I Won’t Make It Home For Christmas This Year: A Letter.

Dear Ma (and anyone in America who gets this) –

I won’t be surprising you for Christmas as I’d planned. It’s not safe for me there. I’m afraid of cops, I’m afraid of white men, and I’m afraid of my reactions to racism these days. The be clear, I’ve always been afraid of my reaction to racism, but even more so now. I never told you about the white boy in Daytona who called me and my friends “nigger” when I was simply trying to save his life. I blacked out and when I came to, I was swinging a champagne bottle toward his face. You’d be surprised how often I think about that night and him. I think about the white girl who called me “nigger” on Atlantic Avenue, the white boy who called me, Cam, Nancy, Shay, and Mac “nigger” at that 7-11 in Alexandria, and the white cops who put the guns to me and Nancy’s head at Greyhound for no reason whatsoever.

Today, at the market, I couldn’t breathe. I sat on the bench, void of everything. Faces were blurred, laughs were antagonizing, and I was motionless, rubbing my left arm, hoping the tingle there was not a stroke. I took a Benadryl last night for a cough since it’s all the medicine I have, thanks to Vernon, and for a few moments I thought it may be the drowsiness lingering. It wasn’t. It was because I woke up this morning and read about Michael Slager and the one juror who refused to say he’s guilty.

They’ve been practicing racism so long, it’s perfect isn’t it? One juror is all it takes.

I shouldn’t have gone out but I had no one to stop me. I have projects around my place to finish. I have stories to write and a film to edit right away because It may save a life. I should have stayed home today.

Image me with no appetite. Imagine me going half a day without as much as a bowl of frosted mini wheats or raisin bran. That was me. On repeat, I meditated on the death of the juror and his entire bloodline. Of course it’s a man, and of course he’s white. He scares me. Perhaps this is his stand against the killing of white supremacy. “Long live white supremacy and the perfect system of impenetrable racism it’s built.” He probably whispered those words to himself in the mirror of the courthouse bathroom before walking back into the deliberation room to stand firm against convicting his brother who shot an unarmed Black man in the back 5 times while that Black man was running away. It was all caught on camera. Also the part where he placed his taser next to the body to make it seem like it was self-defense.

I beg you to never ask me to believe that America is not anti Black. It is. They are. America hates us, and I don’t think coming home for Christmas will work for me. Michael Slager has a fan in the jury booth and millions others waiting to put a Black man like me in the place in which he feels I belong. I’m too afraid I’d come just another Black body by a tree, strangely resembling fruit. Blood on the leaves and blood at the root.

Death cannot come for me unless (r)evolution is certain.

Can you imagine me going into some pharmacy, because it’s the only store open on Christmas day, to buy eggs and milk because I’ve been craving your macaroni and cheese, and I don’t make it home to bring you these things because a man, a white man, buying a last minute Christmas card for his children felt threatened when I told him to apologize to me for bumping into me? A similar thing happened to Rafael in the Harley Davidson store and I ended up standing on the counter and shutting the store down. I don’t want to die in 2016. James Means is gone and Christmas is still happening, isn’t it? His family will put up a tree and pray no ornaments fall from it to remind them of their son’s body hitting the ground. Black bodies have become ornamental, haven’t they?

Will they release the name of the juror? Perhaps a sketch or a photo at least. I want to wish death on him and his children like I prayed for the death of Johannes Mehserly. Don’t tell your people at your church, but that was the last time I prayed. Prayer does not work. If I thought you could handle losing a child, I’d be some martyr I think; a body found in some wreckage or rubble. You’re not supposed to lose your child. Black mothers must be tired of giving birth near a low-hanging sun to children made of wax and feathers.

I’m crying while writing you. I’ve been silent all day except for singing a piece of “Wonderwall” by Oasis in the back of the Uber on the way home from the market. I can’t come home, and I’m sorry. Perhaps you should consider coming this way.

Bring all your things.

“What is existence under perpetual threat,” Camonghne asked.



Moonlight. A Real Film.

M O O N L I G H T.

I think it could be argued that the film has little to do with sexuality and everything to do with a Black boy wanting to be seen by someone who can’t see the bullshit surrounding him. Seeing only him. A movie about a Black boy wanting to be touched by someone who touches him solely for the purpose of making him feel human and wanted, not out of pity or obligation. It happened to be another boy.

