Category Archives: Super Bowl

This is a Call In NOT a Call Out: Why are Kappas Hosting a (Pre) Super Bowl Party?

This is a call in NOT a call out. I am not writing this to attack Kappa Alpha Psi or “put them on blast” or anything like that. I am writing this out of a place of concern and accountability, and because I have the privilege to be able to say something. I am a member of the Divine Nine so that gives me a little more room to be critical of the black Greek community. As wrong as it may be, we do not typically welcome feedback or critique from non-greek individuals…but that’s a whole other blog for a whole other day.

IMG_1911So to the issue at hand: yesterday, I cam across a flyer for a pre-Super Bowl party on Facebook. I read it to see who was hosting it and to my surprise, it was a chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi. I was shocked. I was like, hold up (insert thinking face emoji)…how? I immediately had lots of questions.

I think most of us know that Colin Kaepernick is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. And many of know that he is still a National Football League (NFL) free agent, with no teams signing him this season, despite him being statistically “better” than other quarterbacks who were signed. Some believe that Kaepernick has been blackballed for sparking protests during the national anthem before the start of games.kaep

Ironically, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. believes Kaepernick has been blackballed. In August 2017, the Grand Polemarch of the Fraternity sent a letter to the NFL Commissioner stating that he believes that Kaepernick has been “blackballed solely for exercising his Constitutional right to free speech,” and he expressed understanding for why Kaepernick kneeled stating that “enough is enough.” The letter ended with an urge for a public statement signaling an “all clear” to all the NFL teams in regard to Kaepernick, and the Grand Polmarch also offered Kappa Alpha Psi’s (pro bono) services to engage in dialogue regarding the issue.

Screen Shot 2018-01-24 at 10.15.34 PMThen, later in August 2017, members of the Fraternity showed up in masses at the United We stand Rally, a protest in solidarity with Kaepernick in front of the NFL Headquarters in New York. Kappa members from the New York area were present, as well as members from various parts of the nation. Members also showed support through social media.

This is why I was shocked to see a chapter of the Fraternity hosting a pre-Super Bowl party, a celebration of the same organization that has “blackballed” a fraternity brother and that many members have protested. To host this party is contradicting to the stance of the international organization and shows zero cares for what Colin Kaepernick has and is still experiencing with the NFL.

(Note: I am not naive enough to think that all Divine Nine members, let alone all black people, are boycotting the NFL. I know that some people are watching and that’s each individual’s business. But if there’s going to be a Super Bowl party, can we at least not host them in the name of the organization that Kaepernick is a member of? Or any of our organizations, for that matter?)

Again, this is a call in NOT a call out. And it’s honestly not just to the Kappas; this message is for all of us because this could have been any of our organizations, and there will probably be members from all of our orgs at this party so we’re all responsible.

I’m gonna go ahead and say something that we don’t like to hear but as wrong or right as it may be, it is the perception and perception is reality: some non-Greek people question our commitment to uplifting the black community. They say we’re self-serving and elitist, committed to uplifting our members but looking down and distancing ourselves from the rest of the black community and the issues they face. Of course, many of us see it differently and think they just don’t understand.

We often run down our list of honorable mentions to “prove” that we are indeed about black liberation and are even the leaders of it: Martin Luther King, Jr., Coretta Scott King, Rosa Parks, Nikki Giovanni, Shirley Chisholm, Jesse Jackson, Huey P. Newton, just to name a few. And recently, many of us have added Colin Kaepernick to that list. But what does it mean when we proudly claim these members so that our organizations are viewed in high regard but we don’t actually support them or take action that carries on their legacies? 

While I personally think it’s past time for us to take a stronger stance in this movement for black lives, I know that that perspective is debatable. But when we can’t even support our own members, I am very concerned. If we don’t even care enough to support our own members who are leaders in this movement, is it unrealistic to expect that we’ll take action in other ways throughout this movement?

I honestly pray that the answer to that question is no because I believe that we have the power, privilege, influence, resources, numbers, education, and more to make a huge impact; and I think it is our duty. But in order to do that, this kind of stuff has to stop. We have got to care. We have got to be mindful. We have to be intentional. And, we have to be consistent.

