So I ran across this post in my feed (pictured ) and I was thinking, why do we champion this understanding and embrace it wholeheartedly, because the average African-American will see this meme and feel as if it’s on point!
We tend to act as if every house negro was a sellout and every field negro was a revolutionary, when it wasn’t even close to that. There were far more field negro’s than house negro’s and if they really wanted to revolt, they could have done so at anytime, but they didn’t.
I applaud Malcolm X for introducing us to this understanding, but 50 years later, we must understand that it was a flawed understanding although it was much needed back then. Nowadays not so much, but if utilized we need to tweak it some to make it more accurate.
When reading the text in the meme it’s very easy to applaud it and think that the writer is a champion of the people but when one actually seeks to utilize wizdom and understanding, then you must ask yourself something! If the house and field negro we’re both slaves, then where’s the division coming from and what made those in the field decide to bring such an understanding to gestation even though it is very negative toward their own people? We’d call that crabs in the barrel or hating nowadays, but its funny how those that don’t equate themselves to being house negro’s love to use the crabs in a barrel analogy for why our people aren’t further ahead than we should be!
My contention is that it’s because the field negro was envious of the house negro! The house negro had a semi-better existence than the field negro, and the field negro hated it. So when the field and house negro were freed, the understanding still thrived but mutated into a different format! It then became the real nigga vs sellout equation! This is where Brother Malcolm gave us his thoughts on our position within American society, and amongst ourselves!
If ones entire understanding is from an oppressed upbringing and under-classed viewpoint then what type of logic and reasoning comes from that? This is why ghetto’s remain ghetto’s!
The understanding utilized to come to the equation set forth by Malcolm X came from an oppressed/field/flawed negro’s standpoint, he was simply taking the entirety of his experience in this country and merging it with the history of his people up until that moment in time! So if the original understanding was built off an flawed mindset, because they couldn’t be in the house, then the vitriol that they spewed to their fellow field negro’s in private, would also be based off of flawed thinking on their part.
Now looking at the meme and adding an envious or jealous understanding to the dynamic of the mansion/house negro equation one must also understand that the apartment/field negro is doing the same today!
How do you criticize the mansion negro and claim that what he’s doing is to keep them checks coming in from massa, yet you work for massa too! Your check is just smaller and you can’t afford a mansion!
And before you go into that selling your soul for money crap, you’re just selling yours for less! Your job helps to support the exact same system that you claim is horrible yet you only seem to get mad at those who have used the system and gained tremendously off of it, but those that are in the same boat as you are alright by your standards.
You’re a revolutionary, a real African, you’re down for the cause, right up to the point that you outpace the rest of the apartment negro’s, then all of a sudden you’re a sellout!
But because the apartment negro’s understanding is the most prevalent, what we see on social media platforms mimic this and makes those seeking knowledge unknowingly prop up misguided understandings such as the mansion/house negro as being bad, but the field/apartment negro’s understanding is considered to be a good thing.
And therein lies our problem! Break the Circle!
And I say that with the best of intentions.
I recently read an article on Medium written by one of the dopest emcees of all time, Talib Kweli! He spoke on why he left major labels alone and struck out on his own independently. Great long form blog post, very insightful to say the least and very disappointing and uplifting all in one, and that’s what led to this article.
You see, I’m what you would call old school when it comes down to hip hop, I was here when it started and fell in love completely with no turning back the day I heard Follow The Leader! For those that don’t know, Follow The Leader was on Eric B and Rakim’s second album and it was released in 1988. Don’t get me wrong I was already a hip hop head, but that song, from that album spoke to me like it was God telling me something, and ironically Rakim goes by the name Rakim Allah, The God MC. So at the end of the day it was God telling me something!
Their previous album Paid In Full was arguably one of the greatest albums of all time, but the debut song, on the second album is what hooked me, it was the very first time that I had to know every single word that an MC was spitting. We didn’t have the internet, so we couldn’t look up the lyrics to the songs, we had to either have damn good memory or do like I did, pause and rewind the tape until I could literally write down every single word that was spit. A painstaking process, but necessary to me at that time because I just had to know that song, from front to back.
That was my moment, the moment I felt it was critical for me to spend a few hours pausing, rewinding, and transcribing a song to make sure I knew exactly what he was saying, I was officially a junkie and my love for hip hop with meaning or conscious hip hop was born out of that experience. From that point on, I was what people call a real/conscious hip hop head and I supported and still do support those who fall into that category.
From Eric B and Rakim, KRS ONE, Public Enemy, X Clan, Poor Righteous Teachers, EPMD, Redman, and Rass Kass to Common, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, The Roots, Lupe Fiasco, Immortal Technique, Pharaoh Monche, and WuTang, etc, the list can on and on but you get the picture right! I support these dudes every time they drop an album. I don’t buy them from the bootleg man, but from legitimate online establishments so they can make money off of their crafts, and continue to make new music. So with that said, I am a real/conscious hip hop fan to the core!
Now back to why I wrote this! It seems that the vast majority of real/conscious hip hop fans are a bunch of liars, they lay claim to the title but their actions don’t back up their claims. The article that I sited earlier that Talib wrote brings you all into question. He stated that he dropped an album via his webpage kweliclub.com and made about $30k off it, based off his statement saying that its sells covered his production cost. I figure he’s made more by now but what pissed me off is that he has over a million “fans” on Facebook, a few hundred thousand on IG and Twitter and more on Tumblr.
So with about 1.5 million fans across 4 social media platforms, why in the hell was he only able to sale $30k in product! That comes out to under 4000 purchases based off the price per unit! So less than 4000 real fans purchased his album and the other 1.496 million “fans” didn’t, WTF! How can you claim to be a fan but not put your money where your mouth is. With that many “fans” he should have at least sold 100 thousand units, which still isn’t even 10% of his so called fan base.
This isn’t just what has happened to Talib, but it has happened and still is happening to every real/conscious hip hop artist the exact same way. Common, Mos Def, The Roots, etc have only seen modest success throughout their careers when it comes down to album sales. And Common has never gone platinum, gold 3 times, but never platinum, and all of their sales have tanked over the past 3-5 years across the boards, even WuTang Clans!
And before we move into the all album sales are down territory, I know that, but the sale of singles is through the roof for most artist, except those who are classified as real or conscious, yet most of those artist have a million plus so called “fans”, go figure!
So what am I supposed to think about this phenomenon?
Well I think that, as indicated by the album and singles sales of these artist, based off the amount of so called “fans”, that the vast majority of “real hip hop fans” can go phuck themselves. And when you all are finally willing to put your money where your mouth is, then you can discontinue the self fornication, until then, read the title!