Archives for the month of: February, 2021

I was listening to the radio which I really don’t do a lot of anymore, but Hit ‘em up came on and I am never not amused at that being one of Spanky’s favorite diss tracks ESPECIALLY since she was BARELY one when it was released which I guess says a lot about my parenting but also I’ve talked a lot about how I used to play catch with The Boy when he was a baby so is anybody really surprised to learn that Spank learned this song before she was in pre-K?  ANYWAY. I was listening and thinking to myself it’s Friday and there is no reason at all I can’t do a fact on music ‘cause some of the stereotypes are true you guys. I love music. And I’m not sorry at all for finding completely ridiculous but true stories to tell you about Black History. So let’s talk about black on black crime diss tracks!

DID YOU KNOW that one of the earliest examples of a diss track is a song to called “You Keep Her” by Joe Tex? Because y’all. R & B singers was WILIN’ OUT. This is what had happened: Joe Tex and James Brown were label mates at King Records. [I didn’t think I knew who Joe Tex was, but I do because my auntie used to always play this song called Ain’t Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman) and can I just tell you that song ALWAYS makes me laugh. Even right now. I was 5 when that song came out. And I’m still 5.]

BACK TO MY STORY: Their beef started when  when Brown reportedly called out on Tex for a “battle” during a dance at a local juke joint. In 1960, Tex left King and recorded a few songs for Detroit-based Anna Records; one of the songs he recorded was the ballad “Baby, You’re Right”. A year later, Brown recorded the song and released it in 1961, changing the lyrics and the musical composition, earning Brown co-songwriting credits along with Tex. By then, Brown had “recruited” singer Bea Ford, who had been married to Tex but had divorced him in 1959. In 1960, Brown and Ford recorded the song, “You’ve Got the Power”. Not too long after, Tex got a personal letter from Brown telling him that he was through with Ford and if Tex wanted her back, he could have her. Tex responded by recording the diss record “You Keep Her” in 1962, where he basically told him “I taught her er’thang she knows; you’re welcome. Gon’ and keep her ‘cause I got me a new boo thang”

ALSO THOUGH. When you start taking people’s girl/boy friends you just gotta assume that they will continuously wish the bad things in life happen to you and nobody but you, right? SO. In 1963, James and Joe used to hang out at this after hours spot called Club 15. One night Joe did a performance making fun of Brown’s cape act. And James…was not amused. So one night James went in with two shotguns, and started shooting up the place while Otis Redding and the Pinetoppers were playing. James Brown ended up shooting 6 or 7 people before jumping into his tour bus and peeling out. A member of his entourage stayed behind and handed out $100 bills to keep everyone (including the people he shot) quiet. This story lives rent free in my head. And I wanted to share it with you. Because it too, it’s Black History.

And just like that I’ve knocked out an entire week of BHFOTD! Hope you enjoyed, blah blah blah, Stay tuned to find out what other ridiculousness I decide to share or if I decide to use my weekend to PLAN OUT A FACT instead of “no plans, just vibin’ my way through Black History Month” (hint: I already have plans for a beach walk, a bubble bath, and a nap. And that’s all)

See y’all next week! Don’t forget to tip your server (me. I am your server) BYEEEEE

Like, high as giraffe pussy high.

SNOOP DOGG HIGH. Dig?

Two years ago (or so), I called my cable provider and was like, hey listen: I don’t want to pay this much for my cable. But I also do not want to lose any of my services. Please keep in mind before you tell me that I have to, that I’ve already priced other service providers. And so they took enough off my bill that I kept the service. But whatever they did expired and I wanted to slap somebody when I saw my bill for January. FINE. I did the little chat thing on the website and repeated the whole spiel. And because they outsource customer service usually, the person was not able to help me, but promised I’d be getting an email with some options for discounts. THEN. I clicked out and completed the survey. I was VERY complimentary. “He was friendly, polite, and courteous. But I’m not playing with y’all. My bill is too damn high and I *will* cancel this service if y’all don’t lower it. Thanks for your help!” That is pretty much a direct quote. It me. Charming. But with the shits.

I said all that to say that bullying works guys. Sometimes though, it takes constant bullying to make it stick. Would you like another example because I have a BHFOTD to share? No?

