Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Make It Plain - The Malcolm X Documentary

View the Malcolm X Documentary- Make It Plain

Video At End Of Post

I was considering posting this documentary before the Don Imus situation became a big issue. But now that the issue has come up, this video is even more important.

I do not agree with all (or even most) of Malcolm X’s positions on social and political issues. Although towards the end of his life he began to moderate some of his views.

However, what I admire about Malcolm was his presence as a man. It was his giant spirit and no nonsense attitude. He was a man who stood up for his beliefs and principles in a way that few others ever have, before or since. Where are these kinds of men today? Where have they gone? They certainly do not exist anymore, especially within the so-called African American community. People like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are lightweights in the shadows of giants like MLK, Malcolm, Du Bois, Bob Marley, Evers, Adam Clayton Powell and a few others.
These men were of a different breed….a breed of men who are unfortunately extinct.
That brings me to the issue of Don Imus. Well Angry Independent, what does Malcolm X have to do with the Don Imus situation?

This degeneration of Black culture has been allowed to happen under Jesse Jackson & Al Sharpton’s watch. This is why they are lightweights, and failures when it comes to this issue. They have been timid- too scared to really confront (full force) the Rap community & the nonsense that they perpetuate, as well as the radio stations, record companies, etc that support them. Instead of getting a handle on this situation years ago, it has been allowed to fester into what we see today. The good Reverends Jesse and Al have been too afraid of making folks angry within their own community. They have bent over backwards to appease Rappers and to embrace their behavior. They put image and money over principle and integrity.

Only a very few strong black men have carried the real banner of black pride, responsibility and accountability. People like Dr. Cornel West, Bill Cosby, Juan Williams, & Carlton Ridenhour come to mind….but it’s a small few. The majority of these so-called “leaders” have not acted in the best interests of the masses. And here we are…we find ourselves in these kinds of positions over and over again. And instead of challenging Hip Hop culture, people like Al Sharpton and Michael Eric Dyson defend the behaviors of Rappers and literally make excuses for their behavior- suggesting that it is o.k. when Rappers do it (even though it's more frequent, more vile, and more damaging). According to the Dyson crowd, there should be two different standards….one for Don Imus because he’s a white man, and another standard for those within the Black community (Rap music in particular) who do even worse. The Dyson crowd says that Rappers deserve a pass....that Blacks should look the other way when it comes to Rap, just like they always have. Dyson and his cohorts are engaged in the kind of splitting of hairs game that people play when they want to avoid responsibility. But it's really a disgusting display of hypocrisy on their part that makes Black folks look bad in the end. They want to shield Black thugs from being held accountable... this has become Michael Eric Dyson's hustle.

How would Malcolm deal with the Imus situation? Yes, he would call for the resignation or firing of Don Imus. There is no doubt about that. But I also have no doubt whatsoever that Malcolm would be reaching for his mirror…. To hold it up to the Black Community. He would be working to fight against this kind of behavior within the Black community, from the rappers, the urban radio stations, and record companies, with the same determination that we see in the case of Don Imus. Malcolm would be pushing for the firings of those in urban America who put the same things over the airwaves on a daily basis….calling Black women B****, Whores, degrading our women on TV, etc.

Malcolm X would not tolerate this nonsense, and he definitely would not make excuses for ignorant rappers and urban radio stations within his own community that were doing the same thing that Imus is being punished for. Malcolm would not tolerate this hairsplitting, double standard bull. Malcolm always pushed introspection within the Black community... his core teachings centered around self respect, having a knowledge of self, and the idea of Blacks taking responsibility for their own communities. Therefore, Malcolm would have been smack dab in the middle of this internal debate about the treatment and image of Black women (and women in general) within the so-called Black community...particularly as it relates to Rap music.

You have these degenerate so-called Black intellectuals, such as Todd Boyd out of USC, Roland Martin, and Michael Eric Dyson (and others from this crowd) who have been supporting the behavior of the Rap Community and have been covering for this nonsense for years. Just within the past 2 days I have seen Michael Eric Dyson and Roland Martin on CNN defending/making excuses for elements within the so-called Black community who engage in far worse behavior on a daily basis, than that of Don Imus. I would love to see how Malcolm would deal with these lightweight bastards if he were here today.

