I Was Drunk When I Voted for Obama


Nobody in 2008 was a bigger spokesman for Barack Obama than me. He was selling hope, and the first taste of it was for free. It came in a great package filled to the brim with Black cool. I bought in, and passed it to my friends. I thought we were buying substance, but eight years later the majority of what we’re left with is symbols and very little substance.

I saw the 2008 election as a chance to make history. Here I was twenty-one years old with the opportunity to help elect the first Black president of the United States of America. The night of the election was a like Negro fairytale. I stepped out of my apartment hearing the sounds of Jeezy’s My President is Black blasting throughout the parking lot. Black students from NC State Univ and Shaw Univ rushing out their apartments to cheer to the heavens for the dream of the first Black president had came true. In that moment, many of us experienced victory for the first time. The feeling was intoxicating, quite stronger than the malt liquor my boys and I toasted to that night.

I was stone cold drunk with the symbolism of the first Black president, but I wasn’t the only one though. Obama related merchandise became the street vendors favorite new product line. Every Black church service or community event I attended started by acknowledging how great it is to have a Black president. My aunt even had a special shelf in her living room that contained an 8”x10” pic of the president along with other memorabilia. We had a right to be happy, to have hope, and celebrate our contribution to creating history. My president was Black, and there wasn’t nothing you could tell me that would change the joy I felt.

One of the issues with intoxication is that it skews your vision. Things that wouldn’t look good in a sober state can become very enticing when drunk. This is what happened when unconsciously allowed myself to get swept up in Obama the symbol and not critically analyzing his policies or the nature of his position. A part of me didn’t want to look at him critically because I was afraid at what I would find.

I never expected him to be the savior of Black people, nor was I naive enough to think he could solve systemic oppression with a few strokes of a pen. The only thing I expected of him was to tell the truth. I expected him to speak honestly to the pains of Black people. I expected him to live up to the hope that I bought so heavily into. I guess my expectations were too high.

My addiction to the Black cool of Obama didn’t allow me to see him as the imperialist capitalist that he and all his predecessors are. It’s the attachment to Obama as a symbol that keeps many Black people from analyzing him from a critical standpoint. They don’t want to talk about this drone program, his connection with banks, his participation in destabilizing Africa, his support of Zionist Israel, and the list goes on and on. 

It remains unpopular to criticize the first Black president within Black spaces. I’m sure many that will read this piece will automatically label me as a hater, and that’s their right to do so. However, it’s important that we study things with a critical eye. If we fail to be critical, we can easily be swayed by the gratification of symbolism while starving from a lack of substance.

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Gun Control: You’ve Got Me Going In Circles


How many times are we going have the same conversation and expect to get anywhere different? After every mass shooting, we see politicians, pundits, and the like offer up what they present as solutions for gun violence. Due to the polarization created by partisanship in electoral politics, these solutions rarely address the roots of gun violence. As a Black man, gun owner, and resident of a community plagued by gun violence, I’m fearful of what will become of gun control or lack thereof in the future.

When people are hurting or in fear they can easily be manipulated to make decisions based on emotion and not logic. This is why I’m very weary of reactionary legislation. Some of the obvious examples of this is the so-called War on Drugs and the Patriot Act. Forty years since Nixon first declared war on drugs, we can now see how these set of laws and policies imprisons millions of Americans while doing little to address the real issues behind of drug abuse. People are still dying from drug addiction, especially the ones who can’t afford treatment so they receive imprisonment instead.

Is it outrageous to think that gun control could evolve into a new era War on Drugs? Possibly, however I’m sure it was outrageous to think forty years ago that drug laws would serve as the base for the expansion of the prison industrial complex. It’s hard for me to not to draw the comparison between the two, especially when I think about Stop N Frisk programs initiated under the auspices of reducing gun violence, or the racist history attached to drug laws and gun control in the United States. If the tactics of gun control solutions aren’t critically analyzed before being enacted, they could easily become very harmful, particularly to marginalized people.

