During Liberated Muse and the Saartjie Project event I played for I picked up on a strong vibe.
There’s a lot of spoken word and poetry. It’s a genre unto itself. I’m sure you know it. It has a certain flavor. Strong, talented, beautiful black women speaking on themes of freedom, pride, abuse, recovery, sacrifice, race, etc. Sometimes radical.
Did I hear a piece about “preferring the same gender” last night?
I’m not a fan of the genre of spoken word, per se, but the artistic voices of the individuals is moving, y’know. And just when I take the feminist-leaning and racial issue probing for granted…
Tales of the Metro
L’Enfant Plaza. Waiting for the Green Line to the Navy Yard stop. The Green Line has a lot of black folk on it, by the way. Lots of teens and tweens, especially. There was a group of tweens. Two groups, actually. Cute, wearing tight clothes, just hanging out.
Not too far from them were three boys. I had my headphones on, of course, but the boys were loud — intentionally loud. Like, performance on stage loud so that the girls would hear them. They would pick out one of the girls and do this:
“Hey, you see that girl over there?”
“The one with the little feet.”
“The tight jeans.”
“The ugly shirt.”
“The big head.”
“The little ears.”
“The big ass forehead.”
“She ugly as s—.”
And I saw the girls demeanor change. The color of their interaction, their group “aura”, changed from something bright and sunny to cloudy and gray-brown.
“Naw, she’s not.”
Then the boys went on to the next girl. And the next. And when those girls left on a train, they moved toward another group of girls. Sat across from them.
One of those girls said something about “not f—king with her or…”. The boys considered that a challenge and started in. But their hearts weren’t really in it at that point. I think they may have known each other, by the way. They weren’t picking out random strangers. I hope.
The art of a lot of women, and especially black women, is driven by the pain inflicted by men. And if life were like musicals — and thank God it’s not — I would have pulled out my guitar, plugged it into the Pignose and sang something to turn that aura back into the vibrant spring colors that they should be.
Quineice’s song that I’ve accompanied her on, “Mr. Crazy”, is about her escaping a dysfunctional, abusive man. And I wonder how, you know? How could a man treat a woman like that?
How can black men have so much anger and hate for black women? Talking about being a pimp the way other cultures talk about being President. The whole mentality of black women being hos and bitches. Black men used to call black women their queens. Now they call black women whores and bitches in heat. It’s poison. We didn’t come this far as an ethnic group to turn on each other. To cannibalize each other’s souls. To try to own each other.
This is why there’s a Saartjie Project. And why there’s a Liberated Muse.
I’m glad to be a part of it in the small way that I am.