Saturday, June 07, 2008
I sat in the taunting heat refusing to seek shelter in the comforts of shade. I consciously wanted to “absorb the effluvia of the universe” as Frantz Fanon once described the gift of being Black. Surrounded by faces that mirrored me, we listened for the thing in music that made our spirits whisper to us, “That’s it”. It was like awaiting direction that you can now be moved to a destination of joy, expression, and a feel good moment. In that moment of sitting … standing, it could be a note or phrase alone, and you find yourself back there.
But there was loaded with who was present and who wasn’t. There was about how you came one person and hopefully walked away another. There could be as colorful as the warm Caribbean ocean and as sullen as the state of homelessness. Sometimes there is confused and/or out right not accepted as here. This there was named Sunny who was known for his bright smile, ability to move, reach, and even translate what others felt but could not dare discuss. There before me was a man with his personal inscription of an ankh had been placed on his worn Nikes. His head was crowned with the words “Pharaoh Jesus”. I had not heard the whisper yet, not enough to rise to my feet and demonstrate my spirit’s mirth. But he… he heard it or maybe not, yet he danced like his life…. my life…. your life depended on it. As this man danced, I attempted to imagine the movements of my father and the peace that would wash over is face as he implemented his religion.
It is not until now that I realize that I come to this place because my eyes yearn the sight of Black men dancing. It’s almost like watching them remember they have wings, when they’ve spent so much time forgetting that their wings were there. This man who lifted his arms, expanded the landscape of his chest had a place here. He was clear who needed and had to be in that space & time. He paid no attention to those who witnessed his singular performance. He looked inward, for his eyes never met the stare of those who chose not to exercise such liberties.
I have never seen Sunny, my father, dance; I just heard about it that I might know why I must. I did witness the brightness of his smile. He gave it to me when I was there.