What, To The Hebrew, Is American Black Culture?
When the people saw that Mosheh was taking a long time to come down from the mountain, they gathered around Aharon and said to him, “Get busy; and make us gods to go ahead of us; because this Mosheh, the man that brought us up from the land of Egypt — we don’t know what has become of him.” Aharon said to them, “Have your wives, sons and daughters strip off their gold earrings; and bring them to me.” The people stripped off their gold earrings and brought them to Aharon. He received what they gave him, melted it down, and made it into the shape of a calf. They said, “Israel! Here is your god, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!” On seeing this, Aharon built an altar in front of it and proclaimed, “Tomorrow is to be a feast for Yahweh.” Early the next morning they got up and offered burnt offerings and presented peace offerings. Afterwards, the people sat down to eat and drink; then they got up to indulge in revelry. (Exodus/Shemot 32:1–6, CJB)
Our Original Culture
Did you hear what the character Aaron said in the Grown-ish clip? In the clip, Aaron says:
“This is a culture that we were forced to create, because the first one was robbed from us; and now, it feels like we’re at risk of losing it again.”
My inquiry to the so-called Colored. Negro. Afro-American. Afro-American. (Guess even if you have a clean, crisp, low haircut, you’re still considered an Afro?) Black. Those whose ancestors were brought to the Americas, to the Occident; inhumanely packed liked sardines, in the intestines of slave ships. My question to us is: “What is our original culture?”
Before the slaves ships, what language were we communicating to each other in? Before the slave ships, what was our diet? Before the slave ships, what sartorial did our people wear? Before the slave ships, what songs did our people sing? To Whom did we sing? Before the slave ships, what were our customs? Before the slave ships, what were our morals? Before the slave ships, which geographical place on Earth did we call our homeland? Our ancestral homeland? Before the slave ships, what was our way of life? Before the slave ships, my people, Who did we worship? Let’s engage these inquiries, couching them in the light, love, and truth of Scripture.
The “Why?” Behind American Slavery
Among these, from the people of Yahudah, were Dani’el, Chananyah, Misha’el, and Azaryah. The chief officer gave them other names — to Dani’el he gave the name Belt’shatzar; to Chananyah, Shadrakh; to Misha’el, Meishakh; and to Azaryah, Abed-Nego. (Dani’el 1:6–7, CJB)
Why did slavery happen to our people? Why did 400 years of slavery happen to the so-called Negro? Have any of us ever thought or pondered this query? Why is it that other people groups have autonomously immigrated to the Americas? Whilst the ancestors of the so-called Negro, were forcibly brought here as slaves? In chains? With iron yokes on their necks? Also, like Dani’el, Chananyah, Azaryah, Misha’el, didn’t we also have our names changed? The Bible makes it clear.
The so-called Negroes are the true Israelites of The Bible.
Are you still with me? It is totally, absolutely, unambiguously fine if you are not. You don’t need to be with me. We all need to be with Yahweh. Our Creator. Yes. The Scriptures give answer the ‘why’ behind slavery. Now, someone can very well ask: “Yoel, when looking at history, don’t you realize that many nations have (unfortunately) been enslaved, not just African Americans?” This is a valid, legitimate question. The Torah says that if Israel (if your respective ancestors were brought here via the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, you’re of Israelite descent) decides to refuse to pay attention to what Yahweh our God says, covenant curses will be ours. In abundance.
True. Slavery is not unique or hyper exclusive to my people. The Hungarians were enslaved by the Ottoman Empire. The Irish (top of the morning to you…or afternoon… or evening) were enslaved by the British. The Chinese were enslaved by the Japanese. However, the Hungarians, Irish, and the Chinese are all back in their respective ancestral homeland. The group of people who were brought here via slave ships, are not. We are still here in the Americas, in the Caribbean, in the Occident in general. Question is: What is the ancestral homeland of the so-called Negro? In the manner of my Rabbi, I will answer the question, with a question. What land was Yahweh referring to in Exodus 6:8?
The singularity of African-American slavery is amplified, when viewed through the lens of The Bible. Specifically, when one juxtaposes the curses outlined in Deuteronomy 28:1–68, with African-American slavery. Even the nomenclature attributed to us Hebrews, is the covenant curse of Deuteronomy 28:37, in real time. What is the politically correct term for us now? Is it Colored? Or is that byword outmoded? Is it Negro? Afro-American? Where is the homeland of the Afros? Are we Black? I perennially reject the aforementioned list of bywords. I will always cleave to Yahweh my God, and go with the Biblically correct name; Israelite.
With this said, my beloved Hebrew people, I must ask this inquiry: “What, to the Hebrew, is American black culture?”
Tradition Of The Elders
During American slavery, us Hebrews were completely torn asunder from our original Hebrew culture, Hebrew history, and Hebrew identity. Our Hebrew ancestors, sans knowledge of self, were left to piecemeal a way of life together. Fast forwarding to now, 2020, we have American black culture. What is American black culture? This is not an exhaustive list, but some elements of American black culture includes, but is not limited to:
- Soul Food
- African-American Vernacular English/Ebonics
- Black Power rhetoric
- Sunday Church
- Hip-Hop culture/Rap music
I want to hold up the mirror of The Holy Bible, to American Black culture. Specifically, I want to focus in on Hip-Hop culture. I said a hip hop, the hippie, the hippie, to the hip, hip hop, and you don’t stop. Okay, I’ll stop. I’m so not a rapper. I’m a poet. I love the prose and poetry of The Bible. What I will not do, is make a blanket statement, speak in absolutes, and say that all Hip-Hop is lawless and sinful. There are nuances in Hip-Hop. My question is: “Is Hip-Hop repenting us back to Yahweh, our God, The God of the Hebrews? See Exodus 5:3. Is Hip-Hop repenting us back to our Savior, Rabbi Yahshua The Messiah? Is Hip-Hop repenting us back to The Written Torah? Is Hip-Hop leading us to accept the Good News of Yahweh’s Kingdom? Is Hip-Hop guiding us back to our original Israelite culture?
As I conclude, I have to share a part of Yaaqob’s letter:
So rid yourselves of all vulgarity and obvious evil, and receive meekly The Word implanted in you, that can save your lives. Don’t deceive yourselves by only hearing what The Word says, but do it! For whoever hears The Word but doesn’t do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror, who looks at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But if a person looks closely into the perfect Torah which gives freedom, and continues, becoming not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work it requires, then he will be blessed in what he does. (James/Yaaqob 1:21–25, CJB)
We Have A Choice
My Rabbi Yahshua says the following:
Their worship of Me is useless, because they teach man-made rules as if they were doctrines. “You depart from God’s command and hold onto human tradition. Indeed”, he said to them, “you have made a fine art of departing from God’s command in order to keep your tradition! (Mark 7:7–9, CJB)
So, the choice is before us, my people. Which culture will we choose? Will we cling and cleave to American black culture? Is this the wisest choice that will yield optimal results? At the outset, I took care to quote Exodus 32:1–6. How did God Almighty Yahweh react to us holding on to Egyptian culture, curating a golden calf? Was He pleased with this syncretism? Are we saying that the American black culture we innovated, is better than the culture of Torah, that Yahweh gives us? We all have to make a decision, myself included. Question is, which culture will we choose?