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Selena: Como la Flor

Remarks:

Before there was Selena Gomez there was her namesake, Selena, both from Texas. This is my favourite Selena song. In 1992, the year Selena Gomez was born, this song went to #6 on the US Latin charts.

Requiescat in pace.

See also:

Lyrics:

Yo sé que tienes un nuevo amor
Sin embargo, te deseo lo mejor
Si en mí no encontraste felicidad
Tal vez alguien más te la dará

Como la flor, con tanto amor
Me diste tú, se marchitó
Me marcho hoy, yo sé perder
Pero, ¡Ay! Cómo me duele
¡Ay! Cómo me duele

Si vieras cómo duele perder tu amor
Con tu adiós te llevas mi corazón
No sé si pueda volver a amar
Porque te di todo el amor que pude dar

Como la flor, con tanto amor
Me diste tú, se marchitó
Me marcho hoy, yo sé perder
Pero, ¡Ay! Cómo me duele
¡Ay! Cómo me duele

Como la flor, con tanto amor
Me diste tú, se marchitó
Me marcho hoy, yo sé perder
Pero, ¡Ay! Cómo me duele
¡Ay! Cómo me duele

Source: musica.com.

NMAAHC

nmaahc

Disclaimer: I have not been to the museum. This post is based on media hype in the Guardian, New Yorker and The Root that came out before the museum opened.

NMAAHC (2016-), the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC, is the first national museum of Black history in the US. It opens today, Saturday September 24th 2016, a 101-year-old dream come true. It was opened by President Obama, the country’s first Black president.

smithsonian

It is not the Smithsonian’s first Black museum: it has an African art museum and the Black-oriented Anacostia Community Museum.

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The metalwork matches that made by Black craftsmen in Charleston and New Orleans.

The building is brown while next door the Smithsonian’s (White) American history museum is white! NMAAHC looks like a modern art museum, not a Roman temple. The shape is based on the crown of an African queen, its angles matching those of the nearby Washington monument. David Adjaye, a British-Ghanaian architect, was the lead designer.

Lower floors: Because of height limits, half the building is underground. That is used to effect: when you take the elevator to the bottom, it counts the years backwards like a time machine: 2015 … 1776 … to the early 1400s. You soon find yourself in a slave ship! From there you work your way up through history to the ground floor, going through slavery, civil war, Emancipation, Jim Crow, the civil rights movement, the inauguration of President Obama, all the way to Black Lives Matter. Freedom is still a work in progress.

slave-cabin

The slave cabin that is now at the NMAAHC (and in better repair).

It is not a feel-good history: revolution is set next to counter-revolution, atrocity against protest. “It takes a nation of millions to hold us back.” You see the auction block – and shackles made for a child. You see a statue of Thomas Jefferson and his fine words, but behind him on the wall are the names of his slaves, one brick, one slave. Later you stand in a real slave cabin built in the 1840s: it feels like you are back in time. You see a Klan hood – and walk past the casket of Emmett Till.

The P-Funk Mothership

The P-Funk Mothership

Artefacts: NMAAHC has thousands of artefacts, everything from Nat Turner’s Bible to Michael Jackson’s fedora, from a Tuskegee airmen training plane to the P-Funk Mothership; from the dress Rosa Parks was sewing the day she got arrested, to the dress Michelle Obama wore the day she became First Lady.

sweet-home-cafe

Food from the Sweet Home Cafe.

Upper floors: After travelling through history, you can sit in the Contemplative Court (or maybe eat at the Sweet Home Cafe) before moving on to the upper floors to see Black achievements in art, music, sports, science and politics, from Muhammad Ali’s boxing gloves to Ben Carson’s lab coat to J Dilla’s MPC. You can see art from people like Kara Walker, Joshua Johnson, Robert Duncanson and Mae Weems.

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The view: After the art museum you get a wonderful view where you can see the White House and the memorials to Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr.

President Obama is glad the museum is opening this weekend in the wake of Charlotte and Tulsa: maybe it will help the country to understand what it is going through.

Tickets are free but you might have to reserve online in advance.

Bits of broken stained glass from the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, 1963.

