According to a CNBC article, the NFL will vote whether to require players to stand for the "National Anthem" during their next meeting.
If the NFL owners vote for the requirement, they will be on the wrong side of history. The "Star-Spangled Banner" as it was originally written contained four verses, however, only the first verse is sung as our National Anthem. The third verse, celebrated the death of slaves fighting to free themselves, see the video below.
According to VICE, “African-American males are only six percent of the United States population, but comprise nearly 70 percent of the players in the National Football League.” The NFL’s 32 teams earned around $12 billion in 2015 with merchandise sales over $1.55 billion.
If the NFL benefits immensely from the work of black men, why doesn’t it address serious issues of concern to America’s black community? Specifically, why hasn’t the NFL addressed the issue of unarmed black men being killed by law enforcement? "If you're Comfortable with My Oppression, then You are My Oppressor".
If the NFL votes to force players to stand, civil rights organizations including those that receive "bribe" funding from the NFL need to call for a boycott. I will personally boycott the NFL, just like I did when the WNBA took a stance against its players, and hope others will join me.
Colin Kaepernick and other players refusing to stand during the national anthem has elicited a greater uproar from the NFL than the existence of police brutality and the killing of unarmed black teens and men. To paraphrase MLK's "Letter from Birmingham Jail", "You deplore the demonstrations taking place by NFL Players. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations."
It's bad enough that the league seems to have sanctioned Kaepernick by refusing to hire him, but forcing Black players to stand in direct opposition to their belief or self-interest is unconscionable. If you don't support athletes and entertainers when they stand up for your rights, don't expect them to continue speaking out.
A group of pastors has already called for a Blackout of the NFL, see their video below.
Let's be clear, Colin Kaepernick was standing up for others when he refused to stand; it is very unlikely, he would have personally been a victim of police brutality because of his fame and wealth. He put all that on the line to protect not only his rights but yours and mine as well.
The Asian man who on Sunday was dragged off a United Airlines flight from Chicago to Louisville, for refusing to give up his seat, has been a public relations disaster for the airline, especially in China.
There was early speculation in China that the victim was Chinese. He has now been identified as David Dao, a 69-year-old Kentucky physician of Vietnamese origin, but the fact that the man was Asian is a strong theme in much of the Chinese social media response. By the end of Tuesday afternoon in China, there had been over 200 million views on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, for the hashtag #UnitedForcesPassengerOffPlane and a lot of people called for a boycott.
According to Vincent Ni, an editor at BBC Chinese, the reaction on Chinese social media has been one of widespread outrage. It’s been very overwhelming, and most of the comments are very angry towards United Airlines. "A lot of people involved in these discussions mention race — a lot. That is part of the big reason why it has attracted so much attention."
Dr. Dao suffered a concussion, broken nose, damaged sinuses and lost two front teeth when he was pulled from his seat and dragged off the flight according to his lawyer, Thomas Demetrio.
China is the most populous nation on Earth and is one of the largest aviation markets in the world. United Airline is the largest US carrier in China and operates 20 percent of the routes between China and the US.
Lessons for African-Americans
Asians didn't wait for an investigation, the video told them everything they needed to know. They didn't march or protest, they quickly united together by calling for a boycott against United.
The strong reaction by Asians and others prompted United Airlines to quickly change their narrative. The went from blaming the passenger to apologizing and admitting that they did something wrong.
United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz originally said the passenger was "disruptive and belligerent" and employees "followed established procedures," and told employees he "emphatically" stood behind them. By Tuesday, Munoz stated:
"The truly horrific event that occurred on this flight has elicited many responses from all of us: outrage, anger, disappointment. I share all of those sentiments, and one above all: my deepest apologies for what happened. Like you, I continue to be disturbed by what happened on this flight and I deeply apologize to the customer forcibly removed and to all the customers aboard. No one should ever be mistreated this way.
"I want you to know that we take full responsibility and we will work to make it right.
"It's never too late to do the right thing. I have committed to our customers and our employees that we are going to fix what's broken so this never happens again."
United We Stand, Divide we Fall
How many videos of African-Americans being abused or even murdered have we seen with no satisfactory result? Last year we posted, "Where protest fails, violence prevails". As stated then, we need to inflict economic pressure, a sort of consumer violence to get the companies we support to start supporting us back.
African-American Mizzou football players successfully used economic violence as they supported Jonathan Butler’s hunger strike by threatening not to play. Mizzou could have lost millions of dollars. Public support of WNBA players taking a stand against police shootings was another time economic violence was successful. Unfortunately, African-American commnunities do not more effectively use economic pressure more effectively when members of the community are systemically treated unfairly.
Until and unless we cause economic pain when African-Americans are abused, we will continue to experience physical and emotional pain caused by police brutality. Additionally, we need to practice Pan-Africanism. The Asian reaction to the abuse of Dr. Dao should serve as an example for African-Americans. When people of African descent in other parts of the world experience crisis, we should react.