The conversation on gun violence remains trapped in a circle of redundancy because it fails to discuss gun violence in its full context. Conversations often center around the tragedies of mass shootings, but rarely discussed (but often mentioned) are the other forms of gun violence. For example, Barack Obama in his recent heartfelt speech gave a mere mention to street violence with “it’s happening in the streets of Chicago too.” What isn’t discussed is the “why” behind the violence. The powers that be understand that is dangerous for them to allow the public to draw the connections when it comes to gun violence. When you analyze gun violence in its full context, you begin to understand the interplay of several societal factors that create ideal conditions for gun violence.

Keeping gun control as one of the main attractions of circus that is American electoral politics is productive for the hegemony of the system, which is very dangerous for the people as it skews the context. I am for responsible gun ownership, and I believe in and support methods that keep weapons out of the hands of dangerous people. I also believe in addressing problems at their roots. Gun violence won’t be reduced until we begin to analyze in its full context, and stop trying to put a band-aid on a gaping wound.


In love and solidarity,


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The Retirement of @TheBlackVoice: Why I changed my handle to @SankofaBrown


As promised, I wrote a brief post discussing why after five years I decided to retire the handle @TheBlackVoice.

Around the fall of 2009, something woke up inside of me. On the brink of completing my undergraduate career, I no longer could use the identity of a student as a shield from finding myself. I had no clue who I was or who I wanted to be. I was forced into a journey of self-discovery with no clear vision or idea of what I would find. Early into this journey, I discovered my deep passion for what is happening to my people. I was curious about how we came to such a condition, and what could be done to change it.

While on this search for knowledge, I needed a way to filter out my thoughts. What better place to filter out random thoughts than Twitter? I already had a personal account, which I used to bullshit with my friends, but I needed a space where I could post my thoughts without being judged by people who knew me personally. When you’re going through a radical change, people who know you aren’t always open to that change. Also sometimes you want to keep your evolution under wraps until you feel comfortable to present it to the world.

So I decided to create another Twitter page where I could post my thoughts that specifically centered on my growth in consciousness. I had zero expectations for the page, as I just needed a space to express. I made up a generic name, Google searched an image of a Black power fist for an avi, followed a few hundred random Black folk, and @TheBlackVoice was born.

I never expected the page to take off in the manner that it did. It went from just a few hundred followers, to a thousand, and never stopped growing from there. I had no clue that in five years, over 40K people would see what this country boy had to say. I kept the page anonymous for quite some time. I didn’t even post a picture of myself until about three years after creating the page. Again, my intentions for the page were solely to express my thoughts, not so much for others, but for myself. I still try to maintain some standard of privacy now, mainly due to safety reasons that come with having high visibility.

Over the years people have watched me grow from a problematic misogynistic hotepian to an intersectional thinking revolutionary-minded organizer (I’m still problematic though). I’ve made great connections with hundreds of organizers, scholars, and just genuine beautiful people from around the globe. Despite the trolls and unsolicited hate from random individuals, Twitter has given me a sense of community with people who see the world similar to how I see it.

So why the name change? Well I am believer that there is power in names. When I chose the handle “TheBlackVoice” there was no significant meaning behind it for me. Honestly it was the first handle that popped up in my mind when I thought about what perspective I would mostly be tweeting from. I put forth no effort in choosing the handle because I never expected to the page to be attached to me personally. Five years later, my personal identity is now inseparable from the page. Due to my relationship with the page, I felt that it was time to create a handle that has personal meaning and that is more representative of who I am as a person.

Sankofa means, “it is not taboo to go back and fetch what you forgot.” As the descendant of enslaved Afrikans, sankofa defines my existence today in this strange land. Colonization and the dehumanization of chattel enslavement sought to erase everything that defined my ancestors as human. As a Pan-Afrikanist, I am constantly looking back in history to find what was taken from me and using that knowledge to help push my people and myself forward. This is why I chose sankofa.

Brown is my last name. I chose to attach my last name to my handle, as there is a special duality in doing so. On one side, Brown is the name of my ancestor’s enslaver in the same region where I grew up in Southeastern North Carolina. Part of keeping the name is to make sure that I never forget what my ancestors went through. On the other side, there is the pride I have for my own family, who despite all that we have had to face, have continued to live, love, and grow.

