“You would never know
If you could ever be
If you never try
You would never see
Stayed in Africa
We ain’t never leave
So there were no slaves in our history
Were no slave ships, were no misery, call me crazy, or isn’t he
See I fell asleep and I had a dream, it was all black everything”
– Lupe Fiasco, All Black Everything
Have you ever wondered what the world would be like if the most tragic events did not occur? Like if the Trail of Tears never happened? If the Holocaust was not even a thought? If a world war was a foreign concept? If genocide wasn’t even in our vocabulary? If revolutions were not necessary? Well, Wasalu Muhammad Jaco, better known as the hip-hop lyricist, Lupe Fiasco wondered the same thing about the Transatlantic Slave Trade in his brilliant song, All Black Everything.
In the song, Lupe unravels some of the major injustices that have occurred and continue to happen to the Black community and visualizes all the wrongdoings being reversed. There was no slavery, no forced migration to different lands, no assassinations of Black leaders, so on and so forth. Cleverly, he fantasizes about all the extraordinary changes that could’ve happened if history went a different direction while also critiquing society’s ills in the same breath. Lupe implicitly details the unfair treatment of Black people in history while dreaming up this alternate universe (“First 400 years, see we actually enjoyed it/Constitution written by the W.E.B. Du Bois/Were no reconstructions, Civil War got avoided/Little black Sambo grows up to be a lawyer”). Furthermore, the MC highlights some of the psychological effects of enslavement in present-day while reimagining the Black community’s internal conflicts (“Keepin it real is not an understood concept/Yea, complexion’s not a contest/Cause racism has no context”).
With the last verse, he looks forward to the future asking the listeners why can’t this dream be a reality where every man and woman is empowered and encouraged to be the best selves they can be and where race wouldn’t even be emphasized anymore because “when those color lines come we can’t see between/We just close our eyes ’til it’s all black every-THING!” This utopian lifestyle is what most people seem to dream of when thinking about world peace. If that is the end goal for most of us, then why can’t we start building the foundation for that reality individually and collectively? Why can’t we begin to empower all people without it being considered a racist concept? In fact, the bold idea of “all Black everything” is really a call for justice, peace, and unity where all men are truly treated equally. I mean, we were all created to be equal right?
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
To the good people of the world, let’s start taking this piece of the Declaration of Independence literally so that Lupe Fiasco’s All Black Everything is not just a witty critique of America but a prophecy of equality, solidarity, and unity.
All Black Everything
by Lupe Fiasco
Lyrics Credit: AZLyrics.com