Africa was home to the richest man of all time, Masa Musa. Much of Africa's wealth was stolen, including its people, during European colonization. Many of Africa's resources are still under colonial control. Africa currently contains approximately 30 percent of the Earth's remaining mineral resources, including gold, diamonds, and oil. Even though Africa's population has been ravaged by war, political strife, genocide, colonization, drought, hunger, Aids, Ebola and more, it is home to more than 1.2 billion people.
The United States has a black population of about 43 million. The Black press in the United States needs to build partnerships with the press in Africa and other areas with large concentrations of people of African descent and report about their issues. Syria is not the only nation experiencing a crisis. However, charity starts at home and we need to put our differences behind and work together. Black churches, organizations, activist, celebrities and supporters need to start forming alliances to create a more coordinated response to issues affecting our community.
"You and I – as I say, if we bring up religion we’ll have differences; we’ll have arguments; and we’ll never be able to get together. But if we keep our religion at home, keep our religion in the closet, keep our religion between ourselves and our God, but when we come out here, we have a fight that’s common to all of us against an enemy who is common to all of us."
The United States government routinely dismisses the civil rights and humanitarian issues in African-American communities. The U.S. quickly intercedes in areas such as Syria under the guise of humanitarian relief, but ignores similar or worse situations in Africa. Below are the top countries outside of Africa and the United States with the largest populations of people of African descent.
Unfortunately, people of African descent suffer racism and economic oppression all over the globe. For example in England, although the African population is better educated than the white population, 26 percent of the blacks have had at least some college education compared 13 percent of the whites, however, the black community faces greater unemployment and poverty rates. Data shows that half of Black Africans in the UK live in low-income households compared to 20 percent of white people.
We've included 21 full-length movies you can watch now on your computer or device and 12 additional movie trailer recommendations to watch during black history month and beyond. Unfortunately, we cannot possibly list every good move related to black history and there are plenty of excellent movies not included on this list. However, we hope you discover something new and enjoy watching.
Full Movies Which Were Available on the Date of Publication
The Vernon Johns Story (1994 Full Movie)
Vernon Johns (April 22, 1892 – June 11, 1965) was an American minister at several black churches in the South. He is best known as the pastor 1947-52 of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery Alabama. He was succeeded by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The video has been deleted, trailer now shown below.
King (1978 Full Movie)
King was a television miniseries based on the life of Martin Luther King Jr. It aired for three consecutive nights on NBC from February 12 through 14, 1978.
The Rosa Parks Story 2002
Something the Lord Made (2004 Full Movie)
Based on the true story of Vivien Thomas, a carpenter that wanted to be a doctor, unable to attend college he works for a real doctor as a janitor. Realizing what this young man is capable of the doctor gives him real tasks and as a team, they go to conquer what other people thought impossible. Based on a true story. Vivien Thomas became a black cardiac pioneer and his complex and volatile partnership with white surgeon Alfred Blalock, the world famous "Blue Baby doctor" who pioneered modern heart surgery.
Keep the Faith, Baby – Adam Clayton Powell Movie 2002
Adam Clayton Powell Jr. (November 29, 1908 – April 4, 1972) was a Baptist pastor and an American politician, who represented Harlem, New York City, in the United States House of Representatives (1945–71). He was the first person of African-American descent to be elected from New York to Congress. Oscar Stanton De Priest of Illinois was the first black person to be elected to Congress in the 20th century; Powell was the fourth. Re-elected for nearly three decades, Powell became a powerful national politician of the Democratic Party and served as a national spokesman on civil rights and social issues.
Deacons for Defense 2003
The Deacons for Defense and Justice was an armed self-defense group of African-Americans that protected civil rights organizations in the U.S. Southern states during the 1960s.
The Tuskegee Airmen 1995
The Tuskegee Airmen was a group of the first African-American military aviators (fighter and bomber) in the United States Armed Forces who fought in World War II. Officially, they formed the 332nd Fighter Group and the 477th Bombardment Group of the United States Army Air Forces. All black World War II military pilots who trained in the United States trained at Moton Field, the Tuskegee Army Air Field, and were educated at Tuskegee University, located near Tuskegee, Alabama.
Ghost of Mississippi 1996
A Mississippi district attorney and the widow of Medgar Evers struggle to finally bring a white racist to justice for the 1963 murder of the civil rights leader. Medgar Wiley Evers (July 2, 1925 – June 12, 1963) was a black civil rights activist from Mississippi who worked to overturn segregation at the University of Mississippi and to enact social justice and voting rights. He was killed by a white segregationist.
In October of 1966, the Black Panther Party for Self Defense was created in response to challenge police brutality in Oakland.
The Marva Collins Story 1981
Marva Delores Collins (August 31, 1936 – June 24, 2015) was an American educator who started the highly successful Westside Preparatory School in the impoverished Garfield Park neighborhood of Chicago in 1975.
