With so much going on culturally, I have been feeling overwhelmed in trying to make sense of what in the hell is going on. In light of Starbucks, Kanye illnesses, friends and their privileges, and my own interactions with racial distinctions in action, I am FULL pressed y’all. Thus, first, I must give thanks to the True Blacks who help fight this fight and give me strength to push through, stand up, and flip my hair when the wold tried me.
I could honestly stop at the mention of her and let her work speak for her but because I know of discipleship and acting out briefs, I will give the following as evidence and statement of faith. Beychella. History in the Making. Advocacy. Pride. Tribute. Honor. Beauty. Brains. Work. Personhood. Grateful. Syllogistic. Particular. Nigga!
Kendrick Lamar. Issa Rae. Cole. Childish Gambino. Howard Thurman. Drake. Lena Waithe. Willie James Jennings. Brian Bantum.Kelly Brown Douglas. Shawn Copeland. Dr. Reverend M.L. King Jr. Rev McKinney. Yara Shahidi. Kia and Jade of Getting Grown (inspire title). Carlos Wilson II. Caitlin Curry Betteridge. Kid Fury and Crissell of The Read. Whitney Houston. And many muhfuh more!
Now, to voice my opinions, concerns, and emotions/thoughts/fears/ etc:
Y’all- there is a loss of hope in my spirit when we continuously press the black body for simply trying to make it. Whether the body is walking home, driving to the grandparents house, sitting in a coffee shop, or simply breathing off key- we cannot live. I say that culturally and physically. I wish everyone I knew was taking t his class with me or at least seeking to understand race, history, and the fucktitude of how we got here! it is pure fuckery. (insert the bleeps if you need but this is where you brought me). As much as I would love to boycott white business, cities, and dominant areas, and all things haterade, I need to say- will that help? If I boycott Starbucks- my money will be replaced with 12 yr-old white children and thus, gives them what they want- a black free space. If I sit-in/ don’t leave- am I giving in to the system/betraying the culture by continuously giving them my black earned dollars? I should provide context in that I live in rich, white, modern, “liberal” Seattle, Wa where Starbucks originated and there are few other convenient coffee places my circle/ accessible. I kid you not, a Starbucks is within a mile of you everywhere you look. And its grey 13 months of the year so caffeine is a source of life. But yes there are other places to go. Yes, I can support other local roasters. Yes, I can drink tea.
It is not Starbucks that has the problem.
It is the perspective of the black body that will rendered it unsafe to the lighter body and the restlessness of the darker body that plagues my soul. That it, it was the fact that black men decided to sit/ resist the racially based perception. It is the fact that no matter if the black men had their white business partner with them or not- it was the fact that black was out of place when in the presence of white. And this is what I mean- boycotting Starbucks does not seem to be the answer because that gives white what they want and blacks are still in the same place. I can, AND DO, support black business, building the network of the culture because that in turn, supports US.
However, my fear is that because there is a large dissonance in the ability to imagine the body any differently, to imagine people differently, boycotts and sit-ins and protests might not be strong enough. They, for me, further create segregation and keep up stagnant.
I am calling for a bigger imagination that brings about change in new ways. Not ‘reconciliation’-that is not quite what I am pushing for but I’m up for a debate.
As for Kanye, I see you. I do not agree. But I believe I see what is being attempted, (poorly I pray) but petitioned. That is this radical shift in ability to identity oneself as an independent in a world built to make your body dependent, which renders the majority independent. I believe you are the black version of what their president is representing- a perceived independence and freedom. The problem is, as I acknowledge the fallacy of every living thing in that mans body, I cannot do anything but applaud and sit in absolute awe of the way the rest of the logic minded world is joining hands. It is some real, “life every voice and sing” type unification happening BECAUSE of the radicality of his being. If he is the portrait of what superiority, American dream, absolute right, and whatever historically WASP’s have tried to become is- the rest of the world is on some “Oh HELLLL Nah” type shit against it. And it is only growing stronger and stronger. ‘Merica- the truly colorful, “melted pot” of culture and possibilities is not the America that could have ever been great. Hear me say- America never was great nor had the possibilities to be because the ideals and ideologies it was founded on could not hold water. And though in human time it seems as though IT (this idea of WASP America) won; please know- it did not, never can, and never will. Call me over spiritual but MY GOD is too Almighty, powerful, and Loving to let that ruin what He planned LOOOOOONG ago. And His time is upon us, whether He comes again enfleshed to bring us home or is about to lift up another in order to warn us of some Big Changes, Ma Dude is working. The Holy Spirit is lighting fires in all who will listen and those fires are going to create a NEW wildfire on this Earth. So there is my hope, that the Holy Spirit is dueling in the hearts of God’s people. and for those who are not listening- “get behind me Satan. You are setting your hearts on the things of man not of God. And I have no time!” (Mark 8: 33).
Lift every voice and sing, till earth and Heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise, high as the listening skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on till victory is won.