August 1968, Los Angeles California, James Brown and Alfred ‘Pee Wee’ Ellis wrote what could be a mantra to generations of the black community, not only in America, but across the world.
“Say it loud! I’m black and I’m proud!” were sung in repetition, giving people at that time more reason to be a moving force in the civil rights movement. Gallons of blood shed, fists raised in solidarity and Afrolutionists taking leadership positions for the political emancipation of black people, to be seen as equal to other races because it is simply inhumane to segregate people due to differences in skin colour.
Today, we see all efforts that were taken in the civil rights movement almost brought to shame, with police brutality, stereotyping from media and burning of places of spiritual refuge taking a high-rise in America while the world watches in ear piercing silence.
Generally speaking, our generation has chosen not to carry the spirit of black consciousness forward. Perhaps it is due to the fact that we won equal rights legislatively – that we achieved our independence politically (and economically which some find debatable). Mainly that our fathers toiled so hard that for us to live freely, and all we have to do is live freely.
This has brought a regression to black consciousness – a regression to us finding our own history and exercising the freedom fought for us to gain economic upliftment, cultural understanding and uniting in our similarities while accepting our differences. Us sleeping has led to a thickened aroma of internal discrimination, self-hate, xenophobia and our black on black violence.
How then, do we shift this regression into progression? by using the same organisms, the same mantras and the same teachings we have distanced ourselves from – and this is progression that we see happening in social media. A small but growing collective of those of African descent are instilling self-love, educating ourselves of our past and finding means of unifying each other through common interests. From a simple hashtag #BlackOutFridays where Africans and African-Americans display the beauty of their melanin to conversations spear-headed by Pan-African bloggers, poets and historians unmasking the beauty and unity of African history that isn’t in accordance to European adventures.
This is how the African youth are redefining our own identity, and it is time for the message to grow sustainably – working together in different sectors this time around to achieve our equality. Not only in legislative pen, but economic practices, fair practices of media where black people are in minority and our own mindsets in not seeing each other as the enemy.