Wonderful! If I was writing this fact YESTERDAY (which I did not), I woulda told you that YESTERDAY in 1988, the president of the Alabama NAACP and 13 other Black people were arrested for trying to scale an 8-foot fence around the Alabama State Capitol in an effort to take down a confederate flag atop the building. “The Blacks” (a direct quote from a NYT article in 1988) contend that the Rebel battle flag (/flag of the confederate* states which lost a WHOLE ASS WAR because they wanted to keep Black people enslaved/ flag of LOSERS)  is a racist symbol of slavery and oppression. The NAACP was also campaigning to bring down a confederate flag over the South Carolina Statehouse, AND remove the rebel flag from the designs of the Georgia** and Mississippi state flags.

White people across from the Alabama Capitol sang “Dixie” and carried signs reading “Heritage, Honor, Pride, Not Racist” , “Save Our Flag” and “Jews will not replace us”. Oh wait. That last one was South Carolina racists. My bad. A smaller crowd of blacks sang “Knuck if you Buck”. I’m kidding. They sang “We Shall Overcome” But I still say the former is more appropriate.

State Troopers and Capitol police confronted State Rep Thomas Reed, the President of the state chapter of the NAACP. Wow. State Troopers at a Capitol Building to confront black people protesting? WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT? Certainly not any Black person protesting anywhere ever. ANYWAY. All 14 were charged with 2nd degree criminal trespassing and each was released on bond.

It didn’t work that time, but guess what? People were not done! In 2015, After the murder of nine parishioners at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, the protests got a little louder. ‘Cause let’s face it. Plenty of people have pointed out this flag is racist AF, but racists in power continued to Heritage and History the flag. Conveniently forgetting that the Heritage AND History was Slavery.   The murderer of nine people, whose name deserves no mention, had MANY photos holding the rebel flag. Bree Newsome, tired of talking, scaled a 30-foot flagpole at the South Carolina Statehouse and took down the confederate flag. She was arrested (Naturalmente. You can’t just storm a Capitol building and not expect to get arrested. OR CAN YOU? HAHAHAHAHAHA *clears throat*)  But then the Governor Nikki Haley signed a bill removing the flag from the statehouse grounds, describing it as “a reminder of systemic oppression and racial subjugation.” [POST Charleston Church shooting. Not one second before.]  And then, New Orleans removed several confederate monuments.

BUT WAIT. THERE’S MORE: On June 18, 2020, the commissioner of the Southeastern Conference, announced the SEC would consider banning championship events in Mississippi until the flag was changed. The SEC is the athletic conference for the two largest universities in Mississippi, Ole Miss and Mississippi State. On June 19, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) banned all post-season play from occurring in Mississippi until the flag is changed. The NCAA had previously banned predetermined events such as football bowl games and men’s basketball tournament games in 2001 from occurring in the state. The new rule would have also banned merit-based championship sites, such as baseball regionals, softball regionals, women’s basketball tournament games and tennis tournament games. Ole Miss hosted both baseball and softball regionals in 2019. Mississippi State hosted a baseball regional, men’s tennis tournament games and women’s basketball tournament games in 2019. AND THEN. June 22, Conference USA banned all postseason play in Mississippi until the removal of the Confederate emblem from the state flag. Conference USA is home to the state’s third largest university, Southern Miss, and has hosted its annual baseball tournament in Mississippi for eight of the past nine years. On June 23, presidents of the fifteen community colleges in Mississippi issued a joint statement showing their support for a new flag.

Just call Mississippi Sun City.

And wouldn’t you know it, JUST LIKE THAT, Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann announced his support for a new flag on June 24th. Hosemann was joined by Attorney General Lynn Fitch, State Auditor Shad White, Agriculture Commissioner Andy Gipson and Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney. On June 27, 2020, the Mississippi Legislature passed a resolution, House Concurrent Resolution 79, that suspended rules in the legislative chambers in order to debate and vote on a bill to remove and replace the state flag. The motion was passed with the House approving by a vote of 85–34 and the Senate approving by a vote of 36–14.

See kids? Bullying people for being racist works! KEEP GOING. One flag down, ONE TO GO.

*The word confederate does not deserve capitalization. It knows what it did.

