Sunday, December 21, 2014

the shots heard round the world

There isn't a day that passes that race doesn't come up or become a thought in my mind. It's in our faces everyday. I'm taking this time now to share a chunk of a piece I wrote that I was going to submit to the scholastic arts and writing scholarship contest. I wasn't able to submit this (RIP to the $$$ I could've pocketed :/) but I HAVE  to share this somewhere, so here I am.

The Shots Heard Round The World

       It was a dull pang. That's what I remember from those heart pounding, desperate nights. A dull, ringing pang that was introduced by a blue glow that would sometimes flicker red, emanating from the headlines on the TV screen.

                               "GEORGE ZIMMERMAN NOT GUILTY"
                              " NO INDICTMENT FOR DARREN WILSON"

        A curdling sickness, a red rage, a dull pang that hit my heart as I looked at the families of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, the protesters on the streets of major cities and small towns, my family sitting on the couch alongside me, my reflection when I looked at my brown skin for too long in the mirror. I remember sitting there on those nights asking myself " Is this some Inception-style nightmare or am I really witnessing a ludicrous world?"
       I've concluded that this world is ludicrous because here is an abbreviated version of the updated list of suspicious behaviors that could land you in a grave as a black person in America: carrying a bag of skittles, carrying an Arizona ice tea, carrying cigarettes, wearing a hoodie, napping, listening to music, playing outside, and having a conversation with a police officer. Gravelyly, the list goes on, but the longer this list stretches, the more we should wonder if these actions and behaviors are merely just substitutes. Excuses or names given to something much more simple. Is it such a far-fetched notion that your life is inherently more at risk for simply being black?

               Trayvon Martin was just walking home to enjoy the snacks he had just purchased.

               "But, he couldn't have been doing just that. No one was there to witness it."

               Michael Brown was just walking home from the corner store-walking because he had no                      reason to run.

              "But, he couldn't have been doing just that. There was no good footage, and the footage                        we did see was blurry."

               Eric Garner was just walking out of his store to answer questions by the police. Eric                           Gardner said he couldn't breathe eleven times. 

              "But, he couldn't was the asthma! He had a coincidental asthma attack at the                          moment of his death."

               12 year-old Tamir Rice was playing in a park with his toy. Playing pretend guns just like                     his friends and like so many other children before him. 


               7 year-old Aiyana Jones was sleeping. 


               Timothy Stansbury Jr. was standing in a stairwell when he "startled" a police officer.
               Victor Steen was riding a bicycle.
         And we won't ever really know what Lennon Lacy was doing in North Carolina this past August because we just found him, hanging on an unfamiliar swing set by an unfamiliar belt wearing unfamiliar shoes in an unfamiliar, predominately white trailer park late at night.
        Again, the list goes on.
        And this is all to say that I'm tired of seeing Reverend Al Sharpton show up on the news for the tenth time in only one month, not because of Sharpton himself, but because of what his presence represents. Seeing him is like feeling the dread that must thrush through one's veins when they hear a firm knock on the door in the early hours of the morning when their loved one hasn't come home yet. No, this isn't a descriptive simile to get you to understand what I'm trying to convey. This is almost the exact reality of Black America today. Almost, because police officers aren't knocking on the doors of these families anymore; they're still back at the scene of their own crime, searching for a way to cover up their tracks.
         64,000 black women are currently missing in America right now, and I am not making this up. If this number seems unbelievable to you, you are not alone. 64,000 black women who will continue to be unknown and continue to go unfound because American media outlets have to make air time for a Ku Klux Klan Imperial Wizard to choke on his words and try to convince the public that what he is doing is for the betterment of American society. 64,000 missing black women, but let's direct our attention to what a member of one of the world's most infamous terrorist organizations has to say.
         This series of tragic events surrounding police corruption and race relations in America have re-awakened the black community and should-if it hasn't already- awaken the white community as well, for we are currently living in a state of affairs that can easily be dubbed as an inevitable second wave of the Civil Rights Movement, an ugly evolution of racism swept under the rug that is steadily beginning to surge.

         These are the facts; this is our American reality. These are the things that cannot be disputed. So, if you still feel the urge to minimize or degrade the dire matters at hand, then perhaps the only thing of question here is your humanity.



