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Life Imitating Art

There used to be a saying, “Art imitates life.” Meaning movies, music, and artwork often portrayed things we put into the universe. Anything we saw or listened to was indicative of our environment.

It was cool to be educated and articulate. So, we watched movies like Lean On Me. It was a must that a man be a gentleman-- smooth, debonair, and romantic. We had songs like Let's Stay Together and Sexual Healing. These movies and songs were examples of art imitating life. Were there drugs and tales of violence in movies and music? Of course. But they didn't glorify ignorance; they promoted self awareness and a love for self.

Music was a soundtrack for life with rappers and singers serving as news anchors for the streets. Songs like Marvin Gaye's What's Going On, Whoodini's The Message, and James Brown’s I'm Black and I'm Proud, showed the pitfalls, trials, tribulations, and struggles that most inner-city youth are faced with today. It exposed America and showed that it wasn't the beautiful place it was made out to be.

But, when movies like Boyz in the Hood, Menace to Society, and Juice was released, it opened a whole new culture and lifestyle-- one that most of us only perceived to be folklore. Even though these movies showed drugs and gang violence, they had meaning and substance.

In Boyz in the Hood, Rickey aspired to be a college athlete; in Menace to Society, Kane finally came to the conclusion that he wanted more out of life. Both films showed us that even the best and worst of us aren't safe from violence or senseless killings. Both characters were gunned down, tragically cutting the life of two teenagers short.

Somehow, the signals got crossed and the roles started reversing. People became obsessed with the roles of actors and the tales of rappers and life started imitating art.

People began acting out, portraying characters and lyrics, and turning them into real life personas. Everyone wanted to be O-Dog, Doe Boy, Bishop or Scarface. Acting as such gave them street credibility; it made them “the man.” Not realizing REAL life didn’t work that way. When you die or go to jail, it's real; they don't yell, “CUT,” then all of a sudden you're free or come back alive.

In our music today, we constantly call women b's and hoes and sluts. We depict them in a light where we only see them as a piece of meat, and then say we don't love or need them. How did we get here? How did we go from teaching love, respect, and protecting one another to drive by shootings and destroying the communities we live in?

In a time where we are screaming loudly, protesting constantly, and demanding boldly, “Black lives matter,” we most certainly need to make sure they matter to us most. I have never seen an army get stronger by killing its own soldiers. In the words of Don Tripp, "We say Black lives matter; we forgot to tell ourselves."

The way we are outraged when one of us is unjustly killed by the police or another hate group, it is the same energy we need to use when we harm our own. Let's assemble, march, and protest to find the killers of King Von, Mo3, and any other Black person that may lose his or her life to senseless violence.

No, there is no such thing as Black on Black crime because white people kill whites and Hispanics kill Hispanics. Crime is a proximity thing. We destroy and kill what we are around the most. That's why it's paramount that we tell our own stories so we portray a more positive side to our lives and struggles. Why are millionaires making music about killing and shooting each other as if we're throw-away or disposable?

[And we most definitely need to protect our women].

Let’s stop calling each other the N word and start addressing each other as kings and queens and brothers and sisters. And just maybe, we will start valuing ourselves more.

If you change the way you look at things, then the things you look at will change.

We are made in the image of God. Therefore, you have eyes to see and relate to your fellow man; ears to hear and understand him; and a heart to feel compassion and extend forgiveness. That alone, should be enough to make you understand the importance of your own existence.

Always remember, a wise man can play the role of a fool; but a fool can never play the role of a wise man.

Love, peace and blessings.

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