Lists, Race & Politics

Blackness 101: 10 Things All Black People Should (At Least) Be Aware Of…

Barnes_Ernie_SUGAR_SHACKClearly grammar should be on this list since you’re not supposed to end a sentence (or a title?) with a preposition, but oh well.

Bumaye Panama.

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…

1)  Roots

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.

2)  Kool-Aid

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.

3)  Spades

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.

Much like…

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 contact@verysmartbrothas.com?  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*

Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is pretty fly for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future.

  • Selah

    Hmmm. I’m glad you added that (at least be aware of) to some of these… cuz if not, my blackness would be in question.

    SO I just asked my mom if she could think of anything all black people should know. Her answer? “Don’t trust whitey!!” lmfao. terrible.

    • 8th Wonder

      @Selah,

      That’s learned in minute one of the 101 course, lmao!

    • 8th Wonder

      @Selah,

      That’s learned in minute one of the 101 course, lmao!

    • Gem of the Ocean

      @Selah,

      my mom would say the same thing… and she’s not black. lmao

    • Gem of the Ocean

      @Selah,

      my mom would say the same thing… and she’s not black. lmao

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      @Selah, i think all Black folks here that saying at least 203 times in their life. at least…

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      @Selah, i think all Black folks here that saying at least 203 times in their life. at least…

  • Selah

    Hmmm. I’m glad you added that (at least be aware of) to some of these… cuz if not, my blackness would be in question.

    SO I just asked my mom if she could think of anything all black people should know. Her answer? “Don’t trust whitey!!” lmfao. terrible.

  • Omar

    I’m hoping the fact that my parents were in the nation, I know ex-panthers personally, I used to live in Marvin Gaye’s old neighborhood and my education was based on mastering games like spades (middle school was tunk, high school was spades and college was dominoes) makes up for me not having seen the color purple.

    • Vega

      @Omar, I am a loooooong time lurker, but I felt that I must respond to you!
      As much as you should be lauded for your capabilities in various table sports, I must disagree that your mastery of said games entitles you to a pass for not partaking in the manna of movie magic that is the Color Purple. Please get your hands on the DVD, and sit back and enjoy. The Color Purple is full of jewels and quotes that you can use in everyday conversation. Also, as a bonus, watching the Color Purple has supernatural powers that improve your spades ability. Simply put…Go. Get. The. Movie.

      P.S. – I’ll leave you with this, “Till you do right by me….” Watch the movie to undersatnd that quote, or your spades and bones game will indeed suffer.

      • http://lizburr.com Liz

        @Vega, thanks for delurking!! lol

      • http://lizburr.com Liz

        @Vega, thanks for delurking!! lol

    • Vega

      @Omar, I am a loooooong time lurker, but I felt that I must respond to you!
      As much as you should be lauded for your capabilities in various table sports, I must disagree that your mastery of said games entitles you to a pass for not partaking in the manna of movie magic that is the Color Purple. Please get your hands on the DVD, and sit back and enjoy. The Color Purple is full of jewels and quotes that you can use in everyday conversation. Also, as a bonus, watching the Color Purple has supernatural powers that improve your spades ability. Simply put…Go. Get. The. Movie.

      P.S. – I’ll leave you with this, “Till you do right by me….” Watch the movie to undersatnd that quote, or your spades and bones game will indeed suffer.

    • http://stuffghettopeoplelike.wordpress.com Stuff Ghetto People Like

      Don’t feel bad, Omar, I never saw The Color Purple either….mostly because I never cared to. Never appealed to me as I always figured that to be a chick flick.

      • http://presidentialtelevisionandfilm.ning.com Monk

        @Stuff Ghetto People Like,

        Same here..never saw it but feel like I can just pull together all the random quotes I’ve heard and piece together the whole joint.

        I totally get the perception of it being a ‘chick flick’ too based on the fact that 99% of the time I hear a quote from the movie, it’s from a female.