Fucking amazing!

I wish more people were used to films ending in a very real way. In conversations surrounding the movie, I hear “I wanted more from the ending,” and “the ending wasn’t good.” It was real. It was life. The film was consistently LIFE, unapologetically.

“This is what happens when people get to tell their own stories.” – ZhaZha GaBoyd


Cops Who Killed Black Folks?

Last week I was looking for a list of Black folks killed by cops. It wasn’t hard to find. Then I looked for a list of cops and authority who killed Black folks, and I found nothing.

I went on a search through these 264 names. There are many left off. Feel free to fill in the list. And if any are incorrect, please correct it. These people are MURDERERS. Their names must be known.

1. Walter Scott 50- Michael Slager
2. Bernard Moore 62- Christopher Blaise
3. Lavall Hall 25- Eddo Trimino
4. Jonathan Ryan Paul 42- Pedro Medina, Steve Schmid
5. Jamie Croom 31- Josie Wells
6. Terry Garnett Jr. 37- Joseph Costa
7. Monique Jenee Deckard 43- Kevin Flanagan, Dale Miller, Jonathan Nooitgedagt
8. Tony Terrell Robinson Jr. 19- Matt Kenny
9. Tyrone Ryerson Lawrence 45- Milwaukee Police Department
10. Naeschylus Vinzant 37- Paul Jerothe
11. Andrew Anthony Williams 48- Sgt. Robert Nelson
12. Dewayne Deshawn Ward Jr. 29-Scott Pliler
13. Ledarius Williams 23- St. Louis County Police
14. Yvette Henderson 38- Emeryville, Calif., police
15. Edward Donnell Bright, Sr. 56- Baltimore County
16. Thomas Allen Jr. 34- Thomas Allen Jr. 34- WELLSTON county police
17. Charley Leundeu Keunang, “Africa” 43- The Los Angeles Police Department
18. Fednel Rhinvil 25- Benjamin Jones
19. Shaquille C. Barrow 20- Joliet Police
20. Kendre Omari Alston 16- Sgt. John Nobles
21. Brandon Jones 18- Alan Buford and Greg King
22. Darrell “Hubbard” Gatewood 47- Sgt. Raymond
23. Swearingen, Sgt. Jacob Jones, and Officer Adam Lynch
24. Cornelius J. Parker 28- Jason Jameson
25. Ian Sherrod 40- Edgecombe County
26. Jermonte Fletcher 33-columbus ohio county police
27. Darin Hutchins 26- Donald Gaff
28. Glenn C. Lewis 37- Sgt. Keith Sweeney and Ofc. Steven Cholity
29. Calvon A. Reid 39- David Freeman, Daniel Rush and Thomas Eisenring
30. Tiano Meton 25 Border Patrol Agents
31. Demaris Turner 29- Lauderhill Police Department
32. Isaac Holmes 19- Matthew Tesreau and P.O. Andrew Wilson
33. A’Donte Washington 16- Elmore County
34. Terry Price 41- Osage Nation Police Officer Branscum or Osage County Deputy Barnett
35. Stanley Lamar Grant 38- Homewood Police Department
36. Askari Roberts 35- Greg Beck and Brandon Robinson
37. Dewayne Carr 42- Scottsdale County Police
38. Terrance Moxley 29- Shane Gearhart; Ptl. Paul Webb; Ptl. Steven Hornback; Ptl. James Reed; and Ptl. Orlando Chatman.
39. Theodore Johnson 64- Michael Surtz, John Jarrell,
40. John Lyons, Timothy Hannon
41. Cedrick Lamont Bishop 30- Nick Worthy
42. Anthony Hill 27- Robert Olsen
43. Terence D. Walke 21- Chansey McMillin
44. Janisha Fonville 20- Anthony Holzhauer
45. Phillip Watkins 23- James Soth and Ryan Dote
46. Anthony Bess 49- Memphis Police Dep.
47. Desmond Luster, Sr. 45- Aaron Tolerton
48. James Howard Allen 74- Josh Lefevers
49. Natasha McKenna 37- Fairfax County Police
50. Herbert Hill 26- Brad Anderson, Sgt. Doug Grady, Sgt. Monte Stephens and Oklahoma County Deputy Chris Harding
51. Markell Atkins 36- US Marshalls and task forces
52. Kavonda Earl Payton 39- Aurora Police Depatment
53. Rodney Walker 23 -Officer Andrew Bryiant
54. Donte Sowell 27-Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department
55. Mario A. Jordan 34-Chesapeake Police Department
56. Artago Damon Howard 36-Arkansas State Union County Police Department
57. Andre Larone Murphy Sr. 42-Norfolk Police Divison
58. Marcus Ryan Golden 24-Officer Jeremy Doverspike and Dan Peck
59. Brian Pickett 26-Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
