Being Black Is Dope As Shit
“Black is beautiful. Get a suntan, bitch.”
-Diddy, Ghost of Christopher Wallace
I could go down a substantial list of why I love being Black. The media and law enforcement would have you believe that being of color is as bad as being picked last in a pick-up game. But, we off that in 2015. We are off gestures that will commodify us, our culture and attempt to wholesale it.
Have you ever seen real Black?
We are resilient.
There is love in our food. There is a style in the way we walk, and talk, and dress, and make love, and curse, and dance, and cry and sing and run and jump and grasp for air and room and breath and space. The way in which we pull ourselves together to mend the fences broken in our hearts.
How we have made many a thing out of no things, and taken nothing and made some things from scratch and played games under streetlights, damp with rain and motherly sobs of love and light, and remember John Henry and how my skin is ripe when without the sun — and how it tongues the moon. Yes, tongues the curves in the moon and wrestles down stars with the strength of a billion atoms dropping down on our plates.
Melanin is gorgeous.
No offense to my lighter, non-pigmented brethren (whom I love dearly), but there is a reason why folks risk skin cancer for a browner hue, and why the Jersey Shore tanning salons stay on swole. Brown kinda makes everything look better. Even when talking color blocking — bear with me — brown being a neutral color makes matching wardrobes as easy as 3.14.
We have made saying grace more than a custom, turned your churches into a movement and moved mosques with our heat. We are bathed in the gold — and who bleeds like we do? We are gatherers and survivors and nurturers and lemme see that sprain, all you need is some aspirin and past midnight in bunkbeds, eyes barely blinking, watching vinyls spray rhythms across midsections, catching the loops with our teeth baring the severances and silences.
I wish you could feel the weight of this skin.
Here, put it on a scale and measure it against any other element and watch it take gravity. We make gravity. We are science and math and colored boy clock makers and 3rd grade theater troupes where you discover blackface is not just a reference to your complexion anymore. We are debunkers and, no, Ridley Scott, Christian Bale, and Moses do not resemble. My Moses, the one I know most I reckon, more favors Bob Moses and RIP Moses Malone and where were you when MJ moonwalked on live television? Where were you when my Aunty Cakes passed and I kissed her skin until I could taste the olive oil nature seeping through and wanted to kiss the dust of sunlight breaking down the matter in her not so far removed bones?
The history of my people is rich, and, no, I’m not talking Scrooge McDuck rich.
We’re talking Mae C. Jemison × NASA/Dr. Dre × Beats By Apple/Beyonce × Pepsi/Obama × White House/Serena × breaking mad fucking records rich. Paul Robeson rich. James Baldwin, Fannie Lou Hamer, Ella Baker, Julian Bond, Mahelia Jackson, Harriet Tubman, Soujourner Truth, Fred Hampton, Donny Hathaway, Oprah rich. She is first name status. Do you know how HARD it is to get that? Viola Davis in her Emmy dress and Emmy pose and Taraji arms open like Ceely. The way Alice Walker saw it coming. Yes, we are that beautiful and rare and, no, you cannot piggyback on the train this time. We are Ebony and Essence and Jet and Hannah in a time when Elle and Vogue and Cosmo have defined what beauty means and secretly whisper:
It is not you Lupita. It is not you Serena. It is not you Nina Simone.
Do you hear the violins? They are calling you and telling you the masquerade is over, the charade is done, the bashment has ended. I will love my Blackness until it prune dries down the side of the road with the barefoot basket weavers and Are you ok, Sis?, and Bring Back Our Girls, and Black Lives Matter clash and color the system red with the dye of ancestors dying.
Dying, digging dirt from under their eyes to show you how we see the earth we made for you to cry in. Black is my heritage, my people, my zip code, my gang affiliation, my tribe, my brand, my mantra, my soliloquy, my anchor, my epilogue. The dialogue at the end of the road riddled with breaths lost and given and taken and the piece of quiet in the peace of a maelstrom of heaven, salvation, hell, and in between Hades, Judas, Jesus, Yeezus, and burned Confederate Flags on your lawn.