“…let’s add up all the factors
“Ring the bells that can still ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything.
That is how the light gets in.”– Leonard Cohen, Anthem
Kintsukuroi (“golden mend”) is the Japanese art of mending broken pottery using lacquer resin laced with gold or silver. The beauty of the piece is the flaws that are made into art.
Black people’s hearts are kintsukuroi.
But first, we are all Black in america. None of our other designations matter in this world, as much as our race. Our race is identified on site… even if our ethnicity, ancestry, genealogy cannot be as easily ascertained. It is the source of GREAT pride. It is the source of GREAT pain. It is not real…
It is not real!
Race is indeed the child of racism. Our most valued level of existence is premised upon hatred, power, and greed… death and destruction. How can any of us, whether we have been isolated from racism or not, have unbroken hearts? Shit ain’t possible! But what makes it even more damaging, is that race has no meaning. Being Black is only juxtaposed against being White. Much in the same way being poor is juxtaposed against being rich. But those designations have meaning outside of that dichotomy. “Black” is a color. It is the color of these letters you are reading. There is not a human alive whose skin is this color, just as there is not a human alive with skin that is purely “white”. Yet, white means pure and untouched, and black is associated with being devoid of light, darkness, and the shit in the fish tank the algae eat… waste. It’s not real.
In this country, Black is synonymous with ancestral African, and as a result we are all lumped together. We are primarily children of the slave trade, but we might be American, Caribbean, Honduran, Mexican, Dominican, Brazilian, or other South American designation, African and Caribbean immigrants, and mixed-race people. However our values, traditions, and customs are as wide ranged as those between the English, Irish, Scottish, etc.
“Black” doesn’t care about culture, it only cares about difference. It’s not real. It is used as a tool of oppression. For us it is a talisman of pride. In the name of money and power, our Blackness is shot dead in the street, on our own sofas. Our Blackness is relegated to a term meaning ignorant. Our men are jailed like animals, piled up on top of each other in cages like we were once piled up in ships. Our women are raped physically and spiritually. Our children, America’s sons and daughters, labeled as thugs, undereducated, underserved, and misunderstood. Yet in our Blackness we find our differences and exalt them. In that difference is where you find our golden cracks.
Black peoples are…
rich, poor, smart, beautiful, talented, brilliant, hard-working, excellent and mediocre, doctors and dog catchers, investors, kind, unkind, light, dark, sweet as honey, bitter like lemons, honest, manipulative, men, woman, transgendered, envious, jealous, supportive, from the hood, of the bourgeoisie, woke, asleep, enlightened, ignorant, basketball players and tennis champs, golfers and gaffers, everything and yet to many, nothing. But be assured, we are as homogenous and heterogenous as any other grouping of people. However, we didn’t ask for this box. It was given to us. It is not real.
Yet we have torn this box up to escape it, and put it back together with kintsukuroi. In our newness we are damaged, but not destroyed. You see, we have taken your culture and colored it Black through music, art, literature, language, and activism. It’s not ours, but we are steadily reinventing it. It’s very difficult to pour into a country others seek to escape persecution and tyranny where we face tyrannical persecution every time we walk out of our front doors. Yet we are somehow determined to offer libations to this melting pot turned stew. We continuously offer this country our earnings… rights, education, freedom, accomplishments… our voices, and our lives. But those golden cracks are our spirit. Damaged but not destroyed.
Race is not real.
Racism is very real.
Our scars are very real.
But we… Black people… are the realest!
“There is a light that shines, special for you and me.” –Common
“Tell me, whats your November? Is it a person?
Mine was the Summer ’06, I remember”-Tyler the Creator, November
You ever wanted to grow out your short style or fill in your struggle beard? If so, you know that growth is a slow and steady process… slower even when you watch it because you are inspecting yourself for changes at every moment. Wait… can I tuck it behind my ear? Ohhh shit , I think it’s long enough to put it in a ponytail! Wait a minute, that goatee and that sideburn had a meeting!!!
Well, that’s how most growth feels that you need. Slow and steady!
