Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Will We Ever Learn?

Will We Ever Learn?

“Culture is essentially a way of thinking, perceiving, evaluating, and interpreting the world; a way of relating to others and to the physical-metaphysical world and involves an explicit and implicit set of rules of conduct which orders the overall social relations, arrangements and attitudes of a society. The power generated by such social arrangements, (alignments) and attitudes is utilized for maintaining and enhancing the well-being and integrity of the society; for procuring, processing and producing the material and non-material products characteristic of the society; and for substantiating its abilities to defend ad advance its interests in cooperation with or in opposition to other societies or groups.” Amos N Wilson Blueprint Black Power A Moral, Political and Economic Imperative fr the Twenty-First Century page 67

I played phone tag with Neil Blake the founder of the Blake radio network for two days before we were finally able to hook up yesterday. He shared with me he was pulling the plug on Rainbow Soul (www.Blakeradio.com) the twenty-four hour, seven day a week Internet talk radio channel he started six years ago. It was ironic he chose to do this a few weeks after winning a 2007 Black Web Award for the best Politics, Culture and Talk Internet radio station http://www.blackwebawards.com/2008/index. During our conversation Neil expressed his disappointment at having to struggle to pay the costs to operate the station out of his own pocket over the years. The station has built a loyal following over the years (in addition to being a pioneer in Internet radio Rainbow Soul is still one of the most popular black stations on the Internet) but for some reason the listeners have eschewed supporting his efforts financially. “We get over 50,000 hits a month, many of these are first time listeners, while others are repeats but if every listener gave one dollar every other month we would have the necessary revenues to keep the station alive.” Lamented Blake.
I have been associated with several Internet radio stations since 2000. Two went belly up for varying reasons. As a pioneer in Internet talk radio I’ve seen talk stations like The Black World Today which I helped start and New Black City which I joined after it was well established cease operations due to: the Dot Com bust, lack of advertising or a decision to go in another direction. in 2001 Neil Blake offered me the opportunity to come on Rainbow Soul after New Black City ceased operations. It has been a very enjoyable and uplifting relationship. He gave me an opportunity to produce a show on a conscious station designed for Africans committed to our upliftment, redemption, empowerment and liberation. This is what makes Neil’s situation and decision all the more tragic. The root reality is, supposedly conscious African people refused to support a station like Rainbow Soul. The station was a pioneer in black talk Internet radio programming, it provided an eclectic blend of quality programming by serious minded hosts who provided quality shows as was recognized by the 2007 Black Web Awards voting. None of us got paid, it was a labor of love. But as so called conscious Black folks, the global African community failed to support a unique and viable venue that was created and designed strictly for our betterment.
What’s so lamentable about the demise of Rainbow Soul is Negroes (need to grows, mentally dead people) as well as so called conscious Africans spend billions of dollars annually on activities and things that are literally killing us, degrading us and keeping us in mental and psychological bondage. For the so called conscious community to not support a vehicle created and constructed to inform and facilitate our mental decolonization and transformation is especially galling as we find ourselves bombarded by a corporate white supremacist media whose programming dummies down and distracts the masses, promotes lies and openly supports an increasingly militaristic and repressive police state. “Black folks spend all that money on hair care products we don’t control, drugs, cigarettes, bling and sex but won’t send us a few dollars to help keep the station on the air. I’ve literally spent thousands of dollar of my own money trying to keep this station going.” Shared Blake. “But at some point you have to cut your losses and move on. I’m proud of what I’ve done. It hurts me to do this because this is what the white man wants, and I know the potential of Internet radio.”
Rainbow Soul offered a variety of programming and was an example of how to blend cutting edge technology with eclectic content that can both educate and entertain. Rainbow Soul offered a creative and educational venue over the years to broadcasters, leaders, activists and educators like Bob Law, Queen Afua, Professor James Smalls, Deadra Shuler, Kanya Vashon McGee, Ted Terry, Manu Ampim, Dora Jones, Khaazra Maaranu, Eyele Yetunde, Robin Rose Bennett, Dora Jones, Brother Jamaal, Keid Obi Awadu, myself and a host of others. Neil Blake was a pioneer but more importantly he was a man of vision, character and commitment. He assisted a slew of folks as they launched out in Cyberspace and now there a numerous conscious Internet radio stations serving a variety of audiences and tastes, thanks to Neil’s efforts and support.
While Rainbow Soul was the most popular these new stations are finding their own voice and audiences. Unfortunately they too are struggling to survive, having a hard time keeping up with the technology and cultivating the financial support needed to stay alive. The Western model of media supported by commercial advertising has never worked well for black media, conscious or otherwise. Black newspapers, magazines and radio station do not get the advertising dollars they need, even if they are “top rated” to survive and prosper. If they are conscious, corporate advertisers shun them like the plague. “White advertisers are not going to support conscious media.” said Blake. “They just aren’t going to do it, even if the shows are non threatening.” But by definition conscious Black programming is a threat to the status quo of Eurocentric white supremacist, anti-African programming.
What lessons can we take from the demise of Rainbow Soul? It’s the same ol same ol, we have to realize we must support our media and institutions. If we don’t support LIBradio or Innerlight radio, Harambee or any of the other conscious stations, they too will go under. We are in a war for the hearts, minds and souls of African people. Conscious media outlets, media that challenge us to throw off the yoke of Eurocentric white supremacist thinking are a necessity. The only way media of this type can/will survive is if we support it. When will we accept this reality and this challenge and act accordingly? Are we too far gone, so brainwashed and programmed against ourselves we will no longer fight? Each one of us must look deep into our souls and psyche to answer this question.
Billions of dollars pass through our hands annually, how much of that money are we spending with black businesses? How much are we donating to causes that have our best interests at heart? Someone once observed , “Where your heart is there your treasure will be also.” From the looks of things our hearts are exocentric (outside our ethnic group) because 97% of our money goes outside our community. Our hearts must be towards bondage and degradation because that’s where and how we spend our money, to degrade ourselves to mimic and support our oppressors.
Will we ever learn? Will we ever change? Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, with the same people expecting different results. Are we so negatively programmed, are we so brain-dead we hold on to our slave mentality repeating the same behaviors, oblivious to the both the process and the consequences? If so, we will continue to get the same counterproductive results and vehicles like Rainbow Soul will continue to starve for lack of support from the very people they are designed to reach, uplift, inspire and empower.

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