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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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George Floyd’s Family Wants Minneapolis Police Officers Arrested For His Murder

The family of George Floyd are demanding justice after the 46 year old was killed by Minneapolis police earlier in the week. Floyd’s cousin and brothers want the four officers involved to be arrested and convicted of murder.

“We need to see justice happen,” Floyd’s cousin, Tera Brown, told CBS This Morning. “This was clearly murder. We want to see them arrested. We want to see them charged, we want to see them convicted. He did not deserve what happened to him.”

In reactions to the Floyd's murder, tens of thousands of people took to the street in Minneapolis, Chicago, Los Angeles and other cities around the country.

“I don’t want the protests to just be for show. I want to see action,” continued Brown. “I want to see these people pay for what they did. We need to hold them accountable.”

Floyd was described as an “amazing” person who was well loved and “never did anything” to anyone. “Everybody loved my brother. I just don’t understand why people want to hurt people, killed people, they didn’t have to do that to my brother,” said his brother, Philonise Floyd.

Two of the four officers involved have been identified as Tou Thao, and Derek Chauvin, the latter of whom is the officer who put his knee in Floyd’s neck as he begged for air and later died. All four officers have been fired.

Former NBA player Steven Jackson took to social media to pay tribute to his longtime friend whom he called his twin. “Floyd was my brother, we called each other twin,” Jackson said in an emotional video. “My boy was doing what he was supposed to do and ya’ll go and kill my brother.”


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Where we from not many make it out but my Twin was happy I did. I’m gonna continue to make u proud fam. It makes me so angry that after all the things u been through when u get to your best self that they take u out like this. Fuk Rest Easy Twin

A post shared by Stephen Jackson Sr. (@_stak5_) on May 26, 2020 at 7:04pm PDT

Minnesota is no stranger to police brutality. The Star-Tribune published a list of the 193 people who have died “after a physical confrontation with Minnesota police” since the year 2000 (excluding car accidents during police pursuits). The database includes Philando Castile, the 32-year-old cafeteria worker killed by a Minneapolis cop during a traffic stop in 2016. Castile’s murder was the first, and possibly only time, that a Minnesota police officer was criminally charged for killing a civilian, although the former officer, Jeronimo Yanez, was acquitted.

Watch the interview with Flynn's family below.


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Waka Flocka Flame Say He’s Dedicating His Life To Suicide Prevention And Mental Health Awareness

With the month of May being Mental Health Awareness Month, Waka Flocka Flame shared a major announcement with fans. The rapper and reality star is dedicating his life to suicide prevention and mental health awareness, he shared on Monday (May 25).

“I’m officially dedicating my life to suicide prevention and mental illness! Ya’ll not alone Waka Flocka Flame is with ya’ll now,” he tweeted.

Waka’s younger brother, Coades “Kayo Redd” Scott, died by suicide in 2013. In a follow-up tweet, Waka revealed that he’s slowly learning to accept his brother’s passing.

“You have no idea how it feel[s] to wanna [take] your own life man…my little brother took his own life man…and I deal with this fact every birthday because his birthday [is] the day after mines [sic] June 1st. This year I’m officially accepting the fact that he’s in a better place.”

The 33-year-old recording artist, whose other brother was killed in 2000, opened up about losing his younger brother in a 2017 episode of The Therapist, where he revealed that Kao tried to get in contact with him prior to committing suicide.

“Before my little brother died, I ain’t pick up the phone and I seen him call. I was like, ‘f**k lemme call Kayo back, as soon as this s**t lover.’ And I called him back, no answer.”

“What if I would’ve picked that call up? What the f**k is my little brother going through that made my little brother kill himself?”


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2 Chainz’s Atlanta Restaurant Shut Down Over Social Distancing Violations

Less than a month after reopening, 2 Chainz’s Escobar Restaurant & Tapas has been temporarily shut down for violating the state’s social distancing guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Department of Public Health and Safety cited the eatery on Sunday (May 24), after receiving complaints about the number of customers inside the restaurant and bar. Georgia guidelines limits occupancy to 10 patrons per 300 square feet.

“When I entered the establishment, the entire facility was full of patrons, shoulder to shoulder, and was unable to enter safely,” a DPS officer wrote in an incident reports according to Atlanta’s WSB-TV. The DPS officer also observed the “same violations” that caused DPS to issue an initial warning to the facility.

The manager on duty had security clear out the room but State Police ordered Escobar to close on Monday (May 25) after the violations were not fixed. Various videos posted to Escobar’s Instagram Story prove that the venue was indeed packed with customers.

In April, Georgia’s governor announced that restaurants, hair salons, and other businesses could reopen for in-person service despite the state's rising cases of COVID-19. Escobar, which had been serving takeout orders only, faced backlash after revealing plans to reopen for dine-in service following the governor’s announcement. The restaurant decided to remain closed for a little while longer and fed several of Atlanta’s homeless before fully reopening in early May.

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