Introducing Dorothy Dandridge 1999
Dorothy Jean Dandridge (November 9, 1922 – September 8, 1965) was an American film and theater actress, singer and dancer. She is perhaps best known for being the first African-American actress to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in the 1954 film Carmen Jones
The Josephine Baker Story 1991
Josephine Baker, born in St. Louis, MO, was a singer and entertainer who skyrocketed to international fame as a performer in Paris. Baker renounced her U.S. citizenship because of racism and became a French national and war hero during WWII.
The Jacksons: An American Dream (1992)
Based upon the history of the Jackson family, one of the most successful musical families in show business, and the early and successful years of the popular Motown group The Jackson 5.
The Temptations 1998
Biography of the singers who formed the hit Motown musical act, The Temptations.
Miss Evers Boys
The true story of the U.S. Government's 1932 Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, in which members of a group of black test subjects were allowed to die, despite a cure having been developed.
The Jackie Robinson Story 1950
Biography of Jackie Robinson, the first black major league baseball player in the 20th century. Traces his career in the Negro Leagues and the major leagues.
The Spook Who Sat By the Door 1973
A black man plays Uncle Tom in order to gain access to CIA training, then uses that knowledge to provide tactical training to street gang members to plot a Black American Revolution.
About a loving and strong family of black sharecroppers in Louisiana in 1933, in the midst of the Great Depression, facing a serious family crisis when the husband and father, is convicted of a petty crime and sent to a prison camp.
A Woman Called Moses 1978
Based on the life of Harriet Tubman, the escaped African American slave who helped to organize the Underground Railroad, and who led dozens of African Americans from enslavement in the Southern United States to freedom in the Northern states and Canada.
The story of the life and career of the legendary rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles.
A fictionalized account of the gang war between the Italian/Jewish mafia alliance and the Black gangsters of Harlem that took place in the late 1920s and early 1930s based on real events and characters. The film concentrated on Ellsworth "Bumpy" Johnson (Laurence Fishburne), Dutch Schultz (Tim Roth), and Lucky Luciano.
The video has been deleted, trailer now shown below.
12 Black Movie Trailers to Stream or Rent
Based on historic events of the 1923 Rosewood massacre in Florida, when a racist white lynch mob killed blacks and destroyed their black community.
Based on the true story of the 1839 mutiny aboard the slave ship La Amistad, during which Mende tribesmen abducted for the slave trade managed to gain control of their captors' ship off the coast of Cuba, and the international legal battle that followed their capture by a U.S. revenue cutter. The case was ultimately resolved by the United States Supreme Court in 1841.
Roots was an American television miniseries based on Alex Haley's 1976 novel, Roots: The Saga of an American Family; the series first aired on ABC-TV in January 1977. (Goodbye Uncle Tom is another 70s Slave Movie which was virtually banned from the U.S.)
Hidden Figures is a 2016 American biographical drama film about female African-American mathematicians at NASA.
Malcolm X 1992
Malcolm X is a biographical drama about key events in Malcolm X's life: defining childhood incidents, his criminal career, his incarceration, his conversion to Islam, his ministry as a member of the Nation of Islam and his later falling out with the organization, his marriage, his pilgrimage to Mecca, and his assassination on February 21, 1965.
American Violet 2008
A single mother struggles to clear her name after being wrongly accused and arrested for dealing drugs in an impoverished town in Texas.
Based on the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, the mixed-race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral is raised by her aristocratic great-uncle in 18th century England.
A Soldier's Story 1984
Not a true story, but an excellent look at the what was at stake for black people through the lens of the perceived humanity of our black soldiers.
The film is about one of the first military units of the Union Army during the American Civil War to be made up entirely of African-American men (except for its officers), as told from the point of view of Colonel Shaw, its white commanding officer.
The Cotton Club 1984
The Cotton Club was a famous night club in Harlem. The story follows the people that visited the club, those that ran it, and is peppered with the Jazz music that made it so famous. The Cotton Club was whites only but featured all black entertainment during the 1920s Harlem Renaissance.
Mississippi Burning 1988
Two FBI agents with wildly different styles arrive in Mississippi to investigate the disappearance of some civil rights activists.
The Retrieval 2013
A fatherless 13-year-old black boy, who survives by working with a white bounty hunter gang who sends him to earn the trust of runaway slaves and wanted black men.
In July, I wrote about boycotting companies that don't actively speak out against injustice and oppression perpetrated against the Black community. The CEO of AT&T has provided one of the best examples of how a company can voice support and concern about major issues that affect us.
Randall Stephenson, the CEO of AT&T, was the keynote speaker at an AT&T ERG conference. Stephenson shared a personal story about one of his closest friends, who happens to be a black physician who served three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Stephenson revealed an epiphany he had when confronted by statements his friend made. He used that experience to illustrate how his view on diversity, inclusion, and Black Lives Matter was recently influenced. Because of this speech, Stephenson has become one of the most outspoken corporate leaders concerning the Black Lives Matter movement.
