offer effective solutions to counteract the effects of brainwashing on whites and other ethnic groups. However, I submit that positive propaganda, like negative propaganda, has the potential to not only change how we see ourselves, but how others view our race. I want to be a part of a movement that flips the script and promotes a truer picture of our potential and our contributions to society.
Q. What are some of the disturbing brainwash messages that black adults often unconsciously pass on to children?
A. At a very young age, black men and women are inundated with messages that they cannot trust or depend upon one another. Children hear comments and jokes about lazy, greedy, irresponsible, or otherwise flawed black adults. They are warned to be tough, trust no one, and always, always be prepared for the doomed relationship. It is not really a revelation that incompatibility, lack of love, and oftentimes violence become the inevitable conclusions of these tainted individuals’ relationships.
Q. What messages dominate media portrayals of black men?
A. The message that black men are America’s demons is peddled relentlessly on the nightly news and crime shows and through entertainment media. Through slick propaganda, the criminal code of respect is now regarded as a “black thing.” These messages hit black boys everywhere—on the basketball court, in the schoolyard, and when they gather on the street. Negative media reinforcements not only influence how cops, judges, employers, and others view black males, they affect how young blacks view themselves.
Q. Why should we care about the controversial image of NBA star LeBron James looking “King Kong-like,” posing with a white model on the cover of Vogue?
A. The reason we should care about LeBron’s image is the same reason we should care about the image of Tiger Woods on the February 2010 cover of Vanity Fair magazine. In framing James as King Kong and Woods in the classic Boyz ’N the Hood pose, Vogue, which reaches 1.2 million readers a month and Vanity Fair, perpetuated one of the most enduring stereotypes of black sexuality—the Brute. Depictions of LeBron as the modern-day rendition of the brutish, ape-like menace and Woods, angry and muscled in a prison-yard pose, with the not-so-subtle reminder that both men preyed on fair-skinned maidens, do indeed matter—especially in a society still fixated on warped, racial images of oversexed black men.
Q. Your book challenges the work of black entertainers such as Tyler Perry, Steve Harvey, Lil’ Wayne, and other high-profile individuals and organizations. Is it your intent to embarrass or chastise these individuals?
A. No, not at all. We are all victims of the overwhelming (BI) “black inferiority” campaign. The idea is to challenge everyone, including myself, to question what we put out, what we take in, and what influences we promote in our communities and the wider world. If readers agree with the material I detail in the book then new awareness must turn into conscious action.
Q. Many of the successful blacks entertainers have helped extend what you call the “BI brand—rappers, comedians, TV, films, and others. How do you feel about this?
A. In the book, I explain in great detail how many of us contribute and continue perpetrating stereotypes developed to forever keep us branded as inferior. More important, however, I explain the historical motivators that cause us to respond to such disinformation negatively. I’m no position to condemn anyone. I’m a firm believer that once we know better, we will do better.
Q. Why do you feel black American unity is so important?
A. There’s strength in numbers. African Americans share a legacy of resilience and strength but also a history of understandable division based on Black Inferiority conditioning. If we can unite around a very basic but necessary agenda of reprogramming ourselves and promoting uplifting images and messages about ourselves, I believe we will have finally laid a foundation for exponential progress. Instead of crabbin’ and backstabbin’, this generation can be the pioneers who pool their resources and talent, the generation that soars. This can be the generation that says, “Enough. The master puppeteer will no longer pull our strings.”
Q. What’s the most important lesson you want readers to take from Brainwashed?
A. More than anything, I want readers to understand the effects of a centuries-long propaganda campaign. I want them to start scrutinizing everything we see, hear, or say about African Americans. I want us to hold ourselves accountable and realize that we all can play a part in flipping the propaganda script.
Q. What is The Resolution Project?
A. I created the nonprofit Resolution Project in 2007 with the goal of sparking intra-racial dialogue and sharing ideas about ways we can challenge and change how we perceive ourselves. Brainwashed is the project’s first tangible product. Our task from here forward is to create a coalition of engaged citizens dedicated to using positive propaganda to eradicate negative images and replace them with a bombardment of positive words and images.
Q. What is the “Flip the Script…Stop the Brainwash” competition? Who can enter and how?
A. In order to recruit “evangelists for positive propaganda,” I established The Resolution Project, an organization dedicated to promoting community-based new media campaigns. One of The Resolution Project’s first activities will be to sponsor the 1st Annual “Flip the Script…Stop the Brainwash” campaign. This worldwide competition will honor the best positive propaganda campaigns in video, art, creative writing, poetry, music, and other media based on a theme inspired by Brainwashed.
Arrested Development has become “evangelist” for this book and it’s importance, we hope our fans will too.
A masterful song & video by: Speech, Nenah Cherry, Ulali and 1 Giant Leap! This song was craftily woven together by film makers/musicians Jamie Catto and Duncan Bridgeman (UK). They traveled around the earth to capture the human spirit.
Peep this must-see classic! (As Jon & O’ Reilly go in about hip-hop artist Common)
Part two is just as good!