Clearly grammar should be on this list since you’re not supposed to end a sentence (or a title?) with a preposition, but oh well.
I can’t believe we haven’t done this. We’ve done movies that all Black people should know. We’ve done songs that all Black people should know. We’ve beat into the ground the Black in America series. For goodness’ sake, we’ve mentioned Flavor Flav on this site at least 100 times. It only seems natural that putting out the definitive list of all things that Black people should (at least) be aware of would be the order of the day. But no.
I blame Jim Jones Lil Mama Kanye for this Shawne Merriman Chad Ochocinco Whitney Houston little orphan Annie Lil Wayne for this.
Anywho, I feel that the canon of Blackness needs some kind of direction. And who better than yours truly, the expert on all things expertly to provide some guidance into things that pretty much should be par the course for all people of the diaspora regardless of class, religion, orientation, or grade of hair.
And so it begins…10 Things All Black People Should (At Least) Be Aware Of…
We’ve talked about movies and I’m sure this was mentioned, but really, if you’ve not seen this, or don’t know who Alex Haley is (no plagiarize), (or have no clue what I’m even talking about) somebody in your life has deprived you of a vital part of your Blackness. You should be upset about this.
I’ve found Kool-Aid to be a very polarizing part of Black culture. And yes, I’m calling it a part of Black culture. Almost everybody I know grew up in a Kool-Aid house, or they didn’t because they’re parents specifically didn’t want their kids drinking Kool-Aid. If that ain’t some Black sh*t, I don’t know what is. You know some of us love to think we’re too good for stuff, even if we do live in the projects. Then again, I suppose being the most well off of the broke is something worth bragging on. I suppose.
Anytime I meet a Black person who can’t play spades, I’m perplexed. I don’t judge, I’m just perplexed. I don’t even remember learning how to play spades. I just…played. A close second to this is tunk. And quite a few people will throw bid whist into the mix, but spades reigns supreme. Nobody plays bid whist on the hood of a car.
4) The Autobiography of Malcolm X
I’m not even saying you have to have seen the movie, but I feel like this book is required reading for all Black people. Even folks whose sole reading experience rests in the realm of Donny Goines novels have read Malcolm X.
5) Coming To America/The Color Purple
Over Labor Day, I found out that one of my close friends had never seen Coming To America. Coming to America is the Jay-Z of movies. There are so many quotables in this movie. It’s just one of those movies that all Black people see at some point and I think should be mandated. Heck, I’m trying to figure out at what age to introduce my daughter to it right now…and losing sleep over it. Same goes for The Color Purple, which is really a comedy if you think about it.
6) Michael Jackson (RIP)
I don’t care if you think he’s a pedophile, you should at least know, by heart, Off The Wall, Thriller, and Bad, and be able to do at least one dance from the Thriller video. I saw a 72-year-old woman hit a Thriller move this past weekend. I also saw a 6-year-old do the same. This is required.
7) What’s Going On/Stevie Wonder’s hits/Motown
Marvin Gaye made arguably the most important album in music history. It makes lists that only white people create. And don’t get me started on Stevie. From “As” to “I Just Called To Say I Love You”, if you haven’t heard Stevie, your life is incomplete like a Sisqo song. And Motown is Motown.
8) Soul Food (actual food, not bad TV series or serviceable movie)
This one is debatable because Southern white people eat it as well, but really, who was cooking for them? Black people. It’s part of Blackness. Eat some collards, gangsta.
9) Nation of Islam
You ain’t got to be apart of the FOI or anything, but I firmly believe you should know what FOI stands for. From Farrakhan to Muhammad Ali to The Honorable Elijah Mohammed (and of course brotha El Hajj Malik Shabazz), agree or disagree, the nation has played a large part in Black history.
10) The Black Panthers
I used to want to be a Black Panther because before crack, they cared. Plus one of the most famous cartoon characters in Black America is named after him (Huey Freeman).
So, good people of VSB, what’s missing? What else should all Black people be aware of??
-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka TANGLE JIG P aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL, HE A 3
*Admin Note: We’re currently in the process of planning a VSB Happy Hour in NYC for Saturday, October 3rd, somewhere in Manhattan (probably). Panama, Liz, and friends will be there. If you’re in the NY area and are interested in coming, could you send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org? We’re trying to gauge interest to determine what kind of space we need or if we should just tell folks to meet at the McDonald’s on 3rd Street in the Village with red cups of whatever you like to drink*