While in the midst of proclaiming Black Lives Matter, (and I agree) I want to make it clear that all Black Lives Matter, including Black women and children. It shouldn’t be necessary to say that, but it is. To MATTER is to have VALUE! There’s little doubt that Black Lives Matter. Thousands have demonstrated their support of that belief in streets across the nation and, for unnumbered reasons, many more support that belief in the privacy of their consciences.
The real challenge for those of us dedicated to broadening the understanding of Black Lives Matter is changing the concept of BLM from a slogan to a way of life. In so doing, we develop the ethic of embracing actions and ideas that encourage and stimulate positive growth in our communities. It means rejecting those actions and ideas which produce no tangible positive outcomes in the lives of Black people — especially Black women and children.
It could be said that in the ’60s, The Black Panther Party was a precursor of BLM. Their Ten Point Program parallels the safety and physical concerns for the Black community of today’s BLM movement.
In the early 1990s, Dr. C. Delores Tucker, founder of the National Congress of Black Women, broadened those concerns with a campaign against “gangsta rap”— a campaign that addressed the psychological destruction of our youth and persons unduly influenced by the media. Dr. Tucker understood that the information we feed our minds is intrinsically linked to how our reality is shaped and the conduct we can be expected to exhibit in our daily lives. If Black Lives are to really Matter, we must reexamine how we think of each other and how we treat each other. If Black lives are to really matter and we are to rise above the common discord we see in the daily intrigues of our nation, we MUST recalibrate how we value each other and regard each other with the respect we demand for ourselves.
It’s time for Black women to bring back our complaint about being constantly bombarded with unspeakable terms in what some call music. Gangsta rap, when it comes from Black men or Black women, has no regard for Black women or children. No other women have to endure being bombarded and brutalized with such filthy language in their music. It’s long past the time to change that.
Bob Law, esteemed radio personality and leader of the National Black Leadership Alliance, Kwabena Rasuli of Clear the Airwaves and I have made every appeal possible to radio stations that play the offending music, to corporate thugs that finance radio stations playing the pornographic language that glorifies drugs, violent behavior, rape, murder, that disrespects Black women and have no regard for children. This garbage is pumped into the minds of Black youth throughout the day. Many who pay to keep the filth on the radio in Black neighborhoods are in the fast-food industry that helps to damage the psyche of our youth, as well as damage their health. We’ve concluded that it’s time to stop talking about it and move to the next step. We must move to action that takes the profit out of those who pay to make that kind of music possible.
If you’re a parent, you must listen to the words used in what your children are hearing. Identify the companies advertising on the stations playing the offensive music and stop doing business with them. Money speaks louder than words.
We‘re in a period where we’re working hard to Rescue Our Children and Heal the Wounds of Circumstance. All of us have a duty to cleanse and clear our airwaves.
Williams is national president of the National Congress of Black Women.