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Though I became a fan of the animated series, I first fell in love with The Boondocks when it was a syndicated comic strip. Through the strip, Aaron McGruder offered commentary on current events from politics to pop culture in poignant and hilarious fashion.

Today marked the first day of the Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the US, and I genuinely wonder what McGruder would have conjured up to mark the occasion. I guess I’ll have to settle for this gem from several years ago:

(click the image to enlarge)

May 3, 2005

VCF

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“In the Black Panther party, we failed because we took God out. I beg you not to do the same thing.”

I know I needed to hear her words today. Thanks Davey D making her words available to the public.

VCF

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Revolutionary Situation: 2Pac’s Mom Brings Serious Heat
Breakdown FM with Davey D
April 11, 2008

Afeni Shakur

Many people forget that 2Pac’s mother Afeni Shakur was a Black Panther who was really ’bout it ’bout it back in the days.

She was pregnent with 2Pac when she went on trial as part of the infamous NY Panther 21.

This sista has always put in work for the community, and while she did have some momentary setbacks which were described by 2Pac in some of his songs, after his death Afeni has emerged stronger then ever.

She is still a freedom fighter.

The other week she came to Memphis, Tennessee for the Dream Reborn Conference and delivered a blistering speech about the direction Hip Hop and Hip Hop activists must take going into the 21st century. She was quite clear about us owning land, starting our own businesses and being spiritually grounded. Her speech drew a rousing standing ovation. 2Pac’s mom is no joke.

Click here for audio of Afeni Shakur’s speech.

Redemption Song and Dance:
Little Melvin Williams Is Not The Deacon He Played On The Wire
City Paper (Baltimore, MD)
By Van Smith

Published on: 3/19/2008

Melvin Williams

“I’m sorry I let you in the door,” Melvin Williams says as he ushers a reporter out of his warehouse office to the sidewalk outside, where the conversation continues. The old gangster has long been called “Little Melvin,” and he’s dressed all in black, save a blue handkerchief wrapped around his ankle that peeks out from below the hem of his left pant leg. He quotes the Bible, chapter and verse, and condemns the visitor as a “troublemaker” and a “snoop,” and he casts himself as “a peacemaker.” Evidence of this last claim comes when he shakes an offered hand as the time comes to say goodbye.

Williams’ righteous indignation is entirely in keeping with his current reputation as the wizened, redeemed OG aiming to keep souls out of the drug game, an image he earned playing a church deacon on the HBO television series The Wire. He’d lived up to his prior persona–the fearsome drug kingpin–until 1996, when he confirms he “saw God.” He then was nearing the end of a lengthy federal prison sentence, begun in the 1980s, for his leadership role in introducing bulk shipments of heroin to Baltimore. Williams became a bail bondsman after his release, but caught a gun conviction in 2000, earning a new 22-year sentence from U.S. District Judge Marvin Garbis. In 2003, though, Garbis removed the career-criminal mantle he’d previously draped over Williams’ shoulders and set him free (“Little Melvin’s Holiday,” The Nose, Jan. 22, 2003). The old gangster’s public redemption was aided further by his Wire appearances as a man of God.

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A Man Was Lynched Yesterday

Lynchings of black people in the US were common occurrences following Emancipation and throughout the first half of the 20th century. The NAACP would hang a banner from its offices in New York City the day after these horrible events to alert people of the city to what had happened.

Today, we hang this banner for Jesus of Nazareth, who was lynched on yesterday.

VCF

Pastor Otis Moss III, Trinity UCC on Palm Sunday 2008

It’s been brought to my attention that members of Trinity United Church of Christ have started a blog to help buffer some of the misrepresentation of the church and of Pastor Emeritus Dr. Jeremiah Wright. I’ll add their site to the sidebar on this blog so that we can stay up to date on the corrections to their record in ministry. Here’s a direct link: The Truth About Trinity.

Now, since we live in the age of prooftexting and few have the patience to research and listen to entire sermons, if you’re looking for “soundbytes” that offer a more representational rendering of Dr. Wright’s preaching, check out this collection of sermon clips: Trinity UCC Youtube Channel.

VCF

From the beginning, when major news outlets reported on Barack Obama’s “controversial” membership in Trinity United Church of Christ and his relationship with its (now) retired senior pastor Dr. Jeremiah Wright they never were interested in contextualizing the story. Wright appeared on Fox News’ Hannity & Colmes over a year ago to help “contextualize” TUCC’s mission and message, but Sean Hannity wanted no part of it.

The most recent flap about Obama’s relationship with Wright has been reported with similar incompetence by white media in both “liberal” and “conservative” outlets.

To help add necessary context to Dr. Wright’s sermons, why not seek the expertise of those who could help explain why Wright would have the audacity to exhort that God Damn America? Why not seek to understand how someone could say Jesus was a poor black man who lived in a country run by rich white people? Most are so aghast that Wright made such claims from the pulpit, that wrestling with what he said hasn’t been the order of the day. I’ve heard a lot of “he shouldn’t have made those statements,” but not much of “his statements are erroneous because…” Maybe its because (for the most part) Wright is right, but it’s a truth that most citizens of the U.S. don’t want to hear.

Below, two scholars help to put Dr. Jeremiah Wright’s sermons in context by taking African-American experience seriously and recalling the prophetic protest tradition within the Black Church. They offer necessary context for those who don’t seem to get it. But it really makes me wonder. If we don’t “get it” now, will we ever?

VCF

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Barack Obama & Jeremiah Wrigh

What’s Right with Jeremiah Wright?
The Daily Voice
Randall C. Bailey, Andrew Mellon Professor of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament at the Interdenominational Theological Center

The current turmoil regarding Dr. Wright’s sermons reminds me of the reactions to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1967 sermon against the Vietnam War delivered at Riverside Church in New York. In that sermon he charged the U.S. with crimes against the Vietnamese people and challenged the military industrial complex and the economic destruction of this nation due to that war. King saw the interrelationship between racist actions in the U.S. and in Vietnam and connected the dots. He did this in the finest tradition of Black preaching. King was castigated for speaking about issues other than civil rights and for criticizing the nation and government. We should not be surprised that more than 40 years later people still decry the marked difference in the ways in which many Black clergy approach the tasks of theologically calling the nation to judgment.

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Our Jeremiah
TheRoot.com
Melissa Harris-Lacewell, Associate Professor of Politics and African American Studies at Princeton University

A black orator stood before a rapt audience, his voice rising to a crescendo as he made this fiery statement: “Statesmen of America beware what you do! The soil is in readiness, and the seed-time has come. Nations, not less than individuals, reap as they sow.

The dreadful calamities of the past few years came not by accident, nor unbidden, from the ground. You shudder today at the harvest of blood sown in the springtime of the Republic by your patriot fathers.”

Sound familiar?

These are not the words of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the embattled minister of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ. These words were uttered by Frederick Douglass in his appeal to the U.S. Congress for African-American voting rights.

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When I saw this a couple of weeks ago on CNN I jumped out of my seat. Charles Barkley puts it down. I know he published a book titled Who’s Afraid of a Large Black Man?, but by calling the religious right “fake Christians,”openly advocating women’s right to choose, and taking an affirmative stance on gay marriage, Sir Charles may be on his way to being born again as a New Black Man.

VCF

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