The Anaconda Shakes It Off


In the wake of the events in Ferguson, two videos got released by a couple of females in the business: Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda,” and Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.” I don’t believe in coincidences. Whether conscious or not, everything is connected. The imagery in these videos speak to a mounting racial tension that has been getting a lot of media attention lately.

I thought she was classin’ it up, but naw, she assin’ it up.

Post the shooting of Michael Brown, the conversation has been conveniently diverted from one of yet another murdered unarmed Black person by the police, to the profiling and criminalization of the victim and their community. We’ve seen this same script play out many times with some of the same actors. It’s the same narrative: the respectability politics surrounding what Black people must do in order to not be shot in the streets. And we see the same race pundits on CNN and Twitter talking about how much Black-on-Black crime is or isn’t a factor.

At the risk of sounding like some of these Uncle Tom-assed Negroes who seem to think the solution to unarmed Black people getting murdered in the street is pulling their pants up, I think it’s foolish to think that how we treat one another on a daily basis isn’t a factor in the constant devaluing of Black life. No matter the race, people don’t fear killing Black people because the overwhelming sentiment from society at large is that Black people don’t matter. Our status in this world has been one of expendability and replaceability for at least 500 years. Regardless of what anyone has done to or thinks of Black people, at some point, it all comes down to us.

People are not property. We are not to be raced, traded, or trafficked. Those are things you do to commercial goods, not human beings.

Had Black lives mattered to other Black people 500 years ago, Africans wouldn’t have been complicit in the colonization of their African brothers and sisters. Sure, we all make mistakes and can be fools from time to time, but you should learn from experience not to repeat the same fuck ups over and over again. I get that Europeans may have had the advantage as far as gun power, but I don’t think that’s why we ultimately lost to them invading Africa. Because we were weak as a nation, outsiders we able to take advantage of infighting within the ranks of African leaders. Because we lack whatever some Europeans have in their DNA that makes them feel entitled to capture, torture, and rape a people of their land and their humanity, we have a hard time fathoming the sociopathic mind that could so freely do that to another. 500 years later, and we still expect the oppressor to acknowledge their wrongdoing and give us justice. As if the powers that be know or care anything about justice.

“The tyrant will always find a pretext for his tyranny, and it is useless for the innocent to try by reasoning to get justice, when the oppressor intends to be unjust.”

— Aesop

The Wolf and The Lamb

Regardless of whose fault it is, the only way Black people are going to move ahead in this world is to first respect themselves. As long as we continue to see ourselves through the lens of the oppressor there won’t be peace or justice. Not because the oppressor is the arbiter of either peace or justice, but because when we are disconnected from who we really are, there is no chance for evolution. What does not evolve, dies, and what is dead, deteriorates — which is why we find ourselves doing exactly what we did 50 years ago.

I’m not surprised we are here, because we never finished what we started 50 years ago. The Civil Rights Movement was about a change in policy. The subsequent Black Power Movement is really what was supposed to set things off. We must remember that we didn’t drop the ball. We were fired up and ready to take action. Yes, some of us were guilty of assimilating once we were given a chance to live in White neighborhoods, eat at White restaurants, and take part in all of the trappings of the capitalist system that became a symbol of world domination from the sweat off of our Black backs. But there was a growing number of grassroots activists who were feeding and educating our marginalized Black youth — people like Malcolm X, Angela Davis, Fred Hampton, Assata Shakur, all of whom were either killed, arrested or exiled.

Again, tactics of intimidation and fear were used as a means of keeping us in check. We’re told not to forget the names of your Trayvon Martins, Mike Browns, Renisha McBrides, Jordan Davises, and Ezell Fords — but the list is getting too long. We can’t remember all the names of the Black people who have been killed within the last 5 years, much less the last 500 years. We must not forget the murder of our ancestors, but we must remember why this happened to us and is continuing to happen. The thread that ties all of this together is that murder of Blacks is justified because we are not civilized. And according to the self-appointed majority race, when you are not civilized, you are not human — you are savages. That makes us disposable and unworthy of justice in the eyes of the status quo.

