The Fraternity as Therapy

17457518_10100541843019875_1040004132940352411_nThe fraternity as a self-care tool

We showed up to one of the greatest weddings we’ll ever attend, celebrated our brother and new sister, and we laughed, telling stories and jokes, recalling each time in college and after when we all connected over foolishness, drinks, and women. We leaned hard on the Coat of Arms.

The wedding ended and my brothers and I spent all the following hours and days recharging, updating, and loving each other; the heaviest conversations over plates and glasses and on beaches and rooftops. It was therapy. It was brothers being brothers.

My Night @ The Oscars: 6 Things

  1. It was painful to sit in a room and watch a group of mostly creative people decide to hand an award to a slightly above mediocre artist who doubles in life as a molester over an amazing artist who’s entire career led him to the work he’s just shared with the world. Every role Denzel has ever played has led him, again, to Troy. Unfortunately, when Black people play Black people, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences don’t see it as a great feat or accomplishment. But when a white man plays himself (sans being a rapist), dynasties should be constructed?

 

  1. I’m big on meditation and being mindful. I sometimes YouTube Viola Davis’ speeches, close my eyes, and listen to her talk on loop. To listen to her live, to be within close proximity while she speaks life into the bodies of all who are listening is to be…blessed and highly favored and know that Black woman is God.

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  1. Tears rarely touch my face outside of a yawn or plucking a nose hair, but I know if Mahershala Ali spoke three seconds longer, I would have required tissue or my Hugo Boss tux sleeve. It was me watching a man who’s across his life path. It was me watching me. The last time I felt this feeling was in a California desert after an Ayahuasca ceremony.

 

  1. I remember playing cards with my Grandma Irene Elizabeth Jones, listening to her tell her friends about how I was going to be a film director one day. It wasn’t something she quite understood, but she was happy about it anyway. I remember asking my high school theater teacher if I could use the theater at lunch to do table reads and rehearsals for a film I wanted to make. I never made that film, but I dreamed big. I remember all the couches I’ve slept on and the people who owned and currently own them. I remember who fed me and who loved me and who fought hard for me in my absence. This night was the night all Black folks in attendance nodded at each other, knowing what we had to do to get into the building, knowing we belong there.

 

  1. I had an epiphany. No one did it alone. I need a team of amazing dreamers, wishers, hopers, and magic bean buyers.

 

  1. MOONLIGHT.

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: 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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