Thursday, July 2, 2020

Black Lives Matter: Some thoughts on ANKH and Wearing Masks During This COVID-19 Pandemic

by Kenray Sunyaru

Thousands of years before there was a slogan ‘Black Lives Matter’, our Ancient Afrikan Nile Valley Ancestors had a supreme symbol representing that their Black lives mattered the ‘ANKH’ which means the ‘KEY of LIFE’. 

Our Ancient Afrikan Ancestors overstood and understood that their LIFE was KEY; that their Black lives definitely mattered’, that their lives were indeed ‘Sacred’ and ‘Immortal! Our Ancient Afrikan Ancestors came to realized that ‘ANKH’ the KEY of LIFE is 'LIFE' itself; that LIFE ‘emanates’ from LIFE, that LIFE ‘begets’ LIFE, that LIFE ‘sustains’ LIFE, and that LIFE ‘protects’ LIFE! 

From my philosophical-spiritual view the KEY of LIFE is Knowing, Breathing, Nourishing, Moving, Growing, Valuing, Appreciating, Respecting, Remembering, Venerating, Determining, Building, Preserving, and Defending.

Regarding the defending ‘Protecting’ aspect of the KEY of LIFE from a health perspective, our LIFE inherently protects itself by the way of its ‘immune system’ that defends itself from infections. In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic as Black folks we have been dying super-disproportionately from this potent infectious virus that causes multi-organ failure. 

Due to institutional racism and massively having pre-existing medical conditions (chronic diseases) that compromises our health which has weakened our immune system ability to protect us from COVID-19. 

To both protect and recover from COVID-19 we must boost our immune system holistically: spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically (diet, exercise). We must also protect our lives and others by wearing masks! 

Unfortunately, I see a lot of younger Black adults under 40 ignorantly and carelessly not wearing masks who are infecting others deadly. However I know some Blacks in this age group who say they are ‘health conscious’ not wearing masks.

These individuals diet and exercise to boost their immune systems to protect themselves from COVID-19 but don’t wear masks to protect themselves; in other words they throw a health punch but they don’t want to block an infectious punch, this is contradictory behavior because in a fight you have to 'punch' and 'block'!!

Black folks speaking from ‘ANKH’, when you are truly health conscious you know it is key to protect your LIFE from all health social detriments from racism to health illiteracy. Needing to wear a mask aint no conspiracy theory, we’re dying super-disproportionately from COVID-19 and it’s for real, just ask somebody who’ve lost love ones. 

For us right now during this coronavirus pandemic wearing a mask matters, it’s a key aspect in protecting Black lives.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Reflections on the HBO Documentary Movie ‘The Scheme’ and Being ‘COMPROMISED’

by Kenray Sunyaru
This Blog post was influenced by an HBO documentary movie I recently watched ‘The Scheme’ which is basically a profile piece on Christian Dawkins a young Black man from Saginaw, Michigan.

