Some Of Y’all Aren’t Ready For Freethinking Black Kids, But They’re Coming Anyway
Earlier today, I read a story that actress and activist extraordinaire Amandla Stenberg was taking a break from Tumblr because she had been attacked for raising a question/critique of the promotion for the Minions movie.
Basically, Stenberg tweeted,
It was a valid question. But certainly one that ruffled more than a few feathers. People started asking her how much money was used to promote the Hunger Games, how many people she’d paid to go to college, you know, as a sixteen year old.
She didn’t say she’d never participated in a Blockbuster film. She didn’t even say that she approved of the way the one she starred in was promoted. What she did was make a statement about priorities in this country. And it’s an astute observation. Where America once had the reputation, internationally, as the land of the best and the brightest. Now, we’re the entertainment capital of the world. I have nothing against entertainment and I actually think the Minions are pretty cute; but, no they aren’t more important than the people of this nation, so yes, the question is valid.
It’s really a shame people can’t see that.
I read that article and thought I hope Amandla hasn’t been discouraged. I hope she continues to speak the truth.
Luckily, Amandla broke her hiatus to say that she had not been run off of Tumblr.
Glad to hear, she hasn’t been dissuaded from expressing her opinion. She’ll have to remain strong though because this is just the type of thing people like to do to young, people with “alternative” (read: status quo challenging) world views.
The backlash is even stronger when those young people are Black.
I was absolutely shocked to find fully, grown Black women telling Amandla she needed to sit down, jumping to the defense of Kylie Jenner, when Stenberg was attempting to have a discussion about cultural appropriation. Kylie can make money off our people but when someone, one of our own, brings that fact to her attention, it’s a problem?
I’m still confused by that.
Looks like some people have been drinking that Kardashian Koolaid. Don’t be surprised if that particular flavor eventually makes it to the shelves. It’ll taste like vulnerable Black men. And instead of quench, it’ll quicken your thirst for fame.
But that’s not what we’re here for. This article is not about Amandla specifically or even the Kardashian family.
Instead, I want to discuss, our, the Black community’s response to young, free-thinking, Black people.
Last year, like with Amandla, I was discouraged to see most of the internet ready to dismiss Willow and Jaden as strange and pretentious just for expressing some ideals that I found not only refreshing but pretty advanced for people of their age. People scoffed at them, the children, and questioned Will and Jada’s parenting…again.
You may remember in the interview with T Magazine, the brother and sister talked about school being inauthentic because learning never ends and people took it as an attack on education and called them stupid. I saw and heard several claim that the two had abandoned their own education, as if their comments were proof of that.
Y’all do know there are very real problems with our education system, right? Even rapper J Cole, who did exceptionally well in school, graduating magna cum laude, said that our educational system is largely centered around tests and memorization as opposed to actual comprehension and understanding of principles.
That’s true. I know I’m not the only person who did well in school but can remember very little of those lessons today.
In that same interview, Willow talked about self doubt saying she’s gotten better because she cares less about not only what other people think “but also caring less about what your own mind thinks, because what our own mind thinks, sometimes, is the thing that makes you sad.”
Then Jaden cosigned talking about the duality of our mind.
People found that strange as well.
But, let me ask you something, have you ever decided to do something, and the minute you’re ready to get started, take action, your own mind, not the people from the outside, your own brain, starts convincing you of ways it won’t work?
It literally happens all the time, particularly with risky, challenging decisions and activities.
Fear is a strong force. But it exists in our own minds.
To get anything worthwhile accomplished in this world, you have to ignore that energy or do it, in spite of fear.
Countless authors have written best selling books about this very concept. (See: Fight Your Fear and Win or The Secret) but when Willow and Jaden say it, with their funky fashion and ever-changing hair styles, it’s just weird and worthy of dismissal.
A large part of me wonders if the people who seem to be so bothered by the likes of Amandla, Willow and Jaden are consciously or subconsciously envious of people so young, and yet so woke to the ways of the world?
Perhaps we can only stomach stereotypical teenagers who act aloof and disengaged, choosing to follow their peers or their favorite celebrity instead of think for themselves. Maybe those kids make us feel better about ourselves in the fictitious enlightenment of adulthood.
I’m 10 years older than Jaden, 11 years older than Amandla and 13 years older than Willow and I look at the freedom with which they choose, and have been allowed, to live their lives and I admire that. I want that for all the adults who’ve been stifled in their own lives. And it’s certainly something I want to give to my own future children: the gift to defy conviction, speak truth, express yourself and your beliefs, and be strong enough not to be dissuaded by anyone else’s disagreeance.