60. Hashim Hanif Ibn Abdul-Rasheed 41-Columbus Police Department
61. Ronald Sneed 31-Freeport Police Department
62. Leslie Sapp III 47- U.S. Marshals Western Pennsylvania Fugitive Task Force
63. Matthew Ajibade 22-Chatham County’s Sheriff’s Department
64. Kevin Davis, 44- DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office
65. Eric Tyrone Forbes, 28-Broward County Police Benevolent Association
66. Jerame C. Reid, 36-Bridgeton Police Department
67. David Andre Scott, 28-Officer Echelberger, Officer McCranie, and Officer Woodrow Crotty
68. Quentin Smith, 23-Officer Clements
69. Terrence Gilbert, 25-Chicago Police Deputy Department
70. Carlton Wayne Smith, 20-Officer Christopher Ham
71. Gregory Marcus Gray, 33- Three 9th District DC Police Officers
72. Antonio Martin, 18-Berkeley Police Department
73. Tyrone Davis, 43-New York Police Department
74. Xavier McDonald, 16-Nashville Police: Lieutenant Ken Spencer, Sergeant Robert Nielsen, Sergeant Brian Gottschall and Officer Brandon Vance
75. Brandon Tate-Brown, 26-Philadelphia Police Department
76. Dennis Grisgby, 35-Texarkana Police Department
77. Michael D. Sulton, 23-Ridgeland Police Department (3 police officers) and Madison Police Department (1 police officer)
78. Thurrell Jowers, 22-Poplar Bluff Police Department
79. Travis Faison, 24-Sanford Police Department
80. Calvin Peters, 49-New York Police Department
81. Christopher Bernard Doss, 41-Bexar County Sheriff’s Office
82. Jerry Nowlin, 39-Oklahoma City Police Department
83. William Mark Jones, 50- Robeson County, NC
84. Rumain Brisbon, 34-Officer Mark Rine
85. Lincoln Price, 24-Oklahoma City Police Department
86. Eric Ricks, 30-Balch Springs Police Department
87. Leonardo Marquette Little, 33-Officer Cecil Grant
88. Tamir E. Rice, 12-Officer Loehmann and Officer Garmback
89. Akai Gurley, 28-Officers: Peter Liang and Shaun Landau
90. Myron De’Shawn May, 39 – Florida State and Tallahassee police departments
91. Keara Crowder, 29-Memphis Police Department
92. Tanisha N. Anderson, 37-Cleveland Division of Police
93. Darnell Dayron Stafford, 31-Officers Robert Albonowski and Marlon Parrot
94. David Yearby, 27-Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office
95. Aura Rosser, 40-Officer David Ried
96. Carlos Davenport, 51-Kansas City Police Department
97. Cinque DJahspora, 20-Officer Raymond Dewayne Bond
98. Rauphael Thomas, 29-Akron Police Department
99. Christopher M. Anderson, 27-Highland Park Police Department
100. Charles Emmett Logan, 68-Ramsey County Attorney’s Office
101. John T. Wilson, III, 22- Trooper William White
102. Christopher Mason McCray, 17 – North Carolina State Highway Patrol
103. Kaldrick Donald, 24 – Sergeant Charles Brown
104. Zale Thompson, 32 – New York Police Department
105. Terrell Lucas, 22 – Indianapolis Police Department
106. Ronnie D. McNary, 44 – Steve Wilson
107. Adam Ardett Madison, 28 – Jefferson County Police Department
108. Balantine Mbegbu, 65 – Phoenix Police Department
109. Elisha Glass, 20 – Columbus Police Department
110. Qusean Whitten, 18 – Columbus Police Department
111. Vonderrit Myers Jr., 18 – Jason Flanery
112. O’Shaine Evans, 26 – David Goff
113. Latandra Ellington, 36 – Patrick Quercioli
114. Aljarreau Cross, 29 – North Las Vegas Police Department
115. Iretha Lilly, 37 – The Texas Ranger Division
116. Lashano J. Gilbert, 31 – Connecticut State Police Department
117. Miguel Benton, 19 – Eddie Stubbs
118. Eugene Williams, 38 – Kansas City Police Department
119. Tracy A. Wade, 39 – Sgt. Eric Culver, Sgt. Paul Humphrey, Officer Brad Harris and Detective Michael Simpson.
120. Javonta Darden, 20 – Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
121. Marlon S. Woodstock, 36- Gregory Loor
122. Oliver Jarrod Gregoire, 26 – Deputy Bradley Hasley
123. Nolan Anderson, 50 – St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office
124. Cameron Tillman, 14 – Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office
