What is America?

By: S. Davis

Photo: Canva


Colin Kaepernick began his silent protest, sitting, on the bench for three games during preseason action before there was any uproar. Once noticed he respectfully declined interviews for weeks. His demonstration flew under the radar as he put himself on the bench instead of kneeling. When he finally gave an interview for his actions he stated that he was going to continue “to stand with the people who are being oppressed. When there’s significant change and the flag represents what it’s supposed to represent, and this country is representing people the way it’s supposed to, I’ll stand.” It was a response to combat racial injustice and systematic oppression and to lend his voice to those “dying in vain.” He was protesting the failure of the country to be a place for all, to be a place protective of all its citizens.

Kaepernick expressed his “great respect for the men and women that have fought for this country.” He’s aware that our military “fights for freedom, they fight for the people, and for liberty and justice for everyone.” He also said that “people are dying in vain” because “freedom, justice and liberty” isn’t being afforded to “everybody.”

To ensure that he wasn’t being disrespectful to the military he met with Green Beret Nate Boyer who advised him to kneel for the last preseason game in deference to the flag. Boyer stated, “Soldiers take a knee in front of a fallen brother’s grave, you know, to show respect. When we’re on a patrol and we go into a security halt, we take a knee, and we pull security.” He talked to a veteran so it wouldn’t be twisted and viewed as unpatriotic.

At that point, most of America lost their minds and ignored the reasons why he decided on his course of action. Entirely.

It was never about Kaepernick craving attention. If that was the case he would’ve brought attention to himself before anyone noticed him on the sidelines. He avoided that.

As for the anthem – written by F. Scott Key; a lawyer, poet and staunch anti-abolitionist – it’s trash and African-Americans don’t have to stand for it. It wasn’t written for them or any minority to be frank. Lastly, the great writer of the Star-Spangled Banner owned slaves. It’s abhorrent that it’s the song to represent ALL Americans. No.

Is that patriotic?

As for Kaepernick the player, yes, he experienced a notable decline after his ascent. That can’t be denied. However he also spent his last few seasons as a starter recovering from injury, mind you. He dealt with a changing franchise around him, a coaching purge and a below average skill position group, notably at receiver; I don’t think any of them are still in the NFL. His receivers also led the league in total drops. With that he started 11 games and lost 10 if I recall. Bad. The entire team was responsible for that record; not solely one player. He threw 16 touchdowns to four interceptions with a 59% completion percentage. Since when is a 4:1 touchdown to interception ratio indicative of a washed up quarterback? He’s credentialed to be an NFL starter today.

It’s not unpatriotic to protest an oppressive government that won’t look in the mirror. When that anthem plays there are a lot of people on their phones, selling and buying concessions, laughing and joking, etc. Playing the national anthem before sporting events is an American tradition. I’ve attended soccer matches across the world and there was one time where a national anthem was performed. It was done to honor the recent death of a police officer; other countries don’t do it. Also the NFL started this TRADITION of having players on the field for it all the way back in…2009. History.

Had he been named Tom Brady and took a knee, white people wouldn’t have an issue at all. They’d scream, “Yeah, you know Brady’s right about America. We need to make things equal. GO PATS!”

It’s Kaepernick’s right or anyone’s right to protest. Those are the liberties that soldiers fight for; not a piece of cloth. (If the NFL cared so much about patriotism they wouldn’t have collected six figures per team, at least the teams that were reported, for “paid patriotism.” Secondly, if America cared so much about its veterans then none of them would be homeless and arriving home broken and left on their own.)

Now his right to protest doesn’t protect him from the backlash but there wouldn’t be one if people stopped screaming to listen. There are so few people who listen to one another anymore. Those that are angry and loud are just a sample size of the larger problem.

America was founded on a protest. He’s protesting racism. It still exists. Minorities aren’t making it up. We protested England because they were oppressive and wanted to hold us under rule. Was it un-British of us to break away from the crown?


