By Lofton A. EMENARI
|Straight from the MOTHERLAND, right?|
“Hey, my conscious African queen, put on them stretch pants and let’s kick it. On the wa,y we’ll grab a couple of dem afro wigs at the nearest corner Korean owned beauty sto.”
Before you call me a sexist, let me preface this lawful rant with a piece of wisdom that Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael) laid on us before he got outta here.
“The duty of the conscious is to make the unconscious aware of their unconsciousness.”
I’ll unpack that nugget as this piece progresses, but first things first. Some would wager the so-called conscious ain’t so conscious. I am among the some.
Afrocentrism and its most fanatical apologists would have unconscious Negroes believe the hype that anything with even the whiff of Africa—usually associated with vulgar exotica—ranks as authentically African and hence an emblem of Black political resistance. They are instructed that even concocted hybrid names like Kafereekah, Fabuleesha, Donvontontre…gleaned from an endless diet of hood rat videos rate as at least conscious political posturing. Never mind that posturing at its most genuine is the leading social symptom of political impotence.
Acts of how-to-make-up-your-own-Afrocentric-wannabe-isms are really only noteworthy for their comical desperation for social attention at any price, including simple self-respect.
One of these current trends are natural afro hairstyles so grotesquely caricatures of National Geographic stereotypes that actual native men and women are provoked to loud and derisive laughter. The once golden crown of the big puff natural afro hairdos of the 60s has degenerated so much so that folks are just not combing their hair. Simple. The unkempt has been designated the official Afrocentric fashion moda.
Picture Angela Davis shaking her iconic coiffed ‘fro back and forth in disbelief. But then again, I dunno. She flips flops on so much political content these days that maybe she might just make an appearance afro-less, bald, scaring the shit outta e’rybody!
The other Afrocentric rage, to quote an old Ohio Players song, are “those skin tight britches” which seem to be chasing the flabbiest thighs on this side of the Milky Way. I am not just talking about bulging thighs but abounding malformed, lopsided asses and hips. Talk about an Afrocentric anatomical landscape!!! An Afrocentric friend once told me she wears tight elastic stretch pants to show men “what she’s working with.”
Stretch pants come in all colors and patterns. There are even kente cloth varieties, manufactured in the sweatshops of Bangladesh and South Korea! (How Afrocentric is that fo’ yo’ UJAMAA ass!). Stretch pants conform and detail the crevices of almost any and every female form. Younger, unconscious would-be Afrocentrics love ‘em for “showcase” utility.
Envision Michelle Obama with a puffed-out, insane afro, straining the seams of some sequined Beyonce’ stretch pants, rolling out of the White House for the Trump inauguration. In tow is her hubby Barack, familiar strident swag, rockin’ some sagging designer jeans with neon yellow, kente-paterned boxer shorts flashing around his waist. Many devotees of the Afro and the centric would cheer themselves into convulsions and declare Obama and his First Shorty revolutionary icons! Yes. And among the leaders of the hysterical multitudes would be many folks with degrees who occupy choice jobs in Africana Studies departments at several of this country’s leading universities!
Wasn’t there a time when men and women held a modicum of dignity about appearance, head to toe? Back in the day there was something called shame. Shame came from disgraceful acts against a collective culture already downtrodden, abused and shackled by white supremacy. In fact, shame could come from a parental tongue lashing more severe than a slave master’s lash.
|"Am I free yet?"|
There was also a time of pride. There was pride in appearance which had nothing to do with bourgeois attitudes or class distinction. Pride was derived from self- determination and the practice of Black Liberation. For example, pride often looked like a Black mother shielding her daughters from vile slave rapists—Black or white. There is simply no pride to be had in today’s narcissistic debauchery, even when it is wrapped in a red-black & green flag!
Examine twerking? Does the dance step probably originate in Africa? Probably. Does it bestow ethnic authenticity upon one who twerks? The Afrocentrists would either hold their tongues or find some hustle to be hatched around marketing truly conscious twerking. But there is really is no material revolutionary political content, Afrocentric or otherwise, in twerking. If that was the case, then the captive, neo-colonized nations of Africa today would have twerked their way to freedom 50 years ago! After all, logic would dictate that they must know how to twerk the best.
Lofton A. Emenari is a “Black Boy”, “The Invisible Man Who Cried I Am,” fed by John and Alice Coltrane’s “Fire Next Time” and Nkrumah’s Pan African scientific socialism - a “Message To The Grassroots”.