“…like that lil engine, I could!” -Meek Mill, Dreams & Nightmares
We live in the age of instant gratification. I want it all, and I want it now. And you can basically get all that shit on Amazon by 9pm with a Prime membership. All of it. But while you can probably find a book with everything in it from the the explanation behind the Big Bang to why Solange beat Jay-Z’s ass in the elevator… you can’t buy the key to personal growth, wisdom.
Wisdom is the use of knowledge to free oneself from the confines of ignorance to seek the truth. The key to personal growth is in the thinking and not the feeling. We often let our emotions take over, instead of being in control of our reactions and allowing ourselves both rational thought and appropriate emotionality. A wise person takes responsibility for your actions and reactions in the face of fear or the unknown.
“Seen my dreams unfold, nightmares come true“
The particulars of an experience are not important (to anyone but us), but it’s the typical dichotomy of good v not so good that prepares our space to grow.
fabulous woman/ dumb dude
great guy/foolish girl
intelligent and overlooked/ stupid and privileged
I’ll give you the sun, the rain, the moon, the stars, and the mountains/oops I’m inconsistent
she’s like a sister or he’s like a brother /oops IT’S A GIRL 👶🏽
It’s fucked up going through it and even more fucked up in the aftermath. The truth is that we intrinsically know we need to evolve and set ourselves up for that experience. So instead of pure emotion, we should be prepping ourselves. People show you who they are long before they hit you in the head with it. It is our baggage, that unhealed foolishness lingering around like a weight, that lets us believe we can change or manipulate or worse deserve someone no good for us. Similarly we enter experiences that scream:
I knew last November, that I was making a grave mistake. I mean I jumped into that sucka feet first plunging into the cold rough waters, and a negro CANNOT swim! I hadn’t unpacked and discarded the baggage I had from the last encounter with this demon… so I easily let him in when he knocked. But it was the typical rain, moon, stars shit when all that nigga had was a PlayStation 3 and a collection of Polo shirts. Once I knew that, I applied that knowledge and got the fuck outta Dodge. Trust yourself… was the lesson I learned. I unpacked that lesson, and then threw the whole suitcase away…there was nothing else in that experience worth salvaging. I was able to handle it, unlike how I handled most matters such as these, by keeping my emotions in check but not caged, and using common sense (those red horns) to ascertain that he was still a demon. They show you who they are…
“It was time to marry the game and I said…Yeah, I do“
You see, it’s that shit you leave hanging, the rotten fruit that hasn’t fallen from the tree yet, that’s baggage. And it’s untrue that baggage comes with the journey. You don’t start the journey until you unpack that shit, figure out what it is, if it still fits you, if you still have a place for it, putting it up, and pulling out the next item.
Why am I fabulous but dealing with a dumb ass? He can’t give you shit that doesn’t belong to him…Why did I bother? Why did I lower my standards, ignore my own needs, and dim my light for anyone, let alone a dimwit?
You sit and stew in that. Then figure out what about yourself you need to fix to pull yourself out and never do that shit again. That’s growth!
…oh shit, I got inches.
“If you want it you gotta see it with a clear-eyed view“
Once you grow your hair out or that full beard, then you have to style it, trim it, keep it neat and healthy. That’s the aftermath. The same is true for personal growth. On the other side of growth is redemption. So no more fuckboys, just good grown consistent, supportive, and men. No more silly broads, get you a grown woman. Don’t let any haters steal your joy, and be aware of when it’s time to move on and time to stay and fight. Mastery of the knowledge you have acquired will lead to wisdom, the rainbow. Wisdom comes from healing… sun. And that healing is made possible by pain… the rain.
One full rotation around the sun, after a summer full of rain, and it’s November again…
“Hold up wait a minute, y’all thought I was finished?”
This is my fave Kanye gif.
This is my favorite Kanye tweet.
“Killin’ y’all niggas on that lyrical shit. Mayonnaise colored Benz, I push Miracle Whips”
This is my favorite Kanye lyric.
Clearly, I dig me some Kanye… I’ve written about him several times. But this public stoning of the brotha is out of order.
OUT OF ORDER
I’m rooting for Kanye. I have that right. I don’t cancel people. I might not fuck with you anymore because it’s contrary to my well-being, but I’m not ever going to use my words as little verbal bullies to get you and you to reject someone’s humanity. I am not the final judge of anyone… that isn’t my place.
But EVERYTIME dude opens his mouth folks go on the nut.
