This post and the artwork that accompanies it come courtesy of Pierce and I’s sister, Maya, an MFA student at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA.
Taking a break from my Civil Rights class taught by Professor Gerald Gill at Tufts University, I stepped into the graduate lounge and a packet of artificial sweetener caught my eye… “POWER TO THE PACKET” was printed in bold red letters stretched across the paper in a style reminiscent to picket signs crafted by Black people desperate for change in the 1960s. Immediately disturbed, I grabbed a handful of the fake flavor, which came in a variety catch phrases including “Give Taste a Chance”, “Just Say Yes to Flavor” and “FIGHT for your right to Flavor”. The “POWER TO THE PACKET” statement was most upsetting to me because POWER TO THE PEOPLE was not just a slogan, but a rallying anthem which was appreciated and honored during the Civil Rights Movement. This statement demanded that we stand up, take power and become accountable for our community. The marketing team for Equal’ 0 calorie sweetener morphed this historic proclamation into a diluted tongue-and-cheek advertisement for their ‘Campaign of Flavor’, which ironically (or not so much) further enforced corporate financial gains by exploiting Black culture.

When I took time to do some background research, I realized that the brunt of my anger was not so much towards the capitalistic infrastructure of mainstream media, but more about the complacency and apathetic nature of today’s up and coming Black leaders. Where is our Power? What are we fighting for? And as we excel in academia, who are we leaving behind? We are living in a society in which racism has become more elusive (hard for white people to pin-point); oppression runs rampant in the Criminal Justice System, Public Schools, Housing and Healthcare. Although every now and then the Bill Bennetts, Kramers and NYPD offer a fantastic example of just how far we’ve really come. So I ask today’s Young Gifted and Black, are you going to fight for Justice by any means necessary? Or are you going live under the illusion that we are all Equal® and continue to only “DO YOUR DRINK JUSTICE”?

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Published on December 3, 2006 at 4:12 pm. 15 Comments.
Filed under commercialism,radical politics,television.