Category Archives: Black Lives

White America is Eating its Tail

“We thought that we had hit rock bottom and then we heard a knock from below.”


The host of one of my favorite podcasts repeated this quote in the introduction of his latest episode to give context to the conversation he has with an artist about her theatrical piece on the constitution. And I thought, what a perfect analogy for the way I feel about this election and about this entire administration actually. I began to see this in earnest immediately after 9/11. I witnessed hatred and xenophobia emerge and concentrate in groups and chat board discussions that scared me in ways it never had before. And when I’m scared, I usually try to escape by surrounding myself with what I believe to be common sense people, discourse, informative literature and lectures. However, no amount of immersion in common sense and facts on my part will ever change how a large majority of White America feels about Black and Brown people in this country. And it’s not lost on me that racism has been alive and well in America since before I was born. What does shock me is the lack of concern reflected in a vote for 45 by people who espouse values and morals of any kind.

A large majority of women in this country voted for a man who is on record joking about assaulting women on an Access Hollywood bus. Just let that sit for a moment.

Women voted for this man. Women with daughters. I did not know self hatred could run this deep and in such staggeringly high numbers.

And, I don’t think that it’s necessary to look two steps ahead of what was said on that bus to begin to understand how far a racist White majority will go to maintain their undeserved privileges while still daring to uphold some perverse pretense of decency, morality and humanity, none of which they ever truly understood ever. A democratic process, it seems, is only working fairly, when it works to their advantage. They would have us all destroyed just to hold on to the last decaying pieces of an illusion constructed through indescribable violence, swindling, suffering, fear and hatred.

And as Eddie Glaude stated so eloquently on MSNBC this week, we cannot place this blame primarily on 45’s shoulders. He is a manifestation of the sick, ugly, pathological truth about what this country has been built on. A crumbling foundation of theft, lies, genocide, rape, false narratives and standards of acceptability tailored towards White mediocrity in ways that have taken ages to disengage from.

But the process of disengagement has never stopped. The fight for injustice has never stopped. The seeking of truth has never stopped. The call to serve all vs some has never stopped. The strength to confront the darkness without allowing it to contaminate the soul has never stopped. In the lives of those who are committed to the struggle for human rights it doesn’t stop. In the spirit of our ancestors, it doesn’t stop.

So I try not to spend too much time frozen like a deer in headlights, gaping down the barrel of the bottomless, fathomless, danger that is Whiteness and listening to the knocking from below. So many of us have tried for so long to be what they said we needed to be in order to not die, to not be tortured, to not be murdered, to not be raped, to not be decapitated, to not be humiliated, to not be kicked and spat upon, to not be turned away. But you can’t make deals with madness without becoming mad yourself. And there are a great deal of us in that number as well.

Instead, I choose to proceed playing my part to reveal the light of truth in this world with the knowledge that I am worthy without even trying. Yes. Worthy without the struggle. That I am a divine manifestation of the love I choose to accept within me. And that struggle of this nature only exists in a system bent on constructed illusions of measurement, comparison and selection based on superficial identifiers that define not one of us as human beings. Not one. I’m not saying that struggle isn’t necessary but all we have ever really known of struggle for the most part is what has been forced upon us by oppression, opposition, deception and a lack of self acceptance.

Who the fuck would choose that kind of struggle? Who would choose to normalize and accept it?

I don’t think that Eddie Glaude was asking us as Black and Brown people to shoulder the blame that many of us put on 45. I think he was clearly indicting Whiteness as a device which was not only conceived explicitly to motivate through hatred, fear, racism and division, but which has also unraveled, undone and inflicted nameless damage on those who have wielded it.

Whiteness wants to be rescued by that which it has attempted to enslave. It is an abuser that wants its victims to absolve it of its constant assaults in a cycle of violence with no end because White America refuses, as Glaude states, to acknowledge its sins; to stop the bullshit and look itself in the eye so that the rest of us, and generations to come might be saved from Whiteness.

And see, Whiteness, you can’t have it both ways. You never could.

Who Really are the Monsters?

I went to go visit my dad yesterday in Harlem for the first time in months, for the first time since this pandemic came down. I hadn’t been on the subway in months and it was kind of strange but I braved it, stood up all the way. It was a beautiful day and immediately upon emerging next to St Nicholas park I felt something in me restored. On my dads quiet brownstone block there were people sitting on the steps of their homes, a couple listening to music on headphones, a woman doing another elder woman’s hair, a woman taking her friends picture on a bench and smiling, singing, Black people just living, breathing, beautiful, existing. I smiled to myself. I breathed deeply behind my mask. It had been so long since I’d seen Harlem. And I didn’t realized how much I needed it.