125. John Jolly Jr., 28 – Louisville Metro Police
126. Charles Smith, 29 – Cook County Police Department
127. Michael Willis Jr., 42 – St. Louis County Police Department
128. Briant Paula, 26 – Eric Wayne
129. Kashad Ashford, 23 – Lyndhurst, Rutherford and State Police
130. Carrey Brown, 26 – Sgt. Carrey Brown
131. Ceasar Adams, 36 – Officer Jonathan Smith
132. Ricky Deangelo Hinkle, 47 – Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office
133. Elijah Jackson, 33 – Knox County Sheriff’s Office
134. Darrien Nathaniel Hunt, 22 – Saratoga Springs Police Department
135. Shawn Brown, 20 – Atlantic City Police Department
136. Alphonse Edward Perkins, 50 – Los Angeles Police Department
137. Naim Owens, 22 – Officer John Hirschberger
138. Kendrick Brown, 35 – Cuyahoga County Police Department
139. Eugene N. Turner III, 28 – Kansas City Police Department
140. Ronald Singleton, 45 – The New York Police Department
141. Jeremy Lewis, 33 – Jeremy Lewis(Suicide)
142. Vernicia Woodward, 26 – Tahreem Zeus Rana
143. Cortez Washington, 32 – Officer Darin Cunningham
144. Steven Lashone Douglas, 29 – Officer Rogelio Moreno
145. Desean Pittman, 20 – Chicago Police Department
146. Roshad McIntosh, 18 – Chicago Police Department
147. Anthony Lamar Brown, 39 – Palm Beach Police Department
148. Arvel Douglas Williams, 30 – Harford County Police Department
149. Darius Cole-Garrit, 21 – Chicago Police Department
150. Kajieme Powell, 25 – St. Louis City Police Department
151. David Ellis, 29 – Los Angeles County Police Department
152. Luther Lathron Walker, 38 – Los Angeles County Police Department
153. Andre Maurice Jones, 37- Los Angeles County Police Department
154. Frederick R. Miller, 38- Prince George County
155. Michelle Cusseaux, 50- Sgt. Percy Dupra
156. Dante Parker, 36- San Bernardino County
157. 157Corey Levert Tanner, 24- Marshals Fugitive Task Force and deputies from the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office
158. Ezell Ford, 25- Sharlton Wampler and Antonio Villegas
159. Robert Baltimore, 34 – New Orleans police officer
160. Dustin Keith Glover, 27- George Clark, Officer Otis, and Gerald Bush
161. Eddie Davis, 67- Sharon Coleman
162. Michael Brown, Jr., 18- Darren Wilson
163. Michael Laray Dozer, 26- Aaron Stringer
164. John Crawford III, 22- Sean Williams
165. Daniel Row, 37- Daniel Row does not appear as a person
166. Jacorey Calhoun, 23- Derek Toms
167. Anthony Callaway, 27- Fulton County ATL
168. Patrick Small, 27- Florence County, SC
169. Harrison Carter, 29-Orange County Sheriff’s Officer Narcotics Unit
170. Vamond Arqui Elmore, 37- The U.S. Marshals Service
171. Donovan Bayton, 54- Michael Damsky and Marcus Lee
172. Charles Leon Johnson, II, 29- Arnold E. Gillman
173. Briatay McDuffie, 19- officer saldino
174. Jonathan L. Williams, 25- tempe county
175. Eric Garner, 43-Daniel Pantaleo and Justin Damico
176. Dominique Charon Lewis, 23- Flint Township Police
177. Michael Reams, 47- fresno county
178. Lawrence Campbell, 27- Jersey city
179. Kenny Clinton Walker, 23- Jonathan Vander Lee
180. Tyshawn Hancock, 37- Jonathan D. Farnsworth
181. Charles Goodridge, 53- Harris County
182. Cedric Stanley, 35- Miami-Dade County
183. Ennis Labaux, 37- Anthony Preyan
184. Warren Robinson, 16- Chicago Police
185. Christopher Jones, 30- Nicholas Stone
186. Icarus Randolph, 26- Wichita police
187. Jacqueline Nichols, 64- Timothy Fagin
188. Jerry Dwight Brown, 41- Daniel Green and Sgt. Clinton Cabbage
189. Nyocomus Garnett, 35- Jimmy Cox
190. Rodney Hodge, 33- t. Edward Tena, Sr. Cpl. Joseph Bowling and Dameon Samson.
191. Paul Ray Kemp Jr., 40 – Inglewood Police officer
192. Dennis Hicks, 29 – Cpl. Lloyd M. McCann
193. Samuel Johnson, 45 – Officers Cliff Chu, Linda Travis and Jason Schwab
194. Lavon King, 20 – Hudson County police officer
195. Antoine Dominique Hunter, 24 – two Los Angeles county deputies
196. Samuel Shields, 49-