Was does it stand for anymore? Depending on where or who you are, and your skin color – because America always reminds you of it – your response will vary. It’s obvious that it’s no longer a land for everyone. It’s been made clear that a select few are deemed fit to attempt to even participate in the American Dream.

Protest? I’ve been ruminating on the label affixed to the NFL players in regards to their demonstrations during the national anthem; again, which was penned by a slave owner and wasn’t representative of a multicultural America. It isn’t a protest.

Complaints coming in state that the national anthem is “not the time” to protest; however the players have chosen to be silent in their “protest.” Choosing silence in an attempt to express deference to the flag and the national anthem; Kaepernick took a knee to be respectful. Protests are meant to disrupt and make everyone uncomfortable. To protest is to express an objection to what someone has said or done. It is to be a statement or action expressing disapproval of or objection to something.

Now we’re splitting hairs at this point but I don’t want to label the actions of the NFL players as a protest by the standard definition. It’s a call to attention. To shed light on centuries of oppression – and the vicious ripples it creates – that minorities are too familiar with while the whites in America wish to avoid the conversation or dismiss it as “nonexistent” or something that happened “years ago.”

Don’t protest! Protest at a different time! Make sure it’s a silent protest if you do! Let’s focus on that last one. So a silent protest is what America wants? OK! America’s so progressive and we’ll accept a silent protest because it’s neat and tidy for the country, correct?

I know this is true because a lifetime of silent protests and speaking out eloquently on the plight of African-Americans and other minorities in ‘merica led to a long, healthy life – and peaceful death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was afforded the time to see his children age into adulthood before he expired due to natural causes and old age.

Silent protest! America’s amenable to that.

What does the flag represent? Initially it stood for the extermination and exploitation of Native Americans. It’s a complicated symbol for African-Americans. In present day it’s waved in the face of Muslims and Mexicans and to them it says they’re not welcome on these shores. Is this representative of America?

This is a country of immigrants. When the Europeans invaded these shores guess what they were doing? Immigrating to a land that didn’t ask for them; so now we’re turning our backs on the plight of the immigrants that mean us no harm? Who want to create better lives for themselves and their families? There’s hypocrisy in that. Are all men created equal…here?

Yet someone taking a knee – on advice from a military veteran – or raising a fist is unpatriotic?

So is it acceptable that some groups in our country clutch the American flag in one hand and a Confederate flag in the other? A Nazi flag stitched together with an American flag and draped over someone’s shoulders? How about when the red-white-and-blue is waved in the hands of those wearing pointed white hoods spewing hate speech – and the purity of a white (only) nation?

Why isn’t that detestable? Why isn’t that unpatriotic? Why aren’t the majority of Americans or ALL Americans upset about that?



Visit The Barber?

By: S. Davis

Funny how in the aftermath of the Michael Vick interview with Jason Whitlock people are now jumping behind a guy that was maligned for his play as a quarterback and the decisions he made on and off the field of play. So he’s the one to rally behind as it relates to Colin Kaepernick’s abilities under center? Oh the lines people draw….

Vick had to ingratiate himself to any and all who would listen. Furthermore he needed the vetting of Tony Dungy just to get the ball rolling on his NFL career when he was released from prison. His advice to Kaepernick was genuine and I feel that he was doing it for the greater good of the quarterback’s future – but you have to view it from Vick’s distinct point of view. There were steps to take; he had a list of objectives he needed to meet in order to earn his desired result: employment in the National Football League. His whole existence – as far as the NFL is concerned – is to redeem himself in the eyes of the power brokers. Even now, as a retired player, he’s still on the redemption tour when doing goodwill for his  youth camps and outreach for his commitments related to charities involving animals. These are the lenses in which he’s viewing Kaepernick – and the barriers he’s facing in resuming his career.

It is not even close to being in the same universe.

Football is my favorite sport but I personally may go without my favorite way to kill time – until Kaepernick is signed or he retires. So people who have taken lives, although not through convicted murder, can line up on Sundays. You can beat your wife and assault other human beings, drive drunk and kill animals but someone who happens to be African-American QUIETLY protests and that’s the line? That’s the transgression that the league deems as too extreme?

