'Blasians' Kimora Lee and Amerie Backstage at Baby Phat during Fashion Week 2005
I walk tall except when I slouch, straight on the occasion life's winding roads fail to beckon. I move swiftly some would say purposefully. My yoga loathing frame is mysteriously balanced but "It's this 1 things that's got me trippin'".
My alma mater plays host to an array of phenomenal women (or as Alice Lovelace would ullulate "wise women") including our esteemed President who left before I arrived but though hobbled by emphysema signed this little black girls copy of Conversations on a mid nineties trip to Seattle and who smiled so hard, so sincerely at this coming of age black girl at Spelman's annual Sweet Honey and the Rock Concert I truly believed that I or at least my dreams could fly.
Looking into the Sister President's light grey (or are they blue, green, hazel?) eyes sparked more than inspiration they started my mind's well worn wheels turning. Many of the most prominent phenomenal women who graced Spelman's podiums, filled our African Diaspora and the World books and enriched and nurtured black girls sense of possibility while supplementing, nah!, writing/righing the global stories in that inclusive and revolutionary manner that sometimes only those thrice marginalized can do.
There names are: Sonia Sanchez, Pearl Cleage, June Jordan, Johnetta B. Cole, Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Beverly Daniel Tatum, Kathleen Cleaver, Elaine Brown, Angela Davis, Hazel Carby, Nikki Giovanni, bell hooks, Thulani Davis, Audre Lorde and Julianne Malveaux. Their speach is poetry, their words (in a nod to Guy-Sheftall) are fire and I love them and their legacy dearly but then I wonder why the prominemt poets, familiar pundits, representative movers and shakers are are on the lighter shade of the spectrum.
I don't raise the issue to indict my sisters but to raise the issue, to establish if this is a phenomenon or just a coincidence (although I don't think I believe in coincidences), and if this is is a pattern of the color complex in effect mode why has it not been interrogated.
Today, Abena and I reflected black. We spoke about how darker black women's bodies and posteriors, thick thighs and healthy flesh are highlighted in music videos while lighter black or non-black women's faces are highlighted. I was reminded of a color conscious childhood in Seattle where multiracial individuals have long been the norm and the standard or beauty. So being black, bone black, just black, happily black, the only black at times was a challenge. Unmistakably brown skin and an undisputedly nigger nose would have done me in if not for me and my sisters long not so kinky hair.
It's odd that Johnetta "inspired a generation of black women" Cole's body would represent residuals of oppression or the pale face of sweet voiced Ms. Cleage author of some serious work. It's confusing that these same women's fair complexions would symbolize a seldom talked about privilege, would represent exclusion in one of its most insidious forms in the supposed realm of avant guard, the domain of the professed intellects: the academy, the arts.
"It's this 1 thing my soul may be feelin'"
My favorite writer is Gwendolyn Brooks. Lithe lyricist, patient poet, word wizard, and brilliantly, Yes!, unmistakably black woman. I guess she is my lily in the valley, my dark star. A women who wrote the unmistakably black women, so overlooked, but far from tragic into her own heart wrenching work.