Wednesday, December 10, 2014

happy idiot

As the title suggests, in contradiction with things that have been going on recently (i.e. ferguson, eric garner, tamir rice, and sadly, so on), I'm feeling very proactive and like I've been accomplishing a lot! A few things that I'm most proud of/stand out:

I'm officially a staff contributor for The Wandering!!! It's a visual and written art collective created by and created for teenagers, and I was drawn to it because of its diversity, and the collective just seems so natural and non-restrictive! I contacted its founder, Eva, and everything worked out so smoothly from there! Just the feeling of being a part of a collective and putting my stuff out there is exciting and gratifying, all in itself. Here's my first post, my birth, on The Wandering:
There really was something about this night that felt so electric. You could feel it in the air—the electrons and photons combining together, turning us into warm spirits despite the frigid wind.
"There really was something about this night that felt so electric. You could feel it in the air—the electrons and photons combining together, turning us into warm spirits despite the frigid wind."

My Thanksgiving was crazy for a lot of reasons, but one reason that contributed to that is that my uncle introduced me to celebrity stylist, J.Bolin!!! He started his own magazine, Denim Magazine, and has styled people from Nene Leakes to Dianna freaking Ross and has even met Queen Bey's stylist :o I got put in contact with him because of my interest in fashion journalism--fashion magazines have been contacting Mr. Bolin with requests to do some bits and since he's more of a stylist, he sometimes needs people to write for him. I don't know where this may take me, but I'm still so incredibly EXCITED at the mere opportunity. Keep an eye out because you may just see me writing in the near future ;) Also, I'm very excited about this cardigan I got black friday shopping. I don't think pictures do it justice, but here it is <3

Shirt:Calvin Klein
Cardigan: Forever 21
Pants: Forever 21
Belt: Urban Outfitters

Closer view of the lace and sparkle detail
Happy Idiot

As exhilarating as all of these other things are, sometimes nothing relaxes me more at the end of the day and makes me feel at ease like turning on some tunes and opening up this journal.

Usually I'm EXTREMELY casual about journaling, but I'm deliberately making it a more integral part of my daily life now and I'm very pleased with the results :-)

About a dumb boy

About a viceroy

" Maybe also there's this textile fixation or attraction to the way a pen gliding on paper feels or the sound of clicking keyboard keys that compels a writer to write. I'm feelin that right now...also feelin like holding a smoldering cig between two fingers on one hand and twirling a revolver in the other in the middle of a desert gang with trademark red lips..." I guess what I'm telling myself is that I need to be Azealia Banks circa Liquorice for a day or two.

Photo by Michaela Jean

Fletcher &amp; Wyatt Shears photographed by Isaac Zoller
Fletcher and Wyatt Shears by Isaac Zoller

Words can't describe how much I love this photo of the Shears twins.

Bessie Stringfield, “The Motorcycle Queen of Miami”—the first black woman to ride across the United States solo

These photos are going up on the coveted, monumental wall of inspiration in my room (mostly reserved for naomi but I digress) because the women in these photos possess such a carefree, rebellious spirit. As black women we are often put into a box--we become stuffed into the "angry, sassy black woman" archetype and suddenly that becomes the only thing black women are capable of being. So, I love these photos of the women surfers, Bessie Stringfield, and Eartha Kitt not only for their artistic beauty but for their inspiring and gratifying capturing of black women being themselves, veering from what's expected, and just living.
Eartha Kitt doing yoga by the ocean

This rebelling spirit is also heavily reflected in TV on the Radio. Though I've just recently paid more attention to their music, I had heard of TV on the Radio in the past but never really got into them for some reason. As soon as I came across the new song "Happy Idiot" from their album Seeds though,  it turned me into one.

I've only now realized that I've said "happy" at least a billion times now, so I leave yall with a pretty cool song that fits the vibes and THIS PENSIVE PHOTO OF TV ON THE RADIO. I'M YELLING  BECAUSE HIT ME UP IF YOU KNOW WHERE I CAN GET BABATUNDE'S (second from left) CRAZY CARDIGAN. OR ONE THATS SIMILAR THATS COOL TOO.