“You cannot enslave a mind that knows itself, that values itself, that understands itself…”
— Wangari Maathai
For the last six years, my approach to Black History Month has been one of introspection. Of course, one doesn’t need a national holiday to self-reflect. But the focus on Black achievement lends itself to take a hard look at Black identity and thought.
Examining my identity as a Black man was, and still is, a journey towards mental liberation. “Free your mind,” I recall hearing from a college friend who joined the Nation of Islam. That was right around the same time…
ON WEDNESDAY, January 6, 2021, an angry mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, motivated by their ringleader and his claims of a stolen election. Many news outlets have described Wednesday’s events as treason and an attack on American democracy. Trump’s delusional devotees believed this to be the beginning of a revolution. However, I saw it as the inevitable consequence of building a platform on White supremacy and Christian nationalism.
“It’s not an easy time for any parent, this moment when the realization dawns that you’ve given birth to something that will never see things the way you do…”
— Richard Russo
I imagine this is what my father felt forced to realize three years ago when we spoke about my disbelief in the religion he raised me in. He never saw it coming. I don’t think anyone in my family anticipated such a dramatic shift. How could they? I went from preaching in pulpits about God’s salvation to speaking like a cynical skeptic. To me, my deconversion from Christianity…
“Any real change implies the breakup of the world as one has known it, the loss of all that gave one identity, the end of safety…”
— James Baldwin, Nobody Knows My Name
As I reflect on my past, the deathly fear of change remained a constant struggle. I had this inexplicable urge to play it safe and stay within the confines of what I knew, the Christian church.
I grew up in a religious home. Every night after dinner, my Nigerian father read from the same thick tattered burgundy New American Standard translation of the Bible he owned since…
Social media has been both a gift and a curse in the face of COVID-19. While quarantining from home, users have been able to stay connected to their loved ones. Businesses have innovated new ways to reach their customers through social media marketing. And unique online platforms, like Clubhouse, sprung forth to support freelancers and creatives. But every reward comes with some form of risk. We risk the safety of our personal information as we use Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Privacy violations and data leaks abound in the digital realm.
Late last year, The Wall Street Journal reported on Twitter’s…
E-books, more than printed literature, permeate the current landscape of the book industry. With the harsh realities of COVID-19, the resulting shutdowns, and industries forced to close or shift to online platforms, the spike in e-book sales doesn’t come as a surprise. Bookstores closed their doors in early spring, and dedicated readers responded by purchasing e-books to fight off boredom while following their state’s stay-at-home orders. Readers also worried about the risk of infection as physical books passed from person to person. Instead, buying e-books was a much safer and healthier alternative.
Even before COVID, the last decade has moved…
“A Man Was Lynched By Police Yesterday.”
A painful reminder of the past. A sharp critique of the present. A banner meant to make bystanders flinch. The original phrase, “A Man Was Lynched Yesterday,” stood out in bold letters for all to see in 1936. It forced onlookers on Fifth Avenue to face the ugliness of the lynching of Jesse Washington.
Chicago Artist Dread Scott pricked the conscience of apathetic Americans with an updated version of the flag. He forced Manhattan spectators to deal with the public execution of Walter Scott at the hands of North Carolina police officer Michael…
I am an invisible man…
I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone fiber and liquids — and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me…
When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of their imagination — indeed, everything and anything except me.
What should you see when you see me? The agency to define me is crucial in answering that question. You should see me as a complex black man. A first-generation American, ethnically tied to Nigeria…
“Do not go gentle into that good night.”
The sight of light beams on high seem to tell me otherwise.
What lies beyond the shadows of trees?
The pitch dark sky leaves one’s mind to wonder:
What good can come from this late night hour?
Sour skittles and ice in hand
after long walks and short stops at 7-Eleven.
Never lessens the uneasiness
of what feels like the very core of my being:
Not for joy.
But a gut-wrenching reaction to the fractured thoughts of a seventeen year old boy;
and those whose dark,
ebony skin laid…
Writer | Poet | Justice Advocate "Art should disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed." —Cesar A. Cruz