We can’t have that in our game!

How odd is that? Why don’t white people, by and large, understand that the American experience isn’t the same for everyone? It isn’t.

Hey, white people do you remember that tiny, secret, work-exchange program called slavery. It happened. No matter how much you want to forget it. Listen this isn’t a diatribe against white America but we all view this country based on our experiences. Your worldview is built upon those experiences – and the black experience is not remotely close to those who happen to be in the majority in America.

Why the hell are white people so sensitive about the truth of this country? This ridiculous stance the league is taking against Kaepernick is proof.

Vick needed a fresh start. He was convicted of a crime and went to jail. He needed to make things right and be redeemed. There was a legitimate stigma and baggage that followed him. He had a mandate to be presentable to the 32 owners and general managers in the league.

Kaepernick carries no such baggage and, no, he doesn’t need to visit the barber. He doesn’t need to apologize. He doesn’t need to seek redemption. He didn’t do anything wrong.

On the “Dan Patrick Show” yesterday Vick was thoughtful and apologetic. “I think it was taken out of context in regards to what I was trying to convey, but I only want to help Colin Kaepernick. I’m not a general manager, I’m not the guy who makes the decisions on getting him signed, and I’m truly sorry for what I said. I think I should have used a better choice of words. Obviously we all know his afro has nothing to do with him not being signed.”

Why isn’t he signed to a contract yet? It’s the end of July. There are not 32 quarterbacks in the league fit to start. Kaepernick was a handful of plays away from having a Super Bowl ring on his hand. He had 16 touchdowns against four interceptions last season when possessions/turnovers is the most important facet of football. There’s not a single job for him?

Outside of the game, he’s an activist donating time and money to the causes that inspire him. If Tom Brady led the exact silent protest I wonder how he would be viewed, covered and dissected. I know the answer, he’d have a church erected in his honor and the country would cite him as the coming of a new deity. People already worship him as if he is one.

If whites protest an issue that draws their attention they’re viewed as passionate and true Americans whereas any protest involving African-Americans (and other minorities) get labeled as malcontents, mobs, and breeding a dangerous element. It’s shameful and the media covers things in such a way where it’s normal for them to pass those adjectives out.

This country was started on a rebellion. Americans wanted freedom of expression, clear of tyranny and rule from Great Britain. America protested. America fought. American gained its independence and in that same vein mandated that its citizens do the same. Yet a quarterback staging a quiet and personal protest against the National Anthem – which was penned by a slave owner and anti-abolitionist – is wrong for exercising his right? What he’s doing couldn’t be more American in nature.

He doesn’t need to apologize. He doesn’t need to seek redemption. He didn’t do anything wrong.


By: S. Davis



I see you America. I see exactly what you’re saying in attacking Colin Kaepernick’s right to protest (quietly) by refusing to stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner.” As an American citizen he has the right to stand (or sit) for his beliefs, regardless of whether it’s popular or not. I guess that a large number of those angered by his choice forgot how this country was founded.

Those feeling disrespected are focused on what he did instead of why he did it. Of course that’s the case because that’s what the ignorant chorus is likely to do….it’s standard operating procedure.

“He’s disrespecting the military.”

Is that true? He clearly stated in his chat with the media over the weekend that he means no disrespect to anyone in the military, past or present, and that he has veterans within his family. Veterans are voicing their opinion and it seems that most disagree but there are some that don’t have an issue with his actions.

When did joining the military drape someone in a halo and a cloak of perfection? So every single person that’s active or former military is above everyone else? The professions I hold in the highest esteem are the armed forces, teachers, social workers and firefighters but there’s not a single person on this planet that’s perfect and can’t be wrong.

People are infallible, clearly, and that extends to those in the military. Military members have received traffic tickets, screamed at their children, cheated on taxes, got into fistfights, cheated on their spouses, been incarcerated, etc. You get the point, right? They’re human just like the rest of us. I don’t agree with veterans who call his position wrong but I respect and value their opinion.