So here’s my toast to the douchebags:
1. I read an article earlier, by a social media made writer Luuvie Ajaye, (link: https://www.awesomelyluvvie.com/2019/10/jesus-is-king-kanye.html) that diminished his mental illness and grief, as if she’s his therapist. Kanye might be a fool but she’s a bully. She’s done this before. Her argument hinges on things he did unmedicated in a state of mania (red hat, slavery comment, Trump meeting). I can’t stand a bully. Clearly you’re judging folks. That petty shit isn’t cute.
2. Folks SAY they support people with mental illness and want to support them seeking help and being open about their struggles, but yet folks promote and participate in the same bullying.
“Kanye needs help”
“Get some therapy!”
“Stop blaming your actions on mental illness.”
Wow… the use of someone’s weakened mental state to get likes to your social posts or draws to your blog is some bullshit. Yes of course he needs continuous treatment, but these are not compassionate truths but unkind jabs.
3. If you listened to R. Kelly at any time after you knew he had sex with children, you should really not be pissing on Ye.
4. Celebrity culture is so fickle and such bullshit, we let it lead to us to both worship humans and hate humans. We exalt folks who wake up with sleep in their eyes just like we do. Ridiculous. We simultaneously cancel people who don’t hold our same beliefs. Foolishness. We lack compassion and support those with struggles. Shenanigans. We like our Kanye outspoken but only against folks we don’t like… otherwise his commentary is unacceptable and we should burn him in the town square.
5. Here’s the truth: cancel culture is bullying. Social media puts us very close to celebrities in a way we otherwise would never experience. So we feel compelled to keyboard klown. At the end of the day though, these are just people with issues and struggles too. Perhaps if you healed yourself, you wouldn’t need a hero to worship and a villain to villify.
6. Dude challenges deeply held positions and that makes people uncomfortable and threatens what they think is special, unique, and good about themselves.
a) The truth is he can vote for anyone he chooses.
b) The truth is he can wear anything on his head that he chooses.
c) The truth is Democrats have catered to the struggles of Black people instead of our strengths. Let’s promote the destruction of American oppressive systems and not just implement systems that band-aid that oppression. Additionally, Religious Black people have condemned Democratic abortion support for years… it’s not new. Chances are your great Aunt Annie who wears her prayer cloth while watching Creflo, and who ends every sentence with hallelujah feels the same way. Do you call her a clown? I bet she’d bust your head to the white meat!
d)Republicans… all of them aren’t horrible people. All racists are horrible people. So this narrative that being Republican is in and of itself racist and makes you horrible is incorrect. We can disagree on policy… our disagreement doesn’t make either of unworthy of humanity.
e)Kanye West owes no one an apology for doing things he has a right to do that don’t infringe upon your rights. Trump, red hat, whatever. I happen to despise both, but that doesn’t give me license to dictate what he should do. Besides I don’t see y’all boycotting those Black pastors” churches… the ones cumbayaing with dude.
f) On the slavery comment at Howard: If slavery was reinstuituted by the government TODAY, the first place the bounty hunters would go are places where a majority of Black ppl can be found. That’s common sense. Diversity and inclusion breaks down racial barriers. Black Meccas DEFINITELY allow us spaces to be free and excel without racist influence, but they do not gain allies. So his comment wasn’t a dismissal of HBCUs but a real world commentary on how segregated spaces look OUTSIDE of those spaces to those threatened by our collective power.
g) On Black people in America being culture-less. We have very little of our ancestral culture. Instead we were handed white capitalist American culture. We move and morph that in creative and necessary ways… but that doesn’t make it uniquely ours. Hip hop culture is not owned by Black people either.
7. How dare anyone claim to know what brings someone closer to God. Sunday Service is free. Religious artists sell their albums. If you can make money off of your art, so can he. Who are you to determine his arts worth or genius. You may not like it… cool. Most people think the Mona Lisa is simplistic and uninteresting… but there it is. THERE. IT. IS.
True understanding comes from the ability to use knowledge in a way that brings us closer to the truth. You will never uncover the truth if you sit in the muck of the status quo.
