|Photo Credit: BlackLivesMatter.com|
I remember hearing the story of Eric Garner being choked out and murdered by the NYPD, then seeing it soon after. I was devastated. There was the man who was truly unarmed in Wal-Mart and was murdered. The 7 year old girl murdered. A 12 year old boy murdered. Another grown man murdered. These were all black men and women, black girls and boys murdered at the hands of police. There was a desolate tone in my voice as I went on our old DAR Radio show and spoke on these happenings. There was passion in my voice, as I spoke through my soul about everything that was going on and how fucked up this situation and police brutality was. This was before August 2014.
In August 2014, things changed very much. In Ferguson, Mike Brown was murdered by a police officer as the narrative was spun that he fought the officer and attempted to harm him, thus he deserved being murdered in cold blood. The media spin always happens and makes no sense, especially when speaking on black lives. It's amazing how we are in the wrong when we are being murdered while unarmed by these police.
But, after Mike Brown was murdered, an uprising began. In Ferguson, as it has been documented, there was a huge uproar and fight, so to speak, between the people and the police. The National Guard was called in and the media showcased black angst and aggression as unjustified, despite the obvious frustration with us being murdered by the police and the desperation of trying to make a difference.
In the year-plus since that began, we now see more and more murders by police of black people and another name becomes a hashtag. In the midst of all the hashtags, the media spin, and more, there lies a movement trying to accomplish something: Black Lives Matter.
Now, a lot of us for years, DAR especially, have spoken about police brutality and a revolution in our music, websites, and (of course) via tweets, which is the source of the Black Lives Matter movement. Twitter is the biggest social media tool today, and it has been used, for good and bad, towards the BLM movement. Faces like Deray, Netta, and Shaun King have emerged as the "leaders" of the movement, with a few others being prominently featured (the Awkward Duck girl is fine too, yeah I said it). However, there has been skepticism towards the movement as it has grown and rightfully so. What is the true goal of Black Lives Matter? How are these leaders able to move around and go from state to state without actual jobs? Are they merely opportunists using the cause to make profit and travel? Is this all a farce? Where do the donations go? Do they truly help the family of the victims?
These are all understandable questions. After the smarmy Jesses and Sharptons of the world, it is understandable that we look at rising black "leaders" with a side-eye. There has been much controversy with the movement, in-fighting, divisive language towards each other, random unfocused feminism infused with it, among other questionable things. Granted, no movement is ever perfect (no, not even DAR), but it seems as if the BLM movement loses a bit of the guidance as more and more people want to join the cause.
There are some uncomfortable with the fact that Deray is a gay black man and is a prominent face of the movement, and some who feel his placement as the face of the movement is motivated by yet another agenda. To be honest, I had no idea that Deray was a gay black man, nor do I care: sexual orientation to me does not define the person completely. Well at least it shouldn't and is irrelevant to this movement.
What matters most is that we are all black, dealing with these issues. Regardless, there have been people uncomfortable with it, and I understand it. There have been people uncomfortable with Shaun King and his periodically questionable judgment and background. Raised via his white family (his father is apparently a lightskin black man that his mother had an affair), a lot of people felt as though Shaun wouldn't truly relate to the Black plight and with his sometimes ridiculous requests and shaky background, the skepticism is understood.
Deray and Netta have stuck their necks out for the cause, even being arrested here and there for protesting and such. I do not agree fully with everything they do or some of the inflammatory comments from both, but I applaud the young brother and sister for stepping up and attempting to stand for something. I'm not quite sure what they are truly planning as their goal, but I can only hope they have good intentions and remain that way.
It would be easy for me to slander the Black Lives Matter movement because it is flawed heavily and a bit misguided, but no movement is perfect. This a movement led by the youth, so essentially it will have cracks. I just hope we can continue to work together as black people and find a common ground for what needs to be done. Yes, black lives matter, but that shouldn't have to be said anyway. It should be known. The fact that this needs to keep being said is where the issue lies.