Whiteness has ruined you
Ruined me too
I wanted to suppose but I know
It’s all I’ve known
I feel like I am finally exhaling. I am relieved.
This week concludes my summer internship at All Souls Presbyterian Church. It has been a wonderful experience and I am celebrating by uploading my sermons from the summer. Here was my first sermon there called “What we inherit.” I hope it blesses you. Much love.
When does politeness solve poverty?
Can saying “God Bless You” solve a rumbling belly?
Is there solace in your sincerity that you don’t carry cash?
Or is it just plastic?
Patricia asked me if we talk about poor people in my studies.
“Only in electives,” I said regrettably.
(Like my ivory tower tears quench thirst.)
I get heartbroken hearing about Chicago’s southside.
Eyes welled up on Newark’s Bergen Street.
But survivor’s guilt ain’t helping nobody live.
“Dancehall a nuh hip hop. Di ting a get wack.”- Bounty Killer
Although Vybz Kartel’s initial arrest and incarceration were severe blows it felt like dancehall had been dying for quite some time. Too much island pop and imitation of American hip hop counterparts had left the genre severely lacking. As rap knows all too well, nostalgia can be a suffocating prison and many dancehall fans and observers concluded that its best days were in the past.
As a fan this grieved me as I found myself longing for the next big riddim. Dancehall has had solid moments in recent years but none comparable to the last great era in dancehall (2001-2007). That era saw Sean Paul and Elephant Man become household names, birthed timeless riddims like Coolie Dance and Diwali, but was nearly a decade ago and any honest assessment would attest that there was no hope on the horizon.
I found solace in the rise of conscious artists bringing “culture” to the forefront. I-Octane? Sign me up. Damian Marley’s “Gunman World”? Masterful. Chronixx denouncing colonialism and making clean eating fashionable? Dread and terrible indeed.
But dancehall for its intents and purposes was dead to me. No one could supplant the energy Kartel brought to the arena. Artists had their lane but none could be the dancehall hero that Kartel portrayed. In truth it felt like Kartel too was incapable of filling the larger than life pole position he created for himself. Was he merely becoming a caricature? Would he be unable to keep fans attention without further stunts like bleaching and controversy?
The release of “School” is perhaps the last gasp of influence in Kartel’s career. A nostalgia satisfying tune released in 2013 it is full of positive vibes and felt fresh on the heels of dancehall giants Supercat and Shabba returning to the public conscious. Maybe that would be the key. For dancehall to survive it had to return to the roots.
So where are we now? Several mixes and radio shows will show dancehall in the full throws of nostalgia. The biggest riddim out right now is “gwaan bad”, a call back to the “bruk out” riddim featuring a rejuvenated Elephant Man and a diss tune from Mavado to his former mentor, Bounty Killer, that isnt scathing but may be the crown jewel of this particular riddim.
Coupled with the popularity of Answer Riddim 2014, nuh fraid riddim and greatest creation riddim, 2014 well may be the year dancehall gets back on its feet. Dancehall has heroes in plenty supply but with the resurgence of classic vibes one must worry that without exciting young artists doing the heavy lifting, the genre’s late nostalgia is merely a snake eating its tail.
If Dancehall is to thrive it will do so with elders and young champions in tow.
In an effort to keep my writing teeth sharp, I am participating in the Daily Prompt posted by the good people at The Daily Post.
For today’s prompt, tell us three things that you believe in your heart to be true. Tell us three things you believe in your heart to be false.
1. I believe that love transforms.
I wake up everyday further convinced that living in a loving way is the best way to go about things. I don’t want to be out here judging people’s lives or acting like I am better than anyone. My hope is to follow Christ’s example and demonstrate love everywhere. Living my faith has got to be far more effective than attractive words or compelling arguments.
2. I believe that things will get better.
It’s hard out here for an optimist. I try to see the glass half-full while respecting others who view the glass as shattered. I’ve been really captivated by laments in the Old Testament recently. They teach me that:
3. I believe that it’s already done.
It’s important to operate from a place of abundance. My lens is completely different when I live with a victorious mindset. I feel grateful, am able to encourage others and am able to understand that adversity may bend me but it is not capable of breaking me. One of the most encouraging words I received in the hospital came from my uncle who told me that “Every challenge we face in life is there to be overcome.” I often ask myself if I am an actor or merely acted upon. I don’t want to live like a victim, God’s got me.
What I think is false:
1. I do not believe that “it is what it is.”
I understand why people say this but it rings in my ears like despair. Like its cousin “It’s all good (baby, baby)” an indifferent cool is displayed but it’s really nihilism in a cheap suit. Even if everyday feels like the same soup reheated, don’t give up. Prayer and perseverance can turn the ship.
2. I do not believe that anyone is worthless.
It hurts me to see folks struggling. Whether they are being oppressed by others or cutting their own noses, it grieves me. How can I enjoy my bread when I see you starving? What can we do to make community contagious?
3. I do not believe that you cannot have light without darkness.
Balance sounds very attractive and it too has its place. But I don’t subscribe to a worldview that equates good and evil or love and hate. I believe that light always casts out darkness and that we will overcome.
The National Institutes of Health, 10 large drug companies and seven nonprofit organizations announced an unconventional partnership on Tuesday intended to speed up development of drugs to treat Alzheimer’s disease, Type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
“We are getting together in a way that has not happened before,” Dr. Collins said in an interview. “We are bringing scientists from different perspectives into the same room. They will leave their egos at the door, leave their affiliations at the door.”
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