The Radical Anyway: Slings And Arrows Of This White World

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In the age of Homecoming, Lemonade, the ageless Michelle Obama, and Black Girls Rock, this shit is enraging. How is Taylor Swift Artist of the Decade?!

The decade?! From 2010-2019? Decade?!

Fam.

This shit here, is one of the reasons I listen to more 1990’s rap and hip-hop than anything now! I am over the American Music Awards. Completely over.

In hearing this news, I cannot express to you how I had this thought, “How thee fuck is this possible?” But the 38-year-old Black woman, whom has a mother 30 years older answered. And she said, “These folk see what they want to see. Anything else is unseen.”

Was I surprised? No.

Was I shocked? No.

In hearing this news, I felt the same way I did when I saw Adele win Album of the Year for 25, and broke it in half to share it with her. That wasn’t sweet! That shit was insulting. Don’t you dare insult me by telling me you will share the an award with me. Especially, when I know my work is better than yours!

Yet, this is what it means to be Black, woman, and creative in a world that delegates you to other, sex object or unseen when ‘too powerful.’

All awards represent confirmations to the work you have put together. The hours of work, doubt, sweat and the sheer force of creative will. But trust me, I get it! This nation loves White women! They have to be protected, lusted, lorded and affirmed. Their sex and race together are touted as perfect! As if they created by God first and only! It is only right that you give a White girl this type of affirmation!

Now, let me be firm and summer sky clear.

This piece is not to bash Taylor Swift. I, personally, am not a fan of hers. I don’t listen to her. I don’t have an opinion about her one way or another. It is this system by which I am throwing haymakers at!

The system!

This system that is comfortable, so comfortable with the erasure of anything non-White, no matter how average, is suffocating!

Simply suffocating!

I understand systemic racism is more insidious than people imagine. I get that there are White folk that consider themselves ‘good’ and ‘non-racist’ or ‘having Black friends’ whom have no utter idea what it means to be looked over because of how you are socially classified; having work and efforts ignored because you don’t fit.

I get that the preservation of the White face of a nation founded in murder, usurpation and oppression will stop at nothing to bolster, root, cement power by any means necessary. That facade cannot be broken else the game is had!

I get it. And I am mad. And I am tired.

It is not wrong to want recognition for the work you do. It is not wrong to want an earnest look at your art, music or writing. It is not wrong! The thing that is disconcerting, damning even, is believing someone that is not of a dominant culture, has nothing to add to the overall culture.

Erasure is a natural resource of this nation. This is just the latest insult to those whom desire it not to be.

It is times like this, where I remember the rich conversations with my writer girlfriends. The doubts present. The hesitation that had to be assuaged. The support poured into those that needed to ‘create anyway.’ The affirmation that we give to one another, binding up the wounds made by the consistent erasure of a culture content to siphon from you–but never see you!

Yet, we do so anyway. We write anyway. We create anyway. We network and support anyway. We get into ‘Formation’ anyway.

If the believed-greater are so confident in their power, then they can withstand competition. The doors what we are not allowed into, we will break down or make our own!

Black is always seen, and nothing it touches can be unseen. I refuse to be unseen. Not anymore.

[image from Google]

 

 

 

 

 

Always On Pointe, Black Girl…

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“Black women take care of Black women.” -Ashley Yates

 

Always.

she has been the chic,

the sturdy,

the fresh,

and fly one–

trendsetting as sunsets,

as bold as full moons.

Never stopping to check

for whom is not checking

for her.

In this body, walking

through this world as

magic, melanin, and millenniums

the rocks cry out

for me, for us, and the we

hidden in the magic

of our wombs.

It is the grace of our feet

and the rhythm in our sway

which carry us towards destiny

and the legacy meant for us.

Unmovable.

Unshakable.

Believing in us and each other.

Always.

-JBHarris, 10.15.19

 

This poem will be included in the new book–For A Black Girl, release for June 2020.

[image from the Facebook page Black Positivity by Kimmie Carlos]

SABEM-Week 3: Aight, Den

 

“Success is it’s own language.” -LL Cool J 

 

This week was fortifying, family. It affirmed my gift and this talent and this knack I have for language. My 4700 English class has gotten through the marshy nature of Robert Frost, we are moving on to Lucille Clifton. In my 3800 class (the class where I has to finish the last 160 pages of BELOVED in 10 hours complete with reading notes), we are moving on to Ellison and Baldwin. I damn near wept in my Thursday 4700 class.

The representation, the claiming of that free self as Morrison says, is monumental.This week encouraged me that I and do this—better than I thought I could. Better than I thought (thought!) I ever could.  I have been analyzing words, work and language my entire 38 years! This degree is a culmination of this. No more, no less.

But one thing I had to confront was being vocal in class.

I had an issue in class where I knew answers and had keen analysis to several topics, and remained silent. Why? I didn’t want to be seen as the smart (read:  uppity) Black girl. Now mind you, I have been the smart, uppity, Black girl for my entire education. But this time, in my 3800 class–I said nothing. I had internalized that processing which said “don’t show off, don’t answer everything.” Not quite a dumbing down, but damn near!

When I recognized that, I had to snatch it from my psyche! I had to uproot it because it was, IS, toxic to anything I could and would create. I had to remind myself that I was worthy to be visible in this space–intelligent enough to be intersected in this space.

I can be Black.

I can be woman.

I can be vocal.

I can be seen.

I can be intelligent.

I told myself I would never do that again. I vowed I would never humble my tongue in this class again–the white girls didn’t! Even when they were wrong!

This week reminded me as free as I like to think I am, I have to remember I still have a way to go.

 

For My Daughters-Lesson 2: Value

Dearest Ones:

The world outside my door will confront you on all sides. It will try and tell you what you are not, what you will never possess, and need to attain to be whole. What I want you to know, what I need you to remember, is your personal value. I want you to remember that value–is priceless.

I never want you to sell yourself short. I never want you to think your value–how you see your own self–should be or is determined on something as ordinary as how you look. Or what you wear. I want you to never fear what people think of you, or have your worth be tied to what people think!

I want you, my dearest hearts, to remember worth and value are internal work. They come from, and spring up from what you  know of yourself; the things you know of yourself! You have been created for success, beauty, travel and ambition! I want you to embrace all that life has for you. Regardless of what the  world thinks:  they don’t matter!

The world outside my door is fickle, forgetting and feral in matters of the evaluating of what is feminine, girl and woman. You cannot depend of the opinion of the collective, any collective to determine who you are. Or what you must do! As young women of your mother’s blood and ilk, I want you to remember who you are.

I want you to discover the things about you which are different and unique.

I want you to be steady in the things which make you distinct. Your interests be determined by your own counsel and desires. I want you both to be confident in what makes you–you.

There are things about this life which desire to uproot and change fundamental things about you. As you mother, I will give you a key to withstand these onslaughts when they come. The way these sling and arrows of outrageous fortune will not win is when you know who you are–and refuse to change. You resist transforming when people are uncomfortable.

My dearest ones, I know who you are. So you must never forget.

 

Love,

Mommy