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We watched in shock when Bo Derek ran down that beach in 10, flinging her newfound, ‘culturally appropriated’ braids that were described as the newest beauty sensation…

But we as black people had been wearing proudly for centuries.

Fast forward to present day and Miley Cyrus is credited with twerking when the dance craze is actually older than her.

 

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Katy Perry stops just THIS side of blackface…

And even before and in between these highly profiled instances of ‘blackness’ snatched from our grasp and embraced by white America and then the world, we have had to rationalize it to ourselves, to our children, and to one another that maybe – just maybe – it was/is/we are enough. But here it is 2015, yet still looking/sounding/smelling like 1965, and the obvious answer is…

It is NOT enough.

 

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We see them pimpin’ TIDAL, but where are they for Baltimore and the slew of other black people in dire straits?

 

 

For those of you that point to Jay-Z and Beyonce as your new political leaders, I say this: where are they now? A real political leader for our cause must be full-time and not picking and choosing safe politics, because are our streets safe now?

 

No.

 

As true political leaders have come and gone (Mandela, Angelou), black Americans must carefully choose and support the people they want to be the face of their plight, and not just those seeking to snatch the limelight in lieu of a check, some headlines, or to further their own monetary agendas.

 

Be mindful.

 

Quick test: can you spot the real people in the photos below that have furthered your cause as a black person?

 

Can you pick out the real political leaders from the opportunists?

For I am a Black American that is fearless, un-afraid to say what many have been holding on to for far too long. For those that thought we were free with a simple legislative act…

Think again.

For those that thought celebrating the beauty of our body parts equalled parity across the board…

Think again.

For those that opined that dressing/dancing/speaking like us put us on the same level as our fellow white countrymen…

Think again.

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I beg you to reconsider your previous notions as black men and women continue to be shot on the streets like it is target practice and our  people are being used as substitutes for livestock as sport. I implore you to reconsider that the N-word is causing more detriment to our people that many in our community fail to see, yet we ignorantly continue to glorify its usage and defend its new meaning despite the old meaning still being the most prevalent and widespread. I remind that the rest of the black world is looking to use to lead the cause since we are the most powerful potentially as a group and dare I say we are dropping the baton and are in disarray?

I am tired. But I could be more tired. I am angry. But I could be angrier. I am also crying and afraid of where we are headed as a people, and as a nation that claims to be for all, yet once the gun smoke subsides, it is clear…

The pieces and parts of my blackness are in demand yet the entirety of who I am as a person of color is not. And I, for one, will not have it!

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I will not allow white people to randomly, on purpose, pick and choose which aspects of black American culture to add to their knowledge. I will not force feed white people that come to me to be educated about all things black when I know they’ve used social media and other sites to learn how to twerk and rap from the comfort of their gated community in an outright effort to avoid actual interaction with black people unless absolutely necessary. For those that choose to remain indignantly ignorant, this message is not for you and I refuse to waste my time on you.

This message is for those that were raised by socially aware parents and grandparents that understood that for America to be as great as it claims to be, ALL men must be free from every type of shackle. And just like we needed white people more than forty years ago to stand beside us to fight this fight, we need them now. We will always need them and every other hue in between because this is not a fight for one.

It is a fight for all.

I already know I am willing to die for what I believe in because I’m a soldier no matter where I go on the face of this earth. To young people hoping to coast on the blood, sweat, and tears of their forefathers towards a greater and better future, I have news for you in case you haven’t been paying attention.

It ain’t happening.

So do yourself a favor, young America. Use all of this new technology and demonstrate that you truly respect your parents and grandparents by being a political force in your neighborhood. Show them that their work was not in vain, and let them know that you give a damn.

Stand UP and represent or perish from inaction.

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Triston

Triston is an American jetset performance artist, writer, event organizer, and activist based in Europe. As a freelance journalist, he has covered both the underground and mainstream aspects of the arts, culture, music, entertainment, travel, fashion and Fashion Week in several cities, including New York, London, Berlin, Istanbul, Sydney, Bangkok, Hong Kong, and Tokyo to name a few. He has been published in The Huffington Post, Trespass (London), Adaras Magazine (Miami) as well as featured in publications such as the New York Times, Vogue Italia, Turkish Huriyet and other on-line and print magazines in the U.S. and internationally. He recently released his memoir on life in Europe, ‘Heaux Confessionals’. As a solo performer and with his band $kandal Du$t, he has toured in some of the world’s most renowned clubs, simultaneously maintaining an underground renaissance, blurring the lines of all that is traditional and leaving his indelible, and ultimately unforgettable impression. There is no divide.


Brace yourself.


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