Last night I dreamt of war

Last night I dreamt of war.

It was vivid and it shook me to my core.

But,

I wasn’t scared.

I was pissed off.

For,

We’ve been at war all along.

 

-Shamira

 

 

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…But, if you want to be basic, be basic.

I am a black woman and I am a black feminist who by birth is apart of the sisterhood.

. . . But, if you want to be basic, be basic. A Response to, “Why I Can’t Be Basic.”

There are so many outlets telling us what to do, how to look, what to say, how to feel, when to breathe. . . that sometimes it’s hard to tell if what we’re doing is what we really want to do or if we’re falling for the either implicit or explicit trends that we see everywhere, everyday.

I think what you’re arguing, Julia,  is that a black woman cannot and should not be called basic because she is the epitome of everything . . . and what I’m arguing is that regardless of what a black woman is being called – she may act in any so way that she pleases and you can call it what you want.

I feel compelled to argue that if a black woman wants to be basic, then let her be basic.

By definition, a basic b**** is someone that follows the latest trends (be they good or bad) and is just one in a sea of many.

The idea of a black woman being whatever she wants to be is so important to me because I recently saw a meme that made me think twice about this ideal.

It was something along the lines of black women not needing to believe in (black) feminism because we believe in sisterhood.

I was so annoyed because no one ever said that (black) feminism and sisterhood had to be mutually exclusive. Why can’t we have both? Are they not one in the same?

Black feminism is sisterhood and sisterhood is black feminism.

Black feminism is the intersectionality of sex, class, gender and race.   

If  I had to theorize the idea of sisterhood, I think I’d copy and paste the definition of black feminism.

The idea that we can have one and not the other in and of itself is why we need them both in the first place. It’s another example of oppression – limiting what we can and cannot have.

When I’m asked to identify who I am, hands down, top 5 identifies always include black feminist. I am a black woman – never black and happening to be a woman or a woman who happens to be black. And, I am a black feminist.

I am a black woman and I am a black feminist.

I am a black woman and I am a black feminist who by birth is apart of the sisterhood.

Point. Blank. Period.

The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. We keep saying it and then we walk around perpetuating stereotypes that deem it true.

#staywoke

And for the record – let’s stop stereotyping women all together.

I don’t believe even halfheartedly in the idea of a basic b****.

Not one woman should be called a basic b**** in the first place.  

Men shouldn’t be walking around calling women anything (feminism in its truest form).

And those of us in the sisterhood definitely shouldn’t be walking around bashing our gendered kinfolk (also feminism in its truest form).

Black woman, be whatever you want to be and get your life with this spoken word.

– Shamira

Lest we forget

For a few days I could feel the fear and the sadness. The need for “revolution” was palpable. Solidarity in the movement could not be mistaken. And, allyship may have been as strong as ever.

 

But, I don’t feel that way today.

Today, there is a still quiet in the air. An undertone of buzz.

Yesterday, too.  

It is not silent – as there are protests, and vigils (and funerals), and town halls still taking place all over the country. But, it is contextually fairly quiet.

People are breathing a little easier.

Shoulders are are little less tense.

Conversations have shifted back to normal everydays.

And it makes me wonder. . . have we forgotten, already?

The hurt, pain, chaos, anger. The solidarity, unity, community.

The traditional news outlets sure have, so maybe we have to.

We’ve retreated back to our normal. Mind you, the one that has been forced on us for so many years. But, a normal nonetheless. Our normal. And, maybe, just maybe we’ve gotten too comfortable there.

Why are we comfortable? At the bottom. Because we’ve been given no place else to be?

Lest we forget, the bus boycott of Montgomery, Alabama lasted 381 days.  

Lest we forget, a huge chunk of sit-ins also lasted more than a year – and yielded some 70,000 participants and 3000 arrests.  

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Lest we forget, the Civil Rights Movement itself lasted an entire decade; from 1955-1965.

 

Image result for civil rights movementImage result for civil rights movement

 

I don’t have the answers. But, I’m hoping someone does. What is our next move? What’s the next play? What do we have to put into motion that will guarantee some 20 years from now, someone will be able to say, “Lest we forget. . .” about our time?

– Shamira

 

 

Almost ready 

 

Months ago I said that something was about to go down, and when it did I wanted to be Ready.

Well, it is here.

The moment is here. It has come full force. It is both figuratively and literally hitting us in the face.

 

And, I’m not ready.

I’m overwhelmed.

I’m sad.

I’m nervous.

I’m amped and hypervigilant.

And, still, not ready.

 

Everybody has an opinion – as we’re entitled to. And, as we join ranks, I want to be sure that we remember that as black people and that all that we’ve gone through together, amongst each other – we don’t all learn, and live, and grieve and fight the same way.

 

I want us to remember solace as we stand together, organize, and fight.

 

Let’s not condemn one another for not standing at the front of the lines in protest all across the country.

Let’s not push or force each other to watch #another live, on camera, cold-blooded murder.

Let’s not turn on one another because our solemn expressions aren’t “enough.”

 

Let us unite, in many different forms, but as one.

 

Some of us will write. Some of us will paint. Some of us will express our grief through a song or a dance.

Some of us will pray.

And, some of us will organize, some of us will march and some of us will fight.

Not matter what our roles are – – – no matter what YOUR role is – – – let us remember to stand together.

– Shamira

 

 

 

 

 

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KQueens 

The idea that black people are descendants of kings and queens of Africa is not a new one. But, it is one that is more popular today than times past. So much so, that it has become the new thing to coolly call one another kings and queens.
The first time a black man called me queen was about three months ago. We were walking through a doorway and he stepped back and said, “after you queen.” He then picked up the conversation exactly where we had left off. Because it was the first time I’d been called queen in real life, I was a bit taken aback!

 
I’ve read many opinion pieces about this new fad and I’m still straddling the fence. I’m calling it a fad because I’ve been called queen half a dozen times in the past 3 months. That’s six times more than in the rest of my life.

Notwithstanding, I think that acknowledging the rich culture in which we come from can be liberating for us, especially in this age where much of our culture continues to be either ridiculed or appropriated.

I think of “King” and “Queen” as our long time “Brother” and “Sister” in the church and in the black community at large. And to that I see no ill intent.

My concerns stem from the fact that many of the intricacies of black culture have indeed become fads.
Once I was walking down the street, deep in thought. I suppose I looked like I’d been having a bad day or like something was wrong. A black man walked past and said, pick your head up, queen. And, I did. In that moment, I was proud. I am a queen, I thought. I am a black queen.  

To stay woke means so many things. The woke movement in and of itself is a powerful being. And, like everything else in the world, it has its flaws. One of my favorite slam poetry pieces is Kai Davis’ and Miriam Harris’ Stay Woke.
Kai and Miriam address some solid issues that black woke folks deal with, amongst and between each other. And, all of it feels all too real. Though I feel them on every single thing they discussed, I’m nervous for the day that our king and queen status forgoes black twitter and the like and lands in much appropriated mass media.

I’m nervous for the day that calling a black woman Queen becomes synonymous with a corny pick up line from the 90s.

The most recent occurance of me being called was about three weeks ago. I walked past two black men and said, good morning – as I usually do. One of them said, good morning sis and the other said, good morning queen. 

I’m nervous that we’ll lose king and queen like we’ve lost ownership of the natural shapes of our bodies and like we’ve lost cornrows.

by Shamira