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QUIT PLAYIN’: Another Dick Gregory!

“Three hundred years of humiliation, abuse and deprivation cannot be expected to find a voice in a whisper.”
— Martin Luther King Jr., Why We Can’t-Wait.
Dick Gregory
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Martin King was right. Centuries of oppression and second-class citizenship cannot be hushed away. We needed more than a whisper to plead our cause. That must be why the Lord sent us a brilliant Black Prodigy named Richard Claxton Gregory.

Showtime apparently understood how profound our brother was and has recently released a documentary entitled “The One and Only Dick Gregory.” This is how they describe the 113 minutes odyssey featuring America’s greatest soothsayer and griot.

“Feature-length documentary examining activist, a pop-culture icon and thought leader Dick Gregory, whose work as a self- described ‘agitator’ shaped a generation demanding justice. As a renowned Black comedian, Gregory had a platform to take on the most incendiary battles of hunger, gender equity, and civil rights – stirring trouble and making headlines in the service of social justice.”

The film also includes a few artists Dick influenced, including Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock and Wanda Sykes. Writer and Director Andre Gaines does an excellent job of telling the storyteller’s story.

The internet is full of Dick Gregory’s lore and laughter, but he left a lot right here in Dallas, Texas. Thanks to my close proximity to my editorial boss Cheryl Smith, I had an audience with him on lots of occasions.

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There was one very memorable TalkBack Liberation radio appearance with Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price. It was just before the ball dropped to introduce 2000, the new millennium. It was a crazy time.

American capitalists were in rare form, and y’all was buying everything from extra insulin to computer insurance for fear of what might happen. Some of y’all still got potted meat, peanut butter, and a bundle of one-dollar bills in your stash!

Dick Gregory declared that 2000 would unleash the “Age of Aquarius.” Some of you are old enough to remember that 1960’s hit.

“When the moon is in the Seventh House…And Jupiter aligns with Mars. Then peace will guide the planets…And love will steer the stars. This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.” The Age of Aquarius has always held a modicum of mystery in the astrological sciences.

Dick Gregory pronounced profusely that in the Age of Aquarius, there would be no more mysteries. Anything you conspired to do in the dark might just as well be done in broad daylight. Dick laughed about the cultural saying that a “Hit dog would holler.” He said that in the Age of Aquarius, you might see the dog get hit!

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Either by happenstance of circumstance, Dick’s messianic message marked the beginning of an age when social media and social outlets would replace crystal balls and Ouija boards. “There ain’t no use to ducking and hiding now, it’s all going to come out, and everybody’s going to know about it.”

If you were ashamed of whom you were with, where you were going or how your hypocritical habits might look…you better quit because, in the Age of Aquarius, all of your secrets were going to be laid bare before the world. Your paramour would be no more, and your giftedness can’t hide your shiftiness.

At the last Don’t Believe the Hype Bowl-A-Thon he attended, he dropped another bombshell. Dick Gregory told us hurricanes prove the power of the Black Woman. My mouth dropped. He whispered the words, but the voice of his admonition was so loud until it thundered.

Dick explained that all hurricanes start at the exact spot in West Africa where the slaves were placed on the ship. Not almost there, the same place. Hurricanes stay underwater and follow the same route as the slave ships. No slave was offloaded until they reached the Caribbean. No hurricane jumps above the water until it reaches the Caribbean.

A hurricane catches this country and comes all the way up the East Coast to Maine. Maine is close to Canada, but Canada never had a Hurricane. Canada never messed with Black women, and that’s why they don’t get hit. The storm turns North and heads outward. Hmm!

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We have suffered at least 402 years of humiliation, abuse, and deprivation.

We don’t need another whisper.

We need another Dick Gregory!

Vincent L. Hall is an author, activist, and an award-winning columnist.

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Vincent L. Hall is an author, activist, and award-winning columnist.


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