An image of a vast ocean is featured here, showing just how immense the body of water is.
At my funeral, I was far from quiet. As I made my way to the casket, I would stop at every third or fourth pew to cry out, banging my fists and curling up into a ball until someone would come to my aid and comfort me.
“It’s alright, Sis Robinson. You will be with the Lord now. Everything will be OK,” they would tell me, and I would reply with a feeble, “Oh, OK Lawd, OK Jesus.”
Although I would try to accept the consolation, I couldn’t help but crumble once again when I reached the next third or fourth pew, screaming as if my soul was ablaze until someone would come to my rescue. This cycle repeated itself until I reached my final resting place.
The choir of all African-American women, most wearing their best wigs, guided me to look at my own body, in compliance with the funeral director’s instructions to proceed quickly so they could shut the casket and go ahead with the ceremony.
They appeared dignified and somber, singing “Be Encouraged,” and none of them were off-key. Before I died, I had warned them that if their tonality was off, I would rise out of the casket and take the wrongdoer(s) back to the underworld with me.
Now that I had decided to be present, they were aware that I would appear in the choir area.
Falling onto the pew at the front, I found myself enveloped in the folds of my large, black dress. I attempted to spread my grief-filled legs across the bench, to evenly distribute the pain, for my feet were still swollen from the Racist Sugar that had taken me away.
Throwing my head back, I yelled, “Just take me now, Jesus! Take me now, Lawd!” One of the ushers then pointed out that Jesus had already taken me and pointed to my body in the casket.
I wanted to voice my disagreement, however, I realized she had a valid point, so I kept my thoughts to myself and proceeded to go view my body.
The other, non-petty usher lifted me up from the mourning bench and led me to the casket. My fingers, swollen from the Racist Sugar, trembled as I ran them across the purple velvet, which was not as soft as I would have liked, but I decided not to protest.
Examining my burial dress, I spotted my fat-fingered hands and noticed that the undertaker had not done a better job. In defiance of the rules, I quickly grabbed one of my hands and held it, patting and comforting myself.
My face was what ultimately caused me to break down. As soon as I saw it, still and lifeless, I began to let out a wail that I had kept inside of me since before I passed away.
Everyone around me, both people I knew in person and from the internet, had died and I had stored up this one-person symphony of cries for months. As I stood there in shock, looking at my own body, I moved my limbs into a pattern of contortions and shouted, “This is how it’s done folks!”.
I then lifted up my dress and, using my left knee first, I got into the casket with myself. Immediately, the church was filled with applause and Mama was embarrassed, though I did not stop. I continued to encourage the Wigs to keep singing as I made my descent.
I had longed for the opportunity to mourn for myself and for others, just as I had yearned for the Holy Ghost as a child. Therefore, when I passed away, I did just that.
I had contemplated getting into other people’s caskets, prepared with loose-fitting garments and easily-raised dresses (no tights) in case the spirit moved me. But I was raised to do the right thing and chose to wait until I could get into my own.
My death divided me into two sides I had been all along: the loud and silent, the out and in, the A- and B-sides. To me, mourning was a time of percussiveness.
Climbing into the casket felt like the ultimate way to express grief and anger over a loss that came too soon, too tragically, too intimately, or too unjustly to cry out softly. This is how I died, and how most of our people’s losses occurred back then.
They wanted us to keep quiet, but we refused. We marched in the streets, just like we had during the civil rights era and before and after.
We shared emails with the words of Zora Neale Hurston, “If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it,” and distributed memes. We were constantly being recorded on many screens, and saw ourselves screaming, crying, and marching, across multiple platforms.
We felt that we needed to be louder, to fight against the thingification of our bodies as a result of our skin color and hair.
We also had to publicly declare our outrage on social media pages whenever a case of racism or a state-sanctioned murder happened, especially if it was a straight black man or someone who had a high GPA.
Even white people would ask us to confirm the details of those cases in order to prove that they were as woke as we were.
Everything was louder then, to drown out the screams.
Amidst the clamor of voices and feet pounding, something else lay beneath it all– something that could only be heard on the lower frequencies, on the B-side of our collective blackness–that gently urged us to yield, and I was pulled to it.
Kevin Quashie, a cultural theorist, might have referred to it as “quiet,” a metaphor for a person’s innermost thoughts, feelings, cravings, insecurities, and fears.
