Black people have found themselves in the midst of a game that they no longer want to play and are taking the necessary steps to end the game with no further casualties or loss of lives.
It is no secret that Black people have been in the midst of an ongoing public genocide that is being carried out in plain sight for the entire world to see, that would give the Hunger Games a run for its money. The blood of the slaughtered cry out for justice, but have been collectively ignored until now. Now, Black people, one by one, are beginning to wake up from their collective slumber and are starting to understand the collective power they possess.
All across the United States, Black people, led by entertainers, rappers, singers, community activists, business owners and community leaders, are taking an active role in helping move their money to Black-owned banks, supporting Black-owned businesses and giving back to organizations who educate, equip and empower the Black community.
Black people are starting to better understand the power of their Black dollar, and are using it as a weapon to get the attention of those who ignore their cries for justice in America.
In Houston this past week, many of the most influential hip hop artists, entertainers and celebrities in Houston decided to make a significant statement, after leaving a serious meeting with the mayor of Houston about stemming the violence in the city. After the meeting, they went over to Unity National Bank to open up bank accounts, and to move some of their money there. Unity National Bank is the only Black-owned bank in the state of Texas, and this was a powerful statement made by artists such as Paul Wall, Slim Thug, Lil’ Keke, Trae Tha Truth, Just Brittany, Z-Ro, Willie D, K-Rino, Killa Kyleon, filmmaker Michael Artis, and popular celebrity jeweler TV Johnny, along with the others who decided to make this move.
Moving dollars and opening accounts at Unity National Bank, allows the bank to be more philanthropic to the community it serves by giving back to it. An example of that took place this past Tuesday, July 20, as Unity National Bank was able to make a donation to the SEHAH Youth and Fitness Center to assist them in their upcoming educational trip to Ethiopia.
Other people and businesses are choosing to make their mark in other ways as well.
This past Friday, July 22, longtime local community organization S.H.A.P.E. Community Center became the proud recipient of $10k from the company of an incredible young woman named Ciera Rogers, who is the product of S.H.A.P.E. Community Center. In growing her business, Babes and Felines, Rogers felt it important to come back home and give to a Black organization that invested so much into her and helped shape and mold her to become the person she is today.
Black people are beginning to subscribe to Black newspapers, like the Forward Times, in order to receive their information. Black people are beginning to join Black financial empowerment organizations like the Black Dollar Project and attend networking functions like the First Thursday’s Business Social, in order to promote Black-owned businesses and be more responsible stewards of their Black dollars. Black people are also beginning to listen to Black talk radio programs to get up-to-date information about what is going on in the country and in their community, so that they can stay educated and informed.
All in all, Black people are beginning to wake up and are tired of playing a game that has been rigged against them from the beginning and plan to change the game from this point forward.
This brings us to a present day reality that can no longer be ignored – survival can no longer be the only option for Black people going forward. Organization and mobilization is the key.
“Surviving the Game” is a 1994 action film starring Ice-T and Charles S. Dutton, where Ice-T plays a homeless man from Seattle by the name of Jack Mason and Dutton plays a soup kitchen worker named Walter Cole, who saves Mason from committing suicide. After speaking with Mason, Cole refers him to this businessman Thomas Burns, who offers him a well-paying job as a hunting guide. Although initially reluctant, Mason accepts the job. They fly Mason out to this remote cabin surrounded by hundreds of acres of woods, where he meets the rest of the hunting party, all of whom paid $50,000 for the privilege of being there. The first night, all members gather together to eat a nice dinner and engage in conversation. They go to sleep and then the following morning Mason is awakened with a gun in his face by Cole, who explains that the men are not hunting any animals, but rather hunting Mason himself. Mason quickly bolts out of the house and is given a head start with only the time it takes the others to eat breakfast. The hunters finish their meal and set off after him, but Mason uses his wit and skills to outsmart the hunters and eventually takes out all hunters except one – Thomas Burns. Unable to find and kill Mason, Burns leaves the woods and returns to Seattle, Washington, where he begins the process of abandoning his current identity and hoping to avoid Mason and the potential legal ramifications of the botched and disastrous hunt. Little did Burns know that Mason had already escaped the forest, returned to the city, and was able to track him down. The two gentlemen begin to fight and after Mason gets the best of Burns, he begins to walk away instead of killing him. Burns gets up and attempts to shoot Mason in the back, but prior to the interaction, Mason had blocked the barrel of Burns’ gun so that it would backfire on him and kill him, which is what happens.
Now that’s a serious story; but not too far removed from the story and the actualities of what Black people are experiencing in this country, and have had to endure. Black people have had the barrel of a gun put to their face, and have been made to be a part of an unfair game with the odds stacked against them. As a people, Blacks have had to fight against an unjust system, and serve as constant pawns in a game of “survival of the fittest” that they never signed up for.
In spite of the many setbacks and roadblocks that have been thrown their way, Black people have been resilient and steadfast in their quest to overcome these adversities and move forward. Black people have always been leaders and overcomers; as well as being a resilient people with vision.
Ethiopian novelist and playwright Abe Gubegna is credited with the following well-known quote: “Every day in Africa a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows that it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle. When the sun comes up, you better be running.”
Every day Black folks wake up in America, realizing they have to work harder; react differently; smile more; arrive earlier; avoid conflict more; and give more than everyone else does in order to play in a game that is not fair, and that has rules which favor those who created the game for their own benefit. Sadly, every time Black people have figured out how to play the game and become competitive, the rules change. But why do the rules keep changing?
The rules change because the rules were created by others, and were never meant for Black people to win. However, in the midst of it all, Black people have continued to fight and have sought to put themselves in a position to actually make the rules. The only way someone can stop you from winning is to cheat or break the rules. Because Black people are winners, it is time for them to stand united and come together to get involved with making sure Blacks are not just merely playing the game, but that Blacks are helping create the rules that will cause them to remain on top.