Excusing Violence Against Women With “She was a hooker”

“From how she was dressed, I think she may have been a hooker or something,” he said, brushing it off in a very familiar way, his voice doing that thing men’s voices do when justifying violence against women. I asked if he’d seen what happened to the woman around the corner, her brown body spread out on the once-brown bricks now besmirched with her blood. For nine seconds I thought she was dead, then her hand moved, then her feet, then she moaned a few words in Zulu, but not loud enough to be heard by those I assume could have translated for me.

It was mid afternoon. She’d been stabbed, and the river of blood leading to the ocean she was creating was half a kilometer long with some parts chunky, and some parts already fading, having been stepped on by those who didn’t want to get too involved, but took photos anyway. I walked along side that river, and looked at the faces of the men, some tribesmen, who stood idly by their cars, listening to music, watching a body of water form.

“Probably some man who didn’t want to pay her, or some pissed off lover,” he said, my face asking for the reason it was me who had to notify the cops and not him, who apparently saw her while she was still stumbling, holding the hole in her chest, probably knowing it was more important to hold that one than the one on in her abdomen. “Did she fall someplace,” he asked. Why didn’t he know she fell someplace just around the corner, just across from the mango and banana man who never stopped selling his goods to call anyone. “Did she fall someplace,” he asked with a look on his face that suggested he was asking for a piece of gum; casual.

“She fell just around the corner. Just across from the mango and banana man you frequent. Next to that abandoned and neglected building. She was there abandoned and neglected,” I told him. I thought she was dead until her hand moved. Suddenly I was at 357 Rose Avenue in Daytona Beach, Florida, and I was 20 years old and I was watching my neighbor get kicked down the stairs by a boyfriend who seemed to love her more when her dark skin was made red, and her fingers were in splints. I helped her once, but she came back, so I never helped her again, and I think I carry that guilt with me now, so I help now.

There was one woman there with me, hovering over the slow-moving and bloody body of the woman on the red bricks. She’d come, probably, from someplace fun, someplace laughing, someplace where even though drinks were cheap, she only had two. I could see the remnants of joy on my curve of her lips, hidden deeply behind the panic over the woman that could have been her. She and I stood there, wondering why there were no police there yet if the station was just around the corner. Why had the two men, whose face I didn’t see, stood there seemingly long before she and I and didn’t call the police. We called the police, we called the ambulance, and she called the two men “assholes” for doing nothing but staring.

“I hope she’s okay,” he said, probably genuinely. But what if she’d died on those bricks beside that building after that stumbling half a kilometer walk she did while being neglected by those who found her movements as entertaining as the music to which she moved? “Honestly, I don’t know,” I said, my voice doing that thing guilt-trippers and manipulators’ voices do when trying to point out foolishness, ignorance, rape culture, asinine culturally-justified violence against women, Casey Affleck, Nate Parker, and all other bullshit.

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Black Folks & Mental Illness: A Film.

A Documentary by Darnell Lamont Walker about Black Folks & Mental Illness. Why are we not sharing our stories, our pain, our struggles, and our methods of survival? This film exists to show those quietly suffering that they are not alone.

I’ve had friends who’ve committed suicide in dark and lonely places. I regret not seeing the signs, not being there, not calling them, and maybe not loving on them enough.

Being “resilient” and “strong” is killing us. Holding in our frustrations and sadness is killing us. Our children are jumping from bridges and opening their veins quietly. Transparency is needed.

It’s time we talk!

Watch The Full Film: Click Here

Eddie Long & His Amen Corner

Today, I walked the streets of Johannesburg with a dear friend, laughing and singing random ass songs. I was mostly present, but there were parts of me trying to figure out what it means that Bishop Eddie Long is dead and all I want to do is write “Fuck Eddie Long” on my timeline and on my twitter and everywhere else. I’m trying to figure out how to tell the parents of real children, not dogs or cats, but real children, that they should avoid the well wishes and fake funeral talk that consists of lies like, “he was such a good man” and “heaven gained an angel.”

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In the words of Vernon Johns, “live like a dog, die like a dog.”

For the past 12 years, I’ve participated in the raising of my child, and served as one of the village folk participating in the raising of other peoples’ children, and it’s safe to say it’s unfathomable by most kind-hearted folks the pain and damage I’d cause the second I found out someone molested my child or those children; the second I found out someone was sending my child or those children far-unacceptable photos; the second I found out one of the village folks helping raise him or them decided to hand them over to a predator in exchange for milk and honey.

To see parents of real children standing in defense of a man who molested another woman and man’s child is heartbreaking. Not everyone deserves forgiveness. Not everyone deserves your defense.

Oh, but you rape and child molestation apologists are mighty and loud. They want those who stand with the victims of Eddie’s terror, and the victims of rape worldwide, to suspend their activism. They want silence because they feel death should give absolution.

I’ve sat with enough rape victims over the past four years, crying with them, loving on them, and being fed by them to know that even when the rapist dies, those fucked up memories still go strong. Death was too easy for the rapist. The victims’ fantasies of catching the rapist in an alley with a chest of torture tools will go unfulfilled. They shouldn’t.

I just finished a project focusing on Black mental illness. I just listened as so many courageous folk told me about their depression and their anxiety and their inability to sometimes deal in the world and how these issues began when they were raped. Several whose rapist is dead. Again, what didn’t die with those rapists are the memories of those rooms, those hands hands, the way the adults they confided in told them it was their fault for being “fast,” or simply called them “liar,” then told them to keep it quiet because it would make no sense to bring down a that much power.

Pardon me if the death of Bishop Eddie Long is one to which I will a glass in celebration. Pardon me if your “nobody’s perfect” and “the dead and their family deserve respect” mantras sound like modern hip hop and I’m choosing not to listen. You must forgive me if my heart has no space for the demons. Blue Run Baptist Church didn’t fill me with the common humanity required to pray for demons.

Fuck Bishop Eddie Long and those who still amen’d to his word.

No Title In Sight [For You Who Doesn’t Need One]

It was her walking away
Her tugging on the bottom of the back of her shirt
On the seam that barely covered her / cheeks
Reflecting the wavelength stretched to whatever planet she uses to sleep /
To be in her space
To be that seam / that wavelength from her face / that planet
I want to be Mars when it comes to you / Venus
Sometimes / sometimes Mercury
Pluto when we sleep
We talked about the stars
But not about the distance
We talk about everything but not about the pending distance
The walking away we do
The tugging on pieces of strings we do
We do what planets do
We get so close then go so far
We circle back and reach for each other from two ends of a universe we built on a mattress

It was all in that walking away / I
All in that tugging of the shirt to cover the parts of a planet I’d already planted flags on
All in the cool of that morning / those unpolished dusty floor boards / those
Kitchen tiles beneath my feet / the cool of that knife in my hand
Cutting potatoes / cutting
That look to that hand tugging / pulling strings
All the way from Pluto

outside-the-house

Outside The House: A Mental Health Documentary

For 18 hours, starting tonight @ 6pm EST, I will screen my film, Outside the House. Click Here. 

This film is not about statistics, or science, or theories, or practices. It’s about mental health and courageously sharing our stories so others will know they are not alone. It’s about what’s happened to us, what will happen to our children, and breaking cycles that are killing us in dark places.

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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

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.

IF THE FILM IS ABOUT SEXUALITY:
Fucking amazing!

THE FINALE:
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