197. an May, 45- Thedrick Andres
198. Denzell Curnell, 19- jamal medlin
199. Ismael Sadiq, 30- Garland Police
200. Devaron Ricardo Wilburn, 21- David Michaud
201. John Schneider, 24- Gwinnett police officer
202. Jason Harrison, 38 – Officers John Rogers and Andrew Hutchins
203. Frank Rhodes, 61 – Gulfport Police Department
204. Roylee Vell Dixon, 48 – Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Department
205. Broderick Johnson, 21 – Chamblee Police Department
206. David Latham, 35 – Officer Michael Carlton Edington Jr.
207. Lonnie Flemming, 31 – Officers Derrick White and Thomas Turner
208. Steven Thompson, 26 – Deputy Gerald Wengert
209. Thomas Dewitt Johnson, 28 – Officer James Busque
210. Frank McQueen, 34 – Chester Police Department
211. Sandy Jamel McCall, 33 – Deputy Samuel Morant
212. Quintico Goolsby, 36 – Officer Greg Milburn
213. Dominique Franklin, Jr., 23 – Chicago Police Department
214. George V. King, 19 – Baltimore Police Department
215. James Renee White Jr., 21 – Los Angeles Police Department
216. Devante Kyshon Hinds, 21 – Jefferson County Police Department
217. Pearlie Golden, 93 – Officer Stephen Stem
218. Jerome Dexter Christmas, 44 – Officers Mayweather and Butler, Shreveport Police Department
219. Armand Martin, 50 – Albuquerque Police Department
220. Dontre H. Hamilton, 31 – Officer Christopher Manney
221. Joe Huff, 86 – Officer Anthony, Chicago Police Department
222. Emmanuel Wooten – Meridian SWAT officers
223. Matthew Walker, 55 – Florida Department of Corrections
224. Daniel Christoph Yealu, 29 – Los Angeles Police Department
225. Adrian Williams, 29 – Officer Chris Kertis
226. Gregory Towns, 24 – Sgt. Marcus Eberhart and Corp. Howard Weems
227. Jameel Kareem Ofurum Harrison, 34 – Agents Nye, James, Reagan, and Lipsner, Baltimore Police Department
228. Zikarious Jaquan Flint, 20 – Columbus Police Department
229. Raason Shaw, 20 – Chicago Police Department
230. DeAndre Lloyd Starks, 27 – Sgt. Mark Wollmershauser
231. Douglas Cooper, 18 – Officers Thomas Zincone Jr. and Patrick Potter
232. Winfield Carlton Fisher III, 32 – Corp. Anthony Myers and Tfc. Jeffrey Wilkins
233. Deosaran Maharaj, 51 – Deputy Paul Yesbeck
234. Daniel Martin, 47 – Officers Elijah Garcia and Anthony Edwards
235. Emerson Clayton Jr., 21 – Alexander City Police Department
236. Rebecca Lynn Oliver, 24 – Officer Terry Lane
237. Treon “Tree” Johnson, 27 – Hialeah Police Department
238. Gabriella Monique Nevarez, 22 – Sacramento Police Department
239. Marquise Jones, 23 – Officer Robert Encina
240. Kenneth Christopher Lucas, 38 – Harris County Jail
241. Keith Atkinson, 31 – Officer Jonathan Hirdes
242. Yvette Smith, 45 – Deputy Daniel Willis
243. D’Andre Berghardt Jr., 20 – Bureau of Land Management Agents and Nevada Highway Patrol
244. Stephon Averyhart, 27 – St Louis Metropolitan Police Department
245. Anthony Bartley, 21 – Deputy Wilfred Quick
246. Earnest Satterwhite, Sr., 68 – Officer Justin Gregory Craven
247. Anneson Joseph, 28 – Sgt. Richard Raasch
248. Alton Reaves, 31 – Kingstree Police Department
249. McKenzie Cochran, 25 – Northland Mall security guards
250. Cornelius Turner, 19 – Milwaukee Police Department
251. Eldrin Loren Smart, 31 – Kenner Police department
252. Henry Jackson, 19 – Ardmore Police Department
253. Jordan Baker, 26 – Houston Police Department
254. Gregory Vaughn Hill Jr., 30 – Two St. Lucie County deputies
255. Paul Smith, 58 – Los Angeles Police Department
256. Jeffrey Ragland, 50 – Oniel Linton
257. Kendall Alexander, 34 – Chrystal Alexander
258. Alvin Hayes, 53- DOES NOT EXIST
259. Freddie Gray, 25 – officer Garrett Miller and two other officers
260. Hector Morejon, 19 – Officer Jeffrey A. Meyer
261. Alexia Christian, 25 – two Atlanta police department officers
262. Brendon Glenn, 29 – Officer Clifford Proctor
263. Kelvin Goldston, 30 – Fort Worth police officer
264. William Chapman,18 – Officer Stephen D. Rankin