Malcolm would be grabbing folks by their necks (figuratively and literally) within the so-called Black community, demanding that this nonsense stop. Radio stations, record labels and rappers that failed to comply would literally have hell to pay. BET? I'm not sure if Bull**** Entertainment Television would even exist in its current form. In fact, none of this would have gotten as bad as it has if it were Malcolm’s watch. Instead it has been Jesse’s watch…and Sharpton’s watch, and Andrew Young’s watch, and the modern NAACP’s watch…. Well, they have all FAILED miserably. You can’t send chumps to do a man’s job.

Malcolm, although I did not agree with some of his more radical views, was an example of the kind of Black man (in terms of presence, strength and integrity) that is missing in today’s society.


Alana Skye said...

Angry Independent,

Why do you keep using quotation remarks and keep referring to it as the so-called Black community? I'm puzzled by that.

The trouble we face with Black culture did not begin with Rap music. The degradation of women and Black women in particular has existed for a number of decades. And is Dyson a degenerate because you don't agree with him? It's all about dialogue at the end of the day. And that's what is taking place. Sharpton doesn't justify rap lyrics. I can't begin to count how many hiphop summits and conferences he spoke at regarding its use of degrading and violent lyrics. People lampoon Sharpton and Jackson so much, it's gotten to the point where even if they have something relevant to say its automatically dismissed. People can decide for themselves which view they agree upon. I personally don't look to a public figures to lead me, however I do have a high appreciation for public figures that keep me abreast on issues that concern me as a citizen that mainstream media choose not to address.

As far as rap music is concerned, I agree with the negative impact that it has had as of late. However, greedy record executives and radio conglomerates are the reason why the market happens to be flooded with a certain type of hiphop. Hiphop culture as a whole is not the cancer of our society that you accuse it of being. There are many hiphop artists, journalists, and other people of the hiphop generation that represent the complete opposite of what you see in mainstream media. They just don't have as large of a platform as rappers signed to major labels have. Corporations don't find positivity appealing.It's just that simple. I don't think that its a coincidence that in today's society Black negative stereotypes and hiphop go hand in hand.

Essence Magazine had a major campaign last year taking rappers with misogynistic and degrading lyrics to task. Spelman College also boycotted Nelly for his offensive lyrics and raunchy videos. However, the dialogue needs to continue and plans need to be put in motion.
The Black community needs to take more responsibility for letting it's culture get away from them.

I do feel that the web is far more tangled than it was during the civl rights era. There are far more factors thrown into the equation which makes it more difficult to come up with solutions.

I don't think you need to disrespect the public figures that do exist in the Black community. Dyson, irregardless of your opinion of him, is an intellectual. He has the credentials to back him up.

Dubois did not call Booker T. Washington a degenerate because he differed in opinion.

Sonya said...

I cannot and will not lay any assumptive degeneration of the black community at the feet of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Michael Eric Dyson. The overall coarsening of the dominant culture has had a devastating effect upon many black people because of the presence of pathologies that have nothing to do with the above-named men. There is truth to the oft repeated saying that when America catches a cold, Black America develops pnuemonia.

Jackson and Sharpton speak for those who have no voice, something that can't be said for the majority of their detractors, both white and black. Sharpton has been stabbed, and both receive numerous death threats, which have become a way of life for them. Jackson himself puts it best, "I am not a perfect servant. I am a public servant doing my best against the odds. As I develop and serve, be patient. God is not finished with me yet." Certainly, the families of Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell and others, have been helped by the interventions of Jackson and Sharpton.

As for Michael Eric Dyson, he is on record as pushing back in defense of those in the "underclass" whom he feels have been unfairly characterized as dragging down the black community. I've personally witnessed him standing up for the rights of gay people to be treated with humanity in the face of withering homophobic vitriol from so-called religious black folks.

I addressed the corporate component of the influence of rap/hip hop ignorance in my post regarding Don Imus so I won't repeat it here. I will say I agree that all the sell-out blacks who perpetuate these shameful images and project their vulgarities upon the rest of us should be called out on their bullshit by black media and service organizations instead of kissing up to them for photo-ops.