With Elizabeth Alexander’s exploration of the inner depths of blackness in her collection of essays, The Black Interior, Quashie’s work in The Sovereignty of Quiet:
Beyond Resistance in Black Culture asked us to better comprehend the black experience in both written form and life in general.
This was a huge challenge, as the collective spirit of blackness tends to be reduced to mere resistance or a set of lessons about “race or racism, or about America, or violence and struggle and triumph or poverty and hopefulness.”
In addition, it meant taking into account the importance of peace and quiet in black individuals’ lives and the potential for “terms of quiet–surrender, interiority, and especially vulnerability” to have relevance to the collective.
It wasn’t an appeal for silence or the silencing of anyone, but an illustration of how black people have long sought out other paths to freedom and resistance.
Even when they were characterized in the public eye as overly expressive or, at best, as those sorrowful souls, “darker than blue,” bound to be the voice of conscience in the Western world and for white people.
Quashie suggested a silent understanding be reached through words and stories, bringing together pieces from black authors and the universes they created through their characters in order to share with their readers.
He studied visual texts, taking those that were usually seen as loud, such as the iconic photo of Tommie Smith, John Carlos, and Peter Norman at the 1968 Olympics
And uncovering the restrained, introspective aspect of a demonstration that some people recall like Kanye’s interruption of Taylor Swift’s speech.
As he looked at different forms of black art, he asked that we pay attention to the quiet moments, to search the spaces in between, and to appreciate their complexity, capacity, and potential political impact.
To put it simply, he urged us to recognize black people for the complex interior lives they possess, just like any other human being.
Without quietness, white people are unable to recognize the internal aspects of black individuals and the two-dimensional image projected in the media. Without silence, we can’t possibly hear our inner selves when they try to tell us something is not right.
I had been searching for a quiet, not within myself, but out in the world through sound and music. I desired a literal, rather than figurative, peace; the same kind that comes after someone’s mother has hushed everyone strongly, raising her hand and spraying saliva.
I was yet to acquire the tranquility and command of interiority that Quashie’s subjects had, but I had had enough of the loud and outwardly expressive.
Like a black Goldilocks, I was looking for a perfect third space in sound that I had heard all my life; a faint hum, hidden and electric, somewhere between the A- and B-sides.
I remembered hearing it when I initially learnt to play my violin, between Alice Coltrane’s keys, in the alternate take of Miles’s “Flamenco Sketches” and in the space John Coltrane left on A Love Supreme”.
I also heard it when somebody white said I was good at something for a black person.
I heard it in Pete Rock and C. L. Smooth’s “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)”, Hargrove’s staccato fifths and fourths, Dwele’s Slum Village choruses, somewhere in Yusef Lateef’s Detroit and at revival.
I heard it when I told my favorite student that the state of Georgia was going to execute Troy Davis, in Roy Ayers’s vibraphonic hymns, after Trayvon died.
And in Frank Ocean’s unfinished phrase on Saturday Night Live, as well as in his albums Blonde and Endless, and on Aretha’s Amazing Grace. Lastly, I heard it in Ms. Mavis’ “I’ll Take You There”.
The jazz, blues, gospel, and spiritual roots of my people, as well as those who were brought to this country in the bottoms of ships, provided me with a need to search for that perfect note of mourning.
There was so much noise in the form of writing, talking, and tweeting about this noise, that it was difficult to find a place of stillness to heal my spirit.
I wanted to be able to hear something that would express the suffering, trauma, and pain that we have experienced and the ways we have responded to it, instead of simply reading about it.
I had to give up searching for peace in the loudness and learn to just be still and listen in order to fully understand, grieve, and reconcile the ongoing and pervasive harms of America and the West.
We all need to be able to listen to the sounds beneath the notes if we are going to be whole.
The stillness has replaced the flames this time.
Every day of the week, we expressed our grief in a loud and quiet manner, in our own ways and on every single platform. We particularly liked to play “fortissimo” and “martellato” as these were European-approved methods of making noise with full force.
When we had to perform Corelli’s “La folia,” we moved like boxers, stretching our arms out and rocking our neck, to be able to play the piece as loud and strong as possible.
We could not afford for our bows to be rehaired, so we would try to intentionally break some of the rosin-whitened hairs when playing the variation that required martellato, putting more strength than what was needed to make a good sound.
Our veins turning a disco blue and green. We conquered the piece, our instruments, Corelli, and the entire baroque tradition, as not even whites would deny us the right to classical loudness.
