“There’s No Me Without You”

It’s Saturday evening.  I’ve been working all day, but didn’t want to go to bed tonight without sharing this with you.  This was written this morning  at 5:02am; clearly it was on my heart~

My mama taught me not to talk behind a person’s back; that if you had something to say to someone, you said it to his/her face.

Well, this week “in the village” talking behind a person’s back turned into taking jabs at each other via the airwaves, both radio and television.   This week, I was exposed to two of  Black America’s considers Special Sons – Tavis Smiley and Tyler Perry take jabs at two of Black America’s other Special Sons – Rev. Al Sharpton and Spike Lee.

It seems like the 2 Ts either missed the lesson my mama gave, ignored it or simply forgot  the lack of integrity exhibited in talking behind someone’s back. You can google Sharpton and Smiley to hear what went on.  I warn you it leaves you feeling the need to bathe.  Although I am totallly sided (see what happens when somebody in the village acts out, by nature, the rest of the village takes sides) with the “jabbed at brothers”, I am getting an exercise in forgiveness for the “brothers jabbing”.

We all stand on the shoulders of those who came before us.  We can’t afford to forget that many of the success and comforts we enjoy came at the pain, suffering, sacrifice and even death of someone else. I wonder if Tavis stopped to think that if there was no Rev. Al, what he has been able to accomplish would have been even more difficult.   And where was Tyler when Spike was financing “She’s Gotta Have It” with his credit card?

There’s room in the village for ALL of our talents, ideas and opinions.  There’s room for us to disagree but it is unacceptable for us to be disagreeable ESPECIALLY at a time like this.  On the one hand we have too much for which to be thankful:  The 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue address of The Obamas, and too much work to be done:  The rebuilding of New Orleans’ 9th Ward and Haiti; finding solutions to the devastating violence in our communities, the correcting of a public school system that has failed too many of our children, etc., etc.

As I watched and listened to Tyler Perry accept the NAACP Image Award, The Chairman’s Award no less, telling us about the impact of the recent loss of his mother AND taking a low blow (I know why they call it this because I felt like somebody had sucker-punched me below the belt when I heard his ’40 Acre and A Mule’ comment) at his brother, Spike, it was difficult to believe he even understood the honor he said he felt at receiving the award!

For someone who keeps telling us that his body of work is about healing hurts, forgiveness and redemption, I wouldn’t have known it by his actions/words last night.  Maybe he ought to go see a Tyler Perry Movie.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my heart, here’s what I took away from being exposed to all this in-fighting between my brothers this week:

1-  We are not all the same nor should we be.  What makes us so great is our diversity.

2-  We need to work harder at celebrating our similarities and stop looking to attack each other over our differences.  Your story does not negate the story of another.

3-  The brilliance of the good we do is dimmed when we throw mud at each other.

No matter how different you think you are from that other brother or sister, take a moment to acknowledge our commonality as Blackfolks in America.  Much of what you see in our attitude and behavior is our way of surviving and thriving in hostile territory.  Our genius was born in response to getting somebody’s foot off our necks.  Our creativity built pyramids and has the answer to our ecological ills (SHOUT OUT TO BROTHER VAN JOHNSON; OUR “GREEN” BROTHER.) 

With all that we are, we have to find a way to do better than we did this week.  In the words of Brother King (Rodney not Martin) “Can’t We All Just Get Along?”

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