I respect anyone who bucks the system. We hate the systems but we aren’t in love enough with the truth to overcome our fear and start chipping away at it. Sometimes when we start to break down the existing barriers that prevent change, we will misinterpret what we see. We will make mistakes. Those bold and outspoken enough to do it are often the geniuses amongst us. But genius isn’t necessarily academic, so they may lack panache and refinement, their message might be rough cut. But raw diamonds don’t glitter or glisten.
” I’m not interested in preserving the status quo, I want to overthrow it!” Niccolo Machiavelli
I’m all about my money.
Lemme repeat… I’m all about MY money.
This year has been the year of financial wealth building for me. I have raised my credit score, invested in stocks, and I’ve got several projects on the burners to start making money in my sleep as opposed to having to clock in every day to pay my bills and play like I want to.
The Is and MYs and MEs are purposeful. These are my independent and joint money goals.
But my partnership goals are different.
Recently on T.I.s podcast, his wife Tameka Tiny Harris said she was told to marry for financial security and not love. Similarly I engaged on a Facebook discussion regarding the subject, where it was clear that many of the women agreed with the idea of marrying for financial security, but my ideas are very different.
Prehistoric models of marriage hinged on preserving social status. American legal theory on marriage borrowed from and capitalized on this idea, by the socialization of marriage as a institution to preserve the American aristocracy. It was not devoid of love, just devoid of human love… for the love of money. This is a model forced upon us… and as the model changed and morphed, the idea of men as ultimate provider was something we attempted as well. But this is not our ancestral model and it was a system built upon individualist, patriarchal, and racist ideals. That shit ain’t for us.
Our ancestors are watching… this is my take.
So today I saw this video by Steve Harvey, and it spoke directly to the idea of Black exhaustion. At what cost do we buy into this theory that we are only worthy of success if we work ourselves to the point of exhaustion. It’s a known fact that healthy people need to rest their minds and bodies to combat stress and disease… yet, he states, “You cannot sleep eight hours!” Why not, and under what authority do you make that claim?
But hey this is the guy who tells women how to Act Like a Lady… go figure.
Let’s talk about this idea that to be successful and Black is to be perpetually exhausted … only if we play by rules for a game we were never intended to be allowed to play.
I’ve heard it many times before, but yours sounds different, feels especial-ly different. It dances off of your tongue different. It echoes in a room full of furniture and tchotchkes. It melts in the cold and freezes in the heat. It sends me swingin’… takes me riding in rocket and gives me a star. E-ver-y time.
You Love Me.
The point of it all … is that love finds you perfectly when you are ready to accept the heart that dispenses it to you in perfect measure. When you release all those past traumas and painful experiences, heal from them, and open yourself up to the person who, like you, introduces you to your best self. The person who, like you, dedicates themselves to helping you realize all your wildest dreams. The person who, like you, makes everything okay the minute they step into the room, smile, and out stretch their arms to you. There is no more perfect place. No more perfect union of souls.
“I’m a movement by myself..”
Yes, you love me different… better, the best. You love me whole heartedly, not because of what I can do for you but how I make you feel. How I follow your lead in sync and rhythm, trusting you fully, showing you that I believe in us because I believe in you. You love me because we fit. You love me because … because you just do. Without conditions or doubts. Just completely. From the first day we met to this moment.
“… but I’m a force when we’re together.”
I write about many things…and I never imagined I’d be inspired or bold enough to write about any parts of my personal life in such detail. But I can’t continue to write about things that are important to me and not share how I feel about you.
“You make me better.” -Neyo Make Me Better
You have shown me very simply that a partnership doesn’t have to be contentious or complicated, but it can be easy and breezy and beautiful- ly different. You have shown me that anyone who truly loves you does so peacefully and purposefully. I never have to question where we stand, how you feel, or what you want. You know just how to ensure, that I’m assured of where we are and where we’re going. And I am. E-ver-y time. I never have chaos with you. If I need, you want to listen and comply. If you need, you tell me with tenderness and compassion. Give me some things to think about…
I had to learn to trust myself. To release any fears and worries, forget those toxic lessons, and embrace what I know to be true. To turn your back on knowledge that is staring you in the face is not wise and is not love. When I finally released myself from the questionable, certainty was staring me in the face. Ready and unflinching. Certainty was you. How amazing to be chosen without reservation or hesitation. E-ver-y time.