Can anybody on the scene today be compared to MLK, Malcolm X or Medgar Evers? Of course not. Times have changed, and so has the definition of " black leader." Progressive activism can't be top-down but must be decentralized and originate from the grassroots, which puts the onus on individuals to work in their local communities. I see this type of activism in my own community all the time, but it doesn't get any media attention.

The lack of publicity about the good things going on cause many to assume that black folks are doing nothing but giving lip service to the problems that ail us. Sadly, too many black people have bought into this meme. In America, if you don't see it on television, it must not be true. Therefore, it's incumbent upon those of us who have any type of media platform to fight back against the negative memes with positive reality. Nobody is going to do it for us, but us.

Brian said...


"Why do you keep using quotation remarks and keep referring to it as the so-called Black community? I'm puzzled by that".

I'll have to give you the short answer...because i'm up against the clock.

1. Black America has not been "A Community" for quite a long time.

2. The term suggests that Black folks in this country are a monolith...that we all act alike, think alike, believe alike, worship alike, have the same politics, etc. These catch phrases just makes it easier for folks to lump us together for whatever news story they have for us.

Brian said...


My point in mentioning Jesse and Sharpton in regards to the degeneration of modern Black culture is that much of this occurred under their watch and that they could have done more...

Why weren't they as aggressive with these record companies, radio stations and rappers before this? Yes, they raised these issues before...but only timidly when compared with their reaction to the Imus comments.

I'm saying... let's take this all the way and make some changes WITHIN Black America, where much of this stuff is perpetuated the most often and in the most vile ways.

Regarding Dyson... I think we may have to agree to disagree.

I have been watching this man for much of the last 10 years and he has always come off as an apologist for the negative behavior of those within the Hip Hop Community. He has made excuses for this behavior in the past...from the N-word to the negative images of women in Rap.

But then all of a sudden, when it's Imus, he wants to get upset.

My point is...the hypocrisy within Black America on this issue does not do Black folks any good.

And I know we have a lot of unsung heroes...

The news media often only comes around when there is a shooting or something negative... I completely understand that.

But I just disagree with Dyson based on differences in philosophy and vision.

There are two distinctive camps emerging in Black America when it comes to this issue...
Folks like Todd Boyd, Michael Eric Dyson, The Rap Community, and many of the old traditional "leaders" are on one side, and folks like Bill Cosby, Juan Williams, Chuck D., Cornel West & others are on the other side.

I'm firmly in the Cosby camp.
But it's all a part of a healthy debate that was long overdue.

BTW... I think the majority of Black Americans also fall mostly in the Cosby camp. (I once had some stats to support that...you may be able to find something online). Black folks are starting to get tired of the excuses often made by Dyson & Co.

Anonymous said...

Oooh, where do I begin? OK, starting with the "so-called Black community." I noticed that and had to chuckle to Myself cuz I knew what you were saying AI and I couldn't dispute it of I wanted.

On to Dr. Dyson. I like Dyson, but I also like Glenn Beck, Lou Dobbs and Joe Scarborough as well. The similar theme for Me with them is that I don't agree with everything they say, but they do raise valid points. Where it becomes sticky is that sometimes Dyson says things that seem contradictory. Yes, the problems with Black America are systemic but at one point or another, W/we gotta do what W/we gotta do. Feel Me?

For years AI, you know for a fact that I've always been quick to point blame toward the major record labels and media conglomerates for the toxicity pumped out on the airwaves, always have. I DO NOT blame rappers and R&B artists (they're in there too) for their their tired tirade against women and gays cuz it simply points to either poor upbringing or despite a decent upbringing, they're just incredibly ignorant. Whatever the case, they are Constitutionally protected and talking to ppl who engage in that behavior on general principle is fruitless. I mentioned in a previous Imus post that cutting the jugular by leaning on the sponsors would most likely be the best plan of attack.

Back to the idea of Malcolm... his life, principles and ideals are inspiring to U/us all. I do wish W/we had more Black "leaders" like him but since I gotta big mouth a leader is not what I need, I will re-acquaint Myself with his writings by rumbling through My books, re-read and reflect on what I need to do as a Black citizen to help make the "so-called Black community" a community again.

@ Alana...
Thanks for mentioning the fact that all hip hop is not bad. That cannot be emphasized enough!!!

BE peace, y'all.