After the story about the one time that you all got caught trying to sneak back into the house. After you laugh so hard that at least one half chewed black eyed pea falls out of your mouth and back onto your paper plate. And now you have the pleasure of eating it again along with the collards, the rice, the roast beef, the macaroni and cheese and the hot water cornbread. And after you have ranted about how good the sweet tea is to everyone at the table, and then ask for more ice and a second glass. More memories are shared of times when it was possible for you to get into “trouble.” Times when all the men were boys and had heads full of thick black hair. Times when the women were girls and full of spirit and curiosity. Girls who lied to get the car keys, came home high, and were beaten severely for it. Now they laugh. We all laugh while we eat peach cobbler, and dump cake, and 7 up cake with the white icing drizzling down the side.
Someone approaches the piano and many voices from the dinner table are lifted in songs devoted to Jesus. And this is fun too. It’s fun to be a part of it even if you don’t feel like singing. Everyone claps. Someone breaks a bottle of Crown Royal out of its signature purple bag and everyone drinks. Some drink more than others. And then folks begins to talk about church. Some went today and some didn’t but everyone is going to go next Sunday—that is decided. And so we’ll all see one another there. And after all the plates are cleared off of the table and all of the gossip has been told. After every picture of every grandchild has been shown. After the baby is hushed up and fed and placed delicately in her car seat. After the first hug, the final hug, and the kiss on the cheek. After you appreciate all of the women and honor their skills in the kitchen. After all of that, at some point while you are walking alone to your car you try really hard not to cry because you realize that he is still dead. For the rest of your life he will be dead. And you drive off feeling too full but so empty, trying to make sense out of all of the confusion.
It has been reported that Rapper Rick Ross was found unresponsive in his Miami home. Friends said that they could not wake him up and that he was foaming at the mouth. Rick Ross has also had a history of seizures. In 2011 he suffered from back to back seizures on an airplane that caused the plane to have an emergency landing. All of the articles that I have read on the situation read exactly this way. They also say that Rick Ross may have pneumonia, what these articles do not do is make the connection between his poor health and his addiction to cough syrup.
Drinking “lean” causes all of the symptoms that Rick ross is suffering from. One would think that after the recent lean related death of Chicago Rapper Fredo Santana media outlets would be more emboldened to make this connection. To suggest that Rick Ross couldn’t wake up and that he was rushed to the emergency room because he may have pneumonia is absurd. Rick Ross, along with an entire opiate addicted nation, needs help. It’s amazing that even President Trump can call America’s problem a crisis, which it is, while the media fails to apply this term when it comes to hip-hop artists.
People who take opiates in the form of pills, cough syrup, or heroin are drug addicts. It shouldn’t matter if the individual is a multiplatinum selling rap artist—a junky is a junky. And I don’t mean that in a dismissive way. I value the artistry as well as the humanity of Future, Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Wayne and Rick Ross, however, if you are an addict then you need help. The media should not be making excuses for young black entertainers randomly having seizures. It isn’t exhaustion, it isn’t epilepsy, it isn’t due to any missed medication—rappers are having seizures due to drug use. The media needs to call is what it is and stop enabling a dope fiend culture.
What about all of those lost pages? Those words that I’ve written on papers that have been ripped up. Those documents that were never saved. Those ideas that I had but never let them leave my brain. No one in history has ever doubted themselves more than I doubt me. No one else has ever been more afraid to claim greatness. Imagine living a life where you become content with the frustration of not achieving your goal. And you put all of your energy into recognizing all of the daily atrocities committed against your soul as opposed to fighting back.
My god. I see where I need to be but I feel like I can’t get there. I’ve been on the bank of the river and I’ve seen the water rushing by. I’ve set foot in the river and I’ve taken steps but I didn’t know. I just didn’t know if I could make it to where I wanted to be. I felt unsafe. I felt uncomfortable. I was able to decipher the voice of hate and hate told me to come on back to the dry land where you belong. Hate asked me who the hell I thought I was. Hate told me to be obedient and not to cause trouble. And I listened. I listened as if hate were the lord and I followed him.
I’ve allowed myself to be herded into normalcy knowing that I could never be normal. I have never known my place. I always ask questions. I can’t shut my brain down in order to make the system run more smoothly. That makes me a problem. But I’ve only ever wanted peace. So I distract myself with the pursuit of the beautiful. The women, the art, the islands, the rapture of running until I sweat gets me high. But I don’t want to be high anymore. I no longer want to feel as though I have to dim my light in order to make weak people feel strong. I am here on this earth in pursuit of peace. And I am quickly approaching the point where I would rather drown than allow hate to make me into a coward.