        • http://ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Big Man

          @Monk,

          Massive cosign.

          It’s to the point now where I’m actively avoiding this movie.

        • http://ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Big Man

          @Monk,

          Massive cosign.

          It’s to the point now where I’m actively avoiding this movie.

      • http://presidentialtelevisionandfilm.ning.com Monk

        @Stuff Ghetto People Like,

        Same here..never saw it but feel like I can just pull together all the random quotes I’ve heard and piece together the whole joint.

        I totally get the perception of it being a ‘chick flick’ too based on the fact that 99% of the time I hear a quote from the movie, it’s from a female.

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

        @Stuff Ghetto People Like, i used to think it was a chick flick. it really isn’t. it’s really a comedy in the line of Friday.

        just set like 60 years earlier

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

        @Stuff Ghetto People Like, i used to think it was a chick flick. it really isn’t. it’s really a comedy in the line of Friday.

        just set like 60 years earlier

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

        @Stuff Ghetto People Like,

        i finally broke down and watched it a couple years ago, and i have to say that its more entertaining than i was expecting it to be

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

        @Stuff Ghetto People Like,

        i finally broke down and watched it a couple years ago, and i have to say that its more entertaining than i was expecting it to be

    • http://stuffghettopeoplelike.wordpress.com Stuff Ghetto People Like

      Don’t feel bad, Omar, I never saw The Color Purple either….mostly because I never cared to. Never appealed to me as I always figured that to be a chick flick.

    • http://www.singlesisterspeak.wordpress.com Nicki Sunshine

      @Omar, The Color Purple is the best!!!!!!!

    • http://www.singlesisterspeak.wordpress.com Nicki Sunshine

      @Omar, The Color Purple is the best!!!!!!!

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      @Omar, i don’t think that makes up for it. though that’s quite the blackness resume.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      @Omar, i don’t think that makes up for it. though that’s quite the blackness resume.

  • Omar

    I’m hoping the fact that my parents were in the nation, I know ex-panthers personally, I used to live in Marvin Gaye’s old neighborhood and my education was based on mastering games like spades (middle school was tunk, high school was spades and college was dominoes) makes up for me not having seen the color purple.

  • Simply Amazin

    You should also know where the picture you posted is from….. “I Want You” Marvin Gaye….

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      @Simply Amazin, actually…it didn’t come from the Marvin Gaye album…it was used for the marvin gaye album…

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      @Simply Amazin, actually…it didn’t come from the Marvin Gaye album…it was used for the marvin gaye album…

  • Simply Amazin

    You should also know where the picture you posted is from….. “I Want You” Marvin Gaye….

  • shrifryrye

    McDonald’s on 3rd Street in the Village with red cups….threw me off.

    i will regain my composure and come back in the morning. the list is on point though, and i don’t know how to play spades well, 9 out of 10 aint bad!

    • MizThickaDenThick

      @shrifryrye,
      you learn by observation…and follow suit!!!

    • MizThickaDenThick

      @shrifryrye,
      you learn by observation…and follow suit!!!

    • http://stuffghettopeoplelike.wordpress.com Stuff Ghetto People Like

      @shrifryrye, as far as I remember, I only played once ever….

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

        @Stuff Ghetto People Like, how is that even possible? i feel like you either play or have never played.

        playing once just seems so anomalous.

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

          @Panama Jackson,

          i feel like you either play or have never played.

          ***filed under “things omar little would say if he were on vsb”***

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

          @Panama Jackson,

          i feel like you either play or have never played.

          ***filed under “things omar little would say if he were on vsb”***

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

        @Stuff Ghetto People Like, how is that even possible? i feel like you either play or have never played.

        playing once just seems so anomalous.

    • http://stuffghettopeoplelike.wordpress.com Stuff Ghetto People Like

      @shrifryrye, as far as I remember, I only played once ever….

    • Me fail english?

      @shrifryrye,

      Girl I can play whist and spades. But I never even heard of tunk til this post.