You see, the real war is not against Black or White. The real war is culture versus civilization. My question is: Why should we expect liberty under the same statehood which profits from our servitude? I think a more effective use of our energy would have been and still is to build a Pan-African communal support base around the world. This is the work that Malcolm X was doing before he was set up to be assassinated. Marcus Garvey is also to be commended for being one of the pioneers of Pan-African thought.

If all people of African descent respected and acknowledged that we are part of the same family, we could reverse and repair the effects of 500 years of colonization. The problem is that many of us who are blessed enough to have a voice and have built enough riches in the ways of this world to make a difference are too busy being drunk in love or twerking to speak up and do something to propel us forward. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and a place for lap dances and asshakery, but when the only picture of Black women you get in the media is this, it’s a problem.

Two hundred years ago…



Josephine Baker shaked her ass so you don’t have to.

Hey Nicki!

When we mimic the distorted views of those who oppress us, we relinquish our right to rail against the system when they minstrelize us. You can’t be mad at Taylor Swift for appropriating Black culture when Nicki Minaj dual-plagiarizes the appropriation by telling Massa his story back to him.

What’s more offensive than any sistas shaking their asses in the videos, is how lame both “Shake It Off” and “Anaconda” are musically. The greatest crime in both of these so-called songs is that you’re being sold a stereotypical imagery of Black culture with a sound that is stripped of that which makes Black American music what it is. Neither is even remotely funky. It makes me wonder how anyone gets inspired to shake anything upon hearing that. Both diminish the code which exists in all great Black music. Perhaps because Taylor has more to prove, and though a complete rip from the ’80s favorite “Hey Mickey,” Taylor’s song has more of a groove than Nicki’s.

Blues Power

“Now you take the little baby that’s layin’ in the cradle — kicking and hollerin’ and goin’ on and tearin’ up the lil’ baby bed — can’t get that milk bottle fast enough. It’s got The Blues.”

— Albert King

To be completely honest, I wouldn’t have that much of a problem at all with either song if they were soulful. I cannot stress enough the importance The Blues plays in the liberation of The Souls of Black Folk. Because we were not allowed to speak our Native Tongues, The Blues is the new language we invented for ourselves. Sometimes the only way to get the masses aboard is by tricking them into doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. Within this context, using the gloss of entertainment propaganda to get the message to folks is completely acceptable. When you give people That Rhythm, you give them That Life. At which point, the glorification of debauchery becomes a vessel for the deeper message you’re attempting to deliver.

Though everything in the media tries to convince us otherwise, Black people are a community. Not only are we linked to each other as people of African descent, but we are linked to all indigenous people the world over. Native Americans, Asians, Palestinians, Aboriginal Australians, and others, have a shared history in the destruction of our cultures by means of civilization. And to show you how the oppressor uses language as a tool to brainwash, when someone’s being “civilized” the connotation is one of peace, when we know the irony is that all state-sanctioned civilizations are born of violence and destruction.

The first tool of oppression is language. When you control someone’s speech, you control their thoughts.

All Blues

What I think Black Americans need to reclaim first and foremost is our indigenous Black American language, The Blues. Any gains we have made in this society as a people has been through The Blues. Be it Louis Armstrong’s “West End Blues,” Charlie Parker’s “K.C. Blues,” Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit,” James Brown’s “I’m Black and I’m Proud,” Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” Michael Jackson’s “They Don’t Really Care About Us,” Prince’s “Sign O’ The Times,” Lauryn Hill’s “Every Ghetto, Every City,” as Miles Davis said, it’s “All Blues.”

The message is in the music. And it’s not so much what you’re saying as it is how you are saying it. We need to make each other responsible. We should hold our leaders and artists to the high standard of expression our ancestors set. Blacks call adopting a mainstream sound stripped of Blues “crossing over,” when by doing so, we still stuck on the wrong side of the River Jordan. “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Peace and justice won’t be ours until we reconnect to the way we communicate with The Universe.

We need to be able to decipher the subliminal messages underneath what’s being sold to us. On the surface, Taylor and Nicki’s songs appear to reinforce the “Hottentot Venus” syndrome of the Black female body only being of use for shake dancing and for people to ogle over. And in Nicki’s case the “Anaconda” serves as a symbol reinforcing society’s fear and fascination of a large, Black penis. It would behoove Black people to develop their sense of hypersensitivity in order to counterbalance the imagery of hypersexuality. We have a tendency to get all up in our feelings about stuff and reacting as opposed to sitting still and thinking for awhile before we respond.

