today in black history

May 23, 2024

Actor and musician Benjamin Sherman "Scatman" Crothers was born on this date in 1910 in Terra Haute, Indiana.

Bring back the Beautiful

POSTED: August 04, 2012, 12:00 am

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Has the Black community fallen so by the wayside that hair becomes a point of conversation in the shadow of a young Black girl making history? Have we become so shallow that ignorance and societally induced self-hate robs us of celebrating the tremendous achievement of a 16 year-old who showed such poise on a world stage? Is hair really that damn important that adults would stoop to ridiculing a young girl who will inspire a generation of little Black girls to dream dreams bigger than they could have imagined before Gabby Douglas had that Olympic gold medal draped around her neck?

Can we bring back the beautiful?

Can we bring back the elegance of natural Black hair and not feel that we are validated only when wearing a chemically induced Eurocentric coiffed style that is not rooted in our proud past but rather our exploitation? Can we bring back the pride of who we are and not what other people tell us we are?

Can we bring back the beautiful?

Can we bring back the acknowledgment on the street – My Sister, My Brother? Can we bring back the respect of the elders – Yes Mam, No Sir? Can we bring back the children on the street, playing without fear, jumping rope, playing jacks and riding bikes?

Can we bring back the beautiful?

Can we bring back music that actually said something; that lifted us up and did not tear and wear us down? Can we bring back a soundtrack to our culture that is not marked by references to bitches and hos and making it rain, and guns? Can we bring back the day when our children did not partake in the killing of each other, and adults did not stand by idly as our youth were gunned down or carted off to jail?

Can we bring back the beautiful?

Can we bring back Black Men? Can we bring back the brothers on the corner who kept order in the streets? Can we bring back the real Panthers? Can we bring back the Nation of old; bow-tied and strong; on the corners selling papers, at your door selling fish and letting it be known that there is a line that was not to be crossed? Can we bring back Black preachers who led and were unafraid; who were not pulpit paralyzed and did not just preach Jesus but walked in the light? Can we bring back teachers who teach and do not beat the children out of the door when the school bell rings? Can we bring back Black leaders of institutions who actually represent?

Can we bring back the beautiful?

Can we bring back Black is Beautiful? Can we bring back Say it Loud I’m Black and I’m Proud? Can we bring back Young Gifted and Black? Can the next Curtis, Marvin, Gil Scott or Nina step up to the mic? Can we have a Black television network that doesn’t embarrass the hell out of us and informs rather than entertain?

Can we bring back the beautiful?

We are slipping into darkness without a flashlight or exit strategy. We are burying our children in Killadelphia, Baltimorgue, and DieTown. Yet, we are obsessed with hair, intoxicated by “celebrity” wives foolishness and the latest hip-hop beef. And we keep burying our children after they have been gunned down, stopped and frisked and incarcerated or drugged out or sexed out of existence. But, hair occupies our attention.

Our voting rights are being snatched away; the Second Amendment has become a right to kill Black and our public school system is not even pretending to educate our children. The airwaves are filled with hate towards us and white supremacist militias are on the rise while we get distracted by our obsession over terrorists from abroad. For all the celebration over our first Black President we have witnessed the most hateful counter reaction to national leadership in the history of our country. All pretense of common decency has evaporated and the president has truly been reduced to the H.N.I.C. by many whites and the object of resentment by some Blacks who conveniently forget who brought us the savings and loan scandal, Iran Contra, Enron, Worldcom, Iraq, the mortgage crisis, the Wall Street debacle and Afghanistan. And we are worried about hair?

Can we bring back the beautiful?

I’m just sayin’.

Walter Fields is Executive Editor of

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