I was on my bed considering my journey, contemplating all of the things that had taken place in order for me to arrive in the space that I currently occupy. Then I heard a violent noise. The noise seemed to vibrate the windows and smash against my back door. Then I heard the sound again and it had a similar effect on the structure of the house, except this time it was a little bit louder. I gathered myself and rose slowly, contemplating whether or not to get a weapon before I walked in the living room area to see what was going on. I opted not to. I took silent ninja steps to the window and peered out of it to see that the cause of my consternation was the Atlantic Ocean crashing against the Jamaican shore which was just a few feet from the Montego Bay estate that I was staying in for the night.
I very rarely leave the United States. I almost never kick back and enjoy life, but last week I was on a solo trip to Jamaica when I saw those waves crashing against the beach and then rolling back into the sea. The rhythm began to saturate my soul. The consistency, the majesty, the power of it all—it got me. I stepped out on the balcony in astonishment. I submitted to the moment. I looked but did not move. I forgot that I was breathing. I appreciated the world and I told myself, I deserve this.
If you are anywhere near the San Francisco Bay Area then you need to go to this event!
On Wednesday, October 18th at 6:30pm Mental Health in the Hood Presents “Keep Holding On: A Night of Suicide Awareness.” Please join us as we welcome internationally renowned keynote speaker Kevin “Grateful” Berthia. Grateful Berthia is a motivational speaker and mental health advocate.
On October 18th at 6:30pm in room D200 of Laney College he will tell the story of his darkest moment and what keeps him holding on. Laney College student Malaysi a Alcorn will also share her testimony.
This will be a powerful evening that you will not want to miss—trust me. Those who have been touched by suicide in any way are especially encouraged to attend. I hope to see you all there.
Jemele Hill must feel kind of like Korryn Gaines when she had the devil at her door demanding her submission in exchange for her life. But what is a life with no soul, what is a body with no heart, and how can one speak with no tongue?
They are afraid of a black woman with a rifle in her hand willing to kill to protect her son, to protect her freedom, to protect her dignity. And the police in Baltimore County Maryland felt like they needed all of that force to serve a warrant for a misdemeanor.
They are deathly afraid of a black woman that they can’t control. A sista that won’t be quiet. A sista that doesn’t want to twerk. A sista that doesn’t want to be their fantasy. A sista that knows that her place is at the top of the throne no matter what that throne is made of, like Queen Nzinga. A sista with opinions that she isn’t afraid to share. And ESPN scolded Jemele like a child, then suspended her for two weeks for telling the truth on two different occasions.
Well, if Ebonics be thy first language then let truth be thy second. My mother taught me how to stand in direct opposition to corruption. My mother showed me that the black woman is the embodiment of resilience. My mother showed me love. My mother taught me how to speak and my mother taught me how to listen. My mother spoke softly, my mother screamed loudly and sometimes my mother chose to be silent. No man could ever force her to be submissive, and no job ever succeeded in shutting her up—though many of them tried. So maybe she didn’t get that promotion and maybe they didn’t deem her to be a “team” player. Maybe she has had to suffer more and maybe she is paid less.
And one may ask why couldn’t my mother just be a good worker and go along with the company program? Why didn’t Jemele Hill just stop tweeting altogether? Why couldn’t Korryn Gaines just put her gun down and have a rational conversation with the police? Why didn’t Sandra Bland just put out her cigarette? Why couldn’t Miss Sofia just be a nanny for that white lady’s kids in The Color Purple? Why did she have to say hell no?
To this I would say no one should have to sacrifice their humanity to make you feel comfortable. No one should have to give up their rights to make you feel safe. No one should have to give up their voice in order for you to feel complacent. And at times it seems as though the black woman gave birth to a world that has been trying to destroy her ever since. Jemele Hill has been suspended as if she were in grammar school and Korryn Gaines was murdered in her apartment in front of her 5-year-old son by the police. And all because instead of looking down at their feet they chose to look power directly in the eyes. They both spoke truth to a culture built upon lies, and they spoke this truth with the devil at their door.
“they threw me a charge too late, got my “Big Girl” September of last year. Legit w/papers. Thought i was gon have to take out a nigga nd realized i had a bigger problem. Fuck it Let’s dance, i got some rhythm”
When the lights are all out you feel it more. When your eyes are closed you see it better. While in the moment of sin I prayed that it would never stop. I thanked god that it was real, and I lost myself. Restraint—as necessary as it is at times—can be so overrated. I wanted more so she gave me more. And just like the seasons tell the farmer when it is time to plant and when it is time to harvest, her body spoke to me in the language of the sun. It spoke to me in the language of the fertile soil down in the delta and I responded with primitive lust. She dripped, she poured, she rained, we left a collection of fluids on a silky crimson sheet. And we felt no shame.