The Beauty of Our Blackness

For all of the unknown African souls that exist beneath the sea, I will write about the beauty of our Blackness.  While they were stolen from Africa, they brought something other than heartache and pain with them, they also brought hope.  They hoped for better days, and most importantly, better tomorrows.  Many have fallen along the way, but hope remains.  You see, I have never wanted to be anything other than Black.  Before I begin, I think that it’s very important to state that even though I’m writing about my love of being Black, it doesn’t mean that I’m anti-White.  Simply put, I can love myself and other groups simultaneously.  I love Black food, music, style, women, manhood, worship, perspectives, and most importantly, drive.  Let me begin with the food.  When we were slaves, we were given the remains of the “good” meal.  Our ancestors were able to take items that were designed to be thrown away and create something heavenly.  They understood that frying their food not only preserved the shelf life of the food, it also preserved flavor.  Our food is unparalleled.  It has flavor unlike any other because food is one of the ways that we show love.  We take our time with the creation of our dishes because these dishes have a wide variety of meanings.  The meanings could range from weddings to funerals, but the one constant is love.  Black music.  I could leave it there, but I won’t.  Our music seems to enter through the ears, stimulate the senses, and rest in the soul.  Whether it’s gospel, rhythm and blues, hip-hop, blues, or country, our music is powerful.  The power of our music, in my opinion, is directly aligned with the pain of our existence. We sing what is sometimes hard to speak.  We play what is sometimes hard to acknowledge.  Our music makes us move, think, cry, ponder, and feel. Our music is a legacy that will never be forgotten after we are gone because the honesty in our music defines our very existence.  Black style is incredible!  We can make rags looks like riches.  We make fashion our own.  In fact, our style is often duplicated, but it can never be replicated.  Our style is a representation of our experience and expectations.  Everything that we do, we do with style.  The audacity of Black People.  Black women. Oh my God! These are the true warriors!  Black women are the miracle workers, doctors, pillars, posts, and the very reason that we are.  Without her, I am nothing.  Without her, I don’t work.  She is my reason, and I am her son trying to be her sun.  Everything about the Black woman is beautiful.  From her obstacle course curves to the light in her eyes, she is beautiful.  It’s clear that God took time when creating you.  I see God when I look at you, and I feel God when I make love to you.  I am because you are.  Black manhood is amazing because we live in a world within a world.  We live by an unwritten set of rules that are designed to maintain our very existence.  You see, when the world called us boy we laughed because truly, how could you call yourself a man while clearly needing a boy to do the job that you either couldn’t or wouldn’t?  We were called boy because to recognize us for what we truly are would also be an acknowledgement of what we could never be, chained and caged. Even though we have been down, we have never been out.  Society has sent us to prison, and there we became scholars.  Society hung us from trees, and we broke those dark branches and built communities.  Society denied us our true history, and we created legacies and practices that sustained us.  Society told us what we couldn’t be, and we became it anyway.  The audacity of Black Manhood. Whether we are drivers, cooks, custodians, teachers, lawyers, doctors, Presidents (Go Obama), or currently seeking work, we are men. Keep your head up and realize that the very thing that they try to convince you to hate about yourselves is the very thing that they love about you.  Shine Black Man! The Black church is unlike any other.  Sure, our services can last longer than a telethon, but there’s a reason for that.  Our church plays a wide range of roles in our lives.  Our churches are our places of worship, places of counsel, places to eat, places to socialize, places to grow, places to slow down, places to reflect, places to protect, places to inspire, places to plan, and most of all places to let go and let God.  There are many things that we have no control over, and when we know and understand that, we simply give God the keys and slide over.  The Black Church may be one of the most powerful things about us.  The Black Perspective is simple, there is nothing that we can’t do.  We have a thousand reasons to quit, yet we continue to endure.  We understand that the rules are fixed, yet we endure.  We understand that freedom isn’t free, and oddly enough, our freedom fighters lived a life of bondage while fighting to free our oppressors. We understand that justice isn’t blind, and sometimes our justice is just us.  We endure while pushing forward.  The Black Perspective is to never give up, never give in, and always give back.  Lastly, the Black Drive.  Creating something from nothing is amazing. To this day, there are thousands of black people living on land that was purchased by their ancestors who were born into bondage.  During a 24 hour day, there are millions of us that work more than 16 of those hours because even though they may not meet, we at least try to introduce our ends to one another.  You see, we drive because we have something that we’re driving for and towards. As we approach February Family, I want to acknowledge the group to which I belong.  I am a Black Man who made it.  I am a Black Man who endures.  I am proud of being Black because Black people are proud of me.  My success was possible because of all the people who helped me along the way.  To them, I want to say thank you.  Without you, I wouldn’t be.  As the song goes,  “I never would have made it without you.”  Thank you.  Patrick. (Oh yeah, before I forget, this week do something to help someone else for no other reason than to make their day better, and if you get to where you’re going, don’t forget to leave a map for the rest of us.)

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