Monday, February 15, 2016

Academy Award Boycott 2016

This year the Academy Awards presented me with a moral dilemma.

For the second time in the past two years, only white people were nominated for any awards.  Now this is not uncommon.  Everybody knows that a bunch of fat cats raking in money for peddling their owners ideas and way of living is culturally narrow.  And outside of major cities wow... not a lot of diversity there unless it represents one way of thinking.  Which in and of it itself is.... disappointing.

I got to thinking.... do I really care about what these people do.
Do I need to sit on the couch and watch one more awards ceremony
As people I'll never know slap each other on their backs and
go to all kinds of fancy parties and
get accolades from their peers and listen to who made what fancy suit
and designer dress
from yet more people I don't care about.
don't get me wrong now
some of those gowns are truly works of art
but do I really care who is what in this whole exclusive scene
nope I really don't care
not when there is something else that is worth so much more
like respect and dignity and integrity and fairness and inclusiveness

freedom to have everybody represented in the arts and sciences
freedom to hear a wide range of stories about our shared human experiences 
freedom to be represented, for crying out loud 

I heard Ice Tea say something, and it just broke my heart, paraphrasing here, he said he never expected to be invited to the party.  He made movies because he loved making movies.  He loved  expressing himself creatively and
he was passionate about his work
his insights are so true and so real
to think that someone like this
some one with this much talent
would just figure that was the way it was
broke my heart

How all of Hollywood couldn't gain some insight into this is beyond me.  This some racist bullshit and everybody knows it.  There is no way the only stories worthy of being recognized or awarded to only those about white people or told my white people
this is some ignorant bullshit. 

It wasn't so long ago, people that were different genders, races and religions joined together in something called the Civil Rights Movement.  It was dangerous.  It was scary.  It was beautiful.  Crossing those lines of ignorance and reaching out to people we didn't know culturally.  Not just black and white but people of all  ethnicities and religious or non-religious beliefs decided to see.... what does it look like from over there...

We took chances. 
Most of us were never on the news or in any book. 
It was more a choice to live with the knowledge that man now has the capability to blow up this planet like so many times, its ridiculous.  How did that translate to everyday people.  People taking chances to make friends with people who were different?  Yeah, and you know what, we found out that there were a whole lotta groovy things we did have in common.  The need to be understood.  The need to reach out and know someone is there.  The need to understand what is happening in our hearts.  The need to love and to be loved
The need to have a friend.

We cooked cool foods and enjoyed experiencing different cultures and found other like minded people that really loved living free.

You know what I'm talkin about too.

When I was a little girl we were driving up north
and I remember seeing those white only signs up over the water fountains and
colored signs only by other water fountains and wondered
what these were signs there for. 
I went over to the nearest fountain, which was the wrong one and
my Mom came over and got me.  She told me had water in the car. 
Why are those signs there, I asked her?  I wish I knew she said.

Years later I was involved in the peace movement in Chicago.  And I was there when the second Chicago fire hit.  Oh my God, it was so sad.  So sad.  I bet you don't hear that often.  But it was.  When John F. Kennedy and Malcom X and Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. were taken from us it was like the wind had been ripped out from under our wings and we fell, flat on our backs, no wind, no breathing, hollow

all of our hopes and the people that inspired us so
had been stomped on and trashed
and it left a scar

but we didn't disappear
we just got quiet
we kept being real
and we kept moving on

I'm an old woman now
and my heart still aches
still aches
just to think about
that time

And I think, the Revolution will not be televised
The Revolution is Live

Because every time we continued to extend our hand
and our hearts to those around us
regardless of whether we were alike or different
it meant some thing
some thing

Now the Academy Awards is coming up
and again two years in a row not one person who wasn't white
was chosen to be awarded.
That means that apparently no other stories like
Straight Outta Compton, Concussion with Will Smith
or Spike Lee's, ChiRaq had any relevance or ironies or substance

