Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Out of the Dark Age into the Black Light!

Have you ever heard of the term Moor? Who or what was a Moor? Moors were African in origin and descendants of Berbers or Black African Arabs from Northern Africa which some say can date back to 12,000 years BC. One moor in particular I’ve been keenly interested in was General Tariq Ibn Ziyad or Jabal Tariq as he was later called.

In the year 711 A.D. General Ziyad invaded an already broken Iberian Peninsula (the now lands of Portugal & Spain). During these years Spain was going through a type of civil war and was mired (as many European countries were) in the “Dark Ages”. Just for point of reference the Dark Ages were a period of time in Europe of economic deterioration and disruption after the fall of the Roman Empire. Only taking roughly a year to conquer the entire peninsula, the Moors ruled with care. They were not oppressive and allowed the mostly Christian Spaniards to practice their religions if they wished. They also allowed them to own their lands much as had been done prior to Moor rule. What the Moors did do is provide this region of the World with higher learning, Arts & Science, Agriculture, Public Bath houses, gardens and palaces. In fact, Spain proudly became the center “mecca” for learning during these 800 years or rule. It has been argued that the Renaissance Period had its true origins in this region and many Artists, thinkers and scholars would train here only to take their knowledge back home for their own advancement.

If this be true then one must come to the understanding that divinity such as Leonardo Di Vinci, Michelangelo, Machiavelli, & Botticelli all learned and cultivated their art forms from Moors. Is it no wonder why none of our learned books in our schools ever mention the name “Moor”? Why is it that a culture could dominate for almost 1000 years die without much of a trace in our day to day teachings? How is it we are taught so much about the advancements of the Roman Empire yet absolutely nothing of the Moorish Empire? Yet even today if you were to travel to Spain or Portugal you would see clear cut evidence of a people that were lost yet not forgotten. Finally, let us not forget our dear brother Ibn Ziyad heroics in this tale. He fought with such efficiency that the Britain territory Gibraltar is known as Jabal Tariq (meaning Mountain of Tariq) 'til this day! Out of such darkness came such brilliant light from a dark skinned people….long live the “MOOR”

Milano Flascucci~

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Why is it en vogue to be DUMB!??

I was recently at a conference where a good friend of mine was speaking on a controversial subject. During his platform he raised a powerful question (which spurned this diatribe) “Why is it “Cool” for folks to be DUMB?! Where in the hell did that concept come from? Was it created by our leaders and generational thinkers or was it interjected into our communities by the forces in “real power”?

40 years ago it was en vogue to be intellectual and revolutionary. People like Dr. Julianne Malveaux, Cornell West, James Hal Cone, Henry Louis Gates & Toni Morrison were but a few in a land of many. They were part of the “norm” of idealist who were dead set on a higher learning of “self”. All of these individuals were well read, could write and blended in with the landscape of mainstream Black America as it was called. Because of this kind of regularity many of us (50’s and 60’s kids) grew up feeling it was our duty to carry the torch! On the “tele” were programs and commercials that encouraged reading (remember “Reading is Fundamental?). How about the book mobile that came around or low rent neighborhoods? I especially remember PBS programs like “School House Rock”!!!

But so much has changed…L

Now, as I travel around our beloved Nation and speak with High School students and Collegiate students most only seem to read what absolutely necessary to pass a class. The only recreational reading is the back of CD covers or gossip magazines (WTF?!!). Why, because if you get caught reading you will become completely ostracized from the “hip” crowd. In other words…”You’ll lose you SWAG”!! Hey, it’s not entirely their fault, mainstream TV and radio places value in “Dumbness”! The music industry practically begs them to be dumb. No more are there the fantastic lyrics of Curtis Blow, TuPac or KRS1. If you ain’t hustling and trying to get YOURS at all costs (YOU ARE SOFT). JayZ and Russell Simmons are fighting a losing cause but at least they are showing would be thinkers a proper blue print for survival. Russell has 2 powerful books “Do You” and “Super Rich”. JayZ is predicted to be among the giants in total wealth very soon! Yet, when I ask folks if they have bought or read one of Mr. Simmons’s books; they, look at me crossed eyed and reply, “who that guy who loves the chickens?”

So, what are the solutions? Here’s where I need your help. I have my beliefs as have so many before me but I want you to leave me a note below and tell me what YOU think we can or should do! Know this, we have not one moment of time to waste. As brother Ed Gordon recently pronounced on his show (on BET Sundays at 12PM) “because of our non involvement in the global economy, we have become a throw-a-way people”. We who were once King of Kings, masters of arts and sciences, physical and mental beings, now relegated to “A THROW A WAY PEOPLE”!

Milano Flascucci~