Bits of broken stained glass from the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, 1963.

– Abagond, 2016.

See also:

616

killer cops

betty-shelby

Officer Betty Shelby of Tulsa, Oklahoma, who killed Terence Crutcher in 2016.

Killer cops are police officers who kill the citizens they promised to serve and protect. Among rich Western countries, they are most common in the US, where they are infamous for killing Black people. They kill Native Americans at an even higher rate.

The numbers: The police in England and Wales killed 55 people from 1990 to 2014, about two a year. The US is about six times larger, so you would expect maybe 12 a year. The US is more violent with a murder rate five times higher, so make that 60 a year. In 2015 the number was 1,146, almost 20 times higher. And even if you count just unarmed Whites, it still comes to 104.

It is partly structural:

Killer cop privileges in the US:

  • Administrative leave: paid vacation for killer cops!
  • The blue wall of silence: the so-called good cops do not speak out against bad ones.
  • The press: presents the police account as more or less true while demonizing the dead victim, poisoning any possible jury.
  • The full and thorough investigation: determines the facts. Since in most cases it is carried out by the police themselves, it amounts to a cover-up.
  • Medical examiner: examines the body for cause and manner of death. Some medical examiners are in bed with the police, even making up stuff found in no medical book.
  • Public prosecutor: almost always in bed with the police. They can charge a killer cop with a crime, but most kick it to a:
  • Grand jury: The prosecutor presents the investigation / cover-up to a secret grand jury. No press, no public, not even lawyers from the victim’s family are allowed. That keeps it out of the news. It also means the grand jury hears only the police side of the story. So they rarely bring an indictment of charges, but when they do it leads to a:
  • Trial: The trial jury will almost always have White people on it who have a sickeningly childlike belief in the honesty of the police, like they are still six years old (BMA 6). That means even if there are some sensible Black people (BMA 18+), the jury will at best deadlock, letting the killer cop walk free. Some trials, though, do not have juries, just a judge:
  • Judges: Most are unwilling to second-guess the police.
  • US Department of Justice: Have they ever sent a killer cop to prison?
  • Civil lawsuit: brought by the victim’s family for damages. Rarely affects the killer cop or the police since any damages are paid by taxpayers.
  • The five magic words: “I feared for my life.” Almost always gets them off. They do not even have to see a gun to be believed, just think they saw one. And if the victim is Black, even that is unnecessary: the Black Brute stereotype, held by news reporters, jurors and helicopter pilots, will do the rest. Case closed.

In New York City from 1999 to 2015 :

  • 188 people were killed by police;
  • 4 cases reached trial;
  • 2 killer cops found guilty (Bryan Conroy, Peter Liang);
  • 0 sent to prison (probation instead).

– Abagond, 2016.

See also:

583

Keith Lamont Scott

keith-scott-22

Keith Lamont Scott (1973-2016), a disabled Black American man, married with seven children, was killed by police in Charlotte, North Carolina. That was at 3.54pm on Tuesday September 20th 2016. It comes right on top of news of the killing of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Police say Scott was armed, his family says not and they seem very certain of it.

Every day Scott waited for his son to get off the school bus.

His sister:

“He sits in the shade, reads his book, does his studies, and waits on his kid to get off the bus. He didn’t have no gun. He wasn’t messing with nobody. All they did, them jump-out boys, them undercover detectives, they jumped out their truck, they said, ‘Hands up! He got a gun! He got a gun!’ POW POW POW POW. That’s it.”

Police Chief Kerr Putney:

“The officers gave loud, clear verbal commands that were also heard by many of the witnesses. They were instructing the subject, once he got out of the vehicle, to drop the weapon. Despite the verbal commands, Mr. Scott exited the vehicle as the officers continued to yell at him to drop it. He stepped out, posing a threat to the officers, and Officer Brentley Vinson subsequently fired his weapon, striking the subject.”

The gun: His family says it was a book, not a gun. If so, it would hardly be the first time police imagined a gun – or planted one. Putney cannot say whether Scott raised his gun, whether it was loaded, whether it was registered to him. But he did say they found it “in close proximity” to Scott.