Dawkins was the center of an expensive FBI sting operation to so-called stop corruption in NCCA college basketball by bringing down some high profile white coaches. Dawkins was from my perspective a basketball guidance consultant guiding talented mainly Black basketball players from middle-school to high-school through college and into the NBA.
Dawkins became an essential ally for college coaches, not just offering advice but encouraging his players to go to certain schools; none of what Dawkins was doing was illegal. Because of his connection to major college coaches the FBI targeted Dawkins as key to becoming an ‘informant' to entrap some high profile college basketball coaches by offering them money ‘bribes’. The FBI’s operation never indicted any of these prominent major white college coaches, most of the individuals they indicted were lower-level Black men including Dawkins.
As I watched ‘The Scheme’, I thought about so many FBI successful schemes they’ve come up with to indict Black men from Marcus Garvey to Kwame Kilpatrick; from indicting the Black Panthers to the Black P-Stone Nation: political organizations to street organizations and everything in between; from the indictment of Jamil Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown) to Larry Hoover. As I watched ‘The Scheme’ one word kept ringing in my head was ‘COMPROMISE’.
Being ‘COMPROMISED’: A Man Can Only Ride Your Back If It’s Bent Over
The word ‘COMPROMISE’ means to reduce the quality, value, or degree of something; it means to weaken or lower. Thus from this definition Black folks we have been a ‘COMPROMISED’ people under 400 years of white supremacy.
Yes racial oppression has 'COMPROMISED' a whole people; it has weakened a whole nation of people through forced Denial, Doubt, Dependency, Deprivation, Debt, Detentions, Drugs, Diseases, and Deaths. Just take a look at our ‘Diseases’ and ‘Deaths’ from the current COVID-19 Pandemic, we are ‘COMPROMISED’ with pre-existing medical conditions (chronic diseases) dying super-disproportionately from this killer Coronavirus.
Indeed as I watched The Scheme I had to admit that the over-whelming majority of Black men are ‘COMPROMISED’ and that’s why the FBI’s oppressive scheme operations against us have been successful. Most of us are ‘COMPROMISED’ due to Ignorance, Ego-Tripping, Self-Defeating Beliefs, Corrupt Values, Character Flaws, Individualism, Opportunism, Hypocrisy, and Addictions just to name a few.
In the movie Christian Dawkins was 'COMPROMISED' by a huge ego-sense of being financially successful. Being ‘COMPROMISED’ one is always vulnerable to be manipulated by the FBI, one can be used as a ‘cats-paw’, one can become an informant and infiltrator; being ‘COMPROMISED’ one is always a potential ‘SELL-OUT’.
Black folks and Black men in particular until we do the inner-work of ‘UNCOMPROMISING’ ourselves we will continue to be pawns in the FBI’s schemes against us. ‘UNCOMPROMISING’ is the process of ‘internal reparations’. Let us remember the words of the great African revolutionary Amilcar Cabral: “The greatest enemy of an oppressed people are their own internal weaknesses."

Thursday, May 28, 2020

The Plight of Black Men and Ra-Ubadiah Hotep Who Cared About Us

by Kenny Anderson

From my experience as a Black man and what I’ve seen, the life-span of the majority of us as Black men in racist America whatever the ending age has been a constant grind that’s distressing and exhausting. Living for Black men in this country is a tiring battle; psychologist refer to it as ‘racial battle-fatigue’.

Black men we live each day knowing that we can be murdered by racist law enforcement officers like the recent police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota; that Black men can be murdered by all types of racist white men and other non-Black males; that they can be murdered by other Black men; yes Black men we live with a ‘bulls-eye’ on our chests, it’s always open-season on us!

Black men we live everyday being ‘male-bashed’ by so many Black women and non-Black females, this male-bashing causes too many of our children and grandchildren to disrespect us. Black men we live under a barrage of being unappreciated, devalued, disgusted, slighted, blamed, accused, suspected, investigated, discriminated, rejected, neglected, stunted, marginalized, hunted, attacked, murdered, victimized, and traumatized.

All the chronic stress Black men face every day causes many of us to die prematurely from heart attacks and strokes; while many of us seek daily temporary relief through drugs, alcohol, sex, religion, ego-tripping, or zoned out in sports land. Many Black men try to find a ‘space’ in the house generally in the basement ‘man cave’ to debrief and relax from relentless stress.

Ra Ubadiah Hotep His Open House: An Oasis in the Distressed Desert

For decades in Pontiac, Michigan Ra Ubadiah Hotep who recently became an Ancestor was a conscious cultural facilitator and Black male advocate who provided distressed Black men with much-much more than just a man cave; he opened up his home on Fridays for decades as a space where Black men could come relax, rejuvenate, recreate, and redevelop themselves.

Ra Ubadiah Hotep's open-house was known informally as the ‘Omni Development Space Complex’ (ODSC) a cultural free space likened to the safe houses of the Underground Railroad. The safe houses of the Underground Railroad were spaces where our enslaved Ancestors could stay and hide; food and clothing was provided as well as a bed to sleep on.

Ra Ubadiah Hotep’s ‘Omni Development Space Complex’ represented a contemporary Underground Railroad 'free space' that facilitated the ‘all’ in the sense of avant-garde jazz music therapeutic expression, promoted learning an instrument, promoted learning Black History, enhanced a sense of Brotherhood, encouraged creative expressions (poetry) and polemic rap sessions, use of herbs and herbal remedies, and provided nutritious meals (navy beans with smoke turkey and cornbread).

