AfroAsiatic Perspectives 16: From Bill to Bambaataa: Have Black Folks completely lost their Minds?


Takuan Amaru

“Everything ebbs and flows. Civilizations climb, rise, then they decline…the Black Race is in a suspended state of retardation”

     ~Bro. Bobby Hemmitt

For me, everything changed back in 1997 following the killings of Tupac and Biggie. After all that “Thug Life” and “Junior Mafia” hoopla, I expected some sort of retaliation to take place. But nothing happened. Back then, I was a big Hip Hop head and frequented the NYC club scene…almost every night! In fact, I actually met Biggie at Nell’s, which was a club on 14th Street, just weeks before his fateful trip to Los Angeles. Biggie’s death hit NYC hard.hqdefault Afterwards, once it became painfully obvious that all these gun-toting, supposedly hard niggas weren’t gonna do anything, suddenly everything became crystal clear to me: I had been bamboozled by the media-hype. I then realized the black people on television or radio portraying success were just two-bit actors in a big, orchestrated play. With this understanding, I felt an overwhelming need to get away from the United States; I had to do whatever I could to shed western civilization.

So I moved to Japan.

In the early ‘90s, the historian, Dr. Yosef A.A. ben-Jochannan, affectionately known as ‘Dr. Ben,’ was asked a question: “If black people were so great, why did we fall?” Dr. Ben’s response: “Because our time ran out.”

According to Bobby Hemmitt, our history comprises “a phenomenal amount of time.” If someone wishes to fathom the length of our history they must first abandon what Bobby refers to as “the modern way of thinking where a civilization only amounts to a couple hundred years.” Bobby goes on to say that our history, in its proper context, spans hundreds of thousands, if not millions of years. That’s quite a statement; so let’s attempt to put this in perspective. The historian, Manetho, reported over 10,000 years of Egyptian pre-dynastic and dynastic rule. And before that he says it was the era when “the gods ruled.” According to Bobby Hemmitt, this earlier era was just more black people…but at a higher stage of development. From this point, our minds began to rapidly deteriorate. However before we devolved to the “laggard state” we’re at now, we recorded our knowledge on papyruses and temple walls all around the world. Bobby explains our priests had this done because they foresaw our demise was imminent.

Lincoln MLK

Since the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, blacks have had many challenging periods. From the era of “pick-a-nigga” lynchings in the park to the bombing of Black Wall Street, to Emmitt Till to Trayvon Martin, time after time, no matter how brutal the police were, or how ‘scientific’ the experiments at Tuskegee became, we always found ways to overcome danger and adversity. And let’s not forget the biased laws designed to refuse us loans for business or  to deny us an opportunity to live where we want. President Barack Obama claims times have changed for black people. Well, that’s a very generalized statement so let’s get down to the nitty-gritty: Have things improved? Sure, we can see the Oprah Winfrey’s and the Michael Jordan’s—the few scattered tokens littering an all-white playing field—but can we honestly say it’s possible for the average man to attain prosperity? According to PBS talk-show host, Tavis Smiley, the answer is a resounding “No!” In his book, The Covenant with Black America: Ten Years Later, he states, “On the major economic issues, Black Americans have lost ground in every one of those leading categories. So for the last ten years it’s not been good for black folk.”

Has it ever been good for black folk?

This is up for debate but let’s focus our attention on the here and now. We have entered into an age where the parents in society were born after the “Crack Era” of the ‘80s. As stated, it was difficult for blacks even prior to the crystalline, demon-seed being unleashed onto the urban streets; but in the B.C. (Before Crack) era, there was still a sense of family and community in the Bronx, in Compton, in Newark, in East St. Louis, in Flint, in North Philly, etc. Back in the day, not only our own parents but even our neighbors’ and friends’ mother and father warned us of the perilous traps set to snare blacks and Latinos. Drug use, drug selling, prostitution, thievery, and violence have always been as common in our neighborhoods as Kung-fu schools are in China Town. Although that’s pathetic when you think about it, at least in the B.C. era this was where the line was drawn. Back then, topics such as suicide and pederasty were not mentioned much. “Only white people commit suicide,” was a common street-anthem that my stupid-ass believed until rappers like Scarface and, later, Biggie began flipping-the-script by spittin’ graphic tales of suicidal tendencies in the ‘hood. Around this time, I was a social worker in North Jersey dealing with “At-Risk” teens; so I had to counsel folks who had attempted suicide. As you can imagine, this caused me to reconsider my preconceived notion but I still viewed it as a rarity.Bland-suicide Last year, Time Magazine ran a story entitled, “Suicide Rate Is Up Among Young Black Children.” Honestly, I have my doubts about the veracity of this statement but I’m not in the U.S. to verify it one way or the other. However when I see episodes like the Sandra Bland “suicide,” I have to wonder how many on-the-low murders are being recorded as suicides?

Hip Hop and Reggae have been known to shun homosexual relations. Even though it’s known that gay elements permeate every social class, race, and religion, in these two musical cultures open expressions of anything non-straight NEVER used to occur. In the mid-90s, Hot 97 radio personalities Wendy Williams and Angie Martinez actually got into a fight after Wendy dropped hints that Angie’s then-boyfriend, Q-Tip, from A Tribe Called Quest was the secret “Gay Rapper” that Wendy and others were gossiping about over the air waves. Back then, the thought there was just one gay rapper was enough to inspire people’s curiosity or ire.

But how much have things changed in the 21st Century?