Every Saturday night, we congregated in the dining room where the floor was made slick by spilled whiskey-punch.
With a force that came from deep within us and which was completely unexpected, we would bellow out “BITCH BETTER HAVE MY MONEY!” Rihanna was our guide, and we followed her call.
All of us felt short-changed and taken advantage of, and so our voices, coming from the depths of our souls, cried out for recompense, not just monetarily, but in every sense of the word.
We were determined to take down Babylon and though we never received what we felt was owed us, our calls took on a sorrowful tone.
On Sundays, when the preacher was devoted to the African-American community, we sang James Weldon Johnson’s “Lift Every Voice and Sing” just as vigorously as “Bitch Better Have My Money.”
Of course, we skipped the third verse, since none of us knew the words. Even Colin Kaepernick, who was the most conscious of us all and we knew was always internally singing our black national anthem when he took the knee, was forced to hum the third verse.
Although we learned the third verse for the black history program, the words had disappeared by the following day.
Nonetheless, we were citizens of a black nation, with a legacy of many countries before it, like Haiti, Ethiopia, Axum and Kush, and we were sure we would win.
Unfortunately, we were unable to prevail, and we felt that in every sound we made, including the exuberant ones, every single day.
The old folks of that era used to write articles saying that we would never succeed due to our lack of knowledge of the third verse. They did not accept that we would never win regardless and just wished to talk down to us until the day we passed, which, eventually, we did.
Following the meal that usually followed the service,
If one was served, someone would put on songs such as “Cupid Shuffle” or “Wobble,” and then, through their vigorous dancing, we were all reminded of the impact that the church mothers had had on us, being created not from some feeble rib of Adam’s, but from their strong hips.
Although we were still unable to recite Johnson’s third verse, the vigorous swaying of the church mothers’ hips served to remind us that, despite whatever sort of cages white people had us trapped in, we were still free.
I firmly believed that, before I died, I should be loud at my funeral, as it was the remedy for the oppression we experienced from a young age.
This oppression, which demanded that we not even think of counter-ideas, or else face punishment, forced us to construct barriers within ourselves to contain the indignation.
Thus, when we finally had the opportunity to reunite with old friends and celebrate, it was because we had been unable to express our feelings to those around us at work, or to those across the nation who had perished.
Our loudness was the result of this transformation of the pain and suffering we had endured into something positive.
In the Obama era, some people suggested that we were too vocal. However, we had a renewed sense of hope for resolution, believing that if we stood together, we could make a change.
When attempts were made to turn us into objects, we refused to stay silent. We voice our opinions in the grocery store by wearing shirts that read “Black Lives Matter” and protesting gently.
To those with a colonizing perspective, our voices were seen as louder than a blink or a wink, creating a feeling of terror. No one expected a hammer or a hoe to start singing, so we understood why our words were seen as a threat to their lives and their nation.
The loudness of the new protest music of the era of Black Lives Matter gave white folks the chills–which made it all the more enjoyable.
It was a powerful and defiant type of mourning music accompanied by a sense of dread–and a bit of spite.
On Twitter, we showed them with text, GIFs, memes, and song lyrics that we would “STAY MAD” and “DRINK THEIR TEARS,” mostly those of “BECKY WITH THE BAD GRADES.”
We wanted to communicate our feelings without actually saying “FUCK YOU” because, despite all the wrong, we were taught to be respectful.
Back in the day, the music that was being created had the strength of African American sound and power, which brought us to the point we are at now.
African American artists were determined to perform their songs with such volume to really make the white population feel uncomfortable.
We sang our sorrows on the late night shows that white people watched. When J. Cole went on Letterman and performed “Be Free” and said “All we wanna do is be free; / all we wanna do is take the chains off,” with his eyes shut tight, it seemed as if the white viewers were in a dilemma
To consume his pain or plug their ears. At the Academy Awards, Common and John Legend, dressed like undertakers, sang the new anthem of African Americans, “Glory,” which was almost impossible to boo, like when somebody sang a gospel song on Showtime at the Apollo.
(Unless the person had already accepted their fate of going to hell for being rude to a child without rhythm, which there were a few of them.) That song was so powerful and loud that John Legend made white people cry with his piano playing.
At SNL, D’Angelo and the Vanguard had shirts with simplified expressions of their loud songs’ messages, which were necessary for white viewers to grasp the meaning. Moreover, the Black Power choreography further highlighted the messages.
