darryl james

Darryl James

The phrase “keep it real” falls from the lips of far too many phony people.

They have no idea what it would take to actually keep it real, and even if they knew, many of them wouldn’t do it anyway.

If we truly wish to keep it real, we must first learn to love each other again.

We must show up to be seen and to see what is going on in our own communities.

Black women will keep it real by no longer saying that there are no good Black men when we return to community events, where Black men and Black women can find each other.

They will also keep it real by no longer claiming that they can’t find men on their level, primarily because that’s ignorant, but also because if we keep it real, we should be about working together to build, as opposed to looking for someone who can afford to vacation with us.  If you have twelve and I have eight, I am not beneath you, I am with you and we now have twenty.  That’s empowerment and community building.

That’s also keeping it real.

Part of keeping it real and loving ourselves means taking back our commerce. That means following the lead of people like Will Smith in controlling our own music and film.  We will no longer have to worry about our image in front of the world in entertainment, if we are making the movies and television shows and controlling the music.

I’m keeping it real by seeking funding from the Black community before going to outside funding sources. We’ll see who keeps it real with me with donations as small as ten dollars.

We have to also love ourselves by having more Black men stand up for the women and children in the community who simply need the presence and influence of men.

Yes, there are single parents, but let’s be real–at what point in time were there not?  If we keep it real, we will focus on our emerging adults, because for nearly two generations, we have focused on grown folks, while ignoring the diminishing conditions of our youth.  Mentoring must be the order of the day for Black men and woman without children, so that single parent households can still provide nurturing from male and female adults to foster healthy young men and women.

We can keep it real by rebuilding the schools in our communities, instead of fleeing those schools to take our brainpower and our dollars to other communities.  No vouchers for private schools, but a commitment to chastise local government to improve educational facilities in our own communities until they adequately prepare our children for college.

We can rebuild our schools and other services for our community when we become politically active in ways beyond party allegiances.  We must make demands based on what we need and deliver our support to the party or candidates who make intrinsic overtures to us.

But first, we need to keep it real and re-unify ourselves.

Keeping it real includes changing our minds about each other, to paraphrase Malcolm X.

We must return to the t-shirts with powerful messages of “Black Is Beautiful,” “I Love Being Black,” and “Black Power.”  They never should have gone out of style.  While wearing those t-shirts, we have to re-embrace the things that are truly beautiful about us.

Black men who feel the hate and anger coming from too many Black women must keep it real and realize that those women are not speaking for all Black women.  We must remain committed to finding and loving the sisters who still love us.

Black women who still love Black men have to spread that love as quickly as others spread their divisive disdain for their brothers.  We have to defend and protect each other.

Black men have to honestly review the horrible things being said about us to face the ones that ring of truth and put in the work required to turn those truths into lies and change hate into love.

Black women who talk about how horrible all Black men are, have to realize that such a movement will backfire when it becomes fashionable to hate Black women.  And don’t be fooled–that style always comes and goes.  Our love for each other can make it look silly when people are wearing the current hate.

We can learn to love ourselves when we found real braintrusts, where our best minds meet to discuss the issues and deliver recommendations to the masses, as opposed to smart knee-grows with good academic jobs seeking to become super knee-grows (that’s another column).

The program of keeping it real and learning to love ourselves that I’ve outlined here is not from some wistful dream conjured and ensconced in my head.  This program is from a real Black America prior to integration.

Yes, I am advocating re-integration.

The best part of integration can not be taken away, especially if we recollect ourselves.  That part includes the right to eat, walk and live anywhere and the right to be left the hell alone.  We now have to build upon the movement that halted at the end of the sixties.

We really do need to keep it real.

To do that, we simply need to pay attention to who we once were. We can become that again and then excel beyond that.

That’s keeping it real!

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.”  James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opened in Los Angeles in 2011 and will become a feature film in 2012. View previous installments of this column at www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at [email protected].