We now live in a time when Morehouse University—an all-men’s university—felt the need to institute a ban on women’s clothing, high heels, and carrying purses within its student body. The legalization of gay marriage in certain states has encouraged both men and women to “come out of the closet.”  The debate for and against same-sex relationships seems to be a popular one these days. So, like Dr. James Cone is so fond of saying, “I don’t even want to argue to about that.” I’d rather move onto another topic that is coming out of the closet in our midst. Child Pedophilia.

Along with taking one’s own life and homosexuality, rape—especially when the victims are children—had been rumored to exist chiefly among Caucasians.  A brief glance at their history, especially ancient Greece, explains why. gay greeksWhen Michael Jackson was under scrutiny for allegedly having sex with children, generally speaking, black people seemed to support him. But Bill Cosby—the “Self-proclaimed Father of Black Morality”—did not receive the same type of sympathy during his scandal. Although Bill was acquitted, a lot of people have expressed doubt concerning his innocence. And let’s face it, his image has been tarnished. Before the rumors about Bill “slipping women a Mickey” hit the media, most folks would have felt secure sending their wife, sister and / or children to spend a relaxing afternoon with Bill. You know, to chill out at Dr. Huxtable’s house eating a bowl of jello-pudding and watching reruns of Fat Albert and the Gang. Maybe a couple of years ago, but what about now?

Bambaataa- ped

If all this was not bad enough, now we have the accusations aimed at Hip Hop legend Afrika Bambaataa. This has got to be the final nail in the coffin. If there were any doubt about whether blacks have lost their minds, this should lay it to rest. With the passing of the Greatest Man the boxing world has ever known, is there such a thing as a Black hero anymore for children to look up to?muhammad-ali__fist Someone who cannot be compromised by money, sex, drugs…or even fear? According to Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, racism / white supremacy encompasses the nine major areas of people’s activity: economics, education, entertainment, labor, law, politics, religion, sex and war. That’s quite a system. If she’s correct, it might seem there’s no chance for black survival, let alone prosperity. What do you think?

“The Devolution is Complete…”

The only famous black person I can think of who has proven himself to be above compromise is Professor Griff of the immortal group, Public Enemy. He has, over the years, challenged the ruling class by speaking out on behalf of black people over and over again. He has given of himself tirelessly with no regard for his own safety or career. The target of numerous attempts on his life, he even got kicked out of P.E. at one point due to comments he made about Jews. This is a part of Public Enemy’s history that Chuck D, himself, says he regrets. Whether people were in Griff’s corner or not his message has never wavered. According to him the white man has been and still is “the devil”; and the cornerstone of black achievement rests with the family unit, which is predicated on solid parenting. This means the black man and woman coming together. That’s why it came as such a surprise when he and the co-host of his blogtalk radio show NME Mindz, Ms. Zaza Ali, started taking verbal shots at each other—almost a year after the program went off-the-air. The show, which was hugely successful for over two years, stopped airing last summer. At that time, since both Griff and Zaza had solo projects in progress while hosting their weekly show, it did not seem strange the show was being canceled. In other words, most folks were not aware they were ‘beefin’. So why the need to air-out their dirty laundry in the public? There are many people siding with Griff just like there are many backing Zaza but the bigger question is: Is this our example of black leadership for the 21st Century?

Why did they air-out their dirty laundry in the public?

In the waning months of the best-looking presidential administration of all time (and yes, that includes J.F.K. & Jackie) the image of black man-woman relations is suffering. For example, when was the last time you watched a movie and saw black people genuinely fall in love? Perhaps a better question is: Have you ever seen it?


So, is all lost? If not what can be done? Brother Bobby Hemmitt recounts a story about a time when he and a group of scholars, for a few weeks, stayed up all night on a college campus. They would spend hours debating on what the solution was for black people. From economic plans, to laws, to religion, he claims they examined every issue, and one-by-one no matter how fool-proof a plan seemed at first, they always broke-it-down and realized why it could not realistically be implemented with success. Then, he says, a thought suddenly came to him: “Maybe this is how it’s supposed to be.” In another quote, he states: “If we had a sweet, comfortable life down here (on Earth), we would not be in a position to learn anything. People learn under pressure and hardships. It’s these pressures and hardships that build the character. We had to put ourselves as far away from our true selves as possible, under the illusion of ignorance. Remember, it’s only a dream…therefore, it can only affect us like a dream.”

“No matter what happens, never forget: we’re still running this shit…they’re just running around in it!”

~Bro. Panic

According to Hemmitt, our DNA is always changing and evolving. We have been in a deep slumber but slowly, ever so surely, some of us are waking up to consciousness. Although the upgrade is affecting all melanin-rich people, consciousness will only reside with 1% of them. Just like, as Brother Bobby explains, “only 1% of the white population comprises the ruling class. The rest of white folks are dumb as door knobs and know nothing about what’s going on.” Bobby says this change in us—this upgrade—can be likened to global warming. And just like the Earth heating up, we too are heating up. Perhaps by saying this he was alluding to another of his famous quotes where he states that when the time is right “we’ll fulfill the scriptures by rising up as a great phoenix to annihilate the enemy!”


Takuan Amaru is the author of the trilogy, Gaikokujin – The Story




About Takuan Amaru

Takuan Amaru is an author, teacher, and public speaker. Former columnist of the Examiner (Philadelphia) magazine, he has written over 100 articles on various topics such as popular culture/music, ancient spirituality, and philosophy. Tak borrows from diverse life-experiences as a soldier, social worker, athlete, as well as music artist to connect with readers. He makes his home in Nagoya, Japan. Contact: or connect on Facebook. Websites: /
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