The shirts said “I Can’t Breathe” and “Black Lives Matter,” and band members raised their fists in a Black Power salute.
At the end, the performance was met with a red neon chalk outline of a human figure–dead and fist raised–where D’Angelo had been standing, with the lyrics “All we wanted was a chance to talk. / ‘Stead we only got outlined in chalk.”
It seems the white audience was left with ringing ears and a comprehension of the performance.
During the Black Lives Matter movement, Queen Beyonce provided three of the most powerful performances. The first one was at the Super Bowl, another at the BET Awards, and the last one at the previously all-white Coachella festival.
At the Super Bowl, Beyonce brought a group of black women from Oakland, California, dressed in all black–including black berets and big black hair–onto the green turf, making an impression on the most well-known stage for Black History Month.
At the BET Awards, Samuel L. Jackson was in the front row, admiring the dancers in their Black Panther-inspired outfits that were “super black and maybe even blacker than” the Super Bowl.
The dancers moved energetically, their feet and knees hitting a stage full of real water, not CGI. There were seemingly countless thighs, like the end of a successful night at the drive-thru of Popeyes.
Kendrick Lamar was also present, with his cornrowed hair and facial hair that never fully came in. He was singing “FREEDOM! FREEDOM! I CAN’T MOVE. / FREEDOM, CUT ME LOOSE!” The blacks were loose and loud in their sonic and performing aspects.
When we got noisy after the demise of a person from the online world, even though we had witnessed them being slain on a loop with our own two eyes on our small screens, people did not appreciate it.
They deemed us terrorists for disturbing the peace during late night and the Super Bowl and America. We had to pardon the West for every untimely death, since these were the growing pains of attaining the Enlightenment ideal.
Instead of forgiving them, we circulated memes of Baldwin with the caption.
“To be black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage,” hoping that the one white colleague we had let be our friend on Facebook would let the rest of our workmates who we had refused to friend know what we had posted.
We railed and hoped and hoped and railed and hoped, which was the dignified way of hoping someone would take a stand.
But when we passed away, no one seemed to mind if we spoke loudly. We could be as loud as we desired, since we were no longer alive and that was the perfect sound for them. Pianissimo.
That’s why when I died, I went to my own funeral and acted silly and entered my coffin to express to those around me that I understood, I cared and I mattered. I wanted to get out my emotions before I could settle down.
If the ministers hadn’t stopped me, I would have gone as far as burying myself in the ground to find solace and peace.
In 2011, one of my treasured pupils contacted me and inquired if the Caucasians in Georgia were really intending to execute Troy Davis in a few hours. Unhappily, I replied “Yes, they are.”
Although Barack Obama, the first African American President, was in office; I realized that someone needed to be punished, and the death sentence would not be revoked.
I desired to advise him to implore and wish fervently, but I knew he had to save that for the next victim and for himself. There was no other option, and that was that.
Back then, we grieved for Troy Davis and all of the other black Troys with the two saxophone samples from Tom Scott and the California Dreamers’ “Today”.
This was the same sound used by Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth to honor their friend, dancer Trouble T-Roy, who passed away in a tragic accident. We embraced those twenty-one notes, repeated a dozen times throughout the chorus, to replicate the grieving feeling.
We also took the two-tone alto groan that came on the upbeat of every other measure during the verses. The half notes of Scott and the Dreamers’ airy harmonies, like the presence of our respectable ghosts, remained quiet and hovering at our own funerals.
The youth of the Black Lives Matter movement used this remixed blues to try to gain insight into the process of mourning.
If I had given into my instinct to scream, not only to express the sorrow of witnessing Davis’ death, but also to confirm the truth to my student who had asked me for a different response, I would have broken into pieces and been unable to have an open-casket funeral.
Therefore, I searched for a way to mourn quietly and outside of the loud death and protests of other similar cases, as unheard as the inner thoughts and loud title of Richard Wright’s White Man, Listen!, a compilation of four lectures he gave in 1950s Europe.
I sought something to demonstrate an emotion I wasn’t aware of in a world that said we should be thankful for affirmative action.
I opted for Quashie’s peacefulness as my weapon, exploring my sorrowful insides and observing everything that my inner being revealed to me about what I had experienced, lost and forgotten.