Black men looked forward weekly to come through ODSC; local Black auto workers who played instruments would come through after a stressful day of work, musicians would come through, Black male college students from Oakland University would come through, conscious Black men came through, and a variety of other Black men came through ODSC.

Ra Ubadiah Hotep was an embodiment of 1960’s Black Nationalism & Cultural Nationalism that he kept alive so we could be connected to this super-important classic period. Ra Ubadiah Hotep left an indelible mark on me by exposing me to the writings of the great Black Panther revolutionary George Jackson who matured my thinking and sharpened my political ideology.

Ra Ubadiah Hotep would send many Brothers hand-written letters including writing many in jail and prisons; he was a surrogate father-figure for many younger Black males. Ra Ubadiah Hotep was an avid reader and was constantly recreating himself to his death.

About a month ago I talked with Ra Ubadiah Hotep for several hours, our conversation focused on Kemetic spirituality and its funerary ritual that he requested I conduct for him. In the Kemetic funeral ritual the deceased heart was weighed on scale before Ancestral jurors. Indeed Ra Ubadiah Hotep’s heart was with the overall betterment and wellbeing of Black men, thus our Paternal Ancestral jurors’ judgment is that they are pleased with his heart!

Ra Ubadiah Hotep is now an Ancestor to be constantly remembered through portraits of him on walls and altars; his birthday becomes a holiday celebration; and libations poured consistently in his name. As Black men we thank you for caring about us, in your memory let us extend your legacy by continuing to care about the welfare of Black men. Much Love & Appreciation!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Stop 'Sect-Trippin' Unite and 'Gang-Up' on Racial Oppression

by Kenray Sunyaru

Black folks in this brief post I will use the terms ‘gangs’ and ‘sects’ interchangeably. From my perspectives sect is a word which conjures up many different emotions, opinions, and perspectives; for me a sect is a group of Black people who share a particular set of political, gang, or religious beliefs.

These sects believe their particular sect’s interests is greater than the overall interests and struggle of Black people resulting in narrow-minded partisanship which is ‘divisive’ preventing operational unity; in the case of Black ‘gang’ sects this division is often hostile leading to a constant cycle of violence and murders.

Where are all the Black ‘gangsters’ when it comes to defending the hood from racist attacks and murders like the recent killing of Ahmaud Arbery? When are all these Blacks sects of all kinds going to come together to ‘bang’ on racial oppression?

Friday, May 8, 2020

Racist Murders of Black Men From 'Walking While Black' to 'Jogging While Black'

by Kenray Sunyaru

  "White men are experts in killing Black men" - Malcolm X

Black men y'all remember in Florida 2012 the racist George Zimmerman followed an 'unarmed' Black boy Trayvon Martin and murdered him for ‘Walking While Black’.

Recently in Georgia a white man 'ex-police officer' Gregory McMichael and his son Travis McMichael chased down an 'unarmed' Black man Ahmaud Arbery like a deer and murdered him for ‘Jogging While Black’; these murderous white men were never arrested nor detained!!

Black folks, a Black man being a murder victim while jogging aint nothing new! In 1999 ex-University of Detroit basketball coach Ricky Birdsong an 'unarmed' Black man jogging near his home in Skokie, Illinois with his son and daughter ages 8 and 10 was murdered by Benjamin Nathaniel Smith, a member of the white supremacist Creativity Movement.

Indeed Black men we need to hear ‘some’ many more stories about armed Black men who defend themselves killing murderous white men. When many more of these stories occur white men will think twice about running up on us.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Black Men Lead in Dying From COVID-19 Deaths

by Kenray Sunyaru

Black men when we usually think of the Ebonic phrase "being caught slipping" it means not having a gun in your possession possibly resulting in being shot or robbed by another Black man. 

This time in a viral sense we’ve been caught slipping by the COVID-19 disease pandemic because our health was ‘slacking’ so our lungs are being attacked and shot through by the virus.

