On Monday night, First Lady Michelle Obama delivered a speech at the Democratic National Convention in which she made clear her feelings about the issue of slavery in American history.
“I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves, and I watch my two daughters- beautiful, intelligent, black young women – playing with their dogs on the White House lawn.”
The speech was largely received incredibly well, but the slavery comments prompted their own wave of debate and even cynicism, perhaps the loudest coming from Fox News presenter Bill O’Reilly who was particularly vocal about his thoughts surrounding the issue.
“The history behind her remark is fascinating. George Washington selected the site in 1791 and, as President, laid the cornerstone in 1792. Washington was then running the country out of Philadelphia. Slaves did participate in the construction of the White House. Records show about 400 payments made to slave masters between 1795 and 1801. In addition, free blacks, whites, and immigrants also worked on the massive building. There were no illegal immigrants at that time. If you could make it here, you could stay here. … Slaves that worked there were well-fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government, which stopped hiring slave labour in 1802. However, the feds did not forbid subcontractors from using slave labor.”
Thankfully, the music world is full to the brim of people ready to call the rich and privileged out on ignorant crap like this, and who better suited for the job than Roots drummer and producer Questlove.
Taking to Instagram with a picture of an Afro-American slave with marks of flogging, the skinsman pointed out the obscene logic used by O’Reilly, posing the question “What’s so fun and lighthearted about being shackled? Being separated from your loved ones….Being molested and raped HOURLY, being branded with hot iron? My dismay is the percentage of people who get their news from memes, headlines and sources to whom they have zero clue is feeding them false information.”
The post went on to note that “There is nothing more dangerous than a man in a suit, pretending to be a journalist giving revisionist history lesson on the ugliness of slavery.”
Slavery was inhumane. Slavery was sadistic. Slavery was uncomfortable. Slavery was unjust. Slavery was a nightmare. Slavery was a despicable act. Slavery is the pebble whose ripple in the river still resonates on and on and on and on. I'd like to think most of you have common sense. But there is nothing more dangerous than a man in a suit pretending to be a journalist giving revisionist history on the ugliness that was slavery. What's so fun and lighthearted about being shackled? being separated from your loved ones? Being molested and raped HOURLY, being branded with hot iron? being property? being castrated? being flogged? being malnourished? living in high stress conditions? forced to lay in your own feces? being sold in a heartbeat? suppressing ANY emotion (with the surprising exception of singing it was illegal —lashes or death–to read, write, "talk back" or "sass", cry (how many of you heard "you better NOT cry before I give you something to cry about!"), get angry, or even more surprising LAUGHING (a plantation barrel of water was always in proximity to dunk ones head in so one could express emotions and suppress the sound as to not alert your overseer of your "sassing"—deep history I just learned about laughing and the slave period—the first recorded song "The Laughing Song" was the defiant "F%^k Tha Police" of its day (also where the term "Barrel Of Laughs" gets its origin)—I'm getting beside the point. I dunno if that man's (never say his name) point is to troll at any cost whatsoever but his entire existence is a 5 steps backwards for any progress made in humanity. My dismay is the percentage of people who get their news from memes/headlines/& sources to whom they have 0 clue is feeding them false information. Human Trafficking in any form from today's underage prostitution, to the private Prison System we exercise here in the US, to the Holocaust to 500 years of Slavery–and all other examples I've not mentioned is INHUMANE & Evil. —watch where you get your information from and the company you keep people.
The incident isn’t the first time the news presenter has had a brain explosion over ethical issues, claiming that rap as a music genre had contributed to the decline of religion….ignoring the huge amount of social awareness brought to the public forum by some of its biggest names.
The music world is lucky to have people such as Questlove to hold the media to account. The issue is, how many people listen?
Image: Mixed Nation