Be Excellent, it’s February!
Well folks, it’s officially Black History month, or rather, Black Excellence Month here at the blog. Last year, each day in February we profiled some member of the African American race who made us proud to be Black. From Jack Johnson to Jesse Owens, they were the people of our past or present who represent the greatest levels of achievement a displaced, disenfranchised people could hope for.
Let me begin by saying that is not what this post will be about. This post will stand an an example of what not to be if you are a member of our wonderful ethnicity. You know, the Black people you see or hear about and shake your head at. The Black folk that make you cringe and have you wondering if White folk are just around the corner thinking to themselves “look, I knew we shoulda never let them get rid of Jim Crow.” Read carefully, lest you fall victim to some of these practices.
1. The cats who come to house parties and steal shit
Recently a friend of mine asked me if I still had my old iPhone 3. I replied that I didn’t, but I wondered why she needed it, because she had just gotten a brand new iPhone 5. Her response: “My phone was stolen at the house party Sunday night.” I really felt bad for her. But it’s a story I heard all throughout College. Someone throws a house party, text messages get sent beyond the familiar friend group, then these niggas show up. Initially, no one does anything. They roll in 5 deep, don’t start overt trouble, and some of them may even want to head to the porch to roll up, so the host obliges because he’s had a long week at work. He wants to relieve stress with a few puffs. MEANWHILE, Ray-Ray has his head on the swivel for anything reasonably easy to steal. Women’s clutches. iPhones. Blackberrys (I imagine they have a time machine that can take them back to 2006 where they can sell the Blackberry once they steal it). Now consider this, just about any iPhone is $99-$199 dollars with a two-year contract. They aren’t even really that expensive anymore, and I can’t imagine there is a thriving second-hand market for them. But then again, I couldn’t imagine being invited into someone’s home and seeing it as an opportunity to rob people. That’s just me.
2. The Black guy who takes pictures of his waves
I gave up on waves right around the time I stopped thinking Air Force Ones were a semi-formal shoe. But before then, I tried my hardest to keep my hair “spinnin’.” Du-rags, stocking caps, wave grease (which I am somewhat ashamed to say still is in my bathroom cabinet at this very moment), just to name a few. I used to have a brush in my pocket at all times, constantly brushing my hair so that I might get that 360 rotation. But alas, I went to college and then law school and quickly realized that many of my lighter classmates barely had the competence to tell when I had a fresh cut and when I had gone so long without seeing a barber my hair looked like a dream deferred. So I admonish my brothers: just let it go, b. There are some women who still respond to waves, and every fella feels a little sharper when he gets that fresh cut, but for Christ’s sake, let’s save space on Instagram for women’s “workout flow” and “just woke up” downblouse photos.
Which leads me to . . .
3. Women who take exercise pictures
I once infamously wrote a post about Black women and how they don’t seem to fully embrace exercise as much as their ligher counterparts. It was mostly in jest, but a phenomenon I’ve seen recently troubles me. I understand that Black people, on the whole, have higher incidents of hypertension, diabetes, and just about all the other diseases that come from poor diet and lack of exercise. Nonetheless, if you are really working out for your own personal benefit, must you take a photo of yourself doing it? The look-at-me-I-hit-the-treadmill for 30 minutes photo is unnecessary. As is the constant tweeting about how you are gonna run a half marathon this summer.
4. The agressive music listener
You’ve seen this person. A young Black teen, could be male, could be female. They are listening to the newest A$AP Rocky tape but are nodding their head so vigorously you think they are going to concuss themselves on something. This is the same person that has their music up so loud that you can hear what they are listening to, through your own earbuds and the music you are listening to. This kid is the one who makes you think graduate school and corporate America has sucked whatever soul you used to have right out of you. You see him or her nodding their head to the beat and gesturing and think to yourself: “I just want to feel something again . . . anything . . . as deeply as this kid feels their music . . .” But alas, you usually take your headphones off as soon as you reach the office elevator. It’s poor form. You want to feel the rhythm of that new rap song that is climbing the charts, but the rhythmless world of the majority has made you feel that nodding too energetically is socially unacceptable. It’s ok. When you and the co-workers hit the bar for happy hour, and they go Ape-shit for Ke$ha, you can sit there on your high horse and remain perfectly still.
There is Black Excellence around us all the time. We just inaugurated for a second time the first Black President in the history of ever. We’ve got two Black Senators. Cory Booker is focusing his mutant abilities to become the next elected Black Senator. Black athletes are at the top of most sports. I admonish you all to be Excellent in everything you do. You have no excuse. Other generations of Black managed to be great despite being hosed down and flaming crosses placed in their front yard. You’ve got education and can eat lunch wherever you want without being beaten (Cracker Barrel and Denny’s excepted). Use these gifts to be great, on this, the first day of February, and every day.