In light of all of this, though we have struggled, I am proud of my heritage as a Black American. This has all happened for a reason. I think we have an opportunity to be better Africans than we were 500 years ago, but that would require us to remember. With all that we’ve been through, we should be better than our ancestors. But as long as we continue to suffer from cultural amnesia, we could find ourselves on the news again 50 years in the future, fighting the same fight. Or worse, we will have no historical memory at all of who we were before we were enslaved.

Once you get past the imagery of appropriation, the lyrics in Taylor’s song are quite affirmative:

I never miss a beat
I’m lighting up my feet
And that’s what they don’t see
That’s what they don’t see
I’m dancing on my own
I make the moves as I go
And that’s what they don’t know
That’s what they don’t know
But I keep cruising
Can’t stop, won’t stop moving
It’s like I got this music
In my mind, saying it’s gonna be alright
Cause the players gonna play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate
Baby I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake
Shake it off

Kundalini, Baby

And in an earlier essay, I conveyed that in ancient African mythology snakes were deities. A snake or serpent often represented fertility, which is not too far off from the big, Black dick Nicki is alluding to. In the Hindu faith, Shesha was the king of all Nagas (serpent gods). Nagas are gods, so are Niggas. And then there’s the sacred snake dance of the Hopi Indians. There is no end to the allegorical connection to all of these things if we take a look through our Third Eye.

I, IV, V

I know, for some, the events in Ferguson are cathartic and necessary. I just hope that after they return home they remember what brought them out into the streets this time. Those who are lost know most the beauty of being found. When you’re playing a Blues progression, it always goes back to One. As James Brown, Bootsy, and George Clinton have all said, ain’t no funk without The One. I. Eye. The Amen Cadence is IV — I (four to one). Four: IV — intravenous. Amun, the Egyptian God of the poor and downtrodden, became one with the Sun (or Ra) and representative of transformation of self. Amun as a god was hidden, but through Ra, was revealed. Amun-Ra, revelation of The Seen and The Unseen. Amun-Ra was adopted by Greek mythology in the form of Esus, or Zeus, which eventually became adopted by Christianity as Jesus. E-SUS in musical terms is a chord, so is G-SUS — Jesus. What’s interesting about SUS chords, short for suspended chord, is that the chord is built from the first, forth, and fifth degree of the diatonic scale. The traditional blues form in Black music is built upon the I, IV, and V chord.

It all goes back to The One.


Everything is connected.




— Nicholas Payton aka The Savior of Archaic Pop

Part III: Why Are We Still In The Streets?

United States Steel Hour

Why are we in the streets getting shot with rubber bullets and tear gassed? How long are we going to stay out there? Until Darren Wilson is charged, or until there is justice for Black America? Why are we so easily provoked by the same story time and again to the same end? It will not bring back the lives of the murdered. Marching on the government is an antiquated thing of the past. We’ve done that already and we’re still here. They’re repealing the same laws we marched for 50 years ago and we’re out in the street again.

No human being is capable of serving justice. No government department is capable of serving justice. Marching on the police for use of excessive force does nothing but give them license to use more excessive force. Don’t play that game. You can’t win. It will only result in more dead, Black bodies. You are worth more to Black America alive. Don’t needlessly sacrifice yourself for a lost cause.

Support your community. Learn your history so we don’t repeat the mistakes of the past. Don’t react; take action. It’s what we do everyday that counts most. Vacillating between states of either survival mode or crisis mode is no way to live. If we did the daily maintenance that it requires to sustain a community, we wouldn’t find ourselves doing damage control in situations of disquiet.

All of this railing against the system is bringing us nowhere and is expending energy that would be more useful in other spaces. Why do we keep fighting the oppressor’s war, on the oppressor’s terms, on the oppressor’s turf? To continue to have your buttons pushed and getting agitated about the same thing year after year is not what’s up. This is getting us nowhere. In order for something different to happen, we have to do something different. When is it going to be time to be reflective and meditative and create from a calm, cool-headed state of mind?

