For years they have tried to shape us, box us in, confine us to the false reality that there is a single definition of blackness. You know, the gum popping, t-shirt tied up welfare queen that Reagan warned them about.
For years they have tried to shape us, break us, marginalize us. Ain’t no way these black folks can be more than the pants saggin’, gang bangin’, gun totin’ hoodlams that they saw behind prison bars.
For years they have tried to shape us, choose us, pick us. Pick one token black person to represent the pinnacle of blackness. The Black Elite.
Watching Friday and Madea movies, they swore they understood our blackness. Watching Friday and Madea movies, they swore they understood our jokes.
They created the box. We defied the box. We are ghetto. We are suburban. We are educated. We are LGBT. We are Muslim. We are Christian. We are whoever we want to be. And I think they recognize that, which is probably why they try to steal our style.
And why they take our gifts, talents, and afrocentrism….
and cut it and morph it and twist it into their culture.
Our blackness is not one-sided, and they know that. Our blackness is fluid. Our experiences are different. Our journeys are different. But our roots.. Oh they are the same. They can’t simplify our blackness. They can’t shove us in a box. Our blackness is immaculate. Our blackness is magical, forever changing and morphing and expounding, while at the core, our roots remain the same. Our blackness built this country. Built the very buildings they try to keep us out of. Our blackness is the foundation of this country. The foundation they use to uplift themselves. Our blackness is exponentially diverse.
Don’t let them box us in. Don’t let them define our blackness. Only we can. Our blackness is fluid. It’s plural. It’s black.