America does a great job of disrespecting its own military by not paying them enough and not caring for them post-active duty. How many homeless veterans do you encounter regularly? How many of these soldiers are returning, broken, to a country that does little for all their sacrifice? It seems the best ones love this country more than it loves them. I could be wrong though. The country conveniently ignores the plight of service members once they return to our shores. Why isn’t that un-American?

“He’s disrespecting those that died for our flag.”

There’s not a single person that died for the fabric that makes our flag – which is increasingly manufactured OUTSIDE of America, by the way. They sacrificed themselves for what the symbol represents.

They died so he could protest; so he could speak against wrongs in this country. It’s that simple. He’s honoring what they took up arms for.

What exactly does the flag represent?

It’s a conflicting sight for African-Americans and other minorities. We don’t know how to feel about the flag, the national anthem or the Pledge of Allegiance. The three of them were created by whites during a time when slavery was big business, the main business. The national anthem wasn’t written with African-Americans in mind. The Pledge of Allegiance wasn’t created to include minorities. The flag is a symbol…of something.

There isn’t a single thing about Kaepernick’s position that’s incorrect. He’s right on all accounts. Systemic racism, injustice for minorities… “Liberty and justice for all?” Where is he off-base? America is this proposed utopia…for a select few. Ignorant whites are really uncomfortable about that and they need to wake up and realize there are two versions of America. Informed people – of all colors – understand and don’t run from it. African-Americans, specifically, see the contradictions in what this country actually is and what it claims to be.

Why doesn’t America care about racism?

Why does America continue to oppress non-whites?

I hear the screams about the rich, black, quarterback and how “he needs to leave the country.” I’ve read the outrage about him making “millions” and “cashing his American checks” because I guess being rich overrides his skin tone. Where is the outrage about how divided this country still is? There is none except for those suffering: Americans of color.

Why does the Civil Rights Act even exist? Why did it have to be written into law? Whites didn’t have to fight for the right to vote, ever. Why did minorities? This country was so vehemently against equal rights that millions of black people had to die just so we could gain the same equality that whites are gifted at the time of birth. There isn’t a white Civil Rights Act, it isn’t needed.

Why does the hypocrisy of this country go unnoticed?

I remember paying attention in history class when the topic of World War II was on the syllabus. (Personally, it’s a moment in time that fascinates me. I’m completely enthralled by it. It has so many layers.)  So America finally entered the war, reluctantly, to stop an evil dictator who was killing a select group of people due to his own twisted bigotry and ideal of racial superiority. Thousands of innocent Jewish people where being exterminated for…being Jewish. That’s it.

We were steadfast in our resolve to make a statement and end the racism, oppression and murder that Adolf Hitler was dolling out across Europe. Our troops played their part in ending the war, returned home and America continued to oppress and limit the rights of African-AMERICANS. That was America, then. We fought for the freedom of Europeans but resisted the same freedom for fellow Americans…whose only crime was darker skin.

Is that disrespectful? Is that a symbol of a united America?

America is proficient at this. We fought for our rights when we felt we were under an oppressive regime. We rebelled against Great Britain because they blocked our freedom, our rights to exist, our religious freedoms, our right to form a nation, etc. We revolted against subjugation – and then subjugated an entire race.

I remember asking my grade school teachers about this in comparison to what happened during WWII – and I recall blank stares and a great deal of stammering.

Can we still ignore that? Are you still cool with that white America?

This is directed at white people who keep their heads in the sand or say he’s “un-American.” What does being American truly mean? The answer will differ depending on the person being asked – and their skin tone…and that’s bullshit. It was bullshit during the formation of this country, during the Civil War, Reformation, the Civil Rights Era and it’s bullshit in 2016.

That Kaepernick is an athlete doesn’t matter much. I like that it’s a huge story because he’s an athlete and this country worships sport and celebrity. There’s no way to avoid it but it’s ok, America. The news cycle will churn swiftly to sweep this under the rug. We all know that.

People don’t like that he protested in the manner in which he did, ok. What type of protest would’ve been acceptable? What would’ve made his actions easier to digest? I respect that he stood out, alone, instead of with the backing of other athletes.

