Community health: Are Black male, female relationships in danger?
The above question came to mind as I viewed the film NO! by Director ,Writer, Aishah Shahidah Simmons. Her film debuted with Teri Burnette’s film “Gloomy Gyrl” at the 10th Annual Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival and Lecture Series in New York on September 29th. Both films dealt with the fact that ofttimes when Black women are abused, they do not leave the relationship or report the abuse because then that would mean “another soldier is down” because “the Brother” is sent to jail. But how powerful is an army that kills it own? How is it that we are both on the front line, and I get taken out by one of my own?!! One of the participants in “NO!” said it so clearly when she stated, “We cannot be a warrior race when we are taking one another down.” Furthermore, we revictimize ourselves when we don’t speak against and stand against injustice. The only way I should take out one of my own is if that person has just “gone mad like a dog with rabies” and is a danger to the entire family.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan said in part I of his lecture titled, “Black Youth in Peril: Justifiable Homicide: An Executive Decision” that injustice can almost lead a person to insanity. He used the example of a woman that is abused by her husband, and then decides to kill him when she can’t take it anymore.
In the film “Gloomy Gyrl,” which I felt was a stroke of artistic genius for the director to use Black Barbie dolls, instead of actors to show a woman’s “frozen fear” of leaving her boyfriend and the impact abuse can have on children, was tied in at the end of the film. The end of the film shows a little girl playing with her dolls, imitating a female who keeps telling her boyfriend she is going to leave him and the boyfriend keeps saying, “No.” The final scene shows the mother walking into the daughter’s room with a black eye and a cast on her arm asking the daughter to get washed up for dinner.
“We don’t have time for civility,” Elaine Brown, a former Black Panther, states in the film “NO! “What takes 10 minutes for a man to do may take a woman 10 years or a lifetime to overcome.”
Excellent point. Somewhere justice and the principles of “do the right thing” have to come into play. We will be doing worse than our former slavemaster if we are just instilling fear into our women and children as opposed to empowering them by showing the community that Black men are our “protectors” of the community, not “destroyers.”
Nevertheless, I am not giving up on the political, communal and world wide influence the Black man and woman can have once there is a united front of Brothers and Sisters respecting and protecting one another. Have we forgotten the power of the Black Kings and Queens in Egypt and the influence they had? They even created statues and monuments together. There is a saying that God ended impossibility when he created the universe. Whatever we can conceive in our mind of good, we can achieve. I am so thankful for the vision, leadership and guidance of men like the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan sent to teach and guide us as we struggle to accept our own and be ourselves.
We have the power, with God’s help to create a new reality, but we need to change our focus. Whatever we focus on, we will bring more of that into our lives. We need to focus more on building a righteous nation. We need to focus on being righteous women because “where have our little girls gone?” Where have our men, who are the maintainers and protectors of our community gone? Can I vote for a person that thinks is okay to call me a “B—h?” Will I continue to support artists that degrade and exploit women? I wouldn’t accept it from my biological Brothers, so why should I accept it from my spiritual Brothers?
Have you ever talked to a woman who was a victim of domestic violence and you wonder what took her so long to leave? In the midst of the Don Imus comments, it feels like, we as a community, are starting to wake up. His comments, so casually and candidly made in reference to the Rutgers Women’s Basketball team were a reminder that this language is not “our culture” but “their culture” that we have adopted. (Just like we took the slop of pigs, chitterlings, and made it a delicacy.) OUR culture is a culture where we call women “Queen” and “Sister” and we respect our elders. When Europeans came to Africa, in ancient times, the Queen always stood by her King. However, today, she may get hit for trying to “stand by a Brother.” She may be exploited or even do time trying to “support” him in his unrighteous dealings, sometimes unknown to her.
In order for us, as a Black community, to truly have political clout, we have to be a united front. Come election time, Emmy time, and Oscar time, we will see what America values more. Either way, the Black community has the power to set a new tone of moral integrity if we have the courage to do so. We must unite and build relationships on righteous values, not mere religious titles or lipservice.
(Audrey Muhammad is the Publisher and editor of Virtue Today Magazine (virtuemag.com) She is also writes the Get Fit to Live column in the Final Call Newspaper. Questions or comments may be sent to [email protected])