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

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