Friday, May 2, 2014

Revisiting: Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

 Spoken word artist, Prentice Powell, preforms his poem "The System." This reminded me of Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison; it is almost like an updated, animated version of Ellison's message of why he refused to be a puppet of the system.

"The System," by Prentice Powell

The system don’t want us here right now.
See, we live in a system that’s designed for us to fail, 
a system that would tell you no matter how wonderful, how fantastic, how great you think you are, 
there is no you. 

There is only who I want you to be, from your latest cellphones to the style seen in your most recent videos to my implementation of what you call swag.
If you can’t brag about how many women you have or the $200 denim on your butt, 
you are worthless. 

Your purse is not hot if it is a Fall edition, and we are in the winter. 
And as long as your kids have Jordans on their feet, it is okay.
If they have to eat Top Ramen for a week for dinner, your check is in the mail.

You fail at becoming grown man.
So you don’t bother with your younger ones.
Give them to me.
I’ll program them to Viacom.
Have them growing up with a single mom and no males to emulate and wonder why so many begin to have extensive rap sheets, an ADD with no off switch and download a defense that is nothing, but false self-confident, shown through them being overly aggressive.

Your misguided women want nothing but diamonds and Fendi or dreams of finding a professional athlete to pay for their lives because to them being a wife is not a lifestyle, it is trendy.
Trendy to have like a little black dog carried around in a bag, the demasculinization of your black man is going according to plan.

Flip flip the coin and for those who have chose not to go down that road, make sure that any statement they make that may challenge their masculinity are followed by statements of insecurity we can’t have them thinking for themselves.

Program dreams to be a mirage, close enough to see yet too far to reach, set their aesthetics to pathetic aka camouflage allow them to blend in keyword ‘trend’.
Downtown corner is full of rappers who refuse to give up even though their stuff sucks, but we allow them to say their piece.
At the very lease it will make them a quick buck.

Any more success initiate operation exploitation, throw them a bit more cash.
I am – I am the system, program to initiate command, error; you people are programmed not to ask. You are nothing more than empty vessels who have sold their souls a long time ago and you call me robotic.

I am the system, systematically set to just do.
You are systematically set to just do and not think and you call me robotic ever, redundancy ever, repeat ever, redundancy – pardon me.

I was scanning your culture’s current popular music.
You want a cop to pay for killing one of you, 
but carry a “no snitching” policy in your own community, which allows, which allows, which allows, which allows, which allows you Negros, error, you Negros, error, you Negros, error, you people to have absolutely no accountability irony overload reset.

I am the sssssystem.

Systematically set to desensitize your senses and senseless activity, surrounds your society, simultaneously making you love me while sh-sh-shaking in your boot and for those who dare to overthrow me allow me to remind thee it is I who provided you with the land and seed you use to grow your little grass roots.

I am the system.


Hamlette (Rachel) said...

Great message! Wow. Sad and true and angry -- reminds me of Langston Hughes.

BTW, love your new header :-)

Ruth said...

It was a great message. That's why I loved Ellison's message in Invisible Man.

Thanks re. my header. My attempt at watercolor.