Stephenson admitted he had always been "confused" by the racial views of his friend, But when he saw a video of him addressing a mostly white church congregation about being refused service at restaurants, being called "boy" and even fearing being stopped by police in his own neighborhood, Stephenson finally understood where those views came from. Stephenson stated, "Our "Tolerance is for cowards" … "Being tolerant requires nothing from you but to be quiet and not make waves." … "communities are being destroyed by racial tension and we're too polite to talk about it."
"If two very close friends of different races don't talk openly about this issue, that's tearing our communities apart, how do we expect to find common ground and solutions for what's a really serious, serious problem?" he asked. Stephenson ended his speech with the statement, "If this is a dialogue that's to begin at AT&T, I feel like it probably ought to start with me," he received a standing ovation. Watch the speech for yourself below.
Employee Resource Groups – or ERGs, are groups within AT&T that provide like-minded employees a way to connect over a shared background and experience. The 12 ERGs include Community NETwork — The African American Telecommunications Professionals of AT&T, HACEMOS — The Hispanic/Latino Employee Association of AT&T, LEAGUE at AT&T — The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Allies Employees of AT&T and other groups.
$5 or $10 High Speed Internet
I switched my home Internet provider from Charter to AT&T two days ago. For those receiving SNAP (food stamp) benefits, AT&T offers high-speed Internet for only $5 or 10 per month, depending on the speed available in your area. For additional information, see Access from AT&T.
Don't get me wrong, AT&T still has problems. In fact, I ran into some minor irritation caused by AT&T during the shipping and installation and I'm sure like with many companies, I'll have issues moving forward. However, Stephen's epiphany seems genuine and as CEO of one of the largest corporations in the world, he can have a real effect on institutionalized racism, at least within his own organization. We must support the people and institutions that support us, otherwise, why should we expect them to do it. You can expect Randall Stephenson to be criticized for his public support of Black Lives Matters. Some will comment that he is a CEO and his responsibility is to the stockholders and he shouldn't be talking about BLM. Now as an AT&T customer, my voice will carry more weight if the stockholders of AT&T respond too negatively. Remember how our support of WNBA players and calls to boycott caused the league to reverse fines against players speaking out?
Maybe now, other CEOs will be prompted to reexamine their own support or lack of support of this issue. There may be some who want to speak out but have remained silent, fearing the repercussions and may now find the courage to speak. One person can make a tremendous difference. After Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem, other athletes all over the country followed his example and joined his protest, creating a movement.
On Friday, July 21, 2016, I announced a personal boycott of the WNBA and asked others to join me in support of the black female basketball players who took a stand against police brutality.
I am happy to report that the WNBA has withdrawn the fines to both the organizations and the players. For any of you that joined us in our short boycott or wrote to the WNBA, thank you. The next time you watch a WNBA game or purchase merchandise, remember the power your choices and dollars have. Use that power to bring about the change you want.
Some people have commented that "after police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge were killed, police are now being charged with murder." This is what should have been happening even before the protests or violence occurred.
White supremacist groups know police are rarely charged criminally for on-duty shootings. According to the FBI, some of the same guys who used to wear white robes and hoods now wear blue and carry a badge. Police effectively enjoy immunity and we pay their salaries. Murder shouldn't be rewarded with an extended paid vacation.
As a black female police officer, Nakia Jones recently stated, “If you are that officer that knows good and well you’ve got a god complex; you are afraid of people who don’t look like you — you have no business in that uniform. Take it off,” “Because there’s many of us who would give our life for anybody. And we took this oath and we meant it. If you are that officer that’s prejudice, take that uniform off and put a KKK hoodie on because I will not stand for that.”
Additionally, many of this country's police officers are soldiers returning from the war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan and some may not have been properly screened for mental illnesses. Soldiers during war are often conditioned to treat people like animals with little respect for human life or basic human rights. Everyone on the ground is a potential enemy.
Police brutality has always been an issue in black communities. "Power tends to corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Factor in white supremacy and mental illness and the tensions build up until it explodes into a national protest movement where some see no other choice but to resort to violent retaliation.
It doesn't take a grand jury to determine if charges should be brought. Bringing charges against a police officer in questionable deaths should be common sense. Like everyone else, this police officer will be considered innocent until proven guilty and will have an opportunity to discredit evidence against him, present evidence and testify if he so chooses.
Hands Up, Don't Shot, Laying on the Ground
The video that surfaced a few days ago of an unarmed black man, Charles Kinsey, laying in the street with his hands up in the air, demonstrates . Mr. Kinsey explained to police that he was a behavioral therapist at a group home trying to calm down an autistic patient who had wandered away from the facility. As Kinsey explained that neither he nor the mentally ill patient was armed and posed no threat, he was shot.
“When I went to the ground, I went to the ground with my hands up,” he said. “And I am laying there just like this, telling them again there is no need for firearms.”
What more could this man have done?
It's already unreasonable that any innocent person should feel they must lay on the ground and hold their hands up to ensure the police won't shoot you. I can't think of anything more Mr. Kinsey could have done.
