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The Importance Of Ebro's Commentary On Puerto Rico And Blackness

Even if it is oversimplified, and perhaps problematic.  

Following Trump's pompous visit to the hurricane-ravaged island of Puerto Rico, Hot 97's Ebro Darden took to the airwaves to discuss race, namely blackness and the black experience as it pertains to the United States.

“What we’re seeing in Puerto Rico and what we’re seeing with immigrants is exactly the thing that black people in this country have always been angry about," began an impassioned Ebro on the latest edition of Ebro in the Morning (below). "It's why we always say, 'Yea, you black', while some may be like, 'Nah I’m not black'—but you’re going to find out that you’re black too."

He then attempted to contextualize being black in America: "Because the black experience is based in an experience of not being allowed [to exist]. There’s also the fact that being black [in this country] means you don’t have an association with Africa culturally, so you can’t really say you’re African."

Au contraire, black Americans can and do call themselves African, if only as a body politic because you can't erase DNA. And the journey of reclaiming said DNA (or African-ness) is often as brilliant as it is traumatic. But to Ebro's point, yes, children of the diaspora who are born in or migrate to the U.S. are inherently displaced, so we are forever negotiating the relationships we have with our motherlands.

He later added: "People be like, 'I’m not black, I’m Dominican' or 'I’m not black, I'm from India' or 'I’m not black, I’m from Africa' or 'I’m not black, I’m Caribbean'."

The aforementioned is a loaded statement, but does speak to the anti-black rhetoric that runs rampant throughout the Caribbean and Latino America. While Ebro is right in the sense that immigrants (read: families trying to assimilate to U.S. culture) often do disassociate themselves from blackness—sometimes, it's a form of survival. Other times, it's a gross product of deep-seated racism and historical trauma.

What Ebro's comments also might do is strip others of their agency, of their own blackness. For instance, when a person from Africa or the Dominican Republic migrates to North American and says "I'm not black," there's a good chance they've already learned to equate "black" to "African American." Ebro's comments, however necessary in the grand scheme of things, leave little room for dialogue about the black experience outside the U.S. construct. And to have a bonafide and equally purposeful conversation about blackness in the Caribbean and beyond, is to know / experience / live in said nations.

What we can't do is vilify Caribbean folk and other children of the diaspora for not calling themselves black, when the first thing taught to us via oppressive conditioning and cultural practice is that to be black is not only inferior, but perilous. It is why we are often encouraged to marry / procreate with someone who is white, "para mejorar la raza" or "better" (read: whiten) one's lineage, hardly keeping in mind that in many instances, you will still be black.

In the same breath, unlearning and relearning is a two-way street, and we – products of the African-Caribbean diaspora – must due diligence in helping dismantle white supremacy, while reclaiming our untaught history.


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Texas Woman Fatally Shot By Police After Neighbor Calls For Welfare Check

Early Saturday morning (Oct. 12), Atatiana Koquice Jefferson was fatally shot by an officer inside her Fort Worth, Texas home. According to CNN, officers arrived at the 28-year-old's residence after a neighbor, James Smith, dialed a non-emergency police hotline once he noticed Jefferson's home door was open.

As the arrived officers scoped the premise, they approached the residence once they noticed a person standing near a window. That's when an unidentified officer fatally shot Jefferson, who was in the same room as her nephew, 8, playing video games. In a statement, Smith said he feels partly responsible for this occurrence. "I'm shaken. I'm mad. I'm upset. And I feel it's partly my fault," he said, per Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "If I had never dialed the police department, she'd still be alive."

This gentleman is heavy on my mind + heart this morning. He called the police concerned about his neighbor. The police murdered her. If you believe in a Power Higher than yourself, join me in prayer + peaceful meditation for James Smith. #AtatianaJefferson pic.twitter.com/0iDjm0uhwT

— Ava DuVernay (@ava) October 13, 2019

Per CNN, police spokesman Lt. Brandon O'Neil said the officer responsible for Jefferson's death will be interviewed by the major cases unit. The city's police department will also release body camera footage "to provide transparent and relevant information to the public as we are allowed within the confines of the Public Information Act and forthcoming investigation." According to footage, the officer shot Jefferson through a window immediately after he ordered her to put her hands up.

Jefferson was on track to obtain a pre-med degree from Xavier University. “You have to know that was somebody’s daughter,” the student's father, Marquis Jefferson, said to CBS-DFW. “Somebody loved her and there was a better way. It didn’t have to be like that.” The incident occurred weeks after former Dallas officer Amber Guyger was sentenced to 10 years in prison for fatally shooting Botham Jean inside his apartment. Jefferson's father mentioned the latter and the subject of forgiveness.

“Unlike Botham Jean, I don’t want no hug. That’s my one and only daughter,” he said. “I’ll never forget that.”

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Nicki Minaj, Tracy Chapman Fail To Reach Settlement In Copyright Lawsuit: Report

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Chapman is accusing Minaj of unlawfully sampling her song “Baby Can I Hold You” for the track “Sorry.” Minaj reportedly confirmed in court documents that the song never made it to her album because Chapman didn't approve the sample, The Blast reports.

According to the website, the battling sides “couldn’t reach a settlement,” and an agreement is not “imminent.”

Chapman sued Minaj in the fall of 2018. Months earlier, Minaj revealed that Queen's release date hinged on Chapman. “So there’s a record on #Queen that features 1of the greatest rappers of all time,” she tweeted at the time. “Had no clue it sampled the legend #TracyChapman - do I keep my date & lose the record? Or do I lose the record & keep my date?” Minaj also pleaded for Chapman to get in contact with her.

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Iggy Azalea Calls T.I. A “Misogynist” For Saying She Tarnished His Legacy

T.I.'s apparent moment of candor didn't sit well with Iggy Azalea. The Aussie called her former Grand Hustle boss a “huge misogynists” in response to him saying that she stained his legacy.

“Imagine thinking I was his biggest blunder lmaoooooooooooooo. Tip. Sweetie. We have a whole list for you,” she reportedly wrote in a series of tweets that were later deleted.

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Earlier in the week, T.I. told The Root  that he was “actively looking for another female rapper who can undo the blunder of Iggy Azalea.”

“That is the tarnish of my legacy as far as [being] a [music] executive is concerned," said the Atlanta native. “To me, this is like when Michael Jordan went to play baseball.”

Azalea signed to Grand Hustle in 2011, but severed ties with the imprint around 2015. In 2017, Azalea left Def Jam for neighboring Island Records, before going independent. The “Sally Walker” rapper released her sophomore studio album, In My Defense, over the summer.

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