The Hope of the Slave: Be Empowered by #Roots


I was all set to write a post about Tommy from Love and Hip Hop openly admitting to sexual acts with her “boyfriend’s” uncle Stevie J for a record … then I started watching Roots.

Yes, I watched it as a child, and again haphazardly as an adult when my niece wanted to watch it. I even own the mini series on DVD. However intentionally sitting down to watch this show that depicts a violent, torturous time in the history of my ancestors was a whole different feeling.

This is not a race piece (although it could be and who the hell would check me if it was) but and empowerment piece. To risk sounding cliché we are the descendants of survivors and we are so much more than we have become as a whole.

To be forcibly removed from your home, taken on the worse cruise of your life in the bottom of a ship in chains, and SURVIVE is more than any of us today can truly understand. To be ripped from your heritage, forced to forget your language, and savagely beat because you want to keep your name is something we are blessed to not have to deal with. To be conditioned to do the work of your slave owners, and I do not mean simply picking cotton. I mean being an over seer, or slave breaker this is a mental torture I cannot even begin to imagine.

Being able to choose romantic love and it have nothing to do with producing a new worker is a luxury the slaves were not afforded. The ability to love your mate, live together, and not be worried about being sold away is a nicety they knew nothing about. Yet here we are with all these options, choices, and side chicks when they prayed to not be sold away from the person they loved.

 To be honest we are spoiled. We have come so far and yet have even further to go. When the slaves banded together to try to take the ship I was super inspired. Not to start a war, but simply to empower my own. What would happen if before you went to Claire’s you shopped a small black owned business? So maybe they do not have what you are looking for but at least you looked their first. The tea is they will have what you are looking for but you have to look. We must start to empower one another and let go of the slave mentality of scarcity. Seeing another person win does not mean you lose. We are no longer fighting for the “good scraps” from Master’s table and there is enough to go around.

As we decide between Android and I Phone they decided between life and death. To help their fellow slave because he was being treated so harshly or simply watch because they did not want to be next. They had to decide to run and risk capture, and have their foot chopped, or stay and be treated worse than an animal.

We are able to walk around in the smallest shorts ever made, and then get mad when men look too long. When the slaves were poked, grouped, prodded, touched and checked like cattle.  Watching him attempt to check Kunta’s rear end and then cupping his genitals and forcing him to cough was very difficult to watch. He practically molested him all because he had become a piece of pending property.

I said all this to say, when you go to your 9-5 that you hate know you have the option to walk away. Sure you have bills and you may not like your choices but you have choices so be grateful. When you feel like your back is against the wall, it is not. Move away from the wall and try something different. We make hard choices sometimes but remember the slaves had NO CHOICES.

Wake up knowing we come from a place of strength so whatever you are going through SURVIVE IT. If he is cheating on you and making you feel bad leave. You don’t want to major in science and prefer to major in dance, DO IT.  Want to start a business, lose 30 pounds, start a blog, open your t-shirt store… DO IT. We are fortunate enough to be in a time where we can pursue our dreams and not be beat. We can choose any religion, change our name, marry the same sex, pretty much nothing is off limits anymore. So whatever it is you want to do, GO FOR IT.

Slaves were forced into their misery where their only other option was death, and still they made due. A lot of times we chose our misery and just complain. Be grateful for choices and options no matter how bad it seems. So what will you choose to do today?