As a 34-year-old black man, I am terrified of ending up like Eric Garner. Living in New York City, I carry the fear of being harmed by the police daily. And while black-on-black crime is as much of a statistical threat to my life as unprovoked police violence, I fear the latter more exceedingly when I walk out of my front door every morning. - Jean McGianni Celestin
It’s been almost a week since many of us were transfixed by the deeply disturbing video that depicts Eric Garner, a New York father, pleading to be left alone for a very minor offense before his life was tragically ended in front of our eyes. No matter who you are or the nature of your personal politics, it’s hard to imagine how anyone can look at this video and listen to this man nonviolently begging to simply be left alone moments before he lays lifeless on the sidewalk in New York surrounded by police:
A few days ago, Jean McGianni Celestin posted this poignant note, “I’m Terrified of Dying like Eric Garner” at the The Root and Black Youth Project; indeed, it sums up the fears of many in this country. When I first saw the video of Mr. Garner’s death, my mind immediately went to Trayvon Martin and the night that child was killed. There were no cameras there for Trayvon so no one except him and his killer know the dialogue that took place moments before he was slaughtered.
But, thousands of us have now borne witness to Mr. Garner’s death and we have lots of questions. With jail and prison overpopulation, one immediately comes to mind for me: Was this physical confrontation vi an arrest even necessary?What ever happened to simple citations? That’s just a question. Obviously, I can’t answer it because as a civilian, I don’t know if there were other reasons the police needed to make an arrest in this instance. Howeer, it will be interesting to hear what comes next with the official investigation.
From what we do know at this point, this man lost his life because he allegedly sold a pack of illegal cigarettes in a country that is now doing everything it can to legalize marijuana. Yes, even in New York City.
No pun intended, but something doesn’t pass the sniff test. Rest in peace, Mr. Garner.
‘We used to get a little respect
Now we’re lucky if we even get
To climb up in your truck
And keep our mouth shut and ride along… ‘
- Maddie and Tae, ‘Girl in a Country Song’
Browsing through my playlist, you’ll see that I love all genres of music. So Saturday afternoon, I got bored with Backspin and noticed a new Country format on Sirius. I didn’t catch the beginning of the song that was on tap but being one who likes lyrics first followed closely by the melody, I was quickly drawn in by Maddie and Tae’s catchy tune, ‘Girl in a Country Song’. Check it out:
Yesterday, I shared the song with my friends and sure enough today, NPR posted about it as well on All Things Considered. While the song is still relatively new, I think it’s resonating with so many of us for the same reasons across the board. Frankly, you could fill in just about any ‘girl’ in most any genre these days and share the sentiment in this song. Pop, Hip Hop and R&B have long been guilty of objectifying women to the point that it’s outright vile and degrading. Maddie and Tae keep things light and to the point but it’s clear enough that you definitely won’t miss the message. Nice change indeed for girls in any kind of song.
Many years ago, an older friend once told me that relationships are only valuable as long as the bad outweighs the good, the laughter outshines the tears. Sometimes we give love so completely and so blindly that we miss things that we should have seen clearly. But, then again, that’s what real love is all about. Occasionally, we step back and re-assess. Then, we take a moment to suspend love and often forgive love. But if and when the day comes when things just no longer work, we have to finally and completely let love go.
First, I have to say that I fell in love with Lizzie Miles’ ‘A Good Man Is Hard To Find’ when I heard it while watching the decidedly addictive Woodie Allen film, ‘Blue Jasmine’. I was at a 4th of July celebration recently where I realized that I wasn’t the only one who has watched – rubber-necked – this flick several times. In fact, I doubt anyone who has seen this remarkable tragic-comedy has only seen it a single time because of the undeniable complexity of the characters. While the basics are as old as sin, there’s something deeply unsettling about this particular re-telling.
Aside from the storyline itself, I personally loved the music, much of which is a kind of bluesy jazz that tells a story of its own. The other day, I stumbled upon this fantastic blog, ‘She was a bird’ which beautifully pays homage to Lizzie Miles and her raw, full-bodied talent. Check it out for yourself.
In the meantime, I’m going to head off to bed with this new favorite of mine: