Happy Sunday everyone! After spending a majority of the evening at the hospital with my dad, I can gladly say that I’m happy that the weekend is drawing to a close. I drove him to Vanderbilt emergency because he was having severe chest and back pains. Initially the doctors feared that he had a blood clot in one of his lungs. Thankfully, after a CT scan, an X-Ray, and blood work, it was determined that he pulled a muscle in his chest. My mother was in the hospital on Friday evening. Her kidney function has drastically diminished resulting in heavy swelling in her ankles and legs. She didn’t have any blood clots, thankfully, but her circulation in the lower extremities is quite poor. Dealing with them both has been emotionally taxing on me to say the least.Hope you all had less dramatic experiences this weekend.
My mind treats Thursday as the unofficial start to the weekend. My friends Erika, Kellye, and I went to see Straight Outta Compton at the Regal theatre in 100 Oaks the day before it was officially released.
This film, chronicling the rise to fame of the infamous group NWA- Niggas With Attitudes, depicted not only the group’s tremendous influence on hip hop music, but also their coverage of poverty in black communities and police brutality during the 1980’s and early 1990’s. Their song entitled, Fuck The Police, served as both an outlet for oppressed people in the midst of racial profiling and a declaration of resistance to law enforcement and the media.
While I thoroughly enjoyed the film, I had mixed feelings about content.
Watching members of the group follow the Rodney King case, watching them harassed by police officers outside of their place of work, showing the union of warring gangs against law enforcement, and the death of band mate, Eazy E were a few pivotal scenes in the movie.
Hip Hop music during this time frame was truly journalistic. When the media is controlled by the dominant group and protected by the law enforcement, hip hop music served as an outlet against the poor treatment of minorities at the time as well as a method of awareness. Just like hip hop today, white people are the biggest purchaser of hip hop and rap. Songs that discussed selling drugs and bring racially profiled were the major means of making the suburbans aware of life outside of the white picket fences. My favorite scene was of a group of white protesters stopping on one of NWA’s albums. Eazy was unphased because these protesters still bought the group’s music. I’ll say this once and I’ll say it again, black culture is popular, black life is not. Recently, Janelle Monae released a track that talks about police brutality and the treatment of blacks. One of the comments said something to this effect “I only like it when they whip and nae, I don’t like it when they do this.” This sentiment is still the same today as it was then. NWA was just what their name stated. These songs made white people uncomfortable. The truth makes people uncomfortable. Prior to their addition to revolutionary music, spirituals and freedom songs served as historical and motivational pieces.
Bloods and Crips are uniting together against the demolition of black life today! So many scenes mirrored news headlines in 2015.
I hate when people call crime “black on black” as if there isn’t “white on white”. Still, on the news the other day, a 18 year old was murdered in front of his home. The murder of Dre’s brother is the story of many in our poverty stricken communities. Community building is necessary for the forward progression of blacks today. We needs to be woke and aware! Police have got to stop terrorizing us. We’ve got to stand together to protect ourselves as a whole. I can’t take another story about gang violence, or a teen getting murdered in a frivolous argument.
The group’s disappointment in the not guilty verdict in the Rodney King case during the LA Riots mirrors how we feel about Darren Wilson and George Zimmerman, that’s how we feel about the Texan police department that so clearly targeted and covered up the death of Sandra Bland. Watching a police officer murder 12 year old Tahir Rice was disgusting. Why did unarmed Eric Garner and Mike Brown end up dead? This rage is still here. The feelings of vulnerability, confusion, anger and despair are alive. When will we over come?
Eazy E’s death began an uncomfortable conversation about sexually transmitted diseases and infections within the black community. How did a prominent, wealthy public figure died of AIDS? This film shed light on the epidemic of HIV/AIDS. In the film, Eazy mentioned the idea that AIDS was a “homosexual” disease. His misinformation on sexual education highlights both of the toxic abstinence only and aids is for gays ideology that continues to plague the black community.
Along with the excessive unprotected sexual encounters came my biggest upset with this film. Women were degraded heavily during this time. Misogyny laced lyrics and abuse causes overshadowed the lyrics of police brutality. Felicia was ousted from on if their wild parties, after her lover aggressively searched from her in NWA’s hotel room. Dr. Dre was at the center of several domestic violence fiascos. It’s hard for me as a black woman to support a movement that degrades me especially when our fathers and brothers are leading the opposition. Double standards are unfortunate. I’m sick of men being able to be promiscuous but women are penalized for it.
Here are a few pics from the evening.
What did you all think of the movie?