Liberty and justice for all? Not if you have a natural tan.

This country loves symbols and maybe that’s why it has such a hard time removing the Confederate flag. Why does that flag still exist? The only place that piece of cloth should hang is in a few museums and that’s it. However its defenders claim it’s a sign of “southern pride and values.” Who do these values belong to exactly? It’s racist. It’s disgusting. It’s hurtful.

People lauded the politicians of South Carolina for taking it down but it should have never been raised in the first place. Does this country want to keep racism alive? Does America want to really end racism? Or does it just need to hold on to these little trinkets to remember that they held that power in an overt way?

Stop making an issue about what Kaepernick did. Please, focus on why he did it. I’ m not rich but I’m black and I’m conflicted about the flag and this country depending on what day it happens to be.

He protested the country and its government. Like it or not it’s American. If anything else lives up to the definition it’s his actions. It’s akin to the time during the birth of this nation when we spoke out collectively and were stamped as “un-British.”

Focus on why he protested. That’s where all the attention should be pointed. The reasons of his protest are the only things that matter here.

Black Lives Matter

By: S. Davis


When the response to anything related to Black Lives Matter is “All Lives Matter,” well, it directly comes across as short-sighted, disrespectful and heavy-handed in nature. It carries a subtext of “shut up and go away.” When activists are chanting it, having it applied to shirts and banners and making it newsworthy, it’s not because they believe that black lives mean more than any others on this planet or more specifically, America. It’s just to simply highlight that for most of this country’s history ONLY white lives have been deemed relevant, important and worthy of defending.

Black lives don’t matter as much as white ones in this country. There’s no disputing that. This country was built on the back of slaves, Africans. They were viewed as property so of course they held the same level of relevance as a cup, dish or scissors but they were far more lucrative to their owners based on the amount of work – and commerce they were able to generate. Remember those good ole Southern boys wanted to ensure “southern values” and their “way of living” by dying in combat over their position to have slavery exist in perpetuity.

In addition to blacks being owned in this land of the free they had the glory of being counted as three-fifths of a person in the U.S. Constitution of 1787 (Article I, section 2). Over time the clause has been misinterpreted to mean that blacks were counted as three-fifths of a person or three-fifths of a complete citizen of the country – although I clearly see why anyone could make that argument. I won’t even dispute them. The clause was written to count enslaved blacks as three-fifths of their white counterparts for direct representation in Congress. Even with the correct explanation of the clause a simple question of, “Why aren’t all lives equal on a one-to-one basis?” can easily be posed. This is another instance of black lives being devalued.

Why don’t people understand this? Why are some whites afraid to admit that blacks and other minorities have been discriminated against since…forever? Why do they insist racism is “in the past” and slavery “wasn’t that bad”?

In an interview on the Brian Lehrer Show, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said “The Black Lives Matter movement, and what it stands for, is important for this country. The very phrase ‘black lives matter’ is an absolute and direct response to a broken history in this country of structural racism in this country. It is a necessary movement.” De Blasio is a white man if things like that matter to any of you and his wife’s black as well…again, if that matters.

While I don’t agree completely with the BlackLivesMatter movement – in so much as I find their lack of response to black-on-black crime to be unsettling – I understand what drives them and what they’re doing is important.

When Black Lives Matter is heard there should be NO rebuttal at all. It isn’t needed. It’s not being expressed as a matter of dissension. It’s being said to remind those who pine for the days of slavery, segregation and ignorance that we won’t just sit idly on the sidelines and accept death. Simply put, black lives deserve an equal amount of respect as any other humans in this country – and on this planet. Yet there are those that want to fight against that…in 2016. Just take a look at the Republican nominee in the race for the White House.

I’m Just Black…Don’t Kill Me

By: S. Davis

I don’t like to write with anger. There are obvious reasons why but the last few days in America make it damn near impossible. So now it’s not safe to reach for my wallet…ok. How can I provide my identification without being pumped full of bullets?

