James Brown #GetOnUp: There’s More to Being Brown and Black than Meets the Eye

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The fact that there are no Black writers on Get on Up is our fault for never — as a mass — embracing Black Nationalism so that we could build the funding and institutions needed to purchase our own stories and tell them how we desire them to be told. Yet, even with all of this, Howard is quite disingenuous in his critique because the film addresses racism in an unflinching manner, especially showing the complexity of racism and how that complexity creates complex beings and responses that are not always positive.

Along with Howard’s failure to address the manner in which African-American artists fail to use their resources to construct sovereign institutions, let’s not forget the 10 million — or whatever the number is — that Black churches deposit in banks every Monday. I’m not saying that they shouldn’t have it. I give to my church because I believe that Jehovah desires me to do so, but if that money was administered properly we wouldn’t need the government to come into our communities and give us broken programs; our storehouses would overflow, and we could fund whatever programs and entertainment (entertainment that does not perpetuate our dysfunction) that uplifts us and does not destroy us. But, hey, it’s easier to complain about what White folks are doing to us than to accept responsibility for what we are doing to ourselves.

And for the people who will say that I’m attacking the church, my point is that African people rarely fund and administer the funding of our institutions in a manner that allows those institutions to become sovereign and meet the needs of our community. The very person who complains about giving to the church is the very person who complains when the air and heat don’t work. The very person who complains about donating to the NAACP is the first fool who wants the NAACP to come save that fool from foolishness.

The leaders of our socio-political institutions must do a better job creating programs that lead our people from dependency to independence. Jesus did not use the Socratic mode of questioning because He wanted uninformed, dependent Christians. And, let me be clear, I think that the vast majority of White folks — not all of them but most of them — suffer from the virus of White supremacy, but that makes it insane to waste time tripping about what they do rather than spending time trying to get African people to be better.