– Darnell Lamont Walker


Too Tired To Shower After A Fight: for lovers who meet on the front lines. For you, too.

You wear outside like your grandmother
Childless but you are happy about everything coming and the harvest
The bed heavy with all the blankets tonight
No showers no waters
We brine beneath all the layers to feel gritty against our own skins
To smell all the outsides on your knuckles &
My calloused hands washed against your temples and you knowing how to peel away everything unyielding about you and teaching me to do the same / Here
Tonight beneath all the blankets &
Beneath no light is Blackness
These hands &
Those hands &
These comforters


Store in a Cool, Dry Place.

I fear I’ll die before I write something for my funeral. I know writers, but I don’t trust them to know me well. I have blood clots attempting to steal my Black Boy Joy. I keep a bag packed by the door, but I have no idea how much to pack for Mars. Not one idea if there will be more days for shorts or this Yale hoodie. What will I do about the autumns? The grapefruits and the coconut waters I’ll miss? What grows in desolate places besides the roses Tupac planted?

My body. Store in a cool dry place.


The Fat Chick: Fat Girl TV Tropes & the Men They Deserve

“You monsters are people,” I said a little too softly over Brittany Howard wailing her thoughts about not making it to 22-years-old playing through some speaker across the Tea Lounge in Brooklyn. The monsters stared back through contact lenses they didn’t need for eyes they’d only use to judge.

Their conversation was about bodies that didn’t quite fit into television’s sexy box, but still got the men those in the box feel they deserve more. It was about Khadijah James and Hannah Horvath and Becky (Gabourey Sidibe in Empire) and those men on those shows and those men in real life who choose “The Fat Chick.”

I inserted myself into the conversation, but I had no clue what to say to keep myself there. I went with, “these men shop at Goodwill, not because they find it trendy and full of attention-grabbing vintage Karl Kani vests and those sweatshirts Boss made with the gold placards, but because they gave up attempting to please the public eye after so many failed attempts.” One monster let “shade” come out under her breath, thinking I didn’t hear her.

Wasn’t a part of childhood and college, according to some environments, supposed to be used, by handsome men like myself at least, for the sole purpose of getting your numbers up, with consent of course, no matter the face or shape that accompanied that spike? “Blind, cripple or crazy. 18 or 80,” we’d boldly state, justifying our decision to leave the club with the women society found undesirable in the daytime. Isn’t adulthood about connecting with those who brought something more to the table than wet panties, bubblegum, and hookups at the doors of clubs that charge covers?

