My nephew, Trayvon Martin, other Black youth, joy, & magic!
So, that’s not exactly how I remember it. My adolescence was nothing like that. I don’t remember, you know, being “up to no good”, or just waiting around to wreak havoc on the world. I don’t have a single memory of ever “looking for trouble”. I mean, yea, I remember wearing hoodies. Teeny shoes. My pants weren’t always as tight as I wear them now. Uhhh, I do remember walking around. Walking around and not looking for trouble, but looking Black. Yea, that’s a memory I do have. Walking around Black, young, and full of joy. As Jay-Z raps in “Spiritual”, I was just a boy from the hood, with my hands in the air in despair; don’t shoot, I just wanted to do good. But yet, Zimmerman shot anyway. Crazy how I’ve been thinking about that Jay-Z song all week, and then Jay-Z produces the Trayvon Martin docuseries which dropped last night (http://www.paramountnetwork.com/episodes/8gym0h/rest-in-power-the-trayvon-martin-story-stand-your-ground-season-1-ep-01)
I watched episode 1. Deep. Painful. Revealing. Enraging. Necessary. Black Lives Matter. Then today I wake up and my nephew sends me a link to his new YouTube page. I watch it:
EED Creator: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ky6pv2jfaBo
You should watch it, too. It’s just videos created by Black youth. That’s it. It’s the real us. It’s not who Zimmerman saw that night. Who he thought he murdered. Who the media portrays us to be. Who teachers kick outta classrooms every 5 minutes. Who white women refuse to sit next to on the train. It’s the real us. Just Black youth full of joy and magic out here trying to find and make ourselves. I thank my nephew so much for his video series. It’s genius. The creativity. The intellect. The humor. The authenticity. The fucking accuracy! I see myself. He so amazingly captures my childhood. And maybe the childhood of Trayvon, too. Yet, people with all their senses mired in whiteness won’t ever see his videos, just like they don’t see Trayvon. They won’t ever see these (real) versions of us. You know what? They ain't really even versions. It's us. They won't understand this journal post cuz I ain't cater to them...enough. They will misinterpret my written expression to reveal a lack of intellect. They will look for commas where I didn't feel like placing them, and remove the ones I felt were important.
They will only see (from audio transcript of Zimmerman’s phone call to the police): young Black youth who look like they’re up to no good in their hoodies, jeans or sweatpants, and white tennis shoes. As we walk around looking for ourselves (and looking Black) and reimagining our lives and dreaming and wondering what it must feel like to go to bed at night with- a full stomach, a healthy understanding of ourselves, a sense of self-worth, a complete and non-white washed picture of our history, and a mind full of ideas that have been affirmed- in a house reminiscent of the palaces we once walked in a world that believed our lives mattered. No. They won’t see that. All they will see is us “looking at all the houses that we’re plotting to rob”. And they will make it their point to make sure no more of these “assholes get away” with living while Black.