Unfortunately but expectedly due to racism and health irresponsibility as Black men we lead the U.S. in COVID-19 disease deaths. Our deplorable health slacking status in America has been an urgency racial health disparity issue for us to address for many-many decades. 

Black men are dying disproportionately to the COVID-19 virus pandemic
This COVID-19 pandemic has now fully exposed our slacking health neglect and fragilness as an emergency that's taking us out. Too many of us neglected our health pursuing expensive clothes, shoes, jewelry, and vehicles. 

Previously, the only deaths we were focusing on was Black-on-Black male murders which is important, however we weren't focusing on chronic diseases that have been killing Black men off hundreds of times greater than Glocks, AKs, Dracos, and AR-15s. 

Black men millions of us have been 'laid down' prematurely by Heart Disease, Strokes, Diabetes, etc. Yeah we've been focusing on Black homicidals, but not on our suicidal health slacking. 

For all the Black men out here who consider themselves rough-neck, hard-core, thug, and gangsters none of these 'tough identities' can protect y'all from COVID-19; add some health awareness to y'all's identity! 

To Black men who smoke cigarettes and marijuana every day y'all need to quit to save y'all's lungs; smokers are more vulnerable to contract the virus. Y'all need to learn about y'all's lungs and respect y'all's ability to breathe, cause COVID-19 is a 'dog-ass' breath taker for real!

Indeed the COVID-19 upheaval is a time of reckoning and resolution; it's a time for realization that the American system nor us in the past or the present have addressed the Black male health crisis. 

Now in this COVID-19 pandemic we're not dying from 'drive-bys', we're dying from 'airbornes'. Our current Black male health slacking crisis is what Rapper Kendrick Lamar stated when he rapped: "For generations we've been dealt a bad-hand with bad-plans."

As Black men during this COVID-19 pandemic let us now deal ourselves a 'good-hand', developing ourselves a lifestyle changing personal health plan! 

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Black Man's Perspective on the Past Spanish Flu Pandemic and the Present Coronavirus Epidemic COVID-19: What Have We Learned in a 100 Years and What We Gone Do?

by Kenny Anderson

Black folks the current coronavirus ‘COVID-19’ is causing many of us to panic as if viruses ‘massive communicable diseases’ are new, unfortunately they are not!

From the beginning being the first humans on this planet our original ancient African Ancestors had to deal with viruses interacting with nature. When it comes to pathogens, viruses, and diseases nature is always creating them; since 1970 more than 1,500 new pathogens have been discovered.

These pandemics and epidemics are sparked either by the re-emergence of pathogens that have been familiar for a long time, but now threaten new, immunologically vulnerable populations, or are newly-emerging ones. They come in a daunting array of species of bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites.

Some of these communicable viruses and diseases are facilitated by oppression, poverty, and ill-health; some are caused by man-made habitat destruction and global warming; some are borne in contaminated water or food; some others are carried in the air we breathe and by human touch.

The emerging pandemics and epidemics are coming from animals; this is a burgeoning threat, because animals are intensively farmed, transported for trade and kept in close contact with other species and humans in market places.

What we have to accept and understand is the uncertainty of life and the unpredictable power of nature including its ability to create new infectious threats to human health that emerge often without warning like being hit with a viral sucker punch.

Deadly U.S. Spanish Flu Pandemic

Also Black folks we need to know that a virus pandemic like the coronavirus COVID-19 is nothing new to the U.S. as Malcolm X once said that “the study of history rewards all research.”

History shows that in 1918 the U.S. was hit with a deadly Influenza Pandemic ‘Spanish Flu’, this flu afflicted over 25 percent of the U.S. population and killed over 675,000 people. In one year, the average life expectancy in the United States dropped by 12 years.

The Spanish Flu pandemic swept the world from January 1918 to December 1920 killed an estimated 50 to 80 million people. One fifth of the world's population was attacked by this deadly virus.

Within months it had killed more people than any other illness in recorded history. The Spanish flu was the first of two pandemics caused by the H1N1 influenza virus, the second was the swine flu in 2009.

Black folks it’s interesting, but not surprising that the overwhelming majority of us know nothing about the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic though we were hit the hardest by pneumonia deaths from it!

