“America is on the verge of #Blaxit – a mass exodus of Black people. Where we will go I don’t know, but it’s clear that Black lives don’t matter here…,” posited writer Ulysses Burley III introducing his dual pieces of edutainment posted to The Salt Collective pondering what Blacks would take and what they would leave behind once it all goes down. The Twitterverse picked up on the hashtag and joined in the fun of coming up with items he left off the list. It was good comic relief after several days of collective contemplation of current events.
Beyond the humor, Burley is actually on to something. Many Blacks agree that it is time to take our leave. How to go about it varies depending on how radical or forward thinking we allow ourselves to be. Ideas on the extreme end of the spectrum involve something along the lines of all Blacks repatriating Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina to form our own sovereign state.
“The end game is land ownership. The endgame is our own government in a nation within a nation. We want to control the politics in our community…And we most definitely want to control the…school system, where they are teaching and misrepresenting the true history of the Black man here in the United States,” said Babu Omowale of the People’s New Black Panther Party.
Others choose to be more conscientious about how their dollars are spent, seeking out Black businesses, utilizing new apps and sites like spendefy.com to target their purchasing power.
Recognizing that harnessing the power of 1.2 trillion Black dollars starts with the banking system, popular music artists like Killer Mike, Big K.R.I.T., and Usher have been advocates for a more practical approach: pooling Black dollars in Black banks committed to supporting Black economic development, like Citizens Trust Bank based in Atlanta. Many believe this includes forgoing tithing at Black churches they claim funnel collected money into private planes and building funds instead of investing in the Black community. The Influencer Coalition is hosting a #BankBlackCTB drive today, July 13, which has facilitated over 3,000 people opening accounts as of this writing. People are being encouraged to start the process online so the branches are not overwhelmed.
Solange Knowles recently responded to the call and urged others to follow suit.
“While I realize this is a very personal decision and thing to share, I’m proud to say I made that step today. Time to literally put my money where my mouth is. I cannot vouch for any of these institutions, but if you are interested in the information, @saintheron has posted the list (via hbcu money)…www.saintheron.com,” the singer/businesswoman concluded with a reference to a listing of information for several Black banks on her website.
Athletes like Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Carmelo Anthony have also made recent statements in attempts to lead the first generation of activist pro athletes since Jim Brown’s heyday. Retired basketball great Kenny Smith has stepped up and taken charge, urging NBA athletes to donate 10 percent of their salaries to affect change in their communities.
“Six percent of the country makes up 74 percent of the NBA. 74 percent has an availability of $90 million per team. There comes a social, economic responsibility with that, and I am sorry it has to be you,” Smith said. “We are in a societal undercurrent trying to figure out how to get pulled up. If you have social and economic power, and education power, you become important.”
Smith says he will form a committee that will guide players to specific organizations directly helping their respective community’s most needy individuals. He also says he will work with the NBA and major sponsors to garner dollar for dollar matching donations for the programs their endorsed players support.
“We just need to know who is standing with you to socially and economically empower people and those who aren’t,” said Smith. “…the ball is in your hand, the 24 second clock is running down, it’s now time to be poised to understand what you can do and how you can make a difference.”