Bourbon 'n BrownTown

Ep. 3 - Happy Birthday, Malcolm X

Episode Summary

On May 19th, BrownTown raises their glasses to Malcolm X Day. Unfortunately, this is not widely known. Listen as the gang unpacks Malcolm's misunderstood legacy, his likeness with Martin Luther King Jr., and infer what he may say today.

Episode Notes

Malcolm X is commonly propped up as the more aggressive leader in the civil rights movement as compared to Martin Luther King, Jr. His well-known quote, “by any means necessary” is misconstrued and co-opted to advocate violence, which bastardizes the perception of him. After reading his autobiography and understanding his perspective through his eyes rather than a public school textbook, it is clear that his main objective is that everyone should have basic human rights and those rights should be fought for by any means necessary. To be perfectly clear: there is nothing inherently violent or aggressive about demanding basic human rights for all people. This is not a “radical” thought. Though, similar to today with the broader Black Lives Matter movement, we see actionable approaches of achieving this ideology critiqued by those in power.

In BrownTown’s third installment, we reflect on this and touch on The Boondocks’ "Return of the King" episode (which features a post-9/11 MLK) and imagine his critiques on modern black entertainment, lifestyle, and politics. Like the Boondocks, BrownTown imagines what Malcolm would say about our society today. We also unpack why Malcolm and MLK are remembered, celebrated, and written in such dichotomic ways when they fought the same fight and, ultimately, were both necessary for the awakening of minds and forward progress of policy and action. In this analysis, we note that the intersectionality and decentralization of the current movement adds to their legacy in this new wave of activism and fight for human rights, respect and dignity for all people. Instead of waiting for the next Malcolm X or the next MLK, we take pride in the shift to an intersectional, decentralized movement and encourage all to participate in the resistance against all systems of oppression.


CREDITS: Intro soundbite from Malcolm X speech "I'm a Field Negro"; outro soundbite Malcolm X "By Any Means Necessary" on top of Glory by John Legend ft. Common. Audio engineered by Genta Tamashiro.


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