A mass movement is not going to work. Be a movement of one by living the values you espouse. Be an asset to your community by investing in yourself daily to be the best you you can be. The only person you’re guaranteed to affect change within is you. You can’t make your kids do anything. You can’t make your family do anything. You should not waste your time appealing to anyone who refuses to accept you. They have the right to feel how they want about you, just like you have the right to feel whatever way about them.

It’s all energy. When you oscillate on a certain wavelength, you will attract other like-minded spirits who oscillate on that same wavelength. But as long as you continue to be sucked in by oppressive forces, it takes you out of your bandwidth and puts you in somebody else’s. The distraction of this media narrative is as destructive as any military-grade weaponry, tanks, bombs, or the like. The external battlefield is just the physical manifestation of the inward war. If you stay tuned, you don’t have to be alarmed every time someone changes the channel.

To have peace in one place, there has to be war in another. “Peace” is just a piece of the story. If everything was good, nothing would be good. This isn’t a race, it’s a journey. Operating from a state of angst just creates more angst. Culture is our respite. The Blues is a cry of those silenced. Speak your native tongue, and if it’s been taken from you, grow another one. There is no end to the wellspring of art that exists inside your soul. Those who have no soul have a right to be as they are. Don’t trouble yourself trying to cultivate the spiritually challenged. Every moment away from nourishing your roots, your ancestry, is time you can’t get back.

Be like the drum who sings when beaten. Be like the owl which hoots in the night. Mourn like the river, and rise like the sun. The language of the ancestors reverberates like a constant vowel underneath the surface of this mirage of calamity. Tap in. They are speaking. Those notes unlock the mysteries of things seen and unseen. Those melodies are a gateway to freedom.

Colonialism is deafening. Don’t let your hearing become eroded by the static and spastic rhythm of false societal constructs. The boots on the ground approach to resistance will get you a kick in the head. The real march is a step inwards. Burning buildings is one thing; igniting the fire between your eyes is another.

Drum is life
Heart beats
Heads roll
Marching always towards
The Symbol of Light

— Nicholas Payton

There is no liberty for Black people under the American banner. We needn’t look to the Department of Justice, democracy, or the police to protect and serve. We should trust what has worked for us: The Drum and The Blues — our Black American Language. Justice is not the domain of man, but the domain of The Universe. We must align ourselves with the universal law through the power of rhythm and song. Rhythm is song and song is rhythm. There has never been somebody who could swing, yet couldn’t play the blues. Nor has there been someone who could play the blues, yet not swing.

Blues and swing are the same thing, and that’s no jazz.


— Nicholas Payton aka The King of Research

Part II: An Honest Look at Black America

The way we view ourselves and treat each other does impact how others view and treat us. Justice put another way is simply cause and effect. The actions we put into play will have a reaction. It may not be equal, and it may not be opposite, but it would behoove us to accept that the Black community is not exempt from the universal laws of nature.

By now many of us have seen the video of Mike Brown allegedly robbing the store just moments before he was murdered by Darren Wilson. I am not saying that he deserved to be executed, but to pretend that his theft is in no way connected to the murder that followed is denial. The Ferguson police chief admitted that the officer had no idea Brown robbed the store before he gunned him down. I get the sentiment that the introduction of this video to the narrative makes the subsequent shooting justifiable in many people’s minds, but it is a part of the story. Just like Black folks want the world to look at the larger picture when members of our community are breaking into stores, we should likewise not exclude details and refuse to give context in other instances of unfavorability.

As unfortunate as it is for Mike Brown’s physical presence to have come to such a sudden and tragic ending, we must stop using the lives of our youth as poster children for justice. Our liberation does not hinge on any one case. The life of Mike Brown should not be viewed as our ticket out of oppression. It’s unfair to his mother and father, and it’s unfair to him. I understand that blood — metaphorically and literally — often has to be shed in order for great change to occur, but I think we’ve shed enough over the last 500-plus years to last a lifetime. Why must we feel the need to martyrize ourselves or our brothers and sisters to get ahead?

Black people have gotten death down to a science, but we have yet to master the art of living.

