Aww. . . You think you’re “woke?” Think again. (TAKE THE QUIZ)
Scroll to the bottom of the page to take the quiz!
In this piece TNTC explains how, despite prevalent use of the phrase “stay woke,” there are not nearly enough “woke” people today. Basically, most of y’all still asleep.
A History of “Stay Woke”
A young Laurence Fishburne runs across campus to ring the bell, all the while screaming “WAKE UP!” His colleagues shuffle out of their dorms in pajamas, still groggy from sleep. Tons of students stand stoically before Fishburne, not unlike Solange’s bridal party, as the most un-woke of them all, Julian, played by Giancarlo Esposito, parts the crowd. When he reaches Fishburne, he faces him and nods in understanding.
“Please,” Fishburne pleads, looking directly into the camera, “Wake up!”
According to a highly credible source (myself), this is the origin of the ever-popular slang phrase, “stay woke.”
“Stay woke” refers to being aware of all the bullshit that surrounds you, all the lies that society, the government, and the media wants to feed you. Do you accept everything you see, hear, or read as truth or do you question its validity? Are you merely a product of what the world´s brainwashed you to be: racist, sexist, misogynistic, homophobic, trans-phobic, classist, religion-intolerant? Are you aware of your privilege–as a White person, as a man, as a straight person, as a poverty-free person, as an educated person, as a person living in a first world country?
To be “woke,” you must receive an education that you can´t get at your typical school. You must be enlightened. Forgo the blissful dreamworld that the universe feeds you and wake up to The Truth.
But the notion behind “stay woke,” is actually hundreds of years old. It can be traced back to the Enlightenment period in which scientists, artists, philosophers and the like began questioning everything. The Age of Enlightenment’s ideology can be summed up as “Dare to know! Have courage to use your own reason!”
It also hides nicely in a popular children’s song. Does “merrily merrily merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream” sound familiar?
Wokeness or consciousness in popular culture
There’s another word for being woke: being conscious. Typically “stay woke” is the phrase and “conscious” is the adjective that describes the woke.
Let’s liken it to rapping, since rappers are often labeled according to their consciousness. “Conscious” rappers tend to be more lyrical and have a positive message behind their songs, whereas “unconscious” rappers’ sole aim is to make catchy songs with lyrics that need no further decoding. Think trap music.
You get the point. Conscious rappers actually talk about shit.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with trap music and its legion of codeine-sippers. I’ve even admitted here that I’m an avid listener of Future, among others.
And, that’s not to say that a conscious rapper doesn’t drank a little codeine from time to time. I say this both literally and figuratively.
Some conscious rappers can’t help but to be a little ignant from time to time. Case in point: Kanye. Some even fall completely off of the conscious wagon and I go into an emergency state of terror in fear that they’ll never find their way again. Kanye AGAIN.
Some rappers, like Drake, can be a little bit of both. More rappers still are strictly one over the other. Think Common vs. Young Thug.
And then there’s the king of them all, Jay-Z, who is unapologetically both in the name of money.
Surprisingly, some conscious rappers even have misogynistic tendencies. Pretty much all are homophobic. And it’s not uncommon for a codeine-dranker to drop nuggets of wisdom every now and then.
No man or woman is perfect. I applaud the ones who use their platform to shine a light on critical issues affecting the community in a world where booty-shaking stripper anthems and cocaine cutting sing-a-longs rise to the charts.
Now, what does consciousness in popular culture have to do with the battle of “stay woke?” Because people copy what they see. If a song is making them think about the shit, they’re more likely to think about shit when the song stops playing.
So I’m happy that conscious rappers like Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole have grown in popularity. It makes me have a little more faith in humanity.
But there are many still who need to wake up! We need more soldiers than the conscious rappers. Join me.
So which one are you?
If you’re so quick to call yourself woke or conscious just because you have a degree, or because you won’t vote for Trump (although that is a darn good parameter) or because you think there’s no such thing as reverse racism (another great parameter), think again.
Being woke has nothing to do with your education, race, or political beliefs. How do I know? Because I run into fake woke people all the time.
Although false rape accusations make up no more than 8% percent of all rape claims and the vast majority of victims don’t even report their rape, many men would more readily go to bat for falsely accused men than support and acknowledge rape victims.
You cannot be woke and be anti-feminist.
How can you be so proud for your race and culture, but fail to acknowledge that there are gay and trans black people/Hispanics/Asians, etc.
Let’s say you’re aware about racism, fight for gay rights, and you’re even a feminist but you think Muslims are destroying the country and need to be outed.
You cannot be woke and hate any group of people.
So, are you woke? Check yourself and take the quiz below. We could all use some improvement.
As always, #staywoke my friends.
Feel free to share your results!