“Beauty is a subject and justice lies within it. – Roy DeCarava
I have been trying to put into words my thoughts and feelings about the last two days. Seeing the Washington DC premiere of SELMA, shooting the finale for Ceremonies of Dark Men, and all of the postings of protests on FB have stirred up this feeling of love in me that I haven’t felt so intensely in a while. I was called the militant midget by my step father on my way to the hallowed halls of Howard University. He said I was always out for some black cause or another. Nostrils flared with passion in my voice and actions. From my time in high school seeing Roots, Eyes on the Prize, learning about my Great, Great, Great Grandfather Dr. James Still his brother William Still their mother Charity I was seriously pro-black. Pro-African. Pro-black power. Just knowing and learning my family history, knowing and learning African history, knowing and learning American history, I have always been proud to be of African descent.
Somewhere though I lost that feeling or with all the BS that has been perpetuated and accepted to and in our community I just felt I lost it. It was a slow decline that initially I did not see happening. I was becoming numb to stupid things that would happen in the community. I can remember coming home from school once and getting in the car with my grandparents to go to a movie. We were driving and there was a kid, a teenager that was just leisurely walking in the middle of the street. I was not pleased. I said “Pop-pop blow your horn.” They were both in agreement and the answer was a resounding ‘No, they could have guns and shoot us.’ The fear that my grandparents had of these kids growing up in their city was real. Working with kids I was a little out there. So I wasn’t afraid or maybe I was just a tad bit crazy. Human relations shape lives. There are certainly systemic issues that exist in our communities but there has also been a ball that has been dropped. I do not think that I need to go into an examination of the political and social oppression of the Black experience. This will not be that debate.
What this is… is a testimony. Because I know God is real… just in case you didn’t know it. I tell you that because all of the experiences that I have had over these days have rekindled my love (it was always there) for how AMAZING brown people are. Truly AMAZING. Our resilience, passion, talent… We are dope son! That is nothing but God. Really just when you think that your heart is calloused over, God reveals the little things that make us know the love is still there.
I know some incredible folks. My love for them is everlasting. Let me tell you. Sometimes I feel like I am bragging when I talk about my little brother “B”. I guess I am in a way. I am sure that folks get tired of me gushing over him. But I am truly, truly proud of my brother and LOVE him immensely. So a big sister would brag right? Let me tell you Bradford Young is truly a skillful artist. Those moments we spent playing with lights and layering images over chocolate skin, juxtaposing skin tones and experimenting with gels… This man captured our beauty in the film #SELMA just as he has in all that he has touched. I would venture to say that if you have never seen his work you have never seen black people in our true beauty and radiance on screen. Check Mother of George, Restless City. We are a beautiful people. We need to see that… DEMAND that we see it often.
AM Weever’s Ceremonies of Dark Men just rounded out the love. I was captured by the beauty of black men, yet again. King Britt and Chuck Treece scored the filmic expressions of Larry Cook, Jefferson Pinder, Rashid Johnson, and Alexis Peskine. New vantage points of these dark men. Viewed through movement, emotion, love, and ritual I was once again enamored with my brothers. What truly captured me were the faces in Aljana Moons from Alexis Peskine. Breathtaking.
Major Jackson was eloquent and distinguished. Moving words across the stage and making me again love the cadence and timbre of my brothers voices. The Cornel West Theory was passion embodied on stage! I was truly inspired and THANKFUL!
We matter that is not up for discussion. We know it as fact. Amelia Boynton was played by Lorraine Toussaint in #SELMA to paraphrase the scene between her and Coretta Scott King ‘We come from a mighty people. Greatness is within us.’
Continue to be great and to seek inspiration in everything. Aluta Continua!