Among the black community there are those of us that are labelled as “conscious”. Generally what that means is that we are socially and politically aware and we can identify the impact white supremacy/capitalist superstructures have played in our past and its continued affects today.

For as long as I can remember people have called me, and I have identified as “conscious”. Coming from a home where neither of my parents were regular church goers and I was taught of Marcus Garvey before I knew how many of Henry VIII wives were beheaded, “conciousness” was thrust upon me.

The rules of consciousness, defined by my 18 year old self, were;

  • A distinct disdain for any black woman who chooses to wear weave. (and in turn any valid contribution the aforementioned makes to a discussion around black issues is to be completely invalidated)
  • A fetishising of black women who “go natural”. (NB: equally as ignorant/damaging as above)
  • An irrational infatuation with anything ancient Egypt*
  • A constant berating of any black artist who’s every lyric is not inextricably linked to the liberation of black people
  • ANYONE who decides to date outside the race is completely lost and hates themselves and their family.
  • One cannot be both religious and conscious. You must choose. (But we will remind you, without a hint of irony, that Jesus was black and religions have their root in Africa)

What disturbs me the most is that many people who identify as “conscious” have seemingly monopolised the term. If you have a non-black partner, wear weave and enjoy Nicki Minaj then your membership card for the “conscious” community is automatically revoked.

The amount of positive, dynamic and talented black brothers and sisters that have been turned away from anything to do with pro black politics because of this is hugely upsetting. These same people have been co-opted by other groups and have had their talents used to further the cause of others.

Irrespective of the dogmatic, bigoted BS outlined above, now at age 21, I proudly identify as a Pan Africanist and will dedicate much of my life’s work in dedication of this noble cause. Is it not time that some of us rally together and reclaim the term “concious” and make it something, you know, progressive?

*Apologies, Kemet

Below, Azaelia Banks, a black woman, with weave, who has done photo shoots in the nude, is still more than capable of speaking truth to power in an engaging and relatable way.