On Why Black Activism Is Not Being Anti-White

DISCLAIMER: By “White” I mean race, not people with white skin.

Letters Cover 052615-page-001

“Letters breathe life.”

I don’t care what White people think. I don’t care about their flags. And when the current crop of “Black Activists” get tired of shaking their fists in the air, they still have to come home. But come home to what? Railing against White Supremacy is futile. And I don’t care how many retweets you get, how many Confederate monuments you deface, or flags you take down, you cannot change a racist heart. There’s no point in tearing down somebody else’s stuff when it builds nothing for you.

I say leave the Confederate monuments up, but erect monuments to great Black Americans in close proximity.

America represents slavery regardless of how many Confederate symbols you attempt to eradicate. The Confederacy is America, too. America is based on racism and all flags that represent America are racist — it doesn’t matter how many stars or what direction the stripes are in. You can’t change a racist heart. People have the right to hate you and you have the right not to care. When you shame your enemy into hiding their disdain for you, you only create a more stealthy and crafty opponent. That’s what caused some of y’all to forget you were Black in the first place. Most of what we see is a reaction, not action. You see, Niggas need to stay Black 24/7. A short historical memory is what got us preaching “Black Lives Matter.” Who are you telling it to — the White man or yourselves? If you already know your life matters, there’s no reason for you to proselytize about it.

I get that this may be cathartic for some of you. Well, go ahead and get it all out of your system, but when you’re done, you still have to come home. You will never be acknowledged under the banner of White Supremacy, nor should you want to be. White people are not the arbiters of humanity. They can’t bring you justice, because justice is not any man’s domain, thank God.

Instead of wasting time and energy destroying symbols of White ancestry, we should be building our own. Time spent being angry at White people for being themselves is time away from loving our community. And a movement without Black culture at the center is dead — which is what I see wrong with Black Lives Matter. Holding up signs and chanting you can’t breathe is problematic. Breath is the bridge that connects the body, mind, and soul. Words have power and the mantra you repeat to the universe is exactly what you get back.

This current Black movement is pretty much all histrionics. It is more concerned with social media hits and the coveted CNN appearance than real community groundwork. Forget what racists think about you. Stop wasting your time trying to explain what’s wrong with how they treat you to someone who doesn’t care. Build. Erect. Celebrate. Sure, it’s okay to be angry that we’re still here in this way, but channel that anger to make a contribution towards your people. Attempting to persuade those who seek to oppress you brings you no closer to the truth of who you are.

White Supremacy gave us their religion so when they harm us we are quick to forgive and pray for them. Well, their God is answering your prayers. When I was a child, my aunt taught me if someone hits you, hit them back. So go ahead and hit back, but waging a war against their construct is for the birds. Invest in your heritage. Defend your house. Letter by letter…

So with that, I leave you with a poem I wrote in 2006:

brick by brick
black builders create
structures that defy
what those without
color conceive not
fear doesn’t allow
them to believe
or us to accept
how we are
duplicitous beings
bound by shackles
but mind is free
smooth as a tsunami
quiet as thunder
slow as the blink of an eye

the pharoah needs no mirror
to shave her face in the night
remember we are lynched
by the same ropes
we used to lift the pyramids
it is our mournful bliss
as we square dance around the prism
passersby in our own land lost
as a pig blindfolded in a bull ring

sleeping with the tell-a-vision
my dreams are fed to me
rendering my subconscience
out of earshot
the hands of the clock stand still
dali watches my every move
diseased mind migrates
while my body jitterbugs
possesed by jungle ghosts

behind the other side of the door
my true self awaits me to answer
knock, knock
who’s there?
you who?
you who enslaves yourself
in order to find freedom


— Nicholas Payton aka The Creator of #BAM


Letters Cover 052615-page-001“LETTERS”
The new recording by NICHOLAS PAYTON to be Released August 7, 2015
26 Tracks of Mastery on Full Display!

Being a pianist, I am fascinated in hearing how musicians whose primary instrument is not the
piano, touch the keys. While there are seemingly no limits to the variety of sounds which can
be achieved through the instrument, I’ve noticed that horn players, bassists, drummers and
vocalists inevitably approach the piano with an unaffected kind of fresh take, untethered by
constraints imposed by the ego of a self-claimed pianist.

With crystal clear articulation and a refreshingly welcoming economy of notes, Nicholas
achieves such a warm, infectiously optimistic mood from the piano without broadcasting any
sort of agenda to exhibit “pianism.” And this lack of a projected impulse to affect a virtuosic
front creates some of the most inviting piano I’ve heard in recent times.

The mutual respect within the band is abundantly apparent in every turn of phrase. Anyone
who’s truly listening can sense that Nicholas, Vicente and Bill love playing together. This is an
energetically engaged band. All three players are so versed in music that they share values
and an unspoken attitude of zero jiveness or “show biz” trickery in their collective approaches.
This music is fertile and potent with emotion, and all the while the wide-ranging sweep of
moods represented on these two discs is doing things to your ears and body, there is an
ongoing dialogue in every moment for the intellectual seeker to feast on.

Nicholas’ piano playing reveals an unhampered approach to telling a story and connecting with
the rhythm section organically rather than stacking upon them. This chemistry mirrors how
much easier it becomes for humans to connect in substantial ways when egos are set aside
with an intention to support and compliment one another. Nicholas’ piano playing speaks with
the clarity of honesty and a noticeably selfless, organic vibe that I must say I’ve never quite
heard or felt before.

There is a sonorous nature to the songs and intervals which cause a piece we’ve never previously heard to feel like a hip long-lost friend, like meeting someone and intuitively feeling so relaxed around them as though you’ve known them all your life.

~Benny Green, 2015

On Riley Curry . . .

Remember that name: Riley Curry. She’s going to be somebody, someday. Her father letting her into his world reminds me of how my dad let me play onstage as a toddler. 41 years later, I’m still playing onstage.

Mentorship is key to mastery.

Thank you, Dad. I love you.


— Nicholas Payton aka The Savior of Archaic Pop