We surrender and we die. We raise our hands in the air and you still shoot. I tell you that I can’t breathe because you’re putting pressure on my throat and I die. I’m fleeing arrest – and maybe I shouldn’t have run, I get that – but that’s no reason whatsoever to kill me in a hail of bullets that all enter my back.

Do you want us to leave your country? Because I honestly feel you still want us in chains, subservient and asking permission to look you in the eyes while we shine your shoes and press your clothing. Still, in 2016, we aren’t given the same respect as human beings. Pets are treated better in this society than the African-American male. That’s not a hyperbolic statement! An animal is treated badly and there’s such a vicious reaction and sympathy but a black man is gunned down by authorities and thoughts are expressed such as, “Well, he should’ve complied with the officer” or “Why did he talk back to the police?”

What’s the excuse now? “We feared for our lives” is the common response. Fear? When you have the advantage in numbers and the benefit of the doubt in the justice system? You’re afraid? You should feel emboldened to keep the status quo in this country alive and well. I can’t even see straight right now, I’m seething.

Race relations in this country aren’t better; not at all. They’re far worse than at any time since the Civil Rights Movement. You shoot, we die, there’s outrage, it soon evaporates and then another African-American male is riddled with bullets while the world feigns concern and then the news cycle just motors forward. Race will always be a problem in this United States of Racist America. The country was founded on it and that stain can never be washed from the fabric. That needs to be understood before we can mend relations going forward.

We need authentic understanding, dialogue and action. Cops don’t have to kill but they’re trained to use lethal force in almost every instance when tensions are on the rise. Apparently death is the only way to remedy conflict of any kind. I get it. Why can’t training be altered? Is that impossible? Can you just stop pretending to protect and serve and just put on the white hoods already? At least cut out the pretense of justice and get right down to your true nature.

All Caucasians aren’t racists, obviously, but a good portion of their population doesn’t care about race because they say it doesn’t factor in their lives. That’s part of the problem as well. Hey racists, you do know that whites had important roles in the Civil Rights Movement, the abolishment of slavery (this does NOT include Abraham Lincoln) and all the protests currently? Ignoring race and color only exacerbates the problems for everyone in this country. Look at the faces in anger gathered together in the crowd, they’re not all brown and dark tinted.

The problem is too many whites in America just don’t give a shit about anything outside of their bubbles. They don’t feel that they’re part of the larger issue because they have black friends to prove they are clearly not racists. (Because having a minority friend is the end-all to these issues, right?)

I don’t feel American at all today and looking at that flag makes me want to fucking puke. Dialogue is full of shit, action is needed. A(nother) black man will be killed very soon…and America will do nothing about it.

My heart goes out to those in mourning today. My prayers go out to the families of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. My heart goes out to the families of those officers that died in Dallas. It’s just more tragedy…on top of tragedy. It’s savage, disheartening and not a single answer will come out of it.

Land of the free…

OK, America…

By: S. Davis

Several characteristics can be used to describe me: Handsome, funny, great in bed, silly, fair, confident…I mean I could go all night long with the superlatives. (See what I did?) Putting all that on the side, I consider myself intelligent and reasonable above anything else. That’s where my list begins when I honestly view the man in the mirror.


How in the hell am I supposed to reason through the political climate right now? Is this country aware that it’s on the precipice of facing a 50/50 chance of Donald Trump sitting in the Oval Office? The United States isn’t a bad reality show – although even that can be debated – and it sure isn’t a beauty pageant or a chain of hotels or golf courses. This shit is really happening and America is casting the ballot that matters.

I’ve said on many occasions that I’m a registered democrat but I have voted across party lines. Politicians will talk you into anything that serves their agenda, granted. ANY politician will do that if allowed; republican, democratic or a true independent. A particular narrative needs a face; find a talking head to be the mascot. I tell you though, what’s going on in the red side of the political pie is disturbing.

People, Americans, are reasonably casting votes for a man that’s been racially insensitive and – in some cases – racist, specifically to Mexicans and followers of Islam. This land of ours is infested with and was founded on racism and the exploitation of it, so after electing the first black Commander-in-Chief, citizens of this nation are looking to vote Trump in?