The changing of my handle is not a beginning of a new journey, but rather a continuation and evolution of one already in progress. It is my hope and prayer that I continue to have the support of the people as I grow in knowledge and truth. Much love and light. Stay Woke.

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Lennon Lacy: A New Generation’s “Strange Fruit”

Lennon Lacy three

By Lamont Lilly
Durham, NC

“The nineteenth century lynch mob cuts off ears, toes and fingers, strips off flesh and distributes portions of the body as souvenirs among the crowd.” ~Ida B. Wells

Lennon Lacy did not hang himself; he was lynched! He did not commit suicide; he was murdered! Capturing the correct language is so critical in this case, which is probably why mainstream media has refused to cover it. The correct language reflects a history America would rather not share, while “lynching” is a word most Black folk would rather forget. The harsh reality is that Lennon Lacy, a 17 year old Black kid from North Carolina was lynched just two months ago.

What happened down there?

It was on Friday, August 29th 2014 that 17 year old high school student, Lennon Lee Lacy was found hanging from a wooden swing set in Bladenboro, NC. His lifeless body was left dangling in thin air on a makeshift rope. His neck was visibly marked with dark abrasions from asphyxiation. A belt buckle imprint was found just below his right ear. There were lacerations on his face, arms and chest – bruises on his chin, cheeks and nose – a series of unexplained scratches on Lennon’s scrotum, and an enlarged knot on the right side of his forehead.

The black Air Jordan’s Lacy was originally wearing were removed and replaced with a pair of sneakers no member of his family was able to recognize. Though Lennon’s feet were a size 12, the white sneakers placed on Lennon’s feet at his time of death were a size ten and a half. Lennon’s mortician, F.W. Newton described his body as if Lennon Lacy “had been killed in a bar room fight.”

As if Lacy’s lynching was not enough, just a few days after Lennon was laid to rest, someone (or some group) dug a small hole on top of his grave. They also destroyed the floral arrangement that friends and family had placed at his burial marker, tossing the arrangement alongside the road 40 ft away. While local authorities are suggesting suicide, the Black community is calling the Lacy case for what it is: a 2014 lynching.

Every reason to live

On the evening of Lennon Lacy’s disappearance, his father, Larry Walton was the last family member to see him alive. According to Walton, his son Lennon had every reason to live. His high school football team was scheduled to play their first game of the season later that evening. Lennon’s dream was to play in the NFL. He was a linebacker whose size, skill and work ethic basically guaranteed a scholarship to college. His performance in the classroom was equally stellar.

Local residents have spoken highly of Lennon’s character, manners and overall demeanor. Lennon was also active in his church youth group, had no criminal record, and no history of mental illness. His only “harm to society” was dating a white woman who lived nearby. Local residents were well aware of Lacy and 31 year old, Michelle Brimhall’s “intimate interactions,” which of course garnered a heaping of local gossip and disdain. Some things have not changed down south: the general attitude toward Black men dating white women just happens to be one of them.

Jim Crow and the southern confederacy

whites kill negroes in wilmington

Bladenboro, NC is a small town of 1,746 residents located just outside of Wilmington, NC. Nicknamed “Crackertown” by local Black residents, Bladenboro is 80% white and well known for its engrained racism within the social order. For those unfamiliar, Wilmington (NC) is home of the 1898 Race Massacre, a two day armed attack on Wilmington’s Black middle class by white terror mobs. What that moment literally created was Jim Crow Segregation – an oppressive and bloody end to Reconstruction and post slavery progress. Wilmington was also the site of the 1971 frame up of The Wilmington 10 (who were finally pardoned by NC Governor, Beverly Perdue in 2013). Such history and close proximity means everything.

This history contributes to the political and social climate of the community. White supremacy was at one time, the law in North Carolina. Many would argue it still is. Keep in mind that between 1882 and 1968 there were 86 Black folk lynched in this state – and those are just the lynchings we know of. Ironically, neighbors of the Lacy Family had just recently been made to remove a sign in their front yard that read “Niggers Keep Out.”