There is a false narrative or propaganda campaign to convince people that the "Black Lives Matter" Movement and Blacks, in general, are over reacting. What more could Mr. Kinsey have done to convince the cop that shot him that he wasn't a threat? The irony is that the white looking autistic patient who actually had something in his hands and was agitated, because of his mental condition, wasn't the one who was shot.
Even Charle Kinsey mentioned how he feared more for his patient than himself, because he was on his back with his hands up, a position no one could possibly interpret as threatening, but he was still shot.
I have begun two personal boycotts, one against soft drink beverage manufacturers and the other against the WNBA. We need to inflict economic pressure, a sort of consumer violence to get the companies we support to start supporting us back.
The NBA announce a boycott against North Caroline where it is moving it's All-Star game from Charlotte, NC in protest of HB2, a law that requires people to use bathrooms and changing facilities, such as locker rooms which are designated for people based on their "biological sex" stated on their birth certificate. Under that law, transgender people can use the bathrooms and changing facilities that correspond to their gender identity if they get the biological sex on their birth certificate changed.
The NBA said, "While we recognize that the NBA cannot choose the law in every city, state, and country in which we do business, we do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by HB2." Hopefully, the NBA will not choose a location that moves too slowly or refuses to hold police accountable when they violate the rights of black citizens.
The NBA has a clear majority of black players, certainly, the causes that affect the majority of players and their families should be receiving equal attention and protection. Police brutality is of major concern to most African-Americans. All athletes should remember the example set by the Mizzou football players and recognize your combined power. United we stand, divided we fall. See related, "WNBA, If you want our support, you need to support us!"
I'm not recommending physical violence, however, protest minus disruption or violence equals failure. Violence, through revolution, created this country, violence ended slavery, violence stopped Hitler, and violence is the technique being used against terrorism.
The shooters in both the Dallas and Baton Rouge ambushes are dead. Other people who have shot and kill police officers met similar fates or ended up in jail. When cops are kill, there is almost always justice or at least vengeance.
The police officers who used excessive force and murdered an untold number of people remain free and many are still police officers. Law enforcement officers are the only category of people where criminals are expected to get away with their crimes. This is why people protest and this is why some have and others will resort to violence if things don't change quickly.
The WNBA fined the Indiana Fever, New York Liberty and Phoenix Mercury $5000 each and their players $500 each for wearing black warm-up shirts that violated the league's uniform policy. The players wore the t-shirts in acknowledgment of recent shootings by and against police officers.
We must support those who take a stand for us. When athletes and celebrities speak up against injustice, they often become targets. The WNBA is trying to silence these women by fining them. If we don't stand up for them, why would they take a stand the next time? We can't expect people to put their career in jeopardy for us if we remain silent. Show these women you appreciate their gesture and support them by putting pressure on the WNBA to reverse the fines.
As a black basketball fan, I was offended to hear that your organization fined players for wearing t-shirt honoring black shooting victims. As mentioned by one of the player's representatives, "You have a league that is 90 — if not above 90 percent African American — and you have an issue that is directly affecting them and the people they know and you have a league that isn't willing to side with them." Until you reverse the player fines, I will be boycotting the WNBA and asking others to join me on my blog, court.rchp.com, a sited dedicated to providing free legal information. If you want our support, you need to support us!
Just as the league allowed players to wear stand with Orlando t-shirts, to honor the victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting, I expect the same consideration when the victims are black instead of LGBT.
I urge our readers to share this page with others and stand in support of these players that same way they stood in support of those shooting victims and their families. Send a message to the WNBA and any other organization that believes it's okay to disrespect our causes and issues while at the same time expecting us to support them with our attention and dollars.
If you believe as I do that it was wrong for the league to allow players to wear t-shirts showing support for some shooting victims but not others, boycott the WNBA until they reverse those fines. Don't watch the games or purchase any WNBA merchandise. Change truly does start with us!
After I posted about boycotting the beverage industry, the question was posed; "What does Coca-Cola or Seven-Up have to do with police killings". Nothing and everything.
Pepsi was one of the companies that spoke out in opposition to a North Carolina law that would have restricted a person to using the bathroom designated for the sex they were born, rather than the sex they identified with. I was shocked at the corporate response to such a relatively new issue.
Since the 1600s, there has been a long history of police brutality and police have abused and suppressed the rights of black people. In the 1960s, Malcolm X addressed police brutality conditions that still exist today and the Black Panther Party was created in response to police brutality. Two days ago, Alton Sterling became one of the latest victims of police brutality that was captured on video. How many more incidents of brutality exists for each one captured by video?
Over my 50-year life span, I have probably spent tens of thousands of dollars on beverages purchased from grocery stores, restaurants, vending machines, amusement parks, and other venues. If Pepsi felt the need to speak up about bathroom rights, shouldn't it also feel the need to speak up when people are being murdered! What's more important, the right to use a particular bathroom or the right to live?
"History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people." – Martin Luther King, Jr.
