Monthly Archives: August 2017

Hey Siri, Where Can I go to find Black Joy?

I knew we weren’t going to be able to fly off to an island for vacation this Summer and I was fine with that. There are plenty of great places to go in New York for a decent staycation. I also knew Mercury retrograde would come along and shred our ability to communicate effectively whatever the heck it is we wanted to do during my staycation. And that was fine too. This is not my first time at the Mercury Retrograde rodeo.

What I did not know was that hundreds of unmasked White Racists would take to the grounds of Charlottesville University on Virginia with lit tiki torches, protesting their rights to not be replaced? It seemed inevitable that once they were allowed, (because not one law enforcement officer stepped in try and stop them) the KKK, Masks off Eddie Beuer edition would go on a violent rampage.

My husband and I were was hosting a late lunch with family when it happened and to be quite honest, there was so much going on, that it didn’t sink in for me until they had gone. Khalilah had texted me and I didn’t check the info until later on.

Who wants more salad with Goat Cheese? Who the hell turned over the Taboo hourglass timer before time was up. Image of White men with Tiki torches? …is this a new add for camp gear?

Nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnno.

It’s a trip down racist ass memory lane, the good old boys’ lynching days are back, well never left but most definitely ushered in with no attempt from government or law enforcement to shut it down, call it out, hold it back until blood was spilled and a life was taken. Actually, no, not even then, still to this day, it has not been dealt with. Because it’s never been dealt with. Its been ignored, enabled, perpetuated, supported, maintained, slapped on the wrist…

So naturally my instinct is to wanna get the heck out of town… but where in America is safe for Black person these days?

I like to travel. I like to go on long drives upstate to Nyack, Woodstock Hyde Park and such. And all the time that I have been doing these things, I’ve been aware that the further I get away from NYC the more I am surrounded by uncomfortable Whiteness that I can no longer sidestep the way I have done for years. In just the last couple of weeks, any plans I had to leave the relative safety of my apartment or NYC has been cancelled.

Understand that for me, ever since Travon Martin, and now with this recent Charlottesville event, Whiteness has indisputably come to be mean violence, brutality, terror, fear and a deep psychological sickness. And the struggle to disentangle myself from it’s very deeply destructive and embedded structure is real.

whitness.jpg

My husband and I searched the internets frantically for places to go in New York where Black people lived, owned property, could be seen in community. The best we found was Martha’s Vineyard. But ultimately, anger and frustration and heaviness gave out to weariness and no one wanted to spend that long driving with no concrete idea of exactly where we were going. The Blackest place we could be was in our own neighborhood (Inwood) and in Brooklyn where I was born and a large chunk of my heart still resides. We spent the afternoon there lounging in the magic of nature, the soft breeze, the slowness of pace and nostalgic respite that the Botanical Garden has always been for me. I was frankly shocked at how comfortable I was staying close to home. But then these are some shocking ass times we’re living through and self care for Black and Brown people everywhere, however they can get it, is vital as fuck. It always has been.

Neutrality has been neutralized and there is no longer a place, nor perhaps should there ever have been, a place for White people to be satisfied with simply not having been there on the day when their forefathers decided to institute decades of systematic, mental, physical and spiritual terror on enslaved and descendants of enslaved Africans. Most of my life as a Black woman, I have been open and accepting of most White people (Ha!) thinking that this was a choice I had made rather than an implicit instruction. If I had chosen to be as open and accepting of my own people, I’m certain I would have learned sooner how little choice I was afforded by a majority of White Racists who existed quietly all around me. The good Whites, the liberal Whites, the oblivious, the seemingly harmless Whites in the cut who do nothing, say nothing, plead ignorance because they claim no one told them otherwise, and  in the age of massive social media oversharing and limitless access to information, they remain inactive, dumb, and ultimately dangerous and destructive.

Sigh….

I would totally have asked Siri where we could go to find Black joy but Siri sounds like a White chick to me and she does not sound down for the cause. So I switched her off. I don’t need her. Never really did.

We stayed in the hood and found whatever peace we could there while we could because we will surely need all the energy we can get to gear up for next month. Because August has been crazy…

Guess what September is going to be like?

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I Feel Like Something Blooming

Life showed up differently for me when I realized that everything is sex and sexual. Once I learned that, life became dare I say easy or easier. It’s like when you’re watching a movie and begin to cry. You are being penetrated in your heart to trigger tears. Penetration is sexual; the movie scene is going inside you. Ahhh (throat open please). Sitting in nature is sexual. Communicating with a stranger is sexual, as the communication gives rise to the inner body penetration or what we call “feelings.” Watching CNN is sexual; the news either leaves you frustrated, hopeless or pissed off. The information has penetrated and is now inside your body. With that consideration and understanding, when I now eat food or drink something tasty, I sen that excitement, nourishment and joy throughout my body temple.

