a thousand words

Tuesday, June 9, 2015


  1. Tamron Hall did a segment today on beauty and a woman's nails were referred to as being "on fleek." As soon as I heard the term, I knew it was a new slang word or phrase created by black folk that had crept into the mainstream.

    Why does this bother me? Because  I know that these terms are intellectual property

    Intellectual property (IP) is a legal term that refers to creations of the mind. Examples of intellectual property include music, literature, and other artistic works; discoveries and inventions; and words, phrases, symbols, and designs.

    But because they arise from a general culture that does not seem to know how clever it is, we (the black people) never seem to profit as we enrich American culture with our endless creativity. This is what I call Niggallectual Property© intellectual property created by black culture but it only has value when appropriated by white people.

    Like, diss, playa, twerk, hater and ratchet, I knew this on fleek was yet another cultural term that has been appropriated and will soon be used by corny politicians, pandering to the youth vote. 

    The comedian Bill Bellamy coined the term Booty Call, then someone made a movie using the title and then everyone in the world started saying it and doing it and he doesn’t get a royalty.

    Black folks created jazz, blues, rock and roll, soul disco and rap and we watched as each of these genres were taken, mainstreamed, blanded out and killed. And now we have a generation of kids who think glorified backup singers are actually good.

    Black folk, my people, are the kings of intellectual property but while IP in the digital age has value, much of our cultural IP is worthless-- until it is appropriated by others who see its value.

    We can stop this. All we have to do is be smart. Before you tweet or vine something clever, copyright it first and then when they steal it, you get paid. Or better yet, if we can stop discounting ourselves just because we live in a country that seems to place a small value on our lives, we can all get paid. By the way, this whole blog is totally on fleek.

    Copyright 2015