I thought about simply boycotting just Pepsi, but then I'd be giving Coca-Cola and all the other beverage companies a pass. Collectively, black people spend billions each year on beverages. I can't ever remember any company speaking out for us the way several corporations spoke out for bathroom rights. I'm not hating on the LGBT community, but I do demand that Pepsi and other companies pay us the same respect and speak up for us as well.
I don't expect a mass movement to happen because of my post, but consider if just one percent (1%) of black people in the country gave up soft drinks. There are about 46 million black people in the U.S., one percent equals 460,000 people. Let us assume on average each of those people spends five dollars per week on soft drinks; that's $2,300,000 dollars per week, $9,959,000 per month or $119,508,000 per year. Now imagine two, five or even ten percent of African American boycotting soft drinks; do you imagine they might take a stand against police brutality?
History favors disruption
"Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue." – MLK, Letter from Birmingham Jail
Historically, the only effective protests have been disruptive or violent. There are not many examples of successful peaceful revolutions. For example, the Occupy Wall Street Movement gain national attention and support, but what did it ultimately accomplish? Nothing. The Occupiers were so peaceful, they didn't even block the entrance to banks or the streets leading to them. Had the Occupy Wall Street leaders simply suggested opening credit union accounts instead of using the major banks, that would have caused disruption on Wall Street and some changes might have occurred.
During the Montgomery bus boycott; the City of Montgomery, AL didn't integrate buses because they suddenly felt guilty about Rosa Parks' arrest, the revenue of downtown merchants and the bus company were negatively impacted (disrupted) and that led to a change in policy.
The peaceful civil rights demonstrations of the 1960's gained attention, but it took violence; four little girls killed in church and scenes of dogs and water hoses used against women and children in Birmingham, AL, the murders of three civil rights workers Chaney, Goodman, Schwerner, beatings on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, AL, beatings and killings of countless others before public sentiment rose high enough to pass the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts.
In 1963, Jefferson Bank operations were disrupted by protesters for about a month. Jefferson bank had previously been located in an African-American neighborhood but moved south. After the move, the two black tellers that had previously worked there were gone. By the end of the protest, Jefferson Bank had hired at least six black employees.
In 1964, Percy Green and Richard Daly climbed the construction rigging of the Arch and stayed there for five hours halting construction. The Arch protest prodded officials of the National Park Service into pressuring construction companies to hire more African-American workers and contractors for the Arch project.
In 1999, protesters in St. Louis shut down highway 70 in both directions because of a lack of minority contractors and construction workers on the repair of I-70 through North St. Louis. That shutdown and threats of future shutdowns resulted in more training of minority youth for construction trade jobs and more contracts to minority contractors.
The Ferguson protest resulted in rapid change because of the high policing and property damage cost and the threat of protests in other areas such as Clayton, MO. Even though the peaceful marchers gained national and international attention, it took burned buildings and the threat of continued disruptions for meaningful changes to occur in St. Louis area courts and policing.
The peaceful Mizzou protest might have been ineffective if the football team hadn't threatened to boycott a game which would have inflicted serious economic harm.
The obvious initial response to disruption from those in power or with influence will be negative. No one likes disruption, but disruption is necessary if anything is to ever change.
"Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed." – Martin Luther King, Jr.
I am and admirer of Dr. Martin Luther King who preached and stood for non-violence, but just as nations have diplomats for peaceful resolutions and armies to apply force when neccesary; I believe true freedom will call for both violent and nonviolent methods.
Although, I have no doubt about Dr. King's belief and committment to nonviolence, some speeches he gave as he neared the end of his life indicated that he might have had a change of heart or at least was open minded about different strategies.
MLK – "My Dream Has Turned Into a Nightmare"
Dr. King, "I'm Black and proud"
Also, see Dr. King's statement about Federal Subsidies for White Land Owners on our reparations page.
The root of racism is money!
Slavery didn't occur because of hate, slavery was profitable and fueled the wealth and independence of the United States. Hate was a by-product of the economics of slavery. Even during slavery, it was commonly understood that no one wants to be a slave. But the profits were so great and the institution continued and tried to justify itself by spreading lies that slaves were happy and were better off.
Jim Crow created a new system, very similar to slavery, that was also profitable. In urban areas, racism continues to ensure that whole groups of people are economically depressed ensuring an available workforce to fill what others may consider undesirable jobs. Those same groups are then targeted by predatory institutions such as payday loans and rent to own outlets because it's profitable!
There are some who may try to argue, slavery and Jim Crow was a long time ago, forget it and move on. The legacy of those institutions, crimes, lack of education, poverty, self-hatred, prison systems, and broken homes are still with us today.
"It's foolish to let your oppressor tell you that you should forget about the oppression that they inflicted upon you."
Yesterday, Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man was shot and killed as two police officers had him pinned on the ground. The video clearly shows Mr. Sterling was subdued and could not have possibly caused any threat to those officers that justified deadly force.
A week ago, Jessie Williams delivered a remarkable acceptance speech during the BET Awards that emphasized racial injustice, police brutality, and cultural appropriation. During that speech Williams stated:
"police somehow manage to de-escalate, disarm and not kill white people every day. So what’s going to happen is we are going to have equal rights and justice in our own country or we will restructure their function and ours."
