I preface this by saying, read at your own risk. I have been a lover all my life. I fall hard for an open honest heart, and color has never been my first point of engagement, yet it has served as a comfort.
Our world is hurting, and my people are hurting so I need to speak my piece.
To say I am not aware of my blackness would be a lie. I wear my melanin like a crown which has been placed upon me by my fearless ancestors who picked, bled, ran, screamed, cried, danced, sang, marched, fought and died for the path which I am able to walk today.
We do not have the luxury of looking back at our family tree and tracing our origins back to our earliest beginnings because our history has been stripped, or last names not our own. We use our icons our artists, our activists, our entertainers as our maps, and though them we are fueled with the fire to continue on.
I wanted to put together these tributes on my Instagram to not only serve as a reminder of the greatness of our rich blood lines, but also to salute our resilience. Not one of these men or women have been strangers to struggle. Each of them giving 1000% just to be recognized along side others second best.
I wanted to show the importance of our role in the making of all things “cool” in society today. We are the trend setters. The tones of the soulful voices being emulated in the newer generations. Our swag, our style, our chains, our long nails, our hair… being taken from our neighborhoods, to the runways.
At times it is easy for us to feel invisible, our names falling in the fine print while others are in the headlines. The sting of invisibility is inevitable, but as W.E.B Dubois said “When you have mastered numbers, you will in fact no longer be reading numbers, any more than you read words when reading books You will be reading meanings.”
Our power as a collective is far greater than any army. When we understand that power, that is how we truly win.When we understand our strength is why we were captured and bought to this unknown land. When we understand why Medgar, Malcolm, Martin were silenced; why Assata was exiled; why Huey, Stokely and Angela were considered radical. Why Paul, Lena, Langston, Harry and Canada Lee were considered Communist Sympathizers and blacklisted. Why you can say names like Prince, Michael, Whitney, Tina, Ella, Billie, Duke, Count and Beyonce and their names transcend color and shore lines.
We are the phoenix, rising up from the flames, armed with the innate strength of our ancestors guiding us towards a stronger tomorrow. We are a people of love, embracing all from the ones that hate us, to the different and the isolated, because we understand that the path towards equality is not an easy one. We will embrace the unknown with open arms, because we are still the unknown. With our own homegrown war still being fought, remember why we arrived here in the first place. It’s the magnitude of our tenacity. Let that echo through you, let that be your mantra your affirmation.
We wear our biggest weapon. Whether you are coal, chestnut, coffee, or Café au lait love that beautiful skin. Embrace it, love it… for our shades are our reminders of not only where we came from, but oh, the places we can go.
All love. All light. All Power.
Gotta close this with the song that has guided me my entire life, sung by the woman who has fed me from childhood into adulthood. My heart. My Lena