Open-carry: North Carolina law allows people to openly carry guns, even without a permit.

Officer Brentley Vinson, the killer cop, is Black, son of a police officer who was with the Charlotte-Mecklenberg police for 27 years. Vinson the younger has been with them for two years so far. Instead of being arrested, he has been given a paid vacation, a common police practice.

Video: Vinson did not have a body camera, but some of the other officers did. There is also video from police cars. None of it is (yet) public. The governor signed a law limiting the public’s right to see police video.

charlotte-2016-09-20

Protest: after two nights of violent protest, the governor has declared a state of emergency, which allows him to bring in the National Guard and state police. The same was done in Ferguson in 2014 and Baltimore in 2015.

Mayor Jennifer Roberts tweeted after the first night:

“The community deserves answers and full investigation will ensue. Will be reaching out to community leaders to work together @CMPD @ncnaacp”

The police are investigating themselves.

The district attorney determined that the first five police shootings for this year were “justified”. This is the sixth.

Randall Kerrick, the Charlotte police officer who shot Jonathan Ferrell, an unarmed Black man, in 2013, was charged with voluntary manslaughter, but got off.

– Abagond, 2016.

See also:

518

Terence Crutcher

terence-crutcher

Terence Crutcher (1976-2016), father of four, was the 33rd unarmed Black American killed by police in 2016. He was killed by Officer Betty Shelby, who is White and has not been arrested.

Akilah Hughes (@AkilahObviously):

“Black people should sue police departments for PTSD. This can’t keep happening. #TerenceCrutcher”

On Friday September 16th 2016 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at about 7.30pm, Crutcher was driving back from his first day at Tulsa Community College when his car broke down. According to one witness he fled, saying he thought his car was going to blow up.

Officer Betty Shelby saw the car stopped in the middle of the road, engine running, car door open. She looked inside and saw nothing suspicious. Then Crutcher appeared. She says he “never made any response”, did not respond to her commands and “had his head tilted down but eyes on and fixated on” her. She called for backup.

A police helicopter and four police cars arrived within two minutes, sirens blaring.

terencecrutcher

One of the two men up in the helicopter says:

“looks like a bad dude too – might be on something.”

terence-crutcher-helicopter-still

As soon as backup arrived, Shelby and two other officers move in, guns drawn, even though from the video Crutcher does not appear to be any kind of threat or even “a bad dude”. His hands are up. But then he leans against his now-closed car door. Police say he was reaching inside his car. Officer Tyler Turnbough shoots his taser to stun him, Shelby fires her gun to kill him.

Crutcher falls, bleeding heavily. He leaves what appears to be a streak of blood on his car door – and car window. Meaning the window was up, that he was not reaching inside.

For nearly two minutes, he lays there bleeding before any of the officers from the five police cars come to check on him for medical attention.

Police searched his car. They say they found no gun but did find some angel dust.

Compare that to a terrorist suspect: on the same day this made news, police in Linden, New Jersey took Ahmad Khan Rahami alive after a gun battle. He is an Afghan American, the suspected terrorist who planted the bombs that went off in New York and New Jersey the other day. Still alive.

Crutcher’s twin sister Tiffany:

“We are truly devastated, the entire family is devastated. You all want to know who that big bad dude was? That big bad dude was my twin brother. That big bad dude was a father. That big bad dude was a son. That big bad dude was enrolled at Tulsa Community College. … That big bad dude loved God. That big bad dude was at church singing with all his flaws every week. That big bad dude, that’s who he was.”

Benjamin Crump, lawyer for the family:

“He needed help, he needed a hand. And what he got was a bullet in the lungs.”

– Abagond, 2016.

See also:

556

Trump’s Black outreach

trump-copennyDonald Trump, the Republican who is running for US president in 2016, has been doing what the White press calls “Black outreach”:

July 2016: Trump names Omarosa head of Black outreach. Spike Lee comments:

“Trump Has Named Her As His ‘Director Of African-American Outreach. You Might Know Her From Trump’s RealityTV Show The Apprentice. #Who’s Next? Step N’ Fetchit? Aunt Jemina? Uncle Ben?”