Fuck party unity! I don’t give a shit about that. Aren’t we all Americans before we fill out a voter registration card? We are Americans first and foremost – and the person we choose to work in the highest office is representative of our beliefs, goals and ideals. Are we ready to pull this one, fellow Americans? Will you all be able to live with yourselves if he’s elected?

He’s not a reasonable man. I know republicans that are frightened that he’s the leader of their party while others like his bull-headed candor. He’s going to cause larger divisions among races in this country. Mind you, he kicked off his campaign insulting Mexicans loudly, never really apologized and yet there’s support, the real tangible kind; polling numbers for a presidential bid.

There’s a loud counter argument that Barack Obama is the reason race relations in this country are as toxic as they’ve been since the Civil Rights Movement – and I’ll listen…for a moment. It isn’t his fault. The reality is America’s original sin could no longer be swept under the rug when the house boy controls the whole damn show. Obama isn’t a deity. He has no superpowers that I’m aware of. The vehement opposition he’s faced politically, hasn’t been just disrespectful, crass and littered with racial double-speak, it’s obviously racist. A large portion of this country will never accept – and never accepted – an African-American in that house. It scares the establishment and makes everyone uncomfortable, well the racists that is.

That’s ending soon so the pivot is to…this republican? Other republicans have had some policies that I’ve agreed with or they were introspective at the bare minimum. Trump’s like a terrible cartoon villain – but people are clapping and cheering for him at rallies. None of his agenda is fictional. I’m not shocked that people are voting for him, I’m not. It’s painting a clear picture of the divisions in this country. How can an intelligent, educated, cultured adult fall into this web?

Am I missing something? I’m not saying Hillary Clinton is the golden candidate by any means but doesn’t she seem like someone who has a semblance of a plan? Doesn’t she do more than bluster about generalities? Is she petulant when Bernie Sanders refuses to bow out even though it’s mathematically impossible for him to unseat her position?

At the very least, doesn’t she seem reasonable? Maybe so, maybe I’m wrong. That’s ok.

So you’re going to let this shit happen, America? The fact that he’s a nominee is scary enough but it opens a window into the mind of half of this nation. That’s frightening.

If I see another billboard with that “Make America Great Again” slogan laced with subtext I might drive my car off the Pacific Coast Highway. I’m depressed; time to call a girl now so she can tell me how handsome I am.

Academy Awards

By: S. Davis

When the gold statues are awarded on Sunday I won’t be watching. It isn’t for the obvious reason considering the amazing brown skin I have. Award shows do nothing for me, personally, and I find them boring. I used to watch the MTV Movie/Video Music Awards back in the day but that was only to see the beautiful women.

I’ve done my best to stay away from talking about the Academy Awards because it’s pointless to rage against a system that doesn’t even acknowledge their flaws. Think about it: If there wasn’t a loud outcry this year would they really have given a single thought to making changes to their selection body? No. That’s one of the problems. Last night an advertisement ran for the show and the first person featured was Lupita Nyong’o clutching her gold trinket. I laughed so hard that I spit yogurt all over my bed. The advertising department really had that in their back pocket I see; splendid timing indeed.

The uproar against the predominantly (old) white men’s club that comprises the selection committee pulls focus from the real problem – well, for minorities – which is the studios. Unless STUDIOS like Warner Brothers, Universal, Sony, Fox, etc; hire or promote people of color to positions of power nothing will change. The studios hold the power that get movies on the screen; don’t pay attention to production companies, trust me it will lead you down a path of frustration.

Recent movies with traditional backing from studios featuring non-white lead actors were Creed, Beasts of No Nation (which still had to premiere on Netflix), Straight Outta Compton and maybe Dope. I say maybe on Dope because it was passed around to about five-to-eight production companies before Open Road Films took charge of the domestic distribution while powerhouse Sony took the distribution rights internationally. Is that a huge crop of movies to choose from? There may be more that I’m missing but I think that list is most of them. Change must happen at the studio level which cannot be overlooked.

