I found an old poem that I wanted to share. It feels so relevant for the current times.
1. Let your name be more than an exotic spice in the mouths of colonists. Let it make them cry without apologizing for your flavor. Hide all the water. Make them burn their lazy tongues, take deep breaths and take it whole. Make them swallow hard and accomplish the impossible. Do not give them the congratulatory tee-shirt to commemorate their consumption of your humanity. Make them look you in your eyes when they say your name! Quevenzhene’, Gabourey, Shaquita, Latifah and Ayanna! Put it on all your applications in bold letters and make the T silent on purpose!
2. Be bold! Fill their nostrils with your scent. Shine your light in their eyes. Be brazen in your otherness. Put same to shame. Cripwalk at the Olympics, do the Beenie Weenie in the end zone, wear yo afro with your evening gown. Be amazing on your own terms. Patent your recipe before they sell yo shit on ebay.
3. Put bread in your mouth. They hate to know you’re eating well.
4. Cut quick! Don’t wait till you calm down. Call them what they are to their faces. Put mirrors up all around and show them their reflection. Let them know you are watching. Learn to write letters and emails, make phone calls and show up at the protest. Threaten to boycott the investors and advertisers. Then do it! Talk about it with your friends. Call your local stations. Agree on a plan of action and go with it. Put your money where your dignity is.
5. Turn up the heat. Hold them in the fire till they sizzle. Let them get used to watching what they say about you. If they call yo Momma “Gal” you won’t believe what they will call your daughters. Make them apologize in front of everybody.
6. Go past the top layer. Be able to identify when the you need to go deeper. Don’t be afraid to get past the dirt and rough edges. Fold back the exterior. Dig down the the heart of the matter. Expose the fleshy part. This is where it gets hard. Do it anyway.
7. Leave the tiny center in tact. Protect her at all costs.
8. Appreciate your lines and layers. Walk up to a mirror, say “Hey there Beautiful” and blush. It will be revolutionary. Trust me.
9. Hold the funky part up to your nose. Smell the stench for yourself. Know what it looks like, so you recognize it when you see it again. History and insults are often repeated. Stop them both before they come back around again.
10. Gon and cry if you need to. Aint no shame in that.
Red Summer 2013