Kobe Bryant was a household name. Whenever a kid chucks a wadded up piece of loose leaf into the trash can, chances are, they shouted “Kobe” before doing so. He mentored most of the Black players currently in the NBA, he was active in charity work, and displayed progressive, “pro-Black” views on occasion, criticizing Kanye West’s constant buffoonery. His death sparked waves of grief throughout the New Afrikan community, and the sports community as a whole. He was adored for his skill at his sport from Shanghai to Mombasa, Cape Town to Kingston. Everybody knows who he is, even if they didn’t follow basketball. New Afrikan musicians, artists, writers and athletes are our gift to the world, our collective cultural treasure. Kobe was one of them. Black people mourn Kobe because he was ours. Whenever a Black person dies, whether it be up the street or across the world, we are going to mourn.
Kobe Bryant was also an admitted rapist. I am not going to rehash the details of that case in this piece because it is not my place to do so. But it is known that he, his wealthy bosses, and his legal team did destroy the life and public reputation of his victim. It is not beneficial and is a smack in the face to the millions of victims of sexual assault by powerful, wealthy men, or men in general, to deny these things. This is not pro-Black, or a matter of closing ranks.
Yes, the colonizers who did not know what Kobe Bryant meant to us yet take the liberty of butting into conversations where they are neither needed nor wanted are wrong and should be rightfully taken to task. For one, it’s performative. They still promote the work of serial abuser David Bowie and countless others, and if they fancy themselves “Communists”, I guarantee you they are running interference for at least one abuser in their ranks. Liberalism and dissonance is second nature to colonizers. Second of all, it’s disrespectful wallowing in Black death for social justice points on the internet. Colonizer America is addicted to Black suffering, pain and grief. It gorged itself on breeding our ancestors like beasts of the field. It uses our deaths at the hands of their police to sell newspapers, obtain grants, and get membership in their opportunist political organizations that have no interest in anything besides prolonging their organizational lives, getting clout for a few people on the Central Committee, and delaying our inevitable revolution. They wasted no time rushing to attack Kobe, not because they care about victims of sexual assault, but because they never miss the opportunity to mock, demean, and attack a Black person, for whatever reason. Even if Kobe had not done what he had done, they would have still found fault and reason to dance on the man’s grave. Why shouldn’t they? This country is built over our corpses, colonizers want our blood whether we be man, woman, child, nonbinary, rich, poor, working class, slave, free, Communist, Capitalist, Baptist, Hoodoo practitioner. If we Black, we are under attack. Later for them. Just because colonizers do wicked things does not mean that we must as well. We are better than them. Their nature is wickedness and violence. Do not read their posts about Kobe. Do not engage with their tweets about Kobe, or any other Black person. The audacity of those who raped our ancestors and subjected them to slavery most brutal and cruel yet still show no remorse or shame, even on the so-called Left, “calling out” a Black person for anything is disgusting. Suck the oxygen from their fire and the wind from their sails.
One divides into two. Kobe Bryant was a New Afrikan cultural icon and treasure. This legacy is his, and ours. The same goes for cop apologist Shaquille O’Neal, buffoon and jackanapes Kanye West who has changed the face of music so many times yet is so outrageous I’m still not convinced he’s not really a trickster god out of West African folklore, and countless others who excelled in art, music, and sport yet have also done horrible things and said horrible things, even siding with the enemy. Everything has a dual aspect, this is one of the most important points in Maoist philosophy. A person being an excellent musician, writer, painter, or basketball player does not mean that they are immune from criticism. When taking account of a person’s life, the good must be taken with the atrocious.
Furthermore, let’s investigate and interrogate that which enabled Kobe to get away with what he did. A Black man accused of abusing a white woman sexually in any circumstance in American history would have been imprisoned, at best. Had Kobe been in the financial situation of the majority of Black men born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1978, he would have been in prison for the rest of his natural life. In the South within living memory, a Black youth named Emmett Till was tortured to death within a half hour drive of where my grandmother lived in 1955 for simply being accused of whistling at a white woman (she later admitted that he didn’t). Kobe got away with it because his handlers, managers and owners demanded it. He was needed on the court. He was needed to make money. Thus, this woman’s life was dragged through the mud by his legal team.
The NBA does not value the lives of their players. Nor does the NFL. Colonizers bidding on the lives and bodies of Black men, “trading” them, and forcing them to neglect their health for the benefit of their pocketbooks. In the NCAA, athletes for a long time were not able to benefit from the use of their names or images in promotional materials or advertisements. This is a full time job, athletes are forced to neglect their academics for the benefit of the team, university and coach, yet they are not paid. Again, slavery. Players were forced to play under immense psychological stress after the death of their mentor. Slavery. Investigate and grasp the class root behind everything, and you will know why things are the way they are. The fact that Kobe got away with it was because of his slavemaster, his patron, demanding it. Even during the slavery era, Black people with powerful masters had more leeway than those who did not, depending on their value on the farm. History may not repeat itself, but it sure comes back to bite.