We form a perfect circle of understanding… we’re on another level!
“You ignite me. You co-write me. You love me.” -Jill Scott, Lyzel in E Flat
“Some people want it all, but I don’t want nothing at all, if I don’t got...”
It’s true, indeed. Being in and giving love is the best feeling in the world when it’s reciprocated and consistent and good. Full stop.
It is also true that there is nothing you can receive fully and completely if you are not already in a full fledged love relationship with yourself. Full stop.
Both things are absolutely true, but let’s talk about the latter.
“Some people want diamond rings…”
Since the beginning of time, women have received the social message that their most desired state should be married woman. Not healthy woman, smart woman, independent woman, good woman… but married woman. Our worth is most often tied to being with a man, and when we are single, our top priority should be being someone’s woman.
In an 1889 article, women who were unmarried were asked “Why are you a spinster?” , which was considered a negative term and brings to mind a homely woman, who looks older than her years, with a home full of cats. This woman’s response was brilliant,
While she was not the norm, her independence and desire to be emotionally healthy and not overburdened by the needs of others, was not common. During this time women were looked at as perpetual juveniles, needing to be told how to act, and needing a man to ensure she was taken care of, something she was considered ill-prepared to do for herself.
So there is no surprise that women were conditioned to believe they needed a man, and more specifically be married, as validation of their worth. And it continues today…
“15 Ways to get him to propose.”
“Why are you single and alone?”
“Being single too long ruins you”
Those are real titles of real modern day articles. But they are no excuse to be ringmatized.
So many women simply want to be married… not They want to be married so badly that they will diminish parts of themselves, silence parts of themselves, give up and damn near extirpate parts of their very being to fit into someone’s model of wife. They’ll do anything for the ring.
They alienate themselves from friends and family to be at someone else’s beck and call. They allow themselves to be groomed to fit into some made up version of matrimonial perfection. They grow their hair out, if he prefers it. They lose or gain weight, if he prefers it. They stop drinking, cursing, dancing, dressing sexy or comfortably, to appeal to him.
Is that ring or marriage more important than who you are? Are you willing to give up yourself so you no longer check the single box?
“Some just want everything…”
Yep, I don’t know about you, but I want it all. Not just a man. Not just a marriage. Never just a ring. And certainly not any of it at the expense of my spirit.
They make men as raggedy or as wonderful as you can imagine. Marriage can be as fulfilling or as empty as you and that man are willing to ensure it is. But you will never get the same you back that you gave up. Now you can heal her, but that takes a lot of hard and arduous work my friends. Think of all the unhealed souls you know. Many of them stay that way, stuck in the Matrix, for a very long time.
When you love yourself and treat her properly, you teach other people how to treat you. A healthy you is kind to herself, she protects herself, and she realizes her value. An unhealthy you believes she is incomplete. Choose health. You don’t have to heal from an illness you never had. And it’s called desperation. (I said what I said.) The willingness to put yourself on the line comes from the belief that you aren’t good enough, so when someone does pick you, you have to prove your worth through blind dedication and self-sacrifice. Nope wrong!
Instead, you can ensure that you enter into relationships with your self intact. You should not have to give up parts of yourself to be with another person. He should have picked differently if you weren’t his cup of tea with honey and crumpets. But if his pick was intentional, well… he wanted you… all of you… whole and complete and imperfect, but you! So be who you are. The world is better when we are who we are meant to be rather than who anyone else might want us to be! And we are better when we know our worth is not found outside of us, but comes from within, from our healed heart, loving soul, and intact spirit. Whether we are single af, taken, married, or in partnerships… we are worthy of His love and his love. Ain’t no ring worth this goodness!
“But everything means nothing, if I ain’t got…”
So age is a function of time…
To a seven year old, one year is 1/7th of their life, so it seems like a very very long time in their eyes. But when you are 40 that same year is 1/40th of your life thus far, so it goes by very fast. You’ll eat 1/40th of a pizza much faster than you would 1/7th… chewing and all.
But age is also a function of how much time you think you have left. For a seven year old, it feels like an eternity, if the typical life expectancy is 80 years, 73 whole years left… But again to a 40 year old, that’s only half your life left, half of it already lived, and most likely a lot of mistakes and wasting time along the way. The desire to limit those mistakes going forward and to waste NO TIME is paramount! Not one second.