**Georgia’s flag hasn’t been changed YET. BUT ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE WITH BLACK WOMEN WHO STRENGTHEN ME FLIPPED GEORGIA BLUE

One of my favorite ones (surprise surprise!) was working at 24 hour fitness. In the corporate office guys. I still had to people, but I didn’t have to LOOK at them. I sent them nicety emails when they complained about things that weren’t our fault and credited them free months when it was. A surprising amount of military personnel have memberships and honestly I don’t know why ‘cause a) they get “free workouts” just about every day AND b) there is a FREE GYM on every base (but damn near everyone there is military or attached in some way and I suppose it’s easier to ogle women when you don’t know if they are also military and will beat you up for being inappropriate and/or know your spouse and rat you out you still end up getting beaten up). Anyway. Not the point of this story.

While I was working there, I decided to get a part time gig at Frederick’s of Hollywood which was truly a terrible decision because you get 40% everything even the stuff on sale, you could BUY stuff and have them take it out of your check AND if you wore skirts/dresses you had to wear pantyhose. And if you know me at all, you definitely know that was the straw that made me tell them I broke my leg and I was never coming back. (I was young, okay? But it was also nicer than just saying y’all done lost your damn mind and this is all a BunchOfBullshit. I had to dress nicer there than I did at my REAL JOB!) I did make it through Christmas/New Year’s shopping but whew I was glad to be shut of that job and back in my jeans. Like can you imagine getting a job that SEEMS like it’s gonna be amazing and then realizing that no? No it wasn’t?

I like to think that William Hastie, probably knew. But I’m just guessing. Who is that?

Before I tell you, lemme tell you ANOTHER story! I’ll try to keep it short, but no guarantees [still not sorry! But at least it’s SFW].

SO! Imagine you’re a Black* (and native with some *possible* European mixed in because massa just refused to stay outta slave quarters, I’m sure for a little razzle dazzle) graduate of Harvard Law School, in private practice with your cousin in DC serving  as assistant solicitor of the US Department of the Interior advising the agency on racial issues.  It’s 1937, and FDR just appointed YOU, to the District Court of the Virgin Islands, making you the first African American federal judge. Because america is yannow…AMERICA, the Chairman of the US Senate Committee on the Judiciary calls your appointment a blunder. World War II is happening and Black people are complaining about discrimination at home while fighting against intolerance overseas (side note: I promise you that I randomly chose this fact today, probably about an hour ago and I am continuously amused at how closely sometimes the past facts mirror the present tense. Okay. Back to my story). You do your job for 2 years, and then in 1939, you resign from the court to go about your black ass business be the Dean of the Howard University School of Law. Where you become a member of Omega Psi Phi [I clearly was not kidding when I said his black ass business], and teach Thurgood Marshall, who went on to be the first black US Supreme Court Justice.

Now. I’m not saying that he quit ‘cause he was probably SICK of racists talking slick to him as the FIRST BLACK to do something that they ain’t think he had a right to do because how DARE HE THINK HE’S EQUAL, but I’m not saying he didn’t either.

Also? FDR’s successor, Harry Truman, appointed Hastie as Territorial Governor of the US Virgin Islands. A position he held from 1946-49 before THEN receiving a recess appointment to the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, to a new seat authorized by 63 Stat. 493, becoming the first African-American federal appellate judge. He was nominated to the same position by President Truman on January 5, 1950. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on July 19, 1950, and received his commission on July 22, 1950. He served as Chief officer as a member of the Judicial Conference of the United States from 1968 to 1971. He assumed senior status on May 31, 1971. He was a Judge of the Temporary Emergency Court of Appeals from 1972 to 1976. His service terminated on April 14, 1976, due to his death in Philadelphia, while playing golf. So maybe it WAS the people he worked with before that chapped his ass since it CLEARLY wasn’t the Judgin’.

