Jay-z’s 4:44 and the sad reality of a population still in shackles

the definition of ‘woke’:

  • a state of perceived intellectual superiority one gains…
  • being aware of the social and political environments regarding all demographics and socio-economic standings
  • a state of enlightened understanding, particularly related to issues of race and social justice. Someone who is woke is aware of issues of injustice and inequality…

courtesy of Urban Dictionary.

The sad part about this post or other mentions like it is that, there is a high unlikelihood that this won’t go over said person’s head. Although the Harriet Tubman in us will want so badly to help them escape the plantation and be on their way to total physical, psychological and spiritual freedom, they will first have to look down and acknowledge that the shackles are on to begin with. We can only do so much to rid them of all of the bullshit, lies, and deceit they have been fed their entire lives by people who don’t look or live like them and even by the generations that preceded them… but it’s so hard to watch. Trust me, I know.

 courtesy of Tidal.

Jay-Z released his latest album, 4:44, where he creatively delved into various issues affecting our black communities such as debt and poverty, police brutality, family separation, artistic exploitation, gentrification, mass incarceration, and systemic racism. Oh but some of y’all were only worried about the part where he admitted to cheating on Beyonce.

So what happened to all of the incredible gems that Jay dropped? Where did your ears go for that? Insert facepalm emoji here. Stop being messy and worrying about the things they want you to focus on. Stop accepting the blue pill. In the psychological world that is called denialism, and you need to feel what is really happening all around you, to you, and to your family and community.

I digress.

It’s like the movie The Matrix, in which its main character, Neo, is approached by a seemingly transcendental figure by the name of Morpheus, who offers him a red pill and a blue pill. The red pill, Morpheus warns, will allow Neo to acquire the rawest and realest world. In other words, he will be exposed to reality and there is no going back. Neo will no longer have the ability to continue experiencing day-to-day life as he knows it.

After hundreds — and even thousands — of years on this earth certain communities have been brainwashed to believe that they are incapable or unworthy of being treated with equal and moral human rights. Unfortunately my fellow beautiful black and brown people have had a huge target on our backs since Day 1; we have been (literally) beaten down to hate everything to our core and then some. We have been conditioned to a point of no return — or so it sometimes seems.

Becoming woke, or as I sometimes like to call it, opening your third eye, is essentially taking the red pill.

For some of us it is not a choice — being subjected to systemic oppression will put you on that journey much faster than privilege will. You cannot turn away from the truth even if you wanted to. Even at times when it is a difficult one to swallow and the world appears to be such an ugly, dreary place of no hope for many of us, I wouldn’t shut my third eye for the world. Although it would be much less stressful and frustrating to live in a complete oblivion like I did for many years of my life, not only would I rather know the truth… I would rather tell the truth.

Maintaining a specific level of awareness regarding the current climate of the world around me takes a hell of a lot of effort and energy which is why, ever since I chose to wake up and take the red pill, I have been so intentional about the company I keep and the conversations I entertain. I just be out here walking around chanting Umi Says lyrics in my head:
‘I want black people to be free, to be free, to be free!’

Those of us who have willfully taken the red pill: We are lit. And a huge part of what makes us so remarkably intellectual, culturally and socially aware and passionate has to do with our being woke. Stay conscious, my people. Keep living and speaking your personal truth. Allow yourselves to see past what poisonous candy they have been dangling in front of our faces for so long. There is a whole world of freedom that awaits you. Thank you, Jay-Z, and other artistic humans in power who choose to use their platform to unapologetically lead their people to a greater desire for wisdom, knowledge, and spiritual growth from within in order to effect positive change on our communities.


what are your thoughts? did you like the album? drop a line and follow me on instagram – @DevriVelazquez

photo of yours truly by @repelmedia

P.S. I am so grateful for the years of love I have received from beautiful humans like yourself for taking precious time to read my words. If you enjoyed this post, please continue to support my work by shopping the link below, where I get a small percentage of each purchase while you get an amazing deal.

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