Restructure your function and stop being a consumer!
A few months ago, Corporations in defense of LGBT rights threatened to boycott the states of North Carolina, Georgia and others. If a corporation can take a stand for people to use the bathroom of their choice, it's time for the companies black folks support to take a similar stand for us in defense of our lives!
According to BlackDemographics.com, in 2015 the US Census Bureau estimated 46,282,080 African Americans in the United States meaning that 14.3% of the total American population of 321.4 Million is Black. This includes those who identify as ‘Black Only’ and as ‘Black in combination with another race’. The ‘Black Only’ category by itself totaled 42.6 million African Americans or 13.3% of the total population.
Black buying power is expected to reach $1.2 trillion this year, and $1.4 trillion by 2020, according to the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth. That is so much combined spending power that it would make Black America the 15th largest economy in the world in terms of Gross Domestic Product, the size of Mexico based on World Bank data.
Unless some of the Industries and major corporations we collectively support such as Pepsi, McDonalds, WalMart and others speak out and use their influence to speak out against the senseless killing of black people by police, I will stop spending my dollars with them. I hope others will join me, however, if you do, you must contact those companies thru their websites and let them know why you won't be purchasing their products; see sample letter below.
You don't need to wait for an organized effort or protest. The only protest that will make a difference is one that negatively affects those with the power of influence or change. Individually, you can decide to stop your support of businesses that remain silent while oppression and injustice are openly committed against us.
Starting today, until they speak out, I will not purchase any beverage purchases including Pepsi, Coke, Arizona, Seven-Up, and others and instead will drink water, which is better for me anyway. Those companies need to pressure the mayors and governors of the cities and states they do business in to bring charges against officers when they clearly have abused their authority.
Next month, I will not make fast food purchases from any national chain such as Burger King, McDonalds, KFC, Churches, Taco Bell, SubWay, ect., until they speak out. I will flip my own burger, fry my own chicken, make my own taco or quesadilla. and make my own sandwich.
The month after that, maybe WalMart. Don't wait until it's your child, relative or friend that becomes the next victim.
Sample Boycott Letter:
I have purchased and enjoyed your product (name the product) for years (or whatever time period applies), however, I will no longer purchase your product until you break your silence about the police brutality and oppression and is negatively affecting the black community, a community that has supported your company for decades.
"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." – Desmond Tutu
I will periodically check your website to see if you have made some gesture or statement in support of justice. Please feel free to send me a link to any article or web page that demonstrates your support.
If you don't want my money, simply remain silent and I will spend it elsewhere!
Most people reading this don't know me and have most likely never heard of me. Weather I watch or boycott the Oscars won't matter to most people, especially those within the industry. I am not rich, at least not yet, and that fact alone, for many will disqualify my statement.
I do not normally watch the Oscars, because it is usually boring and does not usually include many movies that I'm interested in. I am more interested in movies that include major black characters. The movies I would pick to win are often not nominated. For example, I would have nominated Denzel for John Q instead of Training Day, however, I did enjoy Training Day.
I am curious how Chris Rock will handle this issue and will most likely tune in briefly, but as usual, I probably won't watch the majority of the show. The Oscar controversy will probably result in record-breaking ratings numbers, because people who would not have normally watched, like me, will now watch to see what Chris Rock will say.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is the trade organization that produces the Oscars. Since 1939 the Academy has presented Oscars to those members nominated and voted the best. The Oscars for 87 years have been awarded mostly to white actors and only 15 black actors have received Oscar awards. The entertainment world in general is overwhelmingly white in the United States. Watch any award show and the vast majority of those in attendance will be white and the majority of winners will be white, it's always been that way.
The View guest host Sunny Hostin, a lawyer and tv personality, pointed out that the Academy is 94% Caucasian, and misstated 46% of movie tickets last year were purchased by African-Americans. I'm sure Ms. Hostin was referring to the MPAA Report (pg. 13), that Caucasians purchased 54% of all movies tickets while non-Caucasians (Hispanics 23%, African-Americans 12% and Asians 11%), purchased the other 46%. However, she did make a very strong point about the power of the African-American Dollar.
The Academy has only had five black Oscar hosts in its 87 year history: Sammy Davis Jr. 1972, 1975; Diana Ross 1974; Richard Pryor 1977, 1983; Whoopi Goldberg 1994, 1996, 1999, 2002; Chris Rock 2005, 2016. Whoopi Goldberg and Chris Rock are the only black solo host, Davis, Ross and Pryor were all part of a team of hosts.
The Academy also has its first black female president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who was instrumental in removing the restriction of the number of members and initiated a drive to invite over 400 new members, many of whom were young and came from diverse backgrounds. First black producer ever to win Best Picture, Steve McQueen, occurred during Isaacs' first year as president in 2013.