Oddly enough something that has been quietly swept under the rug was the lack of response from Caucasian actors. Over the last few years we’ve heard actors complain about equal pay between male and female leads, the lack of roles for older female actors (I find the term “actress” bothersome), war in other countries, famine, charity, etc. Yet when this issue was all over the front pages well-established white actors zipped their lips and avoided the subject. George Clooney was one that spoke to the lack of diversity, as did Danny DeVito, Sam Neill, Quentin Tarantino and Michael Moore. There may have been others but there weren’t a lot of actors coming out publicly to voice their concerns.

Diversity in the business will not happen without white actors contributing their influence. It won’t. The Civil Rights Act didn’t pass in this country just based on the sheer number of minorities taking up the fight; people of all colors helped contribute and that’s going to apply here.

I don’t doubt that some actors I like – who happen to be Caucasian – have no qualms with the status quo because they directly benefit from it. Why rock the boat, right? I thought, “Damn I wonder how some of them feel about the diversity issue in Hollywood.” Then I saw Matt Damon on Project Greenlight and that further highlighted the prevailing mentality in the business. He’s since apologized but his thoughts, I’m sure, are shared among the decision makers at the power studios. Google it unless you live under the soil and have no clue what I’m talking about here.

When actors of color do get their time in the light, it’s worth noting the performances that put them in the good graces of the Academy. Do you remember the role that Denzel Washington had to play to get his statue for best (lead) actor? What about Halle Berry’s on the same night? See a pattern of some kind? Are you familiar with the character Taraji P. Henson was given a Golden Globe for? Hollywood, hmm…

You know what’s going to happen in the next year or two? An overreaction, a rush to placate actors in barely passable films to make everyone smile and say that opportunity exists for actors everywhere. There are going to be some average movies in the next couple of years led by minorities – and there will be a deluge of nominations for performances that are going to be “meh” at best. I have this feeling it’s going to happen soon.

What will that solve? I bet white actors will speak up then or will they? Jennifer Lawrence complained – rightfully so – about the millions she wasn’t receiving in regards to some of her male costars for the same amount of work. However she’s getting the opportunity and the pay; where’s the advocate for her female colleagues of color like Nia Long, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Gabrielle Union and others?

Hollywood is an old white boys club. That’s not racist, insensitive or disrespectful…it’s true. There are far more important matters that need attention on this planet of ours but I do find this to be an example of how much this country hasn’t changed. Remember the uproar when the first trailer premiered for The Force Awakens? It was loud, and fueled with racist vitriol against the skin tone of a storm trooper in a franchise where aliens talk, robots and humans communicate and those same aliens and humans wield powers that make them gods.

Progress? Please. That was just a fictional world people lost their minds over.

Christian Bale got the nomination that I feel Steve Carell should’ve garnered. Idris Elba’s performance in Beasts of No Nation is definitely worthy of nomination but he couldn’t get one of the ten slots for men. He was as good as any actor that got the “Academy Award Nominee” stamp.

I can’t say Hollywood or the Academy is racist because I don’t believe that in its totality. What I can say unequivocally is that the people in charge are very comfortable with the way things have always been. This isn’t about gold prizes. The lack of inclusion is industry wide and it’s larger than one night. The #ocsarssowhite campaign should be renamed #hollywoodsowhite. Personally I have dreams of being on that stage and giving an acceptance speech in a few years. If that comes to reality I hope it’s because I was so damn good that I couldn’t be ignored and not a way to assuage the mistakes of the business to make opportunity seem equal across racial lines.

Where will Chris Rock steer his monologue? Will he walk out there and eviscerate the industry or will he play it safe? I’ll check it out on the internet either way because Rock is the best at what he does. Personally, I want him to make everyone in attendance squirm in their seats and sweat out their designer clothing before he playfully eases the tension in the room.

There were good performances this year but there are others that will not receive their due credit on Hollywood’s biggest evening. They weren’t deemed worthy of a nomination. Why is that?