      P.S. Happy Hour on a Saturday is what threw me. lol

      • Smiley Face

        @Me fail english?,

        Tunk/tonk is a knock off of rummy/gin rummy

      • Smiley Face

        @Me fail english?,

        Tunk/tonk is a knock off of rummy/gin rummy

      • http://cookinwitgrease.com Chasdizz

        @Me fail english?,
        umm what is this “whist” you all speak of? never heard of it. at all.

        unless it’s we have some other name for it where i’m from.

        • Me fail english?

          @Chasdizz,

          Its the one where you keep a kitty and “take em to Boston” and your mother slaps you upside the head for jumping on her team and losing… :(

          Its like spades for grownups

        • Me fail english?

          @Chasdizz,

          Its the one where you keep a kitty and “take em to Boston” and your mother slaps you upside the head for jumping on her team and losing… :(

          Its like spades for grownups

      • http://cookinwitgrease.com Chasdizz

        @Me fail english?,
        umm what is this “whist” you all speak of? never heard of it. at all.

        unless it’s we have some other name for it where i’m from.

    • Me fail english?

      @shrifryrye,

      Girl I can play whist and spades. But I never even heard of tunk til this post.

      P.S. Happy Hour on a Saturday is what threw me. lol

    • Captain Morgan

      @shrifryrye,

      I can’t play Spades either, but i got nine out of ten too.

    • Captain Morgan

      @shrifryrye,

      I can’t play Spades either, but i got nine out of ten too.

    • shay_d_lady

      @shrifryrye, aww..come to Memphis, I shall take you under my wing…..
      I am a beast on them spades!

    • shay_d_lady

      @shrifryrye, aww..come to Memphis, I shall take you under my wing…..
      I am a beast on them spades!

    • Gem of the Ocean

      @shrifryrye,

      2 things:
      (a) i hate you for resurfacing shrifryrye
      (b) i’ll teach you how to play spades. just dont pull a sakanna mae–she made me painstakingly teach her all my secret moves… and doesn’t remember a daggone thing (too drunk. oops). damn her.

      • shrifryryeisoverit!

        @Gem of the Ocean, yes! teach me, i’m a fast learner!

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

          @shrifryryeisoverit!,

          yes! teach me, i’m a fast learner!

          if i had a dollar…

          • 8th Wonder

            @The Champ,

            But you don’t. Nuff said.

          • 8th Wonder

            @The Champ,

            But you don’t. Nuff said.

          • http://stuffghettopeoplelike.wordpress.com Stuff Ghetto People Like

            8th Wonder is The Champ’s personal foil….

          • http://stuffghettopeoplelike.wordpress.com Stuff Ghetto People Like

            8th Wonder is The Champ’s personal foil….

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

          @shrifryryeisoverit!,

          yes! teach me, i’m a fast learner!

          if i had a dollar…

      • shrifryryeisoverit!

        @Gem of the Ocean, yes! teach me, i’m a fast learner!

    • Gem of the Ocean

      @shrifryrye,

      2 things:
      (a) i hate you for resurfacing shrifryrye
      (b) i’ll teach you how to play spades. just dont pull a sakanna mae–she made me painstakingly teach her all my secret moves… and doesn’t remember a daggone thing (too drunk. oops). damn her.

  • shrifryrye

    McDonald’s on 3rd Street in the Village with red cups….threw me off.

    i will regain my composure and come back in the morning. the list is on point though, and i don’t know how to play spades well, 9 out of 10 aint bad!

  • Miss Patterson

    I’m 90% black. Yeah, that sounds about right. The 10% that is not “black” is not my fault. I blame McCandless township. Thank you and good night.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      @Miss Patterson,

      not wt?

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      @Miss Patterson,

      not wt?

  • Miss Patterson

    I’m 90% black. Yeah, that sounds about right. The 10% that is not “black” is not my fault. I blame McCandless township. Thank you and good night.

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