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In response to the Russell Simmons promoted video Harriet Tubman Sex Tape, I wrote a piece for this blog that was very close to my heart. In the blog I talked about how I had wanted to write about the pain of feeling like the world hates Black women but had hesitated over and over again. In closing I added a short note to brothers:
“Somebody, anybody, sing a black girl’s song…sing a song of her possibilities…”
I guess I want my song. We sisters have been singing to each other for a long time. We have a small chorus of brothers who join in from time to time. But really, we have been force-fed songs for everybody else. We know all of the words to our songs by heart and our songs are pretty, but they don’t soothe our souls like when…you sing. I don’t expect * them * to sing, but I want you to sing. my. song. Love me. Sing to me. Protect me. Make this pain go away. Don’t create this pain. Is it too much to ask to go to sleep and wake up to the melody of you singing my song? I want to go through the day with your song for me playing over and over again in my head. I want to have random memories of your lyrics cross my mind and make me smile. That’s how I want to survive, with you and I singing each other through unjust verdicts and heinous videos and anything the world throws at us. I know how to sing your song. I sing it with a hoodie on, I sing it in front of prisons and courthouses, I sing it every chance I get, I promise you I do.
sing. my. song.
Don’t hate me because I love you. We could sing together but my voice is tired. I just want you to sing for a little while.
While I was pouring my heart out here, a collective of Black men writers who call themselves Black Men Writing to Live were crafting a response to the much talked about twitter conversation that happened this week based on the hashtag #blackpowerisforblackmen started by Ebony.com editor Jamilah Lemeiux.
While this post is not a direct response to what I wrote – it certainly responds.
Sometimes I draw a hardline in situations like this. I get frustrated with the people who are “in the know” preaching to a choir that anxiously awaits their thoughts and musings so that they can vigorously agree. This is different. This is a touchstone conversation. This is Black men doing what Russell Simmons did NOT do in his apology – speaking directly to the hurt, pain, and challenges of Black women and being accountable. It’s beautiful, and heartfelt, and vulnerable, and needed.
I went through a range of emotions as I read through this. Sometimes I just eagerly nodded my head in agreement and other times I clutched my virtual pearls with a silent ‘awww’ under my breath. It made me smile and think and cry – the good kind of tears. It made me feel exactly how I was looking to feel when I wrote the last blog – understood, appreciated, valued, loved.
These men are by no means perfect, nor do they profess to be. They are not calling themselves “the standard” but I would say this is a starting place for building a standard. I have said for a long time that these conversations that happen about the lives of Black women and Black men cannot happen only between same genders. If Black women aren’t getting married, guess what? Black men aren’t either. It’s a family conversation not a national debate. We need to talk to each other and I’m so grateful to this collective for making that happen.
I’m posting the entire blog below. Please feel free to comment directly on the blog and repost liberally. Especially if you feel like I do and want to hug each and every one of these brother’s necks.