vendredi, juin 05, 2009

The Listening: "Uhuru Sasa"


A couple of years ago, the manager of and up & coming woman producer picked me up from my Park Slope apartment and drove me to Staten Island to interview her client. As we headed south on seventh avenue in her SUV, I huffed at daily annoyance. In a neighborhood overrun with white children, the nannies seemed to be almost exclusively Black. It pissed me off and I let it me known. The manager, pretty damn riled up herself, then questioned what better job is available to immigrant women, many older and undocumented, with little formal education. And she revealed that her mother, a Jamaican immigrant, long worked as a nanny.

Now my disdain for seeing little white babies suckling at Black teets had never been directed toward the women, or entirely the babies (maybe a little towards the babies), but a positioning. The bile that rises in my throat is shot there in anger over all the life generations of women who look like me couldn't live for tending to the families of others. Sometimes I think I would live outside of the law before I ever tended to a white child but that is spoken from the pivilege of never having had to consider such employment. So many Black women, past and present, didn't/don't have much of a choice.

Walking through Macy's today, Andy Bey, in his old gig as the voice of Gary Bartz NTU Troop, came through my headphones singing what I felt that day, what I feel most days about this subject.
"Hell no! I won't raise your children and you no more. Hell no! Because I've got some children of my own to raise up."
I'm not going to be able to do it. Love to the children of the world but we can't always be the ones to dispense it. But when some of us do, be certain that your snarl doesn't wound who it aims to liberate. Uhuru Sasa ("Freedom Now" in Kiswahili).

"Uhuru Sasa" [MP3]
Gary Bartz NTU Troop

"...Black music is Black music and it's all good." - Common

For more on Gary Bartz, see my VIBE interview.

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