I spent about and hour with my dad, talking, catching up, and never once did we talk about George Floyd or Christian Cooper or any of the Black lives taken by or threatened to be taken by racist white monsters over the last few months. It didn’t occur to me until just right now that it was no where in forefront of my mind, that I didn’t even hold it inside me somewhere to bring up in conversation with him later. No, I just wanted to sit and talk with my dad, see how he was doing, how he was keeping. There was no room perhaps for the unprocessed feeling of rage, hurt and anger I was dealing with the day before when isolation because of the pandemic had me drawn like a fly to the flame of social media barrage over these latest outrageous incidents which will not be the last, and yet continue to shock, paralyze, motivate, anger, touch and shape us in ways that are beyond violent. There was no room, no desire. Seeing my dad, being in Harlem, was almost like an escape.

Continue reading Who Really are the Monsters?

Uncomfortable/Ok…

Every day is a little different from the last. And at the same time they blend together imperceptibly. Everything that ever was reality is now smooshed precariously, sometimes neatly, sometimes anxiously and even peacefully into the walls of our apartment. Work, therapy sessions, Dr’s appointments, meetings, shopping (primarily online now) picking out my best t-shirt/sleepwear for Zoom meetings…

I’m getting used it but I’m also getting antsy. I’m scared to get too comfortable.

But I am…comfortable.

And also terrified.

How could I not be terrified looking at the news and all the fucked up shit that’s happening from Pennsylvania Ave on down. The hoards of White bodies sunbathing in the Great Lawn while Brown bodies continue to be brutalized

JUST FOR EXISTING!!!!!!!

But how can I be hateful and angry when I’m here with my wonderful husband and our skittish but beautiful cat? How can I be hateful and angry when I have a job that allows me to work from home, have food to eat and to cook, have clean running water and access to technology? How can I be hateful and angry when I have love in my life?

Apparently I can be hateful and angry and lonely and happy and comfortable and joyful all at once, all in one day and in one moment as well. This is why it has never been more important for me to manage boundaries for myself between that which I can effectively do something about and that which I cannot at the moment. I have to be even more careful about how much violence, tragedy porn and “news” I consume as well trying to be mindful of the point when mindless distractions become empty guilty pleasures (which are sometimes necessary) that reach a point where I have no idea what it means anymore. This is when I have to stop, be still and try to get squared with myself a bit, find some balance, initiate things that require inner resources that can’t be bought, that require more of me then just clicking on “buy” “submit” or “enter.”

Continue reading Uncomfortable/Ok…

Sean Carter Confessionals: Family Feud

The wretched of the earth do not decide to become extinct, they resolve, on the contrary, to multiply; life is their weapon against life, life is all that they have.

-James Baldwin

A man who don’t take care of his family can’t be rich. I watched Godfather, I missed that whole shit…

-Jay-Z

 

The year is 2444 The home is rich and lavish. The setting is coldness, anger and betrayal. Michael B. Jordan storms angrily into the bedroom of Thandie Newtown’s characteron a particularly “important day” loudly berating her capacity to be the head of a clearly powerful family only to find her in bed with a dude played by Moonlight’s Trevante Rhodes. I notice immediately how pale Thandie, Michael B. Jordan and X are. The only colors you see are like pale blues and yellows. But the paleness of their skin tone makes me think of sickness, deficiency, greed heartlessness and death. Sure enough, before the scene is done, both men are killed, Mark by Trevante and then Trevante by Thandie’s character, Game of Thrones style, because she wants the family “Throne” for herself.

2444

Both Anthony and Trevante are both wearing clothing at the waist inspired by garb worn by men in ancient Khemit. Thandie wears a scant bandage outfit nearly identical to the one Milla Jojovich wore in the “The Fifth Element” a film set in a future that opens in an Egyptian temple and where the planet is under threat of total destruction if an essential element, which is embodied by a woman is not recovered.

Jay Z Family Feud screen grab Credit: Tidal

In the year 2148 an indigenous woman, Bird and Jacob played by Irene Bedard and Omari Hardwick are joint world leaders hailing from two great families. They respond to questions from a citizenry council about violent events that have lead to Jacob’s rise in power. Jacob recounts the legacy of his family and their struggle to uphold and maintain law and justice throughout generations. He talks about how one of his ancestors who played a major role as one of the founding mothers.

Founding Mothers

She was the primary architect of something called “The Confessional Papers” in 2050 and revised the constitution with a group of amazing women, played by Janet Mock, Neicy Nash, Mindy Khaling, Rosario Dawson and Rashida Jones just to name a few.

His ancestor, played by Susan Kelechi Watson in the year 2050 by is none other than Blue Ivy Carter.

Now we’re in Blue Ivy’s  narrational 2050 memory as she recalls her father’s words, “Nobody wins when the family feuds.”

