As the recent passing of a long protracted, groundbreaking Law Against Domestic Violence is widely celebrated in Angola, while R&B artist Chris Brown is on his way to perform in that country, I found particularly fitting an article entitled “Why Black Men Should Become Feminists”, by Symeon Brown, from which I’ve taken the following excerpts:
Benjamin Zephaniah, the poet who famously turned down the Queen's honour to maintain his own, paused when a white audience member at a talk he was giving asked him: 'Why do you never talk about your father?'
For the first time that evening, at the Keats Poetry Festival held against a backdrop of million pound homes in Hampstead, north London, to a largely female audience, the poet's joviality departed. He then shared how he had first been introduced to rhythm and blues through the fists his father used against his mother. In hushed silence, the audience heard how Zephaniah’s second brush with violence was when he picked up a knife to defend her. But, in an ugly twist of irony, he confessed how he went on to reproduce this violent behaviour against women himself.
Zephaniah recalled with honesty: “I noticed I had the same rhythm as my father until one day I thought, ‘what am I doing?’ I stopped and had to unlearn what I had learnt.” The healing he has undergone is clear from his sincere declaration of support for women and his role as a champion of women’s rights.
Zephaniah once stated: “No nation is free of chauvinistic, violent men, and no one should need to run from them. The ‘system’ should deal with them, and if the system can't, change it.”
Days earlier at another event, the great Nigerian playwright and former Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, also called for an end to the global inequality between men and women. With two prominent black male thinkers advocating equality for women, is it a sign that black men are becoming feminists?
The F-word is a scary one to many black men and some black women too. Feminism, fairly or unfairly, is seen as white, middle-class and a set of beliefs that pits men and women against each other. However, feminism is a broad church of ideologies and views.
But the basis of both radical and moderate views is a recognition that relationships between men and women need to change. Relationships between today’s young men and young women certainly need to.
Zephaniah’s public declaration of healing was as powerful as R&B singer Chris Brown’s decline after he was found guilty of assaulting his then girlfriend Rihanna. Both men were victims themselves when, as children, they watched their mothers being beaten and as men both reproduced what they saw as children. But while Zephaniah was able to privately heal through a mixture of introspection and positive self-criticism, Chris Brown’s public exposure led his agents to do what they had to: protect the brand, rather than the man.
In this digital age of Twitter, putting up a front is a luxury celebrities can no longer afford. In March, we saw how Chris Brown flew into a rage, ripping his shirt and trashing his dressing room, after an interviewer pressed him about the incident. You do not need to be a regular Bossip reader to guess that underneath the tattoos, there is a broken boy who has not exorcised his demons.
Chris Brown needs to unlearn his understanding of how men and women relate to each other. It would have been impossible for him to do this when the two contrasting public reactions to his violation - those who began a public witchhunt against him and those that blamed Rihanna – were both wrong. Neither response allows for the road to Damascus moment that Benjamin experienced. The latter marginalised him, and the former excused his accountability.
[Full article here]
[video from here]
[Mama - Hugh Masekela]
I wrote this song in 1995 when my wife had assured me that after five years of her refusing to come back to live in South Africa with me, she was finally leaving New York City, packing up her goods, zipping up her boots and coming home to her roots where I was waiting for her. However she told me otherwise when we met in Paris in July of that year. My addiction to alcohol and drugs was beginning to peak and one night after I returned from France, I got very zonked at the piano, feeling very sorry for myself and this song was sent to me. We recorded it the following year on the "Notes of Life" album when I was beginning to hit rock bottom. A year later, I went to England for recovery and I am so glad I did, because I am now enjoying my third year of sobriety after 44 years of addiction. Needless to say, my wife never came back; we finally said goodbye at the end of 1997. This song is a sad reminder of my most irresponsible years and down time. I will never wish anything like that on anybody, especially myself.
The Gender Debate: Reality Bites from The Youth
O Execravel Puto Pe' Descalco
The Burden of The Black Woman
O CIDADAO EM ANGOLA
De Assassinos a Sangue Frio...
O "Crime de Lesa-Patria"...
Um Passo em Frente?
Mensagens de JC
Dinheiro, Dinheiro Para Que Te Quero?
A Proposito dos Monologos da Vagina
Kwando a Diferenca...
Kwao 'Amabilis' e' o Homo Angolensis...
...AND RAISE BEAUTY TO ANOTHER LEVEL OF SWEETNESS