not all love is requited…

yesterday was full of intersection. i spent the morning wrapping up facilitation of a circle of black women focused on black reproductive justice. i spent the afternoon in the company of my friend and her 1-year-old, a precious baby black girl from new orleans. in the evening, i watched the oscars with my twitter feed open.

and i can’t help but feel it’s all connected somehow.

because what does it mean to be 1 in new orleans now, and be a black girl – when you can call a real live gifted little black girl from the south a cunt as a joke in public?

because that black baby starlet was in a movie that swirls around in the actual climate crisis truth of what it means to live in this region at this time (where when it rains i feel an undercurrent of…terror? memory? foreshadow?).

because i sat in the room with all these women talking about how far we still need to go to transform reproductive health for black women and girls. because of rape and sterilization and shackles and domestic violence and population control and poverty and the other ways we get hurt. and when they wept i felt them unleashing a hurricane like wood releases the sun. such pain, how can we use it for anything but room to build – build joy, build pleasure, build the power of belonging to no one.

because i am getting used to seeing kerry washington cry for white men, and she still has a dignity, she is so fierce to me. is that acting?

because so recently, in this region, you could put a black woman in a hole in the dirt, and no one would come in blue satin and save her. and part of me needed to see someone show up once, even with all that pale ego behind it. because part of me suspects you can still put us in a hole, as long as you put in our babies and lovers too, or as long as you put a whole city in.

because i am working to transform myself, but i can’t ignore the hole black women are in, if i look at us mathematically. which i tend to check into around this time of year.

because if you look at us mathematically you might see why we want to protect our little girls.

because we want them to be held, to grow up and win oscars and sing louder than anyone else at the oscars, and be beamed in to the oscars from the white house, and then we want so many more radical things.

because i want to see more black everything – days of the year, and faces while driving around this city, and honored on the screen. it is hard coming out of a loving black space and seeing how unseen we can be.

because you know it’s not like i expect much, and i think i have a sense of humor (i don’t get mad about most pothead white dude humor), but 900 people reposted or favorited a sentence calling a 9-year-old black girl that.

because i want to invite quvenzhane to come over into the circle of black women i was co-holding for the past few days and get to soak up how brilliant she is, how people are rooting for her life and her health, not her fame. and rihanna, and jhud, and shirley, and kerry, and halle – and salma too.

because black women are coming together to ‘conscious study how to be tender until it becomes a habit, because what was native has been stolen from us, the love of black women for each other.’ (audre lourde)

because i woke from a dream where someone on the internet wished me dead and wondered if that was a cultural or racial dream, maybe for all women. maybe a dream for a species. i started thinking about what becomes acceptable if we let people go too far without an apology. we become jokes – domestic violence survivor jokes to open the night, genital jokes to close it.

because we have to see when someone doesn’t have the capacity to do better, and have the compassion not to depend on them for our liberation.

because look how much i love hollywood, i love the movies and tv shows and the glamour and fashion, and the photo spreads and red carpets. i go see everything, i notice, i just want to enjoy it, i just want to love it.

because not all love is requited, and what gets us through the heartbreak of being black girls in this country is loving ourselves more tenderly, and comprehensively, and unabashedly. and then continuing to create our own stories, visions, writers, directors, executive producers, academies, networks, foundations, communities and definitions to honor our uncompromised and non-monolithic brilliance.

2 Responses to “not all love is requited…”


  1. 1 Peter

    Yes. An eleven year old with the courage to offer a quip, to answer every question, to flex her muscles… Maybe some age-ism thrown in here as well.
    The white boys know better than to call some white person’s actress-daughter that, for fear of social maybe economic ruin.
    Racism and misogyny… and the mostly-untethered Tarantino takes home gold.
    Feeling the love for artists, singers, actors who practice voice and expression and imagination– this may be our finest identity among the planets and stars. I hope young Q finds her way into love and identity unblinded and undefined by Hollywood.
    She reminds me of all the unsung artists who have chosen love over fame, political integrity over pay.
    Not all love indeed.

  2. 2 nazbah

    yes, ahe’heeh.

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