Beyonce-family-feud

Cut to 2018 which is basically now, where there the musical narrative of the video for Jay Z’s “Family Feud” begins. Jay-Z walks a present day Blue Ivy to sit in a church pew and then walks the front to start rapping before Beyonce who Amens at him from the pulpit in royal Blue, looking like a sanctified and sexy ass Popestress. She also appears in a black mini dress and billowy white sleeves behind the screen of a confessional as Jay speaks to her from the other side. The metaphor is plain to see now. And there is still so much left to unpack. I want this to be movie or a television series!

Blu ivy FF

I’m still on the floor!

I don’t know about you but I’ve already watched this video about five times now. I know I will lose count of how many times I watch it again and of how many other pieces of symbolism I pick out of this brilliant work of art and revolution made explicitly for the culture. I also know that 4:44 is a fierce, proud and unapologetically Black call to action to each of us who are about that life if there ever was one and I couldn’t have asked for anything better to arrive as 2017 comes to an end and 2018 kicks the door and our asses in.

Here’s to a Black Ass, Woke Ass 2018!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

73 Questions with Sean

I’ve recently become obsessed with Vogue’s 73 Questions interview on Youtube. I love a great interview and one that boasts 73 questions is also more like a crazy challenge than just a run of the mill interview. My first favorite one is with Tracee Ellis Ross and since then I’ve just been looking for “73 Questions” with Black people because I like to keep my Youtube viewing Very Black.

This week I noticed one with Puffy Sean John Diddy Love Combs.

Let me just go ahead and say that although I’ve been a fan of Diddy’s work I have never really like him as a person. I’ve loved several of his hits and people he’s produced and I even watched “Making The Band” but I’ve always thought Sean was obnoxious, his brand of flamboyance has never resonated with my taste level and well he’s just not always been my cup of tea.

But in under 9 minutes and 22 seconds I began to like Sean John for the first time, as a person.

I can tell he’s grown up a lot just from the answers he gives in this video. From his pride in Kaepernick to his wishes for happiness, peace of mind and economic independence and prosperity for Black people, it’s just not a Puffy I think I’ve ever imagined he was before and maybe he has been for longer than I’ve known or let myself see. It was beautiful to see one of his sons for a minute, to hear him talk about how proud he was to win the CFDA award. As a fashion junkie I remember that first Sean John show at Fashion Week years ago when I was glued to Full Frontal Fashion every day and it was some unapologetically Very Royal Black shit! I had it on tape and I think I must have cried when I accidentally taped over it. It was unforgettable. It was like a fusion of the wedding in “Coming to America” And Grace Jones landing at the Winter Gardens in Battery Park in “Boomerang.” It was the first time I saw male models walk the runway like some masculine fucking men, with the swag and the diddy bop. It was sexy as hell.  I was like okaaay Diddy. You got it.

And he did have it.

He still does.

What’s News?

TrayvonMartinHooded
He saw it coming

It was only last year on a hot July night in Brooklyn that Life as I Know It and I were sitting in front of the Brooklyn Museum after a long steady stroll from her place where had convened for a Soul Sista Circle. We were talking the whole way, maybe about something totally unrelated to the Trayvon Martin case. But the verdict, still to be announced was a like a stone in the pit of my stomach. Perhaps we were both partially avoiding our nervousness with chatter. But it was she who got the message on her cell that night on some social media platform that Trayvon’s murderer, Zimmerman was acquitted of second degree murder and manslaughter. We sat in the sadness, the deep heartbreak and anger of disappointment and something else, something worse before we began speaking again. The something worse was the newest in a long line of affirmations from America that BLACK LIVES DON’T MATTER. My heart broke for his family, for his mother, for all Black mothers.

Last night I was again having a long, enlightening phone conversation with Life as I Know It, again pretty unrelated to the verdict that was to be announced at 9:00 about Ferguson, both of us knowing it was coming up but still able to have a much-needed meeting about collaborating and positive building in our lives. Mid conversation she told me that the jury in Ferguson did not indict Officer Wilson for the murder of Michael Brown, and then my husband who was watching the news in our living room came and told me the same. None of us were surprised.

You see the American legal system is not broken. People keep saying things like that. As if it’s been so fair up until now and my God, what has happened? No, I think the American legal system is running smoothly and performing at an optimal level for those it was designed to work for. It is not broken at all. And if it is, then it’s been broken for quite some time.

Black people have never had the luxury nor the delusion to feel safe or protected around “law” officers. I’m a Black woman and I have rarely ever seen a Cop that I didn’t immediately feel I had to protect myself against. Kinda the way some white women feel when there are adult Black men anywhere nearby in public. That’s how I feel about cops. I hold my bags closer and get as far away from them as possible. I am not a fan of their work.

And when I watch the looting, destruction and demonstrating that is happening in the aftermath of this decision, I’m not surprised at that either. Raise your hand please if you made bets that the Ferguson verdict would be a call for dancing in the streets. Please sit down. You are clearly not Black.

This was just another bitter wait for the inevitable again, the broadcast again, what the majority of White America really believes about Black lives again: They don’t matter. And that’s not news anymore.