That holds true most in matters of success and matters of the heart.
“Kids…dance before they learn there is anything that isn’t music” -William Stafford
As we age there is this increased desire to accomplish. We look at where we are and we thought we would be, and we seek to hurry and either make that happen or come up with another bigger goal. I can recall finding out I was going to graduate from college early, and thinking to myself that it wasn’t so much something I had intentionally worked hard at, but just believed I could, and so I did. There were definitely, looking back, distractions in my path, but to me, success was inevitable. I was the little girl showing out on stage, to the people in the audience, but just being me in reality. It wasn’t until I got older that I even had a notion that there were things I couldn’t do.
I couldn’t be a Janet Jackson dancer at 40, with a child and a career and back pain. I mean maybe I had one shot in 1,000,001 but who likes those odds. I had a much better shot at 20, and I won’t bore you with my extra curricular dancing activities, but I certainly put in a good try to at least maybe do one hip roll in a Dirty Glove video (shot out to Dirty Glove ENT, Detroit record company and entertainment conglomerate ✋🏽) … but hey time and place. But this idea that suddenly I had to give up on my dreams to get serious about my future was new. I had always thought I was serious. I mean tell me old girl above isn’t serious!
Truer still was how I looked at my love life. As a young woman I did whatever felt right. A boy moved from Detroit to Ann Arbor to be with me, a boy with no college dreams at the time in THEE college town. I traveled hundreds of miles away to be with somebody’s son. I was the serial monogamist, ending what had no purpose and open to those who spoke to my passions. A “talk that talk money” kind of girl. But at 40, a divorced woman with a child, the stakes was high.
“Welcome to reality, see times is hard…Better watch the way you spend it/Cause the stakes is high.” DeLaSoul Stakes is High
So I decided to wait it out, stick with my bid, my possible, to see if he materialized into a sure thing. I forgot about doing what felt right and instead was overly worried about what would be, how much time I might waste with the wrong one. I no longer went with what felt right, but it had to make sense on paper. But love, which is what I was ultimately looking for, was freeing and open hearted, my bound and gagged view was limiting me to what looked right, but felt like a waist trainer. And of course, you could have bet on it… I wasn’t wasting time as much as I was ignoring the signs that kept telling me to move on. No matter how many times I tried, that possible was never going to materialize. The only sure thing in the equation was me… I forgot that… so busy going over my steps I forgot to dance.
“Life is the dancer, you are the dance”-Eckhart Tolle
While there is certainly nothing wrong with time management, there is something very defeating about dancing only to the steps and not allowing your body to sync up with the music. But how do you do both. I don’t want to waste time but I certainly don’t want to make decisions that lack passion only to accomplish some purpose that might change. That will likely change, as I get older and wiser. Let us pray for the wise part… I’m still buying Jordan’s and I love them, but I got Nike stock too. Aha! Growth.
So how do I both get a bit more serious about my moves, while still allowing myself the space to do what feels right?
Well first, I have to know what I want, or at least what I want it to look like. So how is what I’m doing right now helping me to get where I want to be. Truth is, I no longer desire to be a Janet Jackson dancer… but I do want to dance and perhaps some hip rolling could knock this vertebrae back into place. I used to want to be a lawyer, interior designer, and urban style writer for Vogue or Harper’s Bazarre. Now, I know my passion is bigger than one distinct career but being an example of wealth building for my son and people in my community. I can still do all of that, if I choose to, but with age my priorities have become less individual and more familial and communal.
As for men, I learned the biggest lesson of my love life this year. It actually applies across my life. Love is not made in words or in funds. True understanding of another human being, and acceptance of them once you reach that understanding is what love is all about. It’s my job to secure myself. That is my belief. Any man that wants to partner with me must be able to do the same for himself, and then show me through his actions in his choice. Period. It’s really rather simple. That, is what has always felt right. This idea that I needed a mate that checked all these boxes, on a checklist that I didn’t create, so I wouldn’t waste time, is ludicrous. Cosmo cannot tell you what you need, neither can Grandma, your bestie, or a blog.