Seemingly there’s an ignorance of history that the influenza pandemic of 1918 has been overlooked by most of us who post on Facebook.

Blacks and the Spanish Flu Pandemic

When the 1918 influenza epidemic began its deadly tour across the United States, Blacks were already beset by racism caused major public health, medical, and socioeconomic problems that shaped how they experienced the epidemic and how the epidemic affected them.

By 1918, medical and public health reports had documented that Black folks had lower rates from the Spanish Flu pandemic than whites. Though Blacks were less susceptible to this influenza, however if they contracted it they died more frequently than whites because of their deprived social conditions and their susceptibility to ‘pneumonia’.

The great scholar and activist W.E.B. Du Bois contended the higher rates of pneumonia for Blacks was due to racial health disparities that reflected racist socioeconomic degradation, not racial susceptibilities; he stated “poor health is not a Negro affair, but an index of social condition.”

Learning Lessons from the Spanish Flu Pandemic

As Black folks what should we learn from the Spanish Flu pandemic? First is, we were more prone to dying from pneumonia when we contracted the Spanish Flu. This is not surprising, studies show that upper respiratory diseases was the number #1 cause of death for our enslaved Ancestors.

Indeed slavery stress trauma epigenetically compromised our lung genes. We know the coronavirus ‘COVID-19’ attacks your lungs and its worst impact is it causes death ‘pneumonia lung collapse’.

Yes Black folks we are more vulnerable of dying from ‘COVID-19’ due to slavery weakened lung genetic predispositions, chronic stress that causes inflammation to the lungs, and chronic diseases that compromises lung functioning. Currently Blacks lead the U.S. in respiratory diseases and die more from pneumonia.

Black Self-Determination and the Spanish Flu Pandemic

Although during the Spanish Flu pandemic Black folks faced racism, Jim Crow segregation, the Klan, shortage of resources, and a lack of health-care facilities, our folks mobilized themselves to provide relief activities.

In many cities Black women went into the homes of Black influenza victims to provide care and clean homes. Black women who were home economics teachers volunteered to cook at food centers, schools, hospitals, and nurseries.

Across the country Black folks assumed the primary responsibility for providing care for each other stricken by the Spanish Flu; they clearly understood that their health was not a priority of the American government.

In 1918 Black folks faced the Spanish Flu pandemic being on the bottom socioeconomically degraded; aint shit changed still today we face the COVID-19’ pandemic in last place with too many of us sick and suffering from socioeconomic degradation.

The Spanish Flu pandemic was just over 100 years ago, now in 2020 we as Black folks face the coronavirus ‘COVID-19’ pandemic, do we have any internal self-reliant health contingency plans to address this new pandemic?

As Black folks if the COVID-19 virus disease continues to spread and we are more vulnerable to die from it because of our compromised health due to suffering ‘super-significantly’ more from chronic diseases, so what are we going to do every day other than just gossip, worry, panic, and spew conspiracy theories?

Do we have any other possibilities other than praying, hoping, and waiting? Is our only plan to stay at home and maybe get a $1,200 Trump coronavirus check? Does our organizations (Urban League, NAACP, NOI, Churches, etc.) have alternative relief plans?

Right now where I live I don’t see hospitals doing much for Black folks who’ve contacted the mild form of the coronavirus other than sending them home to stay indoors and take a Tylenol.

Since we have to deal with the reality of social distancing, how do we best use social media (Facebook, Zoom) conference calls, etc. to provide immune boosting health literacy, stress management, and direction?

If push comes to shove and we have to go in the homes of our family members, relatives, and friends who’ve contacted the coronavirus to assist or save them shouldn’t we be buying some hazmat suits ($62) and training ourselves of how to use this protective suit? Or is it going to be every Black person for themselves and God bless us all?

We need to really think about contingency relief efforts that includes tapping into the spirit of Sankofa, identifying historical prescriptions, practicing the 7 Principles of Kwanza, applying the healing insights of Dr. Sebi, Dr. Laila Afrika and other local healer leaders of how we are going to self-manage the coronavirus pandemic.

If we don’t try to manage the coronavirus, who will? Talk to me!