The New Black with Common and A$AP Ferg

It has been one interesting week with rappers and the media.

Common’s commentary has been a hot topic over the past week. During an interview on the Daily Show, Common reflected over the Oscar win for “Glory”. This reflection eventually led to some sound bites dealing with eradicating racism. Common noted the “extending a hand” bit in reference to getting along with white people. After that, him and John Stewart joke about the situation and keep things moving. No harm, no foul right?

I guess “love” isn’t the new black in our world. Peace to Common anyway.

Wrong, wrong, and even more wrong.
common-the-new-black_1_640xInstead of people saying “I get where he is coming from”, Common caught so much flack for actually being honest. And no, I’m not even saying I agree with what he said fully (that comes later). What I am noting is that what he said actually makes sense. Still, people noted the man was “cooning” or on some “New Black” shiznit. So, I digress.

Then, there is the A$AP Ferg mess that has transpired. During an NPR interview, A$AP Ferg noted something quite intriguing:

We all the same. That’s what it is about this culture of the Internet. If everything is merged. There’s no racism with the Internet. Racism only was — is probably like five generations ago. Racism is for — I wouldn’t say generations. Yeah, like five generations ago. Racism been over. It’s the old people that keep on holding on to it. We don’t hold on to that sh*t. [1]


Well, that was something special. That is until he started catching flack for his interview. After that, he backtracked to let people know that he understands that “racism still exists”. However, among the “like-minded, progressive thinking people” that he interacts with, “racism and separatism doesn’t exist to the extent that it did generations ago” [2]. So, sometimes clarification is a good thing?

The New Black – Origins

So, where did this “The New Black” ideology come from? Well, Mr. Pharrell “the man with the Arby’s hat” Williams can explain this better. In fact, he did in a previous interview with Oprah:

The New Black doesn’t blame other races for our issues. The New Black dreams and realizes that it’s not a pigmentation; it’s a mentality. And it’s either going to work for you, or it’s going to work against you. And you’ve got to pick the side you’re gonna be on. [3]

And then, there was that time where Raven Symone wanted to note that she was tired of being labeled “Black” or “African American” or “female” (or whatever the hell her space out ass mind conceived). So, that is where we are with “The New Black”.

But we all know that “The New Black” is a bunch of bullshit that sounds cool. It isn’t interesting, and there is no “New Black”.

The New Black is Not New

The most unpleasant thing about this “The New Black” mentality is that there is nothing “new” about it at all. It doesn’t matter how people look at their lives within the realms of “Blackness” and taking ownership of their own successes and failures. It means very little to try and redefine Blackness into something new. What really matters is that “The New Black” is “The Old Black”. People are just trying to sound brave and refreshing by coining a new term/mentality.

Plenty of people have been progressing despite the racial issues. What do people think the different examples of “Black Wall Street” has been all about? Don’t they really understand the creation of Black Greek organizations are an example of “reaching beyond pigmentation”? When Black people became free from slavery, they didn’t complain about racism; rather, they made the most of their situation and achieved. Stepping out a mentality that hinders you has been the song and dance of Black people for hundreds of years.


If we are to use the definition of “The New Black” like Pharrell uses, then we need to realize that many Black people were “The New Black” before it was coined a cutsie term for pseudo-progression:

Black Jack Johnson was “The New Black”

Josephine Baker was “The New Black”

Bass Reeves was “The New Black”

The Malaga Island community was “The New Black”

I could go on for days with examples of Black people reaching beyond race, color, creed, and even sexual orientation to achieve greatness. I could do that. However, it is time to realize that “The New Black” is not new (or even original) in concept.

The New Black Epilogue

What many of us (like Pharrell, A$AP Ferg) miss is that Black people have been “doing them regardless” for years. Common was right about how we have been “extending our hand” beyond racism. But what he should have noted is that we been “extending a hand toward love” for eons. Still, there are issues of racism in existence. I say it is fair time for others (White people) to realize their faults and do their part as well.