After a trip to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in August, I gained such a deep level of understanding of the conception of my culture, that my outlook on life changed for the better. Black culture was birthed out of slovenly slave ships, inhumane slave owners, ruthless whips, idiotically hateful laws, and truculent people in the North and the South. These circumstances should have crushed the souls of black people, these circumstances should have stomped out our humanity. Instead, black people conceived a culture where we dance and sing for freedom and dress individualistically out of insurgency. Black culture emanated out of a need to survive, and a goal to thrive in a white-dominated world.
When I throw my support behind the Black Panthers or preach the importance of albums like Lemonade, To Pimp A Butterfly, and 4:44, or call out the appropriation of my culture, it is out of protection. Black culture can be shared, of course, but it is not a costume to be “cool” or “hip” or “in touch.”
When I support black people and black businesses, it is not because I don’t like white people or white businesses. My support comes out of the recognition that black-owned things and black people need to be uplifted in a system that is designed specifically for their failure. You can be pro-black, without being anti-white. If you are perceiving my pro-blackness as anti-whiteness, then you are actually perceiving my pro-blackness to be a threat to the stability of the system of white supremacy that has kept black people down for so long.
My pro-blackness is rooted in empowerment and pride, not in hate like white supremacists. My pro-blackness is rooted in the protection of my rich culture and the uplifting of my people’s talent. My pro-blackness is not anti-white.