|Old Time Ebony Love
2/13/2013 1:07:24 PM
By Hakim Adbul-Ali
It’s the middle of Black History Month, and I’m thinking about a lot of things I want to write about for my next column.
One central thought seems to be sticking in my contemplated mental visions and it’s about unity among my fellow Afro “brothas” and “sistas.” Being more specific, my thoughts are of a time when love of self meant something real to Black folk living in the zone of American zip codes.
That time was during the ’60s, in particular, and it really was a time of serious Black awareness and consciousness. If you are a so-called baby boomer, you probably know that era well, because the term “Black Love” meant something to all alert people of color who were hankering for an essence of ethnic togetherness.
I was one of that awakened masses, growing into a more mature “hue-man” of consciousness during my undergraduate days at Howard University in “Chocolate City USA,” historically identified as Washington, D.C. Those were some of the most influential and memorable times of my life, bar none, many of which have shaped who I am and what I am about until this very day.
During that period I saw what Black struggle and unified respect was all about. From the wisdom of Malcolm X, to the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and other poignant voices of the Civil Rights Era, I elevated my intellectual reasoning game of understanding that “Ebony Love” among us came in many, many different religious formats and persuasions.
Looking back, “Gold Old Time Black Love” symbolizes all of those above mentioned “colored” folk, but they also included many lesser known Black folk in my personal inner circle of teachers and thinkers. They all taught that there’s nothing wrong with loving your own God Alone created self.
Yes, those were the days of discovery and pride big time, where every day was a symbolic raised fist gesture of Black solidarity and respect. It also symbolized a need to study more about the realms of African Studies in all parts of the Diaspora.
If I could label those didactic days in my reflective mind-set I’d have to say they were, again, the days of “Good Old Time Ebony Love.” That period changed many erroneous negative concepts about Africa, Afro-Black folks, freedom, equality and unity that had previously existed in my head, mind and heart.
During that period at Howard, when I entered in the very early part of the Sixties to my graduation in the latter part of the decade, I went through several progressive mental changes that made feel good about being Black. I was blessed to have been a student at Howard because I experienced meaningful struggle and fulsome awareness beyond my wildest imaginations.
I hope that doesn’t sound too strange to you because today as I observe many people of color, I sense that the expression being of color is only a metaphor for escapism from African roots and the dreaded denial of self. In many ways, these individuals know nothing of the “Good Old Time Ebony Love” that I’m referring to.
Sad as it is to write about, it’s even sadder to witness in many sectors of “colored” America that some of the Afro-American populace take no pride in observing Black “Our-Story” Month. Some even object to being called Black or wanting anything to do with their African cultural heritage, furthermore observe any activities that celebrate the awesome of our ancestral “our-storical” accomplishments and struggles.
It’s a shame. And that’s why I’ve said that it’s heartrending to witness such negative vibes in my locale about Black Pride, just as I hear from many of my responsive friends from across the country, who relate to me that Black History Month activity attendance is down where they live.
It’s been that for years now, especially with little or no wakefulness among many of the African-American youth, who seem to be moving backwards in recognizing their ethnic heritage. It’s truly ethnically tragic.
For whatever reason, many of these young folk of color appear to be lost in an educationally deprived time warp of disinterested scholarship about their very ancestry. If you’re of color, am I out on a limb myself when I make that assertion? (Think before you reply!)
It wasn’t that way back during the ’60s, at least not in my then-developing world of Black consciousness. That time was a special epoch when I learned to respect being Black for it was—it was culturally me and you.
In the greater scheme of liberation for all people of color, who struggled against centuries old colonial oppression, “Good Old Time Black Love” meant the coming together of unified “colored” masses in order to solve “our” own problems through a sense of family, self-help, and pulling “ourselves” up by sticking together with dignity for all of the hues of Blackness.
It was a grand experience to see once self-hated, disenfranchised and marginalized colored “brothas” and “sistas” become living examples of real prideful Afro-American sisters and brothers. That took place because respect for each other was placed at a high level within every Black community in this country.
That’s not the case today in many environments as I see a permanent second-class reality existing among, and for, an ever growing segment of Black America. The tricks of “his-storical” political exclusion for this part of ethnic Americana widens with each new monthly issued governmental economic statistical report.
Where is the (missing) “Good Old Time Ebony Love” that held Black folks together in hard times back then when “colored” neighbors helped their fellow “brothas” and “sistas” in difficult moments of despair? Where is the new, practically non-existent Black family of modernity headed when it forgets the wisdom behind the universally accepted traditional African motto of unity, cohesiveness and education?
That astuteness comes from the Akan language, and it says “that in order for any (African-centered) folk to move ahead in unity, love and strength, they must first remember their past and where they came from.” That sounds like some real “Good Old Time Ebony Love” philosophy to me as I think of what this time called “Black History Month” is supposed to be about in all of its illustrious pomp and ceremony.
As I close this article for now, please never forget that “Ebony Love” starts within one’s self and it begins at home. For today and always, I wish you nothing but “Good Old Time Ebony Love,” and that’s, “As I See It.”