They Shook

This country, the world, is on the precipice of massive amounts of change. It’s been happening all around us as change is constant on the macro and micro level.

They Shook
Photo by Luis Villasmil on Unsplash

Is there such a thing as a halfway crook?

This is a brief essay about the both/and, not the either or.

We may live in a world where decisions, values, and damn near everything is a choice of one thing or another. Like I have talked about before, that’s limiting. It limits values, possibilities, and even consequences. There is endless conversation on these internets and in the “real world” about a certain Black male entertainer and entrepreneur in the fashion space about them being either a genius (hmm?) or suffering under mental illness. Frankly, it’s dry and tiring. Can’t he/it be both?

I’m not labeling him or placing a value judgement on his work (that first album was fire, though), but it’s highly possible that he is experiencing himself as multiple things at once. I mean, I am both Black and a mother, and a host of other things. How I am in different spaces and how I am perceived by others in different spaces, depends on a whole host of factors.

But enough about him. This is about us.

Blackness is vast and ever expansive. It would behoove those of us who have been racialized as Black and placed into these boxes because of our Blackness to start peeking over the top of these boxes, en masse. There are eleventy-billion ways for us to be — we’re human beings. And while I don’t necessarily believe in absolutes, I can safely say that we are multiple things, we feel multiple emotions, we…we be human beings. Which means, we can just be. Nothing to prove. Nothing to see. Move along.

Our Blackness, in my humble opinion, should stop centering whiteness. When whiteness is not at the center of our worlds, they get shook. Just look at the interviews with Toni Morrison (yes, I referenced her last week too), that ask her about white characters or when she recounts being told that her work will need to eventually deal with “real life” and Black folks’ entanglements with the white world. Pshaw! They shook and when they shook, they unleash the not-so-halfway crooks.

This country, the world, is on the precipice of massive amounts of change. It’s been happening all around us as change is constant on the macro and micro level. Everything happens in cycles, but unfortunately not everyone pays attention or has foresight. This has, rightfully so, left lots of people shook and clinging onto fantasies of what was or could been. Again, perception.

This is why I have refused to tell my daughter that she has to be twice as good to get half of what they have. Why do we want what they have? What, exactly do they have outside of materials? Not soul, nor spirit… Do you and let them stay shook. No negative self-fulfilling prophecies up in here.

Now, this is not a denial of the myriad of systems that we live under — all of them are there doing what they do. But, hear me out, so are you/we/us. We are out here. I’m not out here telling you who to be or how to be, just that you have a right to be — all the things in all the ways that you know yourself to be. And no, it isn’t easy. The pesky socialization and acculturation are always at our backs and whispering in our ears.

They are shook. Let them be shook. Do you — all of you. The fullness of you/we/us is what scares them. Be that. The more we step into ourselves, the not-so-halfway crooks — stealers of joy, time, energy, and collective liberation — will eventually fall by the wayside.