“Perhaps,” I told them, “The Fat Chick found men who made better decisions in life.” Those men who find women with perfect bodies typically find women who are ashamed of those perfections, and women with pretty faces steer clear of mirrors when blemishes arise. Perhaps, and this may be a stretch, men are finding themselves more attracted to women who have no second thoughts about their blemishes and what others would call “flaws.” These women have no problems removing their second hand pants and shirts to show their men what the first hand shoppers tell them they should be ashamed of.

After all, Khadijah, Becky, and Hannah were winning. I remember the HBO Go & Chill night when me and my date ran across Girls, and “The Fat Chick’s” latest conquest was the attractive doctor with the house that reminded her of Something’s Gotta Give or What Women Want. She found a man who begged for her company, and made use of every inch of what she was offering on every inch of his ping-pong table and kitchen island. Then picked her brain and fed her.

The monsters are these women who feel they’re the true representations of beauty. The monsters won’t allow The Fat Chick’s body to go gentle into the goodnight with the men the monster feel they deserve over the Fat Chick. The monsters have spoken, and the gasps were loudly replayed over and over, over Alabama Shakes’ first album, and I’d rather listen to Brittany tell me she’d be my ticket home than listen to a woman with a body she’ll only show in the dark and a brain that’s never seen light explain that “women with fucked up shapes on television never deserve the man interested in them.” I laugh as she belts out, “I deserve them. That would never happen in real life.”

And me, staring at her with disgust in my eyes, chai tea latte in my big mug, and handsome stretched across my face, would certainly prop The Fat Chick on the edge of this partially broken couch with unmatched pillows that should have been discarded years ago, and take everything she’s giving as though redefining beauty depends on us.


White Folks & Blackness: The Wrong Approach & Filling Gaps

I think, if we’re being honest, most of us Black folks were raised, perhaps even unknowingly, to question everything White folks had to say about us. We questioned because instead of taking a listening approach when it came to Blackness, or anything about race for that matter, white folks found ways to insert their voice. Our Black parents, already tired from work, found themselves on their second job, playing fill-in-the-blank games with us, fixing everything we learned in school and on the news.

“What did the teacher talk about today,” my mother asked. “We learned everything about Thomas Jefferson and how he lived on the plantation just up the road from us. He was also the third president,” I said, feeling like an 8-year-old teacher. Then came the critical information from her, “did the teacher tell you about his Black children and the slave he was raping on that plantation?” My white teacher could no longer teach me without me taking the information back to my Black family for racial analysis.

I feel I am solely responsible for turning each member of my family into critical race theorists without their permission.

Imagine my face when I walked into my African American Studies course freshman year and saw a white man standing at the front, waiting to impart second-hand knowledge on us newly freed folks. Being a freshman in a new place with a dire need for a social life, I didn’t have time to compare my notes from his class against the notes of every accessible and reliable Black source. I left out before introductions could be made and sat in my advisor’s office until she could figure a way to put me in Dr. Johnson’s class, a Black woman who came complete with silver locs, unapologetic language about white folks, and a take-no-shit attitude. And thank God because it was with Dr. Johnson that I learned conscious Black women, must always get the final say on everything concerning race.

It was my mother who filled in any gaps left in my head by arguably racist grade schools and white grade school teachers. Then it was Kwame Ture, Sister Soulja, the letters of George Jackson, even the one to Dearest Angela (first amongst equals), Raymond Shipman, my grandmother Irene Jones, my father, Perry Jones, who never trusted white people, and my other father, Larry Wells, who stayed neutral when it was needed, but once accused our waiter of being racist when he refused to sing the Birthday song to me, although we just watched him perform a solo for a white family. In actuality, there is not enough space here to name drop, but these people make up the critical information institution I still attend today. They taught me it’s okay to never trust or accept the words of white people when they are talking about Blackness. Never.

It was with these people who loved me, some knowingly and some indirectly, that I learned to be a Black man in America, unapologetically. It was these righteous Black teachers who gave me positive cultural and group identity. It’s the one tool I keep sharpened and in my pocket. It’s what I must use to stop white people when Blackness is being discussed and they open their mouths instead of their ears, falsely believing they can be objective.