-India Am’eye

As a girl, without the consciousness or language to express it, I experienced taste and physical touch as sensual and necessary to my most primal reasons for wanting to live. Color, texture and natural/artistic sensory experiences came next. I will even say that I have not had the language to express this or the affirmation of it until reading these lines from “You Look Like Something Blooming.” This book is next on our list as part of the Soul Sistah Series monthly book series and it is blowing my mind. This excerpt is just a little sneak preview, though you can pick it up and start reading anytime.

Continue reading I Feel Like Something Blooming

White People Stories in Black Face

I recently expressed on my Facebook page that I wished Jay-Z would drop a new project from 4:44 every week for the rest of the year. Ya know, just to have something to balance out some of the absurd fuck shit of a nightmare taking place daily in the Whitehouse right now.

Having switched over from Apple Music to Tidal when 4:44 dropped, I get really excited when I tap on the app and see a new video or footnotes for a video from this brilliant project.

Now, I have to say, that although I love this album, Moonlight as a track on it’s own was always my least favorite. It’s the only track on the album I don’t ever really need to hear when I listen to 4:44, not because of the message, which I totally get. It’s just, as a music track, it doesn’t really move me. But see, that’s the genius of 4:44. The visual components to each track, present a deeper read of each one. And the video of Moonlight, which dropped this past week did just that.

A good friend shared the promo from Issa Rae’s IG account with me and I was really excited and delighted to see this tongue in cheek reimagining of “Friends” with an all Black cast, featuring Issa Rae, Jerrod Carmichael, Lil Rey Howery, Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, and Tiffany Haddish. Their theme song was “Friends” by Whodini which I thought was greatness. I was all set to just sit and watch the cast act out word for word what I believe is an actual episode from the dominantly White casted hit show. Watching these actors go through the motions of playing a Black Chandler, Ross, Monica, etc., it became clear how this was also a satire of the show itself. But then it goes even further by following Charmichael offset after a break in the scene.  He discusses the questionable success of this Black Friends version with comedian, Hannibal Buress who doesn’t mince words about his feelings on how far Black people have come in their ability to tell their own stories from their own perspectives.

“You gonna do black ‘Full House’ next? ‘Family Ties?’ Why stop there? ‘Home Improvement?’”

This is where I believe Jay begins to asks the real questions. And it ties right into a conversation I was having with Khalilah this weekend about films like “Girls Trip,” which has received many mixed and conflicting reviews from the Black community (I haven’t seen it yet) and the Netflix movie, “The Incredible Jessica James” (I watched this weekend) which imagines a reality where class, gender and relationships issues are on tap but race is addressed zero times. It’s like the new formula is just put Black people where you normally see White people, be sure to keep some White people in there and wallah! EQUALITY!

We stuck in lala land. Even when we win, we gon lose was a line I didn’t like hearing. It’s a hard truth. I was so anti- “Lala Land” last year, it was ridiculous. I was disgusted that Hollywood was harkening back to the days of old in this day and age as if those good old days were good for anyone else but White people. The fucked up thing is, I like musical films from that time. But uhhh, I didn’t have to not live through that time. Musical films came about as an attempt to distract and entertain Americans living through a brutal depression.

CAN WE PLEASE MOVE THE GENRE FORWARD?

Doris and Lynching

In Peck’s “I am not Your Negro,” the solid case for White people delusion is made with scathingly juxtaposed old Hollywood scenes put up against images of lynching and Black civil rights protesters being beaten and of Dorothy Counts being spat upon by a bunch White children for attending on of the first schools in Charlotte, NC to be integrated.      At the same time that fucking Doris Day was singing in her pristine make believe kitchen set in front of a camera, Black people were literally being killed because they demanded the right to sit at the same food counter with Becky.

In 4:44, Jay Z has interrogated several key systems of oppression and has taken it a step further by questioning what our true voices are. Can everything we do to thrive, to be seen and heard and felt stop being a reaction to what White people do or think about what we do?

Can we see ourselves outside of the oppressors gaze?

 

All for Love and Love for All

Sunday evening found me, my husband, my dad, mom who has been visiting with us for the month of July, my brother and his wife, at the very last show of “The Three Musketeers” at Marcus Garvey Park. The classic play, based on the book by author, Alexander Dumas, was performed, free to the public, by Harlem Classical theater, which I never even knew existed until a few weeks ago. My friend and co-worker, an elder Trini, told me about it and urged me to go. I’m so glad I listened to her and brought the family.

Continue reading All for Love and Love for All