It’s great to have a smart friend who is also a great writer, and I’m very thankful. I got one of my favorite honeys Andrea Brown, to write this great blog post for me.
Make sure to follow her on Twitter to stay up to date on what she has coming in the future.
In recent memory, there hasn’t been a film that’s affected me the way Ava DuVernay’s “Selma” has. While it was beautifully shot, directed, and acted, the timing of the film truly impacted me the most. It’s no secret that tensions in America have been at a fever pitch in the wake of a number of high profile police-involved killings of Black men, women, and children. In the wake of the many protests happening across the country – taking a look at Selma is bittersweet. There is an undeniable parallel between what occurred in the seat of the civil rights movement, and what’s happening right now. While the time and catalyst may be different, the quest for justice and fair treatment are a common denominator.
As could be imagined, the film and movement have sparked national conversation. One of the biggest talking points has dealt with the radio silence we’ve received from many of today’s leading Black artists. One of the few who took a stance on the issue was Kendrick Lamar. In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the LA-bred rapper acknowledged the disproportionate amount of police brutality toward people of color, but also noted a necessity for personal responsibility as a viable solution to the problems we’ve been facing.
“I wish somebody would look in our neighborhood knowing that it’s already a situation, mentally, where it’s f—ed up,” he said. “What happened to [Michael Brown] should’ve never happened. Never. But when we don’t have respect for ourselves, how do we expect them to respect us? It starts from within. Don’t start with just a rally, don’t start from looting — it starts from within.”
Naturally, many felt that his comments were tone deaf, and not without reason.
In theory, his ideas make sense, and would work – if this was a utopian society. Unfortunately – we don’t live in a perfect world. The truth of the matter is, even if every black person in the country respected themselves, and respected others, there would still be people who would judge based on prejudice. Racism is taught, and respectability politics won’t reverse it. Selma provides an excellent example. Dr. Martin Luther King spoke eloquently, and was still called a nigger, unjustly imprisoned, and eventually murdered.
With that being said, it’s hard for many of us to pinpoint a true solution to the issues we face with race and justice in this country. The surface level solution would be new legislation – but even that is fallible. True change and improvement will only come with a generational cultural shift in tolerance and acceptance. The things that unite us far outweigh the those that divide us – and in order for things to change, that fact has to be acknowledged.