“I didn’t choose. I was chosen to dance…” -Martha Graham
So don’t stop succeeding and loving in freedom just because you have reached some age where you thought life would be different. Life has been exactly what it was supposed to be… and how you react to that says everything about how much favor you will receive in the future. The rest is up to you. Time will pass. You will grow older. But trust that you can still bust a MF move and you can still have it all…
Time is not about how much you have spent or what you have left, as the only real time, is right now.
“This issue isn’t closed like an elevator door/But soon re-opened once we get to the next floor where the Stakes is high.” -DeLaSoul
You can’t say it in a song. Even if you think it’s not wrong. You can’t say it high or low. You can’t say it, just say no. You can’t say nigga, yes it’s true. For us by us and not for you. You can’t say nigga don’t me mad. But figure out why you wanna say nigga so bad!
Generally, the word nigga is a colloquial use of the racial slur, nigger, to mean homie or some other urban term of endearment. Some Black people see it as nothing more than a reframing of the word used to denigrate us into something that robs it of its original meaning. Other Black people see it as an extension of the word nigger, same meaning, no different than the urban colloquial use of brotha or sista. But what is mostly true is that all Black people have a problem with anyone who isn’t Black using the term, especially someone White or interested in promoting Black oppression.
“We live in a world that enjoys Black culture and dislikes Black people” -Cecil Emeke
So recently Gina Rodriguez posted a video of herself rapping to the Fugees, and managing to misquote ALL the lyrics but the word nigga. Gina is not a White Woman, but she’s definitely known for her All Lives Matter rhetoric. So keep that same energy sis. In the past Gina has shaded and downplayed the compliment that Yara Shahidi was such a powerful role model for ” so many Black women.” To which Gina replied “So many women. Women!” As if the interviewer made a mistake when referencing Black women. Nope. Black women need to see themselves represented in roles such as those Shahidi plays, especially with her natural hair and “for the culture” sensibility. FOH.
Gina similarly noted during a discussion on pay disparity in Hollsood roles that the “intersectionality” present made it a harder discussion as White actresses make the most and Black actresses get paid more than Asian or Latina actresses? Hunh?!?! In what world is this Gina? I’ll wait… ok I won’t. Just GTFOH.
You see, the appropriation of Black culture when it serves you, excites you, and entertains you is not cool, but especially when you are silent or worse a participant in the further and continued oppression of Black people. Gina has a history of being tone deaf regarding Black women. She doesn’t get a pass because she’s Puerto Rican, especially when she clearly uses her position as a woman and a Latina woman to shoot down the fact that Black women have a separate and unique experience from all other women in America. Our history is rooted in disregard, disrespect, and disengagement. When you add to that the experience of the whole Black community and the use of the word nigger to label and stereotype us as ignorant and uncivilized, the use of nigga outside of the culture, no matter its use inside the culture, in unacceptable and offensive.
By culture, I don’t particularly mean race, even though generally they do go hand in hand.
Check it, if Eminem said nigga, I personally might not care. He is fully engaged in and apart of Black hip hop culture. However, his respect and honor for the culture sparks his complete disinterest in the word. It was telling the comments of White people, in particular in the comments. Everything from:
“Why put it in a song if people cannot sing it?”
“Can I even READ the word since it’s in this article?”
“It’s just a word…”
If you are not for the culture, you can’t be of the culture. What we do isn’t for other folks. You don’t see us putting tuna in macaroni and cheese and grapes in potato salad, now do you?!? Here’s the thing, we automatically assume that non-Black people are so eager to let the word nigga roll off their tongue in the presence of Black people because they use and are so comfortable using the word nigger when outside of our presence. Go ahead… but be prepared to get dragged… like Gina. On Twitter or on Telegraph, we usually need less than 140 characters to cuss you out royally!
Black people have a unique and colorful culture that is full of references that anyone on the outside might not understand without embracing the culture and educating oneself on our history. But if after all that you still wanna say it, I say… call us Negus (knee-gus) as opposed to nigga (nih-gah) and certainly not nigger (nihg-ger). A negus is a royal, a king, a ruler in the Amharic language in Ethiopia. It references us as the original man, the leaders of civilization, the inventors of math, science, art, the seat, and the table. If you wanna call us something…call us Kings and Queens.
Now how badly you think they wanna say that?!?