Police botch investigation

Stating that local authorities have failed to conduct a thorough investigation in this case is an understatement. It has been reported that Lacy’s fingernails were not properly swabbed for DNA testing. His hands, body hair and mouth were not examined either. Due to the presumption of suicide, Lennon’s neighbors, friends and ex-girlfriend, Michelle Brimhall have not been questioned.

It is obvious the Bladenboro Police Department have not taken this matter serious. A 200lb teenager was found hanging from a swing set in the middle of a trailer park, and no one knows anything? Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if the local police department was partly involved. It was not long ago that police officers, sheriff departments and the Ku Klux Klan worked hand in hand to enforce white supremacy, particularly throughout the south.

If you are learning of this case for the first time, please tweet, Instagram and Facebook it. Dig deep and research the history. Tell your friends around the world how a 17 year old Black boy was lynched in North Carolina on August 29th 2014. Tell the world how America is still racist and lackadaisical in the pursuit of justice for all. Tell the world how democracy does not really exist here. In the case of Lennon Lacy, all I ask is that we tell the truth. Lennon Lee Lacy did not hang himself; he was lynched. He did not commit suicide; he was murdered. ■

“Our country’s national crime is lynching. It represents the cool, calculating deliberation of intelligent people who openly avow that there is an “unwritten law” that justifies them in putting human beings to death without complaint under oath, without trial by jury, without opportunity to make defense, and without right of appeal.” ~Ida B. Wells


Lamont Lilly is a contributing editor with the Triangle Free Press and organizer with Workers World Party. He has contributed to The Root, Truthout, CounterPunch and Black Youth Project, among others. He resides in Durham, NC. Follow him on Twitter @LamontLilly.


Ida B. Wells (after first mention/quote)


The Wilmington 10


1898 Race Massacre


Lennon Lee Lacy


Ku Klux Klan


 “a 2014 lynching”


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Video of the Week: The Robert F. Williams Documentary

Here is a film about the powerful journey of the revolutionary Robert F. Williams. Sadly many people, especially young people, have never heard of Robert F. Williams or about his contribution to the Black Freedom Movement and the overall global struggle for liberation. You will never see his name in school history textbooks in the United States, and there are no monuments of him in Washington, D. Till this very day, Amerikkka fears this man. They fear him because he organized Black folk and believed in the idea of self-defence. From the small town of Monroe, NC, Robert F. Williams organized his comrades to defend themselves by any means necessary. This story is one that needs to be told. Please order or borrow of copy of Negroes With Guns which tells the story of Robert F. Williams, and the liberation struggle out of Monroe, NC. Stay Woke.

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Hypocritical Violence: The Fear of Armed Black People


On September 10, 2014, Barack Obama approached the nation and said, “As Commander-in-Chief, my highest priority is the security of the American people.  Over the last several years, we have consistently taken the fight to terrorists who threaten our country.” Obama informed the nation that the United States has a new enemy that they must fight to in order to protect the security of the “American people.” He described this enemy as ISIS/ISIL, and said that it was barbarous organization that should be stopped at all costs. “Our objective is clear:  We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy.” This by any means necessary attitude of the President leads me to ask, why is it acceptable for Amerikkka to use violence for its freedom, but unacceptable for Black people to the same?

As someone involved in the liberation movement of Afrikans worldwide, I often run into resistance from those who subscribe to nonviolence as a principle. Their criticisms usually revolve around the fact that we must maintain some type of “moral high ground” over the oppressor. Of course we know this comes from our attachment to a distorted version of Christianity. Also there are others who care nothing about the morality; they just believe that we would just be wiped out if we tried to be violent. I can personally understand these criticisms as I was once heavily involved in the Black church, and as a person who thoroughly understands the capacity of the oppressor to inflict violence.

These criticisms however are a reflection of white supremacist conditioning. Distorting history is the foundation of this conditioning. Over the years, Amerikkka has used this mechanism to make nonviolence seem as the only acceptable and successful form of resistance for Black people. It has done its best to erase and demonize every piece of revolutionary resistance in the history of Afrikan people in Amerikkka and globally.

