Line number 2,853 in Walcott’s Another Life reads: “I no longer care for whom I write.” How amazing to adopt this thought. To remove the faces and the targets and just create amazing works for whoever’s walking by and finds the cover art or cover words intriguing is outstanding.
I was a major Jay-Z supporter in the recent past. He said quite the opposite. “Truthfully, I wanna rhyme like Common Sense. But I did five mics. I ain’t been rhyming like Common since.” He chose to go against Walcott and care greatly, of course motivated by what that audience would bring him.
I adopted these thoughts long before I fell in love with Willie Perdomo’s words, but Willie did lead me down a road of reexamination and once again, affirmation. As a writer, it’s worked. Hell, I was writing Creep while many folks were in my ear telling me to market the book toward black men because it was definitely for them. I dismissed these whispers, saying “I’m just going to write. Whoever reads it, reads it.” Of the several thousand sold, less than 10% were black men.
Can we remove these masks from people sitting in the audience watching out lives? Can we live like we no longer care for them? Yes. The proof is that I do it.