Over the last few months our news feeds have been full of stories and headlines that have captured our attention. Racially charged violence from Baltimore to Texas has continued to create tensions between law enforcement and civilians, provoking protests and demonstrations around the country. Yet with all of these incidents, tension and demonstrations, my social media pages have been full of #AskRachel tweets and Caitlyn Jenner critiques . It appears the sexual and racial identity of a few people are more important than the systemic injustice, divisive politics, and overt and covert racism that drain this country of its glorious potential to truly be the “Land of the Free”.
Meanwhile, around the country Louis Farrakhan has the attention of some of Hip-Hop’s most influential and recognized personalities who are listening to affirmations of racial and cultural identity for upward mobility and unity. They are empowered to use their gifts to help catalyze a culture of young people, more specifically young men, to take responsibility for the condition of their communities and cities. Farrakhan takes pictures with each of them and gives them the attention they deserve, need, and want in order to feel worthy for such as task as the Minister is proposing.
How is Farrakhan able to galvanize Hip-Hip’s greatest and most influential for a cause bigger than themselves?
I believe it has much to do with validating identity and worth against the issues that divide us. One of my biggest peeves as an African-American Christian who is ontologically Hip-Hop, is American Christianity’s obsession with eliminating personal and cultural identity for the sake of assimilating into “one dominant Christian” identity. If I hear one more person inaccurately quote Galatians 3:28 (There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus) in order to dismiss difference, I just may snap. We have a tendency to appropriate identity and worth based upon who subscribes to certain notions, dogmas, doctrines and traditions the best. Those outside need to be evangelized before we can galvanize.
Farrakhan has and is engaging the culture in a meaningful way to create a movement. These artists are Christians and Muslims, agnostic and atheist, and everything in between, yet they are down with the cause. It is not about being right or wrong from a religious or political, a racial or social standpoint, but doing right based upon human rights! There are two things we can learn from Minister Farrakhan in order to move toward peace and understanding:
1. Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing- If one were to go to http://www.justiceorelse.com, one would quickly notice that the movement is still centered around the rights and needs of the human race- Quality education, poverty elimination, and justice. When we keep the main thing the main thing, we dont lose focus behind trending issues that add little to no value to society as a whole.
2. Appeal to Common Need- While Farrakhan has is religious views, his appeal is to something bigger than the issues that separate us such as religion. We have to be able to find common ground in order galvanize toward justice and equality.
The time has come for us to move beyond whats trending and move toward progress. Hopefully we will follow Farrakhan’s lead and example to prepare a better future for our generations to come.