Afrikans have been resisting European colonization with violence both organized and unorganized, since its inception. From mutinies on slave ships to the militant resistance of the 1960s, we never took our oppression lying down. Due to the whitewashing of history, many people have little to no knowledge of this type of resistance in the history of the Black struggle. The United States intentionally focuses on Black resistance from a nonviolent perspective to keep people passive. Names like Denmark Vessey, Nat Turner, and Gaspar Yanga are purposely written out of the history books. While Amerikkka has continued to shame and erase the history and validity of armed Black resistance, they celebrate and uplift their own culture of violence and right to self-defense.

When Obama said his highest priority is the security of the American people, I couldn’t help but chuckle. He made this statement in a country where the police kill a Black person every 28 hours. The same country where men, women, and children experience Dante’s Inferno in the prison-industrial complex. The same country where the government uses tax-money to bomb poor people in countries like Yemen, Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, etc. while children starve right here on Amerikkkan streets. The same country that gives billions of the citizen’s tax money to fund the terrorist state of Israel and it’s occupation of Palestine, while many people work over forty hours and still live in poverty. The very night Barack Obama uttered that phrase; Black people along with other people were fighting for their lives from the barbarous actions of the Ferguson police department. The hypocrisy of Amerikkka flowed through every syllable that came out of the mouth of the President.

We can’t have a successful revolution that is ignorant of our history of resistance. We cannot continue to be brainwashed into thinking that nonviolence is a principle that we must adhere to at all times. Many people use the Civil Rights Movement as an example of the success of nonviolent resistance. Again, this is a result of conditioning to pacify people. The Civil Rights Movement had powerful moments of nonviolent resistance, however that doesn’t mean that all people believed and participated in nonviolence at all times. Even Martin Luther King was armed for his own self-defense. Many Black folks were not for nonviolence but were involved in the Civil Rights Movement, particularly Black people in rural areas in the South. For rural Southern Blacks, guns were a part of the culture. Guns were used for hunting and also self-defense. This belief in self-defense was intensified by ancestors who fought in the Civil War and subsequent wars, who had to come home to these areas and had to deal with terrorists such as the KKK, White Citizen Council, and others. As veterans, these men and women believed in self-defense and fought these terrorists head on. This spirit of resistance created entities such as Robert F. Williams and the citizens of Monroe, NC, and the Deacons of Defense and Justice out of Louisiana. Charles E. Cobb Jr.’s recent book “ That Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Right’s Movement” describes the truth of about guns during this so-called nonviolent movement.

The truth is we have never had a nonviolent movement, and nor should we. Any movement that is to be successful must be multi-faceted in its tactics. None of the gains of the Civil Rights Movement were won by nonviolence alone. Nonviolence will always be a tactic that we can use when necessary, however we must understand that it’s not a principle. Revolution is only solution. Revolutions are bloody. Malcolm X and other ancestors explained that the freedom is won through bloodshed. We need to accept that there is no such thing as a peaceful revolution.

I grew up hearing the phrase, “Whoever has the gun makes the rules.” We can see how this statement holds true today. We often follow the law not because we agree with it, but because we are under the constant threat of violence by the state if we don’t. Assata Shakur says “Nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of the people who were oppressing them.” We must get conscious and organized, but we must also get armed. It is our human and legal right to defend ourselves against any threat to our humanity. We are truly the ones fighting a war on terror, and we must defend ourselves. The spirit of revolutionary resistance still lives on inside of us. Stay Woke.

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Video of the Week: Baldwin’s Nigger (James Baldwin)

James Baldwin as a writer, intellectual, and overall human being has been a great influence to my own journey. In this video, Baldwin touches on the Black experience in the United States, and receives questions from Caribbean students in London. Baldwin is nothing short of amazing in how he communicates his thoughts and feelings to the people. There are some true gems in this video. The fact Dick Gregory gives a few lines is an extra bonus as well. Enjoy. Stay Woke.

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