I’m a Nigga, and maybe a dumb Nigga at that. Let’s just get that out of the way. That said, I refuse to capitulate to White standards of anything. Oscars, Grammys, politics — it’s all the same to me.

You see, Niggas’ problem is we buy in to this White Supremacy shit. I don’t allow someone’s whose main objective is to marginalize and oppress me to take precedent over what I know to be true as a Black man in America.

No President of the United States is going to free Black people, regardless of what color they are. We must do that ourselves. Our freedom is not in this country’s best interests, so don’t expect it to be handed to you from the State.

I can’t shed any tears over a show being cancelled because the host refuses to celebrate the very construct that serves to destroy them. I shed no tears because a film on a Black genius can’t get funded unless they distort said genius’ image through the lens of a fictitious White character. I shed no tears because the Oscars refuses to acknowledge Black excellence. Nor can I shed any tears because the Grammys continues to marginalize Black music — the very foundation of its existence. And because sometimes they get it right, doesn’t mean there’s any hope to be found there.

These institutions were created to perpetuate the myth that Black people are not good enough, and that White people are better than us. So don’t ever expect them to change their minds. No amount of boycotts will ever reverse that fundamental premise.

Black people don’t own MSNBC. We don’t own NARAS. And we don’t control SAG-AFTRA. That’s the bottom line. And until we erect and respect Black institutions in the same way we appear to respect these institutions that aren’t for us, we’ll never get further than we are.

What doesn’t help is we have ignorant people within our race who think by having the BET Awards we’re equally as racist. First off, no one Black can be racist against anyone else except someone Black. We can only serve White Supremacy, at best. They allow us a seat at the table only to persecute our own.

This is not a war of policy. This is a war of self-recognition. Do we know who the fuck we are? I don’t think we do, because if we did, we wouldn’t be trying to prove to anyone else that our lives matter. Black Americans get trolled daily by the media and we fall for it constantly — hook, line, and sinker.

I refuse to get caught up in the quagmire. You can’t play me without my permission. I can’t be bought and I don’t come with instructions.

Back in the day Louis Armstrong was told by an elder of his, Black Benny, “Always have a White Man (who like you) and can + will put his Hand on your shoulder and say — ‘This is My Nigger, and Can’t Nobody Harm Ya.’” Well, all due respect to Pops, but I refuse to abide by that edict. Even though it is as true today as it was when Black Benny told that to Satchmo some 100-odd-years ago. I refuse, which makes me a dumb Nigga. To my detriment, I will not allow myself to play that game. My theory is: kats like Pops did so I wouldn’t have to.


Photo via Chuck D

Louis bowed and scraped so Miles could turn his back.

I worked too hard to get off of the plantation to circle back now. You got cats out here doing Kickstarters to be on major record labels and giving their albums away for a pittance. I guess there’s a reason why they call the recordings, “masters.” Massa’s.

Black people need to understand their value and stop looking to White people to validate them with Oscars, Grammy, candidacies, record or movie deals. We must recognize who the fuck we were before we became Black or a part of anyone else’s race game.

Let White shit be what it is. Don’t get mad at how they choose to celebrate their heroes. Don’t hate their monuments. Let’s honor our ancestors and erect out own statues — not to compete with others’ — but to restore what was taken away from us time and time again. Remember: We built the first monuments or first shit that existed, ever.

And to all the moguls out there who build great Black businesses and sell them back into their opposing forces, you do more harm than good. You can only be but so rich. Strive to think about someone other than yourself for a change.


— Nicholas Payton aka The Savior of Archaic Pop


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