To paraphrase Jon Lovett, former speechwriter for Barack Obama, and host of hit podcast, Lovett or Leave It: what a month. 2018 saw the winter that would not die and most of Ontario didn’t hit 20 degrees in April at all (there have only been a dozen cases of this ever happening in the last 80 years). April 2018 will go down as one of the top 5 coldest in history across the country; I predict a bump in in the birth of December babies, and yes, pun intended.
To add insult to injury, this was a bad month for high profile black men. In a month that gave us Kendrick Lamar winning a Pulitzer and Coachella being re-christened ‘Beychella’, after Beyonce’s wig snatching performance, a bunch of dudes showed us that, contrary to what our moms told us, it is possible to be even more disappointed in someone.
We all knew Kanye West was a jackass. Talented, but a jackass, nonetheless. The Taylor Swift incident wasn’t a blip, and he really does think Donald Trump is swell. I want to believe that he’s being wily and calculating in order to captivate as many eyeballs as possible to maximize the downloads of his next (as yet untitled) album. I believe I am experiencing what is called cognitive dissonance. Kanye West did say, ‘the mob can’t make me not love him’, ‘Him’ being the current president of the United States. Le sigh. Carry on, everybody, nothing to see here. Just a man exercising his right to free expression. Chance the Rapper is correct: Black people don’t need to be democrats. I just wish this particular black person kept it to himself, because right now he is Tom Cruise jumping up and down on Oprah’s sofa declaring his love for Katie Holmes. Remember how that ended?
Bill Cosby is a predator who drugged and raped women and now he’s been found guilty by a jury. Hurrah. Now, let’s get the rest of the men who have done the same, and worse. Find them, gather evidence, take them to court, and send them to jail. This is just the beginning, so roll up our sleeves and get ready.
I am heartbroken to see the accusations against NAS. I used to feel bad about him being Jay Z’s punchline but, now I see that it was all warranted. His ex-wife, Kelis, has accused him of mental and physical abuse during their 5 year marriage and I believe her. We need to stand with the way we stood up for Rihanna when Chris Brown was outed as a violent dirt-bag who believed that a punch was the same as ‘disagreement between couples’. So let us all stop and take a collective breath.
Do not pay too much attention to these hollow men who, when ignited, burn so bright it’s hard to see the substantial, thoughtful, kind men in our society; broken, stuffed men who are the negatives to all the positive people around us.
Avengers: Infinity War was the box office champion this final April weekend where superheroes with magic axes, enhanced webs, and charmed sceptres attempt to defeat square jawed villains. But let us acknowledge the real heroes in our midst who save regular citizens with their bare hands and then go on to raise $160,000 for the victims’ families. His name is James Shaw Jr and we should always think of him when we doubt our own courage.
Colin Kaepernick was honoured by Amnesty International with the 2018 Ambassador of Conscience Award which celebrates individuals or groups who speak out for justice. Yes, he took a knee, he is fighting against injustice, and for racial equality but he still doesn’t have a job. In the future he will be celebrated and lionized the same way Martin Luther King Jr. is today and nobody will remember that Kaepernick was shut out of his career for speaking his mind. He is a beacon in the very dark times we are currently living.
The light at the end of the tunnel has to be journalist/activist Desmond Cole, who many thought would announce an intention to run for Mayor this fall; he has decided to focus on writing, activism, and social justice. It is disappointing that an articulate, socially aware, passionate black man will not be challenging John Tory on his right-leaning policies disguised as multiculturalism and diversity. But, it is equally gratifying to see someone pause and be thoughtful about occupying a powerful role in civic leadership that will influence over 2 million citizens. Yes, Cole could have made a difference as the mayor of Toronto and he’s not saying no, he is saying ‘not yet.’
Patience. Virtue. Let us never forget what greatness these ideals can yield.