Everything is connected. To continue to disassociate ourselves from the ugly distortion of Black life in America does a disservice to the beautiful reality of our existence here. A holistic approach is the only thing that can bring about a true and lasting healing. This is not an issue of respectability politics as much as it is universal law. We didn’t create racism, therefore we can’t dismantle it. We don’t control the mainstream media, therefore we don’t get to control that part of the conversation. What we do have control over is how we treat another and how we value our community.

Though you may not have deserved the intrusion, those who rob and ransack your house are not likely not repair it. You must fix it.

Outsiders can infiltrate a family and turn them against one another, but they can’t restore justice and put that family back together.

As long as our cultural relevance is subject to the approval of our oppressors, we will never know what it is to be free.

We cannot afford to waste anymore time waiting for the Department of Justice to deliver us. What right does any state-sanctioned organization of this oppressive country have to claim itself to be the arbiter of justice? Unless we mean in the way that British forces distributed justice along with smallpox blankets to the natives. Or justice in the way that the Portuguese erected Elmina Castle — the fort which held Africans until they passed through the “Door of No Return” to be sold into slavery.

So when we say we want justice, just whose concept of justice are we talking about? This America works just fine for those it’s supposed to work for. Those in control have it better now than ever. They’ve had centuries to refine their imperialistic tendencies to the point where it’s imperceptible to the masses.

Justice is the opposite of racism, and as long as the American policies reflect the views of the racists who created them, there won’t be justice for Black people — just this. It is imperative that Blacks rebuild the love within their community that legislation has destroyed. No law can fill that void. We must invest in our culture and stop looking to our oppressors to instill what they’ve worked hard to exterminate. Only then we can sit in peace at the table of justice.

Justice is not our domain as human beings. Justice is not a system of rewards and punishment. Justice is how the universe responds to our actions. Sometimes it’s fair and sometimes it’s not. Bad shit happens to good people all the time, and the undeserved often gets pleasant things bestowed upon them. It’s not for us to decide what is or what isn’t just. Do the work necessary to build a healthy community and just let it happen.

Instead of worrying about what the Department of Justice has to say, we need to pay more attention to our Black government, our gods, our royalty, our ancestors. King Oliver, Ambassador Satch, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson — these are the people who paved the way for you to enjoy what freedoms you have as Black Americans.


— Nicholas Payton aka The Savior of Archaic Pop

Part I: The Rise of Capitalism and The Fall of Culture


There is no such thing as racial equality, because race is a false construct designed for the specific purposes of ensuring inequality. And though the concept of race may be false, the consequences are very real. It is because of race that we’re always plagued with concepts of superiority and inferiority. Culture has a natural respect for other culture. The powers that be don’t want us to exist on a cultural plane because no one can dominate there. Culture is fluid, expressive, artistic, and most of all, human.

When Christopher Columbus introduced capitalism to the New World, it signified a shift in world thought. The age-old defense for racism is that people were enslaved before European colonialism, but it was a different type of slavery. It wasn’t the brand of chattel slavery that was introduced around the middle of the 15th century. The mass genocide of ancient peoples of indigenous cultures changed the tenor of society at large. We are not born a race, we are raced.

Another excuse for the perpetuation of racism is that the very discussion of race is racist, which is plausible. To talk about something is to acknowledge it, and has the power to be spoken into existence. The flip side is that there is no way to dismantle racism without discussing it. We live in a world of words, and those words are attached to thoughts and create ideas. The first rule of colonization is to change the name of that which you wish to have control over. The next thing you do is disallow those you wish to oppress from speaking their native tongue. Not only can they not communicate with one another, but they have to change how they communicate with themselves. Next you force them to speak your language, worship your God, and so forth.

“So, if you really want to hurt me, talk badly about my language. Ethnic identity is twin skin to linguistic identity — I am my language. Until I can take pride in my language, I cannot take pride in myself.”

Gloria E. Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza

Steal Away

When you take away a people’s ability to communicate with one another in their language, you take away their humanity. They can no longer see themselves as they were or as they are. They are forced to see themselves through the oppressor’s lens. Our relationship with one another is what makes us human. English has become the international language, and because the most powerful English-speaking nation is America, American thought has become the most pervasive. That’s what’s so important about Congo Square — one of the only places in America where the enslaved Africans were allowed to practice drumming, dancing, singing, and other rituals. Because their oppressors underestimated the Africans’ spiritual practices as simply a way for the enslaved to amuse themselves, the Africans developed a new language, The Blues.

