Black Power Babies dropped a bomb on Brooklyn NY yesterday afternoon. Produced by Muhammida El Muhajir, the intergenerational discussion was so successful when the time came for Q and A, there were no questions from the audience. MC Muhammida, daughter of Nisa Ra and Marvin X, only asked
three or four questions that were answered succinctly by panelist, e.g., what legacy did your parents give you? How have you handled this legacy? Of the parents, she asked, how did you give black power consciousness to your children?
A summary of answers might read as follows: We know no other way than what they taught us. We may have wanted to go another way but the forces would not let us. The Oba said he knows the ancestors are watching his every move, so if he does not fulfill his mission, i.e., carry on the legacy of his father and mother, bad things shall happen to him. Bunmi Samuels said there is no way he can escape the legacy of his parents who were in the Black Arts Movement, including his aunt Barbara Ann Teer. Aishah Simmons told of wanting to be normal but could not as the price of being a movement child. The children talked of growing up attending rallies and marches and being educated in independent black schools. Parent Michael Simmons said we could not send our children to be educated by the enemy, thus schools were set up in homes that were childcare centers as well.
Marvin X said parents in the Black Power Movement sacrificed for the cause of liberation, even the children were often sacrificed, some might call it abandonment, abuse and neglect.
Mrs. Amina Baraka let it be known Black Power was no joke, no party, no game, people lost their lives, went to jail, prison, exile. We must tell the truth of this history so others can stop lying about it!
The Black Power Babies met at Restoration Plaza's beautiful Skylight Gallery, full of beautiful Black Art. The intergenerational session began with a processional by the Oba of Oyotunji African Village, Shelton, South Carolina, including his entourage of drummers, priests and devotees. The libation was said in Yoruba, then English.
The panelists were seated and producer/MC Muhammida El Muhajir opened the discussion with questions for the Black Power Babies, followed by questions for their parents.
Parable of the Woman at the Well
A woman asked Plato why are youth out of control ? He replied that youth are out of control because adults are out of control and youth observe then emulate their behavior.
Even during the revolutionary 60s, the militants, who are the fathers and mothers of today’s youth, were guilty of contradictions, or saying one thing but doing another. They talked black power but went home to beat their wives and women. They preached discipline but were guilty of drug abuse and abuse of power. Much of our behavior was patriarchal white supremacy actions that debased women, considering them less than human.
Of course we learned this behavior from our white supremacy socialization. True enough, there were many good things we learned and achieved during that time, and many sincere and honest people gave their lives for the cause of freedom.
But if we had been of sober minds, we would have been able to detect agent provocateurs and snitches. We would have been able to see through the US Government’s counter intelligence program or Cointelpro. With sobriety and discipline, we might have been able to show our children better examples of male/female relations, and perhaps today’s youth would be more respectful of women, elders and peers.
The woman asked Plato what can be done today to reconnect with our children ? Plato said we must embrace them with unconditional love and do not abuse them, physically, sexually or otherwise. Do not show them contradictory behavior, saying one thing but doing the opposite.
We must not say we are about freedom, yet make their mothers slaves in the home, treating them with abuse that the children observe. Many children have been abandoned and left to fend for themselves. They are without mother or father. Many are living in foster homes, the result of parental drug and sexual abuse.
Adults must stop being predators and instead be mentors and guides. The youth want and seek our wisdom, but we must reach out to them because many are terrified of us just as we are terrified of them. It is communal insanity when we allow children to rule our community, making us afraid to go outside at night, afraid to go to the store.
But we can only take back control of our community by reconnecting and embracing our children, no matter how painful it is for us and them. We must make amends to them for our wickedness and then demand of them the same.
Yes, they must apologize to the elders they have harmed and disrespected. What we are talking about is the urgent need for a healing session between youth and adults, a time and space where we can gather to admit our mistakes and promise to do better now and in the future.
We must, youth and adults, swallow our pride and reconnect. We cannot allow the chaos to continue because we know things go from bad to worse, if we do not address the issues. Nothing is going to change until we change our thinking and actions. We must rise up from animal to divine. The tide is turning because you are turning the tide!
Mothers and fathers who are separated must come together for the sake of their children, if only for a moment. When children see parents reconciling, they will do likewise. No matter the pain of the past, adults must show the way to community unity.
Why shouldn’t youth resort to violence, after all, they see adults resolving their conflicts with violence? Adults cannot get out of our responsibility to show the way, to guide and mentor. Every youth is our child, thus our responsibility to show the right way.
Give youth a chance, support them when they are selling items other than dope, such as DVDs, CDs, gear and other items to get their hustle on in a legal way. At least they are not killing to make a dollar, so reach out to them. Hug a thug before the thug hugs you!
The woman seemed to understand the wisdom of Plato. Although frustrated to the max, she said she would try to reach out to youth, rather than simply complain about their behavior and shortcomings.