This is a call in NOT a call out.

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#EverydayBlackHistory Day 9- Who were the Black Panthers?

bp.jpgSince Beyonce’s Super Bowl 50 half time performance, there has been lots of conversation around the Black Panthers. Many (white) Americans seem appalled that Bey would pay tribute to such an organization,  falsely comparing the Black Panthers to the Ku Klux Klan (the Black Panthers were NOT terrorists who bombed, murdered, and lynched innocent people like the KKK). But do we really know who the Black Panthers were? Unfortunately, the American education system has a way of painting historic black leaders and organizations in a negative light, and/or watering down the truth to fit its preferred narrative. So let’s educate ourselves and learn who the Black Panthers truly were.

Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale founded the Black Panther Party. The two had worked together for years prior through activism in black politics. Bobby  Seale was involved in RAM (Revolutionary Action Movement) and both of the men were in the Soul Students Advisory Committee, a collegiate organization. The philosophy for the Panthers was developed through these experiences.

But the Panthers were not just about philosophy. They had demands and outlined action to achieve them. Recently, people have talked about the Panthers possession of guns. The Panthers did indeed exercise their constitutional right to bear arms. This was done to implement Malcolm X’s self-defense philosophy and patrol the police. At the time, police brutality was rampant, with officers beating and killing black people randomly. Police departments were even recruiting officers from the racist south to police the northern ghettos.

The Socialist Alternative recalls this instance:

On one occasion, whilst on patrol, they witnessed an officer stop and search a young guy. The Panthers got out of their car and went over to the scene and stood watching their guns on full display. Angrily, the policeman began to question them and tried to intimidate them with threats of arrest. But Huey P. Newton had studied the law intimately and could quote every law and court ruling relevant to their situation.

During these situations, the Panthers made it clear that they did not want to have a shoot-out with the police and that they would only use their guns in self-defense. They would also hand out information, to the crowd that formed, about the Black Panthers philosophy and meeting details.

Outside of their self-defense, we rarely talk about the notable community programs that the Panthers organized. They organized many “revolutionary program,” as they called them, such as free breakfast for children, health clinics, and shoes for children. Bobby Seale explained, “A revolutionary program is onset forth by revolutionaries, by those who want to change the existing system for a better system.”

The Black Panther Party grew to have 5,000 full time employees and 45 chapters throughout America. They sold 250,000 papers a week. At the time, polls showed that the organization had 90 percent support from black people in major cities. The group was largely impactful, with the FBI describing them as “the number one threat to the internal security of the United States.”

Today, we remember the Black Panther Party, for being one of the most widely know black political organizations that protected and met people’s needs through programs that provided food, clothes, medical care and more. We thank them for showing us what we can accomplish through organization. Today, unfortunately,  we still see many of the same issues that they combated. We can learn much from them.

#EverydayBlackHistory

 

 

#EverydayBlackHistory Day 7- Whitney Houston Performs National Anthem

whitIn the spirit of the Super Bowl , Lady Gaga’s beautiful rendition of the national anthem, and Beyonce and Bruno Mars slaying the halftime show, I cannot help but remember one of the greatest Super Bowl performances EVER by the one and only Whitney Houston.

In 1991, 25 years ago, Whitney Houston sang the national anthem at Super Bowl XXV. To this day, Whitney Houston’s rendition is still revered as the standard for performing this song. Whitney Houston performed the national anthem at the hight of the Persian Gulf War and captivated the patriotic spirit of the country so well that Artista Records released the recording as a single. The single made it to the Billboard Hot 100, reaching No. 20. The performance remained iconic, so much so that it moved to the top 10, reaching No. 6, after September 11, 2001.

So let’s all take a few minutes and bask in the glory of Whitney Houston’s (arguably) unmatched rendition of the national anthem:

Today, we remember Whitney Houston for singing the national anthem like never before, and for just being the greatest of all time. Period. She’s no longer here with us but her legacy is and will continue to live forever.

#EverydayBlackHistory

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