August 22nd: in Ohio before a vastly White audience Trump says:

“Poverty. Rejection. Horrible education. No housing, no homes, no ownership. Crime at levels that nobody has seen. … Look, it is a disaster the way African Americans are living, in many cases, and, in many cases the way Hispanics are living, and I say it with such a deep-felt feeling: What do you have to lose? I will straighten it out. I’ll bring jobs back. We’ll bring spirit back. We’ll get rid of the crime. You’ll be able to walk down the street without getting shot. Right now, you walk down the street, you get shot. Look at the statistics.”

Thin on policy, thick on stereotype.

August 29th: he tweets:

“Inner-city crime is reaching record levels.”

As if “inner-city crime” is a thing the FBI gathers numbers on. If he means big-city crime, that has dropped by half during the past 20 years or so – even in Chicago. It is nowhere near record levels.

September 3rd: in Detroit he sets foot in a Black neighbourhood for the first time in his 14-months of running for president. Gasp! And, for the first time in his 70 years on this earth – the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s – he goes to a Black church. He gives a scripted interview with no hard questions and then gives a short speech. Standing next to Omarosa, he sways while music is playing. Afterwards he visits Ben Carson’s old house – and then takes off.

September 14th: Trump goes to Flint, Michigan, where Republicans have knowingly allowed its Black-majority citizenry to be poisoned by lead in the water. When that made news nationwide, Trump refused to comment. At Flint he speaks at a church, but later bad-mouths its (Black) pastor. He takes a picture with Mari Copeny, Little Miss Flint (shown above), but does not answer the questions she had prepared.

September 16th: Trump, Birther-in-chief, admits that President Obama was born in the US – five years after Obama made public his long-form birth certificate. But Trump does not apologize (or even fauxpologize) for humiliating the country’s first Black president.

Trump has not appeared before the NAACP, which even Romney did, much less, say, the Roland Martin show or the Tom Joyner Morning Show, which reaches 8 million people. It is not as if he has not been invited.

Thus his “Black outreach” to date.

Remarks: Someone running for president who was serious about the Black vote would not act like this. But someone putting on a show for White voters who think maybe he is too racist to vote for – he would act like this.

– Abagond, 2016.

See also:

546

Remarks:

This song came out ten years ago today, on September 18th 2006. It seems older than that, though. On the pop charts, it went to #2 in Britain, #10 in Australia and #14 in their native US. It went to #1 on the US alternative rock chart.

Best lines:

He doesn’t look a thing like Jesus
But he talks like a gentleman

and:

We’re burning down the highway skyline
On the back of a hurricane that started turning
When you were young
When you were young

The songs starts a minute and a half into the video. This video has a happy ending. There is another version that ends in tragedy.

Hispanic Heritage: The video was shot in Tlayacapan, Mexico, an hour south of Mexico City. The old church you see is Capilla Santiago, built in the 1500s to stamp out the Aztec religion. Some of the old dances, though, still live on and the goddess Tonantzin, some say, became Our Lady of Guadalupe. The church is now part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

See also:

Lyrics:

You sit there in your heartache
Waiting on some beautiful boy to
To save your from your old ways
You play forgiveness
Watch it now, here he comes

He doesn’t look a thing like Jesus
But he talks like a gentlemen
Like you imagined when you were young

Can we climb this mountain
I don’t know
Higher now than ever before
I know we can make it if we take it slow
Let’s take it easy
Easy now, watch it go

We’re burning down the highway skyline
On the back of a hurricane that started turning
When you were young
When you were young

And sometimes you close your eyes
And see the place where you Used to live
When you were young

They say the devil’s water – it ain’t so sweet
You don’t have to drink right now
But you can dip your feet
Every once in a little while

You sit there in your heartache
Waiting on some beautiful boy to
To save you from your old ways
You play forgiveness
Watch it now, here he comes

He doesn’t look a thing like Jesus
But he talks like a gentlemen
Like you imagined when you were young
When you were young

I said he doesn’t look a thing like Jesus
He doesn’t look a thing like Jesus

Source: Songfacts, Wikipedia.

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