Beyond the water, fire, clothing, clenched fists, tributes, anger, and delight of young black men and women, and the phrase “Stay mad, Becky,” I embarked on a journey, though I was uncertain of its destination.
In 2012, on a Saturday night in the middle of September, I sat through an episode of Saturday Night Live hosted by Seth MacFarlane in order to see Frank Ocean perform “Thinkin Bout You.”
As he sang the first phrase of the second refrain, he left it unresolved, only resolving it in the second phrase.
The transition from the unresolved first phrase to the resolved second was like tuning a violin and getting to the verge of perfection before making the last, small adjustments to bring it to 440 frequency.
This shift made the love song appear to be a funeral song, merely a love song in reverse. I could feel the last syllable of “forever” vibrate in my eardrums, and I eagerly waited to find out how it would resolve.
That one-note change, an E instead of a C at the end of a phrase, is the kind of tiny alteration that truly makes live performances unique. The E posed a question and the C provided an answer.
I was almost overwhelmed with anticipation as I waited for the beat to drop and the resolution of the music.
It had been seven and twelve moons since Trayvon Martin and Troy Davis were killed and we were still mourning them, with our outcries growing louder in those early days of the new movement.
We were remembering Trayvon and the most recent Troy, and also mourning Obama’s first term.
Obama had stated that if he had a son, he would look like Trayvon, meaning in terms of skin color, while Ocean had made a similar statement at the end of Obama’s second term, intending it to mean in terms of kin.
We thought that perhaps Obama would be like Ocean and resolve matters in his second term.
We, like black Vladimirs and Estragons, stood in solidarity, vocalizing our resistance and unrest through organizing, singing and stomping. We organized to the best of our ability, yet the situation only worsened.
Some of us became louder and some of us fell silent, split into two factions – the A-side and the B-side of blackness. No matter which side we chose, we were all feeling the same sorrow, as Kiese Laymon’s Citoyen said, “so sad.”
Rihanna and SZA expressed their frustration, understanding that we weren’t even being given basic respect or consideration, and Solange Knowles echoed our weariness. Similarly, Ocean’s lyrics alongside Andre 3000’s spoke of the loneliness and despair we were feeling.
The murder of Black people on every platform was just one of the harms we were facing.
We were financially unstable and underpaid, healthcare was failing our elderly, and we were losing wealth as white Americans gained. Black mothers had a much higher chance of dying in childbirth and babies were dying before they were born.
Serena Williams needed to win more championships than anyone else and still had to save her own life while giving birth.
Our children were disciplined much harsher than others and white people kept calling the police on us for just existing while claiming they were the real victims of discrimination.
We had little hope that Obama’s second term would bring something better, and we were wondering if our loudness was enough to make change.
In 2016, my Daddy died and I wanted to find new blue notes of mourning that the old ones weren’t enough for. My grief had built up like a pyramid, my daughter’s father at the base, two close friends on the sides and Daddy at the apex.
Instead of entombing myself in the sorrow, I chose to hibernate between the A- and the B-sides of our black album, between the Troys I had known all my life and the ones I felt like I had known from the internet.
I had to grieve for the faces I had seen online, their death pictures in my dreams, broadcast and haunting everywhere.
I went back to Pete Rock, C.L. Smooth, the Geto Boys’ “Mind Playing Tricks on Me”, Erykah Badu’s “Telephone” and “A.D. 2000” and Prince’s home-going song “Sometimes It Snows in April” to cope and wait for resolution.
The first time I heard Ocean’s finely tuned violin, it was through Endless, which presented a visual vocabulary for the Sisyphean feeling of that time.
Everything was starkly black and white, and the laborious effort of creating something that would need to be started over and over again was plain to see.
As Ocean made his way up the winding staircase with steps that seemed too narrow to traverse, I leaned forward in anticipation of resolution.
I had wondered if he was building a path to Mavis Staples’s place that she and her family had promised to take us to. However, instead of resolution, the video returned to its starting point, leaving the audience with an unresolved situation. I said to the screen, “Touché, Mr. Ocean”.
Blonde offered an alternative to Endless E, a reply to the call; a B-side of blackness. Ocean created multiple routes to another realm, places to “vacay” and “go.” It provided an escape from the noise and a search for the new blue notes of mourning.
Blonde laments the losses of love and summer, as Ocean often does. But, while the Obama 2012 summer in Channel Orange was relatively naive and easy to critique, the Obama 2016 summer in Blonde was ominously different.