And I thought about Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr
and so many others
some names you would recognize and many you've never heard of
and I thought about that diner in Greensboro, North Carolina
when regular everyday people decided
they weren't going to sit by and tolerate segregation anymore
and all kinds of people put their lives on the line
during that decade
because they knew
deep in their hearts
that the Revolution was live
it was an everyday mentality
an awareness of how connected we all are
of how much we share
and it was about turning away from destruction and turning
toward creating something beautiful

Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr.'s beliefs
about practicing non-violence and civil disobedience by living
through the convictions of one's own conscience
with integrity
with the goal of achieving freedom and peace
for everyone may have been lofty
but it still sails me

to live any other way
once you understood that when one suffered
we all suffered
it wasn't possible to stay comfortable
when others were suffering from the wounds of hatred

I saw on the news today that all of these actors and directors
had won all kinds of awards. 
I thought maybe the Academy Awards had been on last night
but no, these were major awards from other countries
and suddenly
I pictured
all of those well tanned
muscular few
who have trainers and coaches and prestige and adoration
from their fans
and I saw the glutinous need for more

smiling and scarfing down
more and more and more
and more
and I thought
the Revolution is live

some will sit at the trough
and some won't have a clue
some will sit at other tables in the five and dime
and they won't say a word
but maybe a few
might just maybe
decide to sit somewhere else instead
and say
enough is enough too

Unless everybody is invited to the table
man why go
there's gotta be a whole lotta some thing else to do
and some where else to be
than there

I have decided to boycott the Academy Awards this year and chose to share my thoughts about this in my video.

All of life, so far as we understand it
is connected
it is always being
and it is always becoming
whether we see it or not
hear it or not
whether we can quantify it or not
life is
its real liquidy
and its always moving
on its own wavelength
I think this is why prayer and singing together
or listening to music together
gives us the awareness of our connection
that is always inside us
moving through all of us
you see I think
lives matter
and participating in the perpetuation of this discrimination
regardless of who gets hurt
or who is hurting
well, it just isn't entertaining
not one bit
it isn't funny
it isn't cool
and it damn sure isn't righteous

I remember singing a song with many others
I couldn't find a recording of a crowd singing this song
I think you'd have to be there to know what it felt like
to be targeted
to be scared
to hear the screams America love it or leave it and to stand
and hold onto each other
swaying to this undeniable connection we were all feeling
and it was some thing
that broke down all kinds of walls and barriers and it was
here it is
We Shall Overcome

Look, we all decide who we are by how we live.  We all reflect who we are by how we live.  We do this every minute of every day.
As for me?
I'd rather sit this one out
and tune out hatred
and ignorance
and instead do just about anything else
I may even wash my hair and
in my heart
I'll be remembering those songs we sang
and the crowd
becoming one love
and I'll be digging on that

I realized that the real fight
wasn't won with violence
my Grandpa told me more than once
You may have to fight three times in your life
But all of those good decisions you make
whether anyone sees you making them or not
will give your the strength to survive

I was young then
a pacifist
a dreamer
but I listened to my Grandfather because I knew
he was such a good man and he was telling me something important

I couldn't imagine what I would fight with someone about. 
I was picturing getting into an actual fist fight.
But as I lived and breathed
Grandpa was right
Those struggles
especially after the brain injury
that ripped me a part
I could never have imagined
turns out the greatest battle I would ever face
was the one with my own will to give up
my own will to live
was beyond me

I realized that yes, all of those decisions that seemed insignificant
whether anyone saw them or not
had given me strength
enough strength to look in the mirror and recognize
that I was still being and becoming and
a part of everything
and while it was different now and
I was in some ways different now
life was still worth living
and even when it was hardest to convince myself of this
I kept on going
the strength of all of those decisions I'd made
gave me the ability to take one more step

Grandpa was right
no matter how hard we get knocked down
life is still worth living
when we live it with integrity, love and
when we live it purposefully

And my purpose is to keep on keepin on

I watched the Grammy's last night

And wow
I saw the most historic, inspirational
creative expression of genius
Kendrick Lamar

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