THE TRUTH IN OUR FACES

IT BECAME VERY CLEAR TO ME WHEN I HAD MY SON ALMOST 13 YEARS AGO, THAT I WOULD HAVE TO HAVE "THE TALK" WITH HIM. NOT THE USUAL BIRDS AND THE BEES TALK, BUT THE YOU ARE A YOUNG BLACK MAN IN AMERICA TALK. TRUST ME THE LATER IS A MUCH HARDER CONVERSATION TO HAVE. WHEN HE WAS A TODDLER, I KEPT THINKING I COULD PUT IT OFF, BUT AS HE GREW UP,I SAW THAT HIS INNOCENCE WOULD HAVE TO BE TAINTED MUCH SOONER THAN I HAD HOPED. HE BEGAN TO SEE THE WAY PEOPLE LOOKED AT HIM, AND BEGAN TO ASK HIS OWN QUESTIONS. HE SAW THAT IN ALL THE BOOKS HE READ IN SCHOOL,THERE WASN'T ANYONE WHO LOOKED LIKE HIM,EXCEPT FOR SLAVES. HE FOUND OUT  IN KINDERGARTEN THAT WHEN SOMETHING WAS STOLEN, HE WAS THE FIRST TO BE QUESTIONED. WHEN HE MADE STRAIGHT A'S, HE WAS ASKED TO RETAKE QUIZZES & TESTS,JUST TO PROVE HE DIDN'T CHEAT.IT BROKE MY HEART TO TELL HIM THAT THE SOCIETY HE LIVES IN WILL ALWAYS SEE HIM AS A PROBLEM. THE WORLD HE LIVES IN HAS PROGRAMMED THE REST OF THE WORLD TO BELIEVE HIS LINEAGE IS OF SLAVERY. AFTER MANY TEARS AND TIME SPENT BEING MAD THAT I HAD TO TELL THESE TRUTHS TO MY CHILD, I DECIDED TO EDUCATE HIM ON THE TRUTH OF WHO HE REALLY IS. HE COMES FROM THE RICHEST LAND IN THE WORLD, KINGS & QUEENS ARE HIS ANCESTORS,AND THAT THE REASON HE IS TARGETED IS BECAUSE HE IS FEARED. GREATNESS IS EITHER ENVIED,HATED,OR COPIED AND IN THE CASE OF HIS PEOPLE IT IS ALL OF THE ABOVE. 

I BEGAN SATURATING HIS LEARNING WITH AFRICAN CULTURE,DANCE,ART,LITERATURE,HISTORY,FOOD,AND LIFESTYLE.

I WANTED HIM TO BECOME IMMERSED IN HIS TRUE SELF, AND I FOUND IT WAS ONLY THEN, COULD HE APPRECIATE ANY OTHER WAY OF LIFE.

I HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO SIT DOWN WITH THREE VERY TALENTED & AWAKE MEN FROM THE BANDAN KORO AFRICAN DRUM & DANCE ENSEMBLE AND WE TALKED ABOUT WHY IT IS SO IMPORTANT TO CELEBRATE BLACK HISTORY EVERYDAY. I DID THIS INTERVIEW IN FEBRUARY,NATURALLY BECAUSE IT WAS BLACK HISTORY MONTH,BUT I DECIDED THAT NOW IS THE TIME TO SHARE IT. I'M SURE YOU'VE HEARD BY NOW ABOUT THE CINEMATIC GREATNESS THAT IS BLACK PANTHER,AND IF YOU HAVEN'T YOU'VE JUST BEEN UNDER A ROCK (MAKE THAT TWO).

I TOOK MY SON TO SEE IT WITH HIS GRANDFATHER AND UNCLE,AND HIS MIND WAS BLOWN. EVERYTHING THAT I'D TOLD HIM ABOUT HIS GREATNESS WAS THERE ON THE BIG SCREEN. IT WASN'T SOME "FAIRY TALE " I TOLD HIM TO SOOTHE THE FACTS ABOUT HOW HE WAS BEING TREATED, IT WAS REALLY REAL. HE  REALLY IS A KING, HE REALLY IS INNOVATIVE,BEAUTIFUL,AND HE REALLY IS STRONG.  IT WAS BREAKING MY HEART TO SEE MY SON SECOND GUESS HIMSELF EVERY TIME HE WANTED TO PUT ON A HOODIE AFTER BASKETBALL,HE THOUGHT OF TRAYVON MARTIN EACH TIME. NOW HE SMILES BECAUSE HE CAN SEE THAT HE ISN'T SOMETHING TO BE HUNTED,BUT TO BE CELEBRATED. PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD ARE FALLING IN LOVE WITH WHERE HE COMES FROM & WHO HE IS.

HERE WE ARE NOW CELEBRATING WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH AND IT HIT ME JUST HOW MUCH SOME OF US ONLY CELEBRATE BLACK HISTORY DURING FEBRUARY. I AM PROUD THAT WE HAVE A MONTH THAT IS SET ASIDE TO HIGHLIGHT OUR CONTRIBUTIONS,JUST LIKE AS A WOMAN I'M PROUD TO HAVE A MONTH THAT MAKES PEOPLE STOP AND PAY ATTENTION,BUT WHAT ABOUT HOW TO HONOR OUR TRUE SELVES ON A DAILY BASIS? IT IS SO IMPORTANT THAT WE KEEP EDUCATING OUR YOUNG PEOPLE ON WHO THEY REALLY ARE. YOU MAY BE READING THIS AND THINKING,WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH ME, I'M NOT AFRICAN AMERICAN? THE ANSWER IS YOU ARE HUMAN. JUST LIKE WOMEN ARE FED UP AND WANT TO BE HEARD,SO ARE OTHER RACES AND CULTURES. THERE ARE SO MANY MARGINALIZED PEOPLE THAT DON'T GET TO KNOW THE RICH HISTORY OF WHERE THEY REALLY COME FROM. MOST PLACES IN THE WORLD HAVE BEEN COLONIZED AT SOME POINT AND THE PEOPLE OF THOSE REGIONS WERE FORCED TO LEAVE BEHIND, HIDE, OR FORGET ABOUT THEIR CULTURAL TRUTHS. EVERY HUMAN BEING DESERVES THE RIGHT TO BE PROUD OF WHO THEY ARE AND TO EXPRESS THAT. 

THE DANCERS AND MUSICIANS OF BANDAN KORO EXPRESSED THROUGH THE ANCIENT WAYS OF THE ANCESTORS JUST WHAT IT LOOKS AND FEELS LIKE WHEN YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE. WE MUST CONTINUE TO LEARN, GROW,AND SHARE OUR RICH CULTURE.WE MUST GIVE OURSELVES THE CHANCE TO FALL IN LOVE WITH WHO GOD MADE US TO BE.