Richie appeals to kings and queensTuesday, May 04, 2021
BY HOWARD CAMPBELL
A spate of controversial incidents in the United States has sparked outrage among the black Diaspora. Like millions of people, Richie Stephens was shocked by the horrific murder of George Floyd one year ago, but he believes the black man must lead the way in improving his image.
He makes his point in Kings And Queens, a new, self-produced song released by his Pot Of Gold label.
“I'm very troubled by especially how we treat ourselves. For example, the names we call each other…the niggers, the 'ho's. Those names were created to speak of us in a derogatory way, defame us, keep us down and relegate us,” Stephens stated in an interview with the Jamaica Observer.
“I think it's one of the craziest things for us to now accept those names so much that we start calling ourselves those names. I go further - even in terms of how we dress, with the pants falling off, to me it's just derogatory,” he added. “People see us a particular way when we do these things to ourselves, and I think our oppressors are very happy and comfortable with us operating in a fashion like this.”
Floyd, a black American, died in Minneapolis when a white police officer kneeled on his neck for over nine minutes and caused him to suffocate. The incident, captured by a bystander on a cellphone, quickly went viral and sparked protests around the world.
The officer, Derek Chauvin, was convicted on April 20 for second and third degree murder as well as second-degree manslaughter. Scheduled to be sentenced in June, he faces up to 75 years in prison.
Despite international support for the families of Floyd and other Americans who have died or suffered discrimination, Stephens calls on black people in Kings And Queens to rediscover themselves by being culturally aware.
“We, first of all, have to start get conscious and hail each other as kings and queens and operate like kings and queens. And I believe that is who we truly are – kings and queens of the Earth,” he said. “We are the original people and we need to remember that and keep reminding the world that we are. First, we have to believe it before people start believing it.”