Updated: May 31, 2022
"You can play the quarters where the Butler's be, I'mma play the corners where the Hustla's be!" OTIS JAY-Z
Let me start by reiterating the word perspective! My view will not be everyone else's, nor should it be. What's worked in my life has been tailored to fit my journey, my mindset, and or mentality.
With that being said, I am and will probably always be of the "Field Nigga" mindset!
Jay-Z said it best, "playing the corners where the hustlers be," which can be interpreted as being somewhere figuring it out. To be a hustler is to be among the resilient, being told that it can only be done one way and proving that theory to be wrong. This is exactly what Hip Hop is, was, and will always be. That's why so many of us fell in love with it.
Words like hustla, and even "Field Nigga" carry a negative connotation, but whether you're working a job, or physically playing the corner you can be a hustla. The mindset of being a field nigga comes from what we know about slavery. There was said to be some slaves who worked in the "Big House," and some that worked in the "Field." The disconnect between the two was a result of how the Owners/Master of the House treated one vs the other. Malcolm X put these two against each other in a few of his famous speeches, and in the Spike Lee Movie X..
Malcolm said that the "House Nigga" began thinking like the slaveowner, cherishing everything that belonged to the slaveowner as if it was his or her own. He compared certain Negro Leaders at that time to "House Niggas." Dr. Martin Luther King was one that Malcolm vehemently disagreed with until after he returned from his pilgrimage to Mecca. For years I agreed with Malcolm's ideology over Dr. Kings. As Malcolm did at one time, I considered Dr. King as passive, not quite a sellout, but definitely a "House Nigga." As I got older my mind shifted and I saw the bigger picture!
Any leader that is responsible for people has to think about the ramifications of his or her actions, as well as their words. You don't send your people into a battle with an enemy that is superior in war less you plan to send them to slaughter. I grew to understand that Dr. King became a "Field Nigga," even after being what you could call a successful "House Nigga!"
I know for some people, calling Dr. King a nigga by any means may seem a little off-putting, but I mean it with respect as opposed to disrespect. The truth of the matter is we need both "Field, and House Nigga" representation. I imagine, and with a measure of certainty from stories told and read that slaves that worked in the house took care of those in the field. Bringing things from the house such as food, clothing, and medicine, while those of the field looked out for them with whatever they may have needed. It wasn't like they were complete strangers, many of them were family, or shared connection in one way or another.
Today, the house may be considered as Corporate America. We all pretty much serve her in some kind of way, even those that sit on the sidelines or play the streets. From Government Aide to selling dope, we serve the same carnal master. Even those that unfortunately are locked up, get housed in privately owned, publicly traded prisons!
So although my choice is to work outside, blue collar, no collar, rap, and become entrepreneural.. I understand the brother or sister that chooses to work inside the office, climbing the corporate ladder and such. We definitely need to see them there to know we have more options, as well as maybe a sympathetic ally on the other side of the table.
When the two of us come together, we can and will do great things, but what we both must watch out for is those with the "Coon" mindset! They have no allegiance to your color, although it may be the same, your struggle, although they may have went through one similar, or your well being. They operate only to serve themselves, and by all means necessary..
Stay on guard, and love one another inside and out!