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It's Friday and I'm ready to _______! Fill in the blank. And RIP Aaliyah. Damn, it's been ten years since she passed?!!? Ten years?!?! Do you know how much has happened in your life, this country, this world in ten years?!!? Which takes me to three things that on the surface have no relation to one another:
- 1. Facebook
- 2. The Wiz
- 3. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
Those three things seemingly don't belong together, right? But follow me down the rabbit hole and I'll try to put it all together. But apologies in advance if you still come up conf(r)used. Anywho.
Did you know that now the Facebook shows you your status updates (and those of your friends) from the exact same day from one or two years ago? Does this creep anyone else out? Do you read what you wrote from a couple years ago and be like, "what the hell was I on?" I know I do. I may not remember everything that I ever put up on the Book because as my brother pointed out by quoting one of his adolescent clients, "my remembery is so-so."
But when I see my old posts I am quickly transported back to that day, that time period, and what I was feeling, what was bothering me, irritating me, or making me smile. But it's so easy in the day-to-day of living to forget the little things that you made big things because you thought they had such an impact on your own life. Until they don't. Because there's always a new thing to distract you. Or worry about. And the farther away you get from who you were or what you used to be - the more you want to disassociate from it. Leave it there. Fuggadaboutit.
So whilst perusing the Facebook my girlfriend mentioned how she loves all thinks OZ except for the movie The Wiz. I always tease her about her dislike of The Wiz. And admittedly the movie is not the greatest thing ever made. I mean Lord knows Berry Gordy should have left his p.enis personal feelings out of it and not cast Diana Ross with her old self. However, as I said on the Book - the musical when done right with a group of folks who can saaaannngggg is awesome!
And I have a fondness for The Wiz because my mom loves to tell the story about seeing it on Broadway in the mid 70s. How phenomenal and mind blowing it was to see dancers as the yellow brick road. To have an an all Black cast, music and language of the times that embodied those years immediately after the Civil Rights Movement when Black folks felt like they were gonna finally get a piece of the pi-eeeee! It is the same way my mother and aunts talk about the first Essence Magazine cover - a Black woman with a huge Afro. They had never seen anything like that before. It was radical. And revolutionary. And empowering. And they never forgot or want to lose the feeling they once had. The impression it made.
But all of those emotions become forgotten. Get lost. Can't be properly transpired or conveyed. Because time moves at a steady beat. Progress occurs. Society's rules become "lax." What resonated with one generation means nothing to another. And people begin to take things like freedom and sitting anywhere on the bus for granted. Because we are a generation that did not really have to struggle. We did not have to walk miles upon miles to the one room school house. Or drink from another water fountain. Or work menial jobs for minimum pay. Or march for the right to vote. Beg for the right to vote. Be killed for the right to vote. Or endure being called 'boy'. Or worry that we would be raped or impregnated by our employer. Or have to go to the back of the restaurant to pick up food. Or fear, realize, fully comprehend, that the life you thought you were living was really not your own because it could be taken away at any moment for any thing by those in power. In control.
And so as folks plan(ned) to gather for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Dedication - the big Sunday afternoon event has been postponed indefinitely - you have to admire how far we have come as a nation. My mother's family is from a small town in Alabama and I have heard the tales of segregation - so yes we have come quite a ways. But we are not done yet. And that's something we tend to forget. Because it's so easy to forget. Until the same friend mentioned above shared a story about her white co-worker telling an extremely racist, inappropriate joke to fellow co-workers of color. And then had the nerve to be surprised" when a Black co-worker had the nerve to be offended and want nothing to do with him.
It is in these moments that this generation must remember the work that was done by those who came before us - those famous and those unknown folks who were beaten and jailed. Who prayed at night. Who left school to protest. Who risked their freedom so that we could have ours. It is easy to forget because when you remember it means that you then have to take inventory of where you've been, where you are, and where you want to go. We all want to forget so badly that people could hate so hard for apparently no reason. We want to be post racial. And beyond all that "race" stuff. And shout that we are all equal. And people should just pull themselves from their bootstraps. And "we" have made it, don't know what's wrong with those other ones. But we must remember what was done for us. And we must remember that we are not done yet.
And that everything, the good, the bad, the extremely ugly, is all part of our collective history. It is all important. It all has merit. And it should all be acknowledged. And shared. Over and over again. So that it can always be remembered. Serve as a lesson. Encourage us to fight for our unborn generations, so that they can have more chances, more opportunities, sweeter tastes of freedom than any of us could have ever imagined...
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