“Summer’s not as long as it used to be,” he sings.
Listening to the hour-long elegy, I recalled Trayvon Martin and UGK’s Pimp C on “Nikes”; the sky and ground of “Pink + White”; the starkness of the “Solo”s; the everyday and night sides of “Nights”; and the betrayal of “Pretty Sweet.”
If we’re honest, all we desired was a life of privilege. To have a carefree existence of ease, far removed from arbitrary and grisly brutality–to be left alone. Not to be white, but to be indulged in, sheltered, in the same way Toni Morrison’s Pecola yearned for those blue eyes.
She thought those blue eyes wouldn’t observe the same things her brown ones had. America continues to deceive and kill us, its most devoted admirers. “Why are we preaching,” Ocean inquired, “to this congregation, to this nonbeliever?”
In response to Solange’s inquiry of “Where can we be safe? Where can we be free? Where can we be black?”
In the wake of Dylann Roof’s massacre of black worshippers at Emmanuel A.M.E., Ocean offered a seemingly unsatisfying resolution: to go into seclusion, to contemplate, and to explore the depths of our minds.
He proposed that we cross the River Styx in New Orleans, a part of the Mississippi River, with his “White Ferrari.” After the tumultuous summer of white violence against black individuals, this was the place he suggested we go.
I’m certain that in another realm we may feel more towering.
You assert that we are insignificant and unworthy of consideration.
You’re exhausted from journeying, your body is sore.
We could take a break; there are spots to explore.
It’s evident that this is not all that there is to be seen.
We cannot accept what has been given.
Still, we’re alright here, we’re doing alright.
In our most basic state,
you envision walls that limit us.
It’s just a cranium, ‘least that’s what they call it, and we have the liberty to wander.
We were exhausted and sore, and we had to go to a different realm and rethink our outlook on things just to flee the oppressive and deadly ideas of us as small and insignificant that white people had.
That was the only place we could freely go around as we pleased. We stumbled a bit on “Siegfried,” analyzing ourselves like Sigmund Freud and recalling what life was like when we were living.
We wished ourselves good luck from heaven and journeyed off into a “Futura Free,” even though we were surely dead. It wasn’t our life, I guess– “just a fond farewell to a friend.”
When I was alive, I often pondered the destination that Al Bell and Mavis and her family were planning to take us. Mavis spoke of a place where we were all much greater, a place that was not limited to mere sound, but that had a captivating bass line and a melody of resolved phrases.
There were no tears, anxiety, or deceit in this place. I wondered how Mavis was so familiar with it and in the wake of my cousin being shot by the police, I longed to go to a place where they would not lie about what had happened.
I wanted Mavis to take me to a place of mercy after my baby daddy took his own life. I too, used Mavis’ voice to call for mercy, yet on the third day, my father had not returned. Now, I stay on the B-side with whoever is willing to sing to me.
My mother claims that the dead have no knowledge, which she may have learned from the Bible.
Yet, I don’t understand what she or King James are trying to express, as I am knowledgeable and she knows it, and the other dead who communicate with me from the afterlife do as well.
I was not loud enough during my life, and not many people stood up for me, so I had to attend my own funeral to do so. I am aware that even when we spoke out, it was not enough to prevent people that we knew, or those we felt connected to, from being killed.
I understand that at times I retreated to the background of blackness, which provided me with solace, similar to a psalm or a balm in Gilead.
I had gone in search of an escape from the pervasive demand of black individuals to remain optimistic in spite of their situation, to be loud and black and liberated and, chiefly, to stay hopeful.
I delved into the surprise middle notes, the peculiar harmonies that were obscured behind other things, sheltering myself in their peace.
I used to anticipate that the resolution would arrive, that the phrase, the situation, or whatever it was, would come to an end as it should and we could move towards a free future. But, as I wasn’t sensing any resolution, I wished that I could learn to carry the in-between.
I have been dead for years and still haven’t succeeded in bearing it, nor have I accepted that the resolution is unlikely to arrive.
I’m doing fine. I gather with the departed at their blues melodies, at “T.R.O.Y.,” or at an E instead of a C, or when listening to Alice Coltrane’s Journey in Satchidananda , or Stevie’s Innervisions.
And sometimes Daddy calls and I invite him and Big Mama to join me at my current place of solace. There, we celebrate our unique identity and imagine a future place where our people can be both African-American and liberated simultaneously.
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