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"The Power of One Black" Woman (Re: Janet Jackson)

Long version: mp3, 2.86 MBs, 3:31
Short version: mp3, 2.10 MBs, 2:34

[Col. Recorded 2/13/04]

"If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again!" — Sojourner Truth

Sometimes, something happens in America that is simply stunning; something that blows the mind.

This is one such time.

The event is the Janet Jackson episode of her breast being bared at the halftime entertainment at the Super Bowl. It is not the brief, glancing peep at Janet's (or Miss
Jackson 'if ya nasty') breast that is, after all, shocking.

It is the incredible response to it!

The news media launched into replay mode, showing and reshowing the shot, over, and over, and yet over again. It became the leading news story, for several days, all throughout the country.

One simply had to wonder: Had America gone mad?

Quickly, her light-complexioned cohort, who had built a career on the cooptation of Black dance grooves, leapt to distance himself from the pop star. "I am appalled," he
assured us.

And one of the most remarkable female entertainers of her generation, who had sold her music to millions, stood virtually alone in the harsh, yet cold klieg lights of Hollywood. Members of Congress announced swift hearings on "decency" on television, and CBS fought with the NFL to bow and cringe the quickest at
this "outrage."

One woman. One bared breast. One second.

... And a catastrophe.

There are no congressional hearings to attempt to deal with the over 2 million jobs that have been lost in the past 8 months.

There are no congressional hearings on the way the Nation was hustled into war by the White House.

There are no congressional hearings into the alleged 'weapons of mass destruction' that weren't there in Iraq.

One young singer (apparently mistakenly) bares her chocolate bosom, and the
nation reels!

There is something disturbingly childish about Americans.

If this happened on French or German TV few eyebrows would've been raised. But the Americans, who still hold to the empty illusions of their Pilgrim founding myth, take great umbrage at the baring of the body — especially the Black female body.

Their inherent instinct is to control it; to police it; to erect barriers to it.

And they do this, ostensibly, for 'the children'.

This occurs in a country where folks have called the police when some women were breastfeeding — children!

It ain't about children; it's about women, and the 'shock and awe' that some men feel when the female body is asserted into public space.

It smells, to me, like the fear of women; the hidden hatred of women, and, of course, the desire to control female power — especially Black female power.

That this occurs in a country that claims to fight wars in the Middle East to 'liberate' women is telling. That it happens in a nation where women are bought and sold like hot buttered biscuits in the multi-billion dollar sex trade (owned by some of the biggest corporations on Wall St., by the way) is also telling.

This country demeans women, especially poor ones. It relegates them to the worst-paid labor, in jobs where self-respect is but an illusion. It is, in fact, closer in spirit to the theocracies of the Middle East than it cares to admit.

And yet, when events such as this occur, one can only be stunned, by the power — the power of one woman, to rock a nation, with a mere flash of a mammary. Umph, umph, umph.

Copyright 2004 Mumia Abu-Jamal


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Submitted by: Sis. Marpessa

Text © copyright 2004 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the author.