*please note that if EYE specifically mention racial makeup it’s ‘cause it was SPECIFICALLY mentioned somewhere. Not that it mattered, ‘cause when you’re racist, even a drop of black genetics makes you black and mentioning that he *might* have European ancestry is strictly to give him some legitimacy. But let’s all be clear that any whiteness in his veins was most likely because his family was owned by some white folks. Okay byeeeeee

Sometime last year, I locked myself out of my bedroom. Spanky was harassing me and I told her I was gonna lock my door if she didn’t leave me alone. Which, is saying something ‘cause I never lock my door. And then I did it. I locked it. But instead of closing it, I came out to do something and then guess what I did? I did exactly what you think I did. And because I didn’t have one of those locks where you just kinda stick a pin in it and pop the thingy out, I was LOCKED OUT locked out.  THEN I thought, well maybe I can just take apart the doorknob except I took it apart and since I didn’t know what I was doing now I had a deconstructed knob but a still locked door that I couldn’t figure out how to unlock. So I did what anybody who is not good with thingabobs would do. I went to my neighbor’s house and asked them to help me. And because he and his wife love me, he came over to tell me that I effed up the doorknob. INSTEAD he helped me get Spank through a window. Who in turn, unlocked the door from the inside and let me in. (Yes. I got a new doorknob. SO FAR SO GOOD)

And if you were wondering if this was a metaphor for you getting in where you fit in so that you can just open the damn door for somebody else/ DID I JUST GET TO THE BHFOTD? The answer is yes! Because today’s fact is a gimme. Because I’m lazy and even though EVERY DAMN YEAR I say, “Last year was SO HECTIC. I should definitely, absolutely plan these” I. DO. NOT. But I know y’all come for the bullsh!t, and stay for the fact, so let’s get into Robert Hayden.

*cracks knuckles*

Robert Hayden was a Black American poet, essayist and educator. He served as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1976 to 1978. Whew that title is QUITE a mouthful. [That’s what she said? No?]  He was the first African American to climb through a window to hold the office. Who made it easier for Gwendolyn Brooks, first African American to receive a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1950, to become the  Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress for the 1985-86 term. Anyway. Ms. Brooks, cleared the way for Rita Dove, SECOND African American to win a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, first AND youngest African American to have been appointed to Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, since the position was created by an act of Congress in 1986 from the previous “consultant in poetry” position (1937–86). And Rita Dove (I just love her name!) just went on and opened the door for Amanda Gorman to walk through.

In 2017 Amanda Gorman, poet and activist, was the FIRST PERSON to be named  National Youth Poet Laureate. The National Youth Poet Laureate is a title held in the United States by a young person who demonstrates skill in the arts, particularly poetry and/or spoken word, is a strong leader, is committed to social justice, and is active in civic discourse and advocacy. It is a title awarded annually to one winner among five finalists, most of whom have been chosen as the Poet Laureate for their city or region. Amanda was named Poet Laureate of Los Angeles in 2014.

She was also the first youth poet (of…any color, if we’re keeping track. AND WE ARE) to open the literary season for the Library of Congress! AND the youngest poet to read at a presidential inauguration* in united states history. She will also be making MORE history the first poet to perform at the super bowl. I guess the NFL LIKES activists now? Who would have thought that after years of talking wild sh!t about Colin Kaepernick kneeling for the national anthem [No. I am not sorry] in protest against racial injustice and police brutality and kicking him out the NFL and then having to SETTLE a lawsuit for an undisclosed (and probably ungodly) amount of money, while america was america-ing  and the police proving time and time again that they ARE in fact, violent and racist up to and including participating in an insurrection, the NFL would invite a poet and activist to speak? CERTAINLY NOT ME.

*hey! Did y’all know Maya Angelou DID NOT win a Pulitzer Prize, and was never a Poet Laureate? I mean, I *KNEW*, but I didn’t *KNOW* if that makes sense? But it do not matter ‘cause you know what she DID do? She was the first black poet to speak at a presidential inauguration. I didn’t add her up top ‘cause she was neither a pulitzer prize winner OR a poet laureate but ALSO IT DO NOT MATTER ‘cause mama Maya still blazed one hell of a trail that put Amanda Gorman on the write (get it? See what I did there?!) path.

Hello! It’s February and you know what dat mean! It means that I am going to be pulling black history facts out of a grab bag and then writing things. Hope y’all are ready, ‘cause I never am!

(also hi hello strangers and friends new to Black History Facts of the Day. I’m Briya, your “host”. I get to write about whatever I want and if you somehow managed to get on this list, IT’S YOUR OWN FAULT THIS IS HAPPENING TO YOU. Enjoy! Or don’t! I’m doin’ it anyway)