This is not to be taken lightly. Long before there was a Civil Rights Movement, The Blues was the first liberator of the displaced African mind. It is through The Blues that our African ancestors reconnected to their memory of who they were before they were slaves. And though they were forced to believe in a god that looked nothing like them, they were able to see the biblical allegory in how the story of the oppressed children of Israel related to their current situation. And even though Europeans created God in their own image by making Jesus a White man, Black people strongly identified with his loving, yet persecuted spirit. What many of the slaves probably didn’t recognize at the time was that this Jesus they were worshipping shared many parallels with the gods of their ancient African mythologies, which predated Christianity by centuries.


The word “ism” often implies a condition, category or doctrine, whereas “ology” denotes the science or study of a particular subject. When an “ism” is involved, it’s typically something that’s been defined which someone is trying to put on you. With an “ology,” there’s usually room for exploration.

The All-Seeing I of Whore Us, Sun of God


Horus is a mythological Egyptian god born of the Virgin Isis on December 25th in a manger. Being known as “lord of the sky,” Horus was considered a sun god. Over time, the name was abbreviated to Hor. Isn’t it ironic that “whore” in English is a disgraceful word, which is a great example of how colonization through language can blaspheme the spiritual practices of the oppressed and make what was once profound, profane. It’s akin to how the English language bastardized the Latin word for black, “niger,” which shares phonetics with the Sankrit word “naga,” which means snake. Snakes, or nagas in many ancient cultures, were gods. In English thought, a snake is typically a lowdown being which can’t be trusted. Just goes to show how language can transform a deity into something dirty. So the next time someone calls you “whore,” “Nigger,” or “snake,” don’t get upset. They’re just acknowledging the God within you.

Blame It On The Son


“As long as you think you’re white, there is no hope for you.”

— James Baldwin

Black people are a resilient people to have survived the atrocities they have over the last 5 centuries, but it’s time to stop getting by and start living. Black people can’t end racism because Black people didn’t create it. This is something White people must resolve amongst themselves. And being Black is not the same as being White. Black is just another word for African. White specifies no cultural ties in particular. It is merely a social title whose sole existence is for the perpetuation of an idea of superiority in the race totem pole which engenders the White race with dominion over all others. There was a time where you had to at least have white skin to be White, and even then that wasn’t enough. Now Supremacy is doled out to anyone who worships at the White altar.

So when you attack race, you’re not attacking people, you’re attacking an idea — and a false one at that. And it doesn’t make you racist for talking about race. It makes you human.


— Nicholas Payton aka The Creator of #BAM

Message To Black America via Ferguson, Missouri

Message to Black America: It’s unlikely that the lawmakers or their agents will ever admit when they’re guilty of a crime. Just us.

Message to Black America: It’s unreasonable to think that a system which profits from your ignorance will ever invest in your enlightenment.

Message to Black America: It’s foolish to expect that the oppressor will ever value your community as much or more than you.

Message to Black America: Until you believe your gods to be as powerful as White people’s god or Asian people’s gods, there can be no peace.

Message to Black America: Republican or Democrat doesn’t matter. White Supremacy is President regardless of who’s in office.

Message to Black America: Al Sharpton and Benjamin Crump can’t assure justice for Michael Brown any more than they could for Trayvon Martin.

America built its democracy by looting the world, but let Black people bust into a store which robs its own community and it’s a crime.

So what I want to know is: What’s going to be different this time?

We can’t only care about building our community when someone tries to tear it apart. It’s what we do every day that counts most.

And it’s because Black people never do anything differently as a collective, that people have no fear doing whatever they want to us.

Black people’s greatest enemy is not the White man; it’s our short historical memory. We don’t remember till it’s too late. Then we forget.

Black people suffer from CDD, cultural deficit disorder. We only get together for Christmas and lynchings.

We can’t look for the American justice system to declare our humanity. We must claim our own.

Message to Black America: The most rebellious thing you can do as a people is invest in your community, daily. Build truth; destroy the lie.

Black jesus 4


— Nicholas Payton aka The Savior of Archaic Pop