I’ve been thinking a lot about Tupac lately.
Like a lot.
More specifically, I’ve been thinking about one of my favorite songs by him: “Changes.”
“Changes” is my all-time favorite.
If you’re not familiar with the song, listen here.
Here are the lyrics.
I love the song because it’s a truth-telling journey.
Tupac speaks about, not only systemic racism, but also systematic racism.
He not only talks about challenges to black dignity that come from outside of our communities, but also those that challenge us from within.
I have always thought that if half of the people who nodded their heads or moved their bodies or drove around blasting the song in their cars really listened to the words our communities would be so much healthier and happier.
My favorite verse from the song is this:
We gotta make a change
It’s time for us as a people to start makin’ some changes
Let’s change the way we eat, let’s change the way we live
And let’s change the way we treat each other
You see the old way wasn’t working so it’s on us to do
What we gotta do, to survive
Tupac was full of rage, but he was also a thinker.
I came across one of his more provocative statements a few days ago in Kehinde Andrews’ Back to Black: Retelling Black Radicalism for the 21st Century (2018).
During a panel discussion the Indiana Black Expo, Tupac defended is use of the term, “nigga” saying,
I don’t care of you’re a lawyer, if you’re a man, if you’re an African American, if you’re whatever the fuck you think you are. We’re thugs and niggas to the motherfuckers…How you gonna be a man if you’re starving? You know? You could go to four or five different houses and there ain’t a man in any one of those motherfuckers. How we gonna be African Americans if we out here dying? We’re thugs and we’re niggas until we get this shit straight. (136)
Indeed, what’s in a name if you have no control over it and its uses?
Tupac was full of such gems.
Unfortunately, most of the people—black and white and other—who throw around words like “thug” and “nigga” as well as terms like “bitches,” and “hoes”—labels that have been and continue to be used to dehumanize us–do not put any thought into why they use them, nor their implications.
Or they use them in order to continue to inflict harm.
With a desire to contribute to the positive change that Tupac advocated for, I would like to share a resource to help us on the journey to not only survive, but THRIVE!
Let’s start with food:
A few years ago, I read, and taught parts of Breeze Harper’s Sistah Vegan.
I then became familiar with the beautiful Annette Larkins, the now 78-year-old African American woman who, many years ago switched to a raw living foods diet and has maintained amazing health and a youthful appearance.
Here’s a recent story about her: 80 Going on 40: How Annette Larkins Has Found the Fountain of Youth
I then came across Tracye McQuirter, author of By Any Greens Necessary: A Revolutionary Guide for Black Women Who Want to Eat Great, Eat Healthy, Lose Weight, and Look Phat (2010), a riff on one of Brother Malcolm X’s most memorable, however, abbreviated phrases: “By any means necessary.”
Many people know Ms. McQuirter as the Ageless Vegan, thanks to the publication of her most recent vegan cookbook by that name.
Indeed, she, like her mother, Mary, Annette Larkins, and another of Black women vegan elders, Karyn Calabrese, seems ageless.
Larkins, like Calabrese, is a raw vegan.
This blog is all about celebrating Blackness; our many contributions to the world, and collective empowerment.
Again, in the interest of helping us realize the dream that Tupac shared, I share with you, my beloved readers, an offering that Tracye McQuirter has organized: The National AfroVegan Virtual Conference this Saturday, July 25th:
While you’re at it why not sign up for McQuirter’s newsletter?
She will also be one of the featured speakers in the Holistic Holiday at Home online conference from July 26-August 1
Both events are completely free, which of course means there is no excuse for not signing up, learning, and executing some positive changes!!!