If you’ve noticed lately, we’ve lost some major influences over the past couple yearz. As ‘Generation X’ becomes ‘Generation Now’, I find we have some very large shoes to fill.
With the recent deaths of Gordon Parks, Octavia Butler, J Dilla, Rosa Parks, Coretta Scott King, Ossie Davis, August Wilson, Johnnie Cochran, John H. Johnson, Richard Pryor, Nipsey Russell, Professor X, Lou Rawls, Luther Vandross, Barry White, Floyd Patterson and Shirley Chisolm, we should all reflect on the deedz of these and those not mentioned.
The historical biographies of those spoke of are large indeed. Many of them were actually the first to do what they did; many did those thingz during a tyme when racizm and segregation wasn’t as camoflauged as it is today; many accomplished those deedz in the midst of fear but realized the importance of takin’ on such a task and pressed on; and many silently ached with disappointment from the lack of vision and support from the very hedz their work was dedicated to...
I venture on to say that as of now, these may have been the last crop of freedom fighterz and pioneerz we may ever see again. And I say that because the world is ever-changing. As the world embraces – better yet – swallowz the Afrikan experience, there are too few of us willing to be the next group of griots, much more, there aren’t enuff of us even equipped with how to take on such a role as vanguard.
There are a couple reasonz for this. First is beef on the part of the Elderz and second is on my generation.
Ever since the fall of the Civil Rights movement, of those that didn’t take the gratuitous jobz, stayed on the streets. But they too found they still needed to eat. Out came the numerous ‘Africentric Pimps’ conducting 6 hour lectures for $15 bucks, tellin’ you a lot of history but equippin’ you with nothin’ to change your situation. These same scholarz became infatuated with the fame and chose rather than take tyme in groomin’ up-and-coming youths who also had a voice, to bast in the glory of popularity while preying on a young sista or two.
Generation X also shoulderz some blame because we’ve somehow lost sight of what’s important. We are the first to experience the ‘illusion of inclusion’, not bein’ able to detect that our presence is bein’ literally ‘whited-out’!
There are more interracial and homosexual couples than ever while the numberz on householdz with an Afrikan mother and father continue to fall faster than Wall Street stock!
Race-pride has been co-opted with Reggaton; we have more whites that care about poverty in Afrika than I & I; and thanx to 'Reality TV', MTV and BET, the youth are now experimenting with gay “rights”!
On the flipside, a positive about us is that we could be the best and possibly the last to do anything that would really be effective. We are but one generation removed from the dayz of a segregated america, while also able to acquire the secrets of corporate america. The weight of our legacy is heavy and I believe it fallz solely upon our shoulderz. For ‘Generation Next’s’ been alienated to experiencing any kind of physical segregation (they didn’t experience growing up with neighborhood community centerz, shit, there’s hardly any all Afrikan hoodz in major cities these dayz!) so to them, they are living the ‘melting-pot theory’ – even though we’re still on the bottom of the kettle gettin’ burnt!
It truly fallz on my, our generation (X), to finally merge identity culture with corporate culture and finally enterprise our way of life to where we start creating and receiving some of that nearly $700 Billion we loosely spend each year. Far too many other ethnicities have profited off our story, it is tyme we create the benefits for ourselves!
And even if you don’t see yourself as one to lead but to follow, pursue somethin’ that’s worth following and don’t just follow but support!
What will be our generationz legacy? More importantly, what will be yourz individually? I only hope in 50 yearz, someone will be able to comment on how our efforts allowed the torch to be passed.
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