LOVING BLACKNESS 2 through 8: Kwanzaa

How to share my story, of my complex and rich relationship with this holiday?

I will get there, in early January, when I focus on “How I Stayed Alive, While My KKKountry Was Trying To KKKill Me” creative work.

For now, Kwanzaa, a day at a time:

UMOJA:

Umoja-UNITY
I have never felt further away from this concept as an AmeriKKKan.
So, I will use my creative maladjustment skills, go beyond that identity, and see myself as a human.
On the human sphere, I can embrace “peace on Earth Goodwill towards all sentient beings” and actually believe there is a possibility of us getting there…
US humans.
Not necessarily the U.S. of these UNTIED United States.

As a human who believes in intention experiments, prayer, and creative visualization, it is good to remember what I am focused on.

For me, self love came in it’s deepest forms when Io with FRO

1. put my hair into a big afro, in the 7th grade

2. belly danced in front of a group of about 40 folks at a DNE middle, for my 40th birthday/celebration

NOT ME, but ain't she gorgeous? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQOg6x10ETg

NOT ME, but ain’t she gorgeous?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQOg6x10ETg

3. tattooed my belly, at ages 50, and 55:

It was all about the physical. That has been my biggest work; to feel– as a woman, as a BLACK woman, that I love myself looking exactly the way that I am. Towards that end, I have pared down my own ego issues, and addictions, and insecurities, and now only do 2 of the 28 things women tend to do to ourselves, to “look good” (from shaving various parts to Brazilian waxes…)** So was astonished to become aware that each of those three events held an immediate level of “othering” trauma, that only today have I linked to corrosive stories in my head (STORIES SHOUT IN MY HEAD (THERFORE THE CAPITALS AS I WRITE THEM):

I tattooed my belly, the outline at age 50 and the colors filled in, at age 55 AND THE MORNING I TRAVELED DOWN ROUTE 91 FOR THE TATTOO A RED FOX WENT BOUNDING ACROSS THE HIGHWAY IN FRONT OF ME AND–AT THE OPPOSITE LANES– RAN SMACK INTO A BIG TRUCK, INSTANTLY DEAD…

WOW. “No more camouflage” was the message that I heard, there!

I belly danced in front of a group of about 40 folks at a DNE middle, for my 40th birthday celebration AND A WOMAN CAME UP TO ME IN THE CHANGING AREA, CONGRATULATING ME WITH GREAT EARNESTNESS ON MY BRAVERY TO DANCE WITH “A BELLY LIKE THAT”

OUCH. “I am still living in an intensely ‘look-ist’ culture, that will continue to humiliate me, and attempt to intimidate me”

And, the Big One.

I put my hair into an afro in the 7th grade grade AND MY FATHER DIDN’T SPEAK TO ME FOR A WEEK AND THEN MY MOTHER TOOK ME TO A BEAUTY SALON TO TRY AND “TAME” IT, AND I IMMEDIATELY WENT HOME AND DEFIANTLY WASHED MY HAIR BACK INTO A (SHORTER NOW) KINKY NAPPY AFRO, LEAVING MY FOREVER SCARRED WITH THE KNOWLEDGE THAT NEITHER MY FATHER OR MY MOTHER LOVED ME IN MY NATURAL PHYSICAL STATE.

Which leaves me with the freedom of breaking through these old internalized oppressive stories…

And commits me more strongly to breaking such legacies, and freeing my mind and heart.

Because Nappy Kitchens is here to stay. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQuJv1s79PA

Ashe!

**scary thing is, that number 28  is based on Andrea Dworkin’s Woman Hating, and over 30 years ago… I think we are worse, now: http://www.feministes-radicales.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Andrea-DWORKIN-Woman-Hating-A-Radical-Look-at-Sexuality-1974.pdf

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One Response to LOVING BLACKNESS 2 through 8: Kwanzaa

  1. Dear Opeyemi,

    What are the 28 things that women tend to do to look good…? Where can I find a list

    Anyhow I commented in a couple of your videos but wanted to just say thst here, and let you know I checked out every link! Your blog as ever is as instructive as it is moving.

    Love,

    Pam

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