Dick Gregory: Breaking Barriers On The Stage And In The Community

Dick Gregory: Breaking Barriers On The Stage And In The Community

Remembering Dick Gregory's impact on comedy and social activism.

Comedy is powerful.

Comedy, when executed well, eases tension, helps create discussion on difficult topics, and can even be the connecting tether which bridges people of different backgrounds, nationalities, and interests together over shared experience in laughter.

Dick Gregory obviously knew the power of comedy long before the rest of the world could understand how trivial the qualms over race and economic status were in this country’s long, ongoing fight with injustice. Gregory used his platform as a comedian to fight for the rights of people of color by becoming the first black comedian to cross over to white audiences and from the stage he’d leap into the freedom fight as an activist exposing truth about racism in the U.S.

At the time when Gregory’s comedic banter was criticized for its political connotations, he never faltered. Through humor he saw a way to talk about the injustices black Americans faced and understood that by denying the truth of racial inequality and choosing not to offend those audience members in which he entertained, he was then denying the chance to enact change.

Not only did Gregory actively fight during the Civil Rights Movement, but he also recognized the plights happening around the world including, but not limited to: Equal rights for women, animal rights, and peace in the Middle East.

We live in a time where citizens in the U.S. are more vulnerable to the same mistreatment and defilement that activists like Gregory, Dr. King, and many others fought against it is time to look to our former leaders in order to understand ways in which our celebrities and entertainers can use their platforms to fight the injustices taking place at every level of the community.

Of all the statements Gregory has made, when asked why he chooses to be involved politically, he answered saying this:

"You see, there comes a time when you got to decide what you are and what you want. Way I see it now, I'm an individual first, an American second and a Negro third. But I'm a Negro before I'm an entertainer."

Though revered as an entertainer, Gregory understood the weight of his status and reputation, but above all else, he understood the weight of being a person of color. With this understanding he knew the significance of his personal growth and success which far exceeded that of an entertainer.

Though we mourn the death of Dick Gregory, we must remember to celebrate his life and the work he represented in order to demonstrate a selfless way of living life for young people. In doing this, we can help teach the next generation what it means to be an individual first.

Cover Image Credit: livetalksla.org

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.

We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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