If there was going to be a boycott of the Oscars, it should have happened a long time ago instead of now. The two main voices used to justify a boycott, Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee most likely would not have complained if their movies (Concussion or Chi-Raq would have been the only black movie nominated. However, Will Smith has said even if he was nominated, he would feel the same way. Although I have enjoyed many of Will Smith's movies and consider myself a fan, I'm not sure I believe his statement.
The majority of jobs in the entertainment industry are behind the scenes and many of those positions are good paying jobs, however, blacks are underrepresented. Blacks in front of the camera should be just as upset that people who look like them are not behind the camera, in the graphics department, lighting, editing and a number of other positions.
There are an estimated 45.6 million black people in the United States. If we were a separate country, we would be the 31st most populist country in the world, just behind Spain, Columbia and Kenya. There should be a concerted effort to develop our own information and entertainment companies and institutions.
Bill Cosby ($380 million)
Tyler Perry ($400 million)
Beyonce ($450 million)
Majic Johnson ($500 million)
Mariah Carey ($520 million)
Jay Z ($520 million)
Robert Johnson ($550 million)
Tiger Woods ($600 million)
Diddy ($700 million)
Dr. Dre ($780 million)
Michael Jordan ($1 billion)
Oprah ($3 Billion)
The twelve people above have a combined wealth of $9.4 billion, however, there is not one major black movie studio, record company, broadcast television or distribution network. Years ago Bill Cosby tried to purchase NBC and some believe that ambition led to being crucified in the media. Blacks own just 10 U.S. television stations; less than one percent of all television properties, and less than 2 percent of radio.
Tyler Perry Studios may be on track to becoming a major studio and he has partnered with the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) to produce programming. It’s hard to overstate the influence of filmmaker Tyler Perry on the recent mainstream success of African American movies. From 2005 to 2013, Perry had at least one film in the top 100; in six of those years he had at least two. Tyler Perry’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman, his first feature film, cost less than $6 million to make and grossed more than $50 million domestically.
However, since Discovery and Harpo each own 50% of Oprah Winfrey Network, and Oprah gave at least 10% ownership of Harpo to Jeff Jacobs when he became president of OWN, Oprah can not be considered majority owner of the OWN Network.
Black Celebrities Should Pool Their Resources
The richest black celebrities have enough combined wealth to finance just about any project imaginable. However, the richest celebrities are not the only ones who can collaborate on projects. Many successful black movies have been made on relatively low budgets by Hollywood standard. For example:
The Butler: Budget $30 Million – Grossed $177 Million
I'm not a Hollywood insider, but I suspect that booking the talent, especially "A" list stars add significantly to movie budgets. Celebrity partners could draw a percentage of the profits instead of a salary off the projects they create.
Celebrities who did not make it into the top twelve include:
Shaquille O'Neal ($350 million)
Russell Simmons ($325 million)
Quincy Jones ($310 million)
Floyd Mayweather ($280 million)
LeBron James ($270 million)
50 Cents ($270 million)
Kobe Bryant ($260 million)
Will Smith ($250 million)
Samuel Jackson ($150 million)
R. Kelly ($150 million)
Denzel Washington ($150 million)
Lil Wayne ($135 million)
Rihanna ($120 million)
Snoop Dogg ($120 million)
Ice Cube ($120 million)
Usher ($110 million)
Martin Lawrence ($110 million)
Serena Williams ($100 million)
LL Cool J ($100 million)
Morgan Freeman ($90 million)
Kanye West ($90 million)
Tyra Banks ($90 million)
Jamie Foxx ($85 million)
Pharrell Williams ($80 million)
Venus Williams ($75 million)
Eddie Murphy ($75 million)
Chris Rock ($70 million)
Halle Berry ($70 million)
Sidney Poitier ($65 million)
Queen Latifah ($60 million)
Raven Symone ($53 million)
Alicia Keys ($50 million)
T.I. ($50 million)
John Singleton ($50 million)
Kimora Lee Simmons ($50 million)
Naomi Campbell ($48 million)
Nicki Minaj ($45 million)
Andre 3000 ($45 million)
Dennis Haysbert ($42 million)
Spike Lee ($40 million)
Shonda Rhimes ($40 million)
Eriq La Salle ($40 million)
Don Cheadle ($35 million)
Kandi Burrus ($35 million)
Terrence Howard ($30 million)
Ice T ($30 million)
Vanessa Williams ($28 million)
Kevin Hart ($25 million)
The total combine wealth of the celebrities above is close to $15 billion dollars. Consider the projects that could be created, if some of the black celebrities pooled their talent and a fraction of their resources. Instead of relying on white studios executives to approve projects, they could collaborate and create whatever they want.
United Artists, which became a major movie studio was formed when four white film stars began to talk of forming their own company to better control their own work as well as their futures. There's nothing preventing black celebrities from doing the same thing.
The are a number of "A" list celebrities not included in either list above. Black celebrities with a net worth of less than $25 million we're excluded from the list, but there are many other black celebrities who are worth 5, 10, 15 or 20 million who could just as easily partner with others to get projects off the ground.