Tuesday, 15 February 2011

I'm Back...I Think

I was a stranger in the city
Out of town were the people I knew
I had that feeling of self-pity
What to do? What to do? What to do?
The outlook was decidedly blue
But as I walked through the foggy streets alone
It turned out to be the luckiest day I've known

-George Gershwin, "Foggy Day (In London Town)"

It has officially been three years since I was the Black Girl in London. I am back in the States and still feel nostalgic for the past. London refined me into a full-grown woman. It served as the London Bridge to maturity. I first paid rent in North London. My trips to the corner store to top-up my electricity was all my responsibility, if not, candles only shined that night. The word "best friend" was challenged as I cut off my girl of four years because she was, indeed, straight tripping (don't worry she's back). As the first of a generation, I had to speak on behalf of a ten-deep generation at my grandfather's funeral. I also unraveled a twisted knot ball of the inner workings of the ultimate puzzle--love. I fell deep in the swells behind the hull of love just to be swallowed up like the Titanic, but I rose to the top. Cream always does. Put simply, I grew up.

I am nearing twenty-seven and settling more and more into my womanhood but daily am reminded of what I left behind. Today, everyone blogs, but not everyone writes. This decade has been inundated with people writing for an endless audience hoping for everybody to agree with them or just write believing "screw what you think." I am only weighing in now because of the many comments on ye old blog that I read periodically to inspire me to write. Tonight--it worked.

To griggs. who wrote "I hope you will write as long as there is breath in your body." Thank you immensely. That comment tipped me over the edge. I am the ultimate procrastinator in writing. For the past five years I have been writing my second novel. To my chagrin, I am not even three chapters into it. So I'm back...I think.

Living back in America, Chocolate City to be precise, I still carry with me the perks of London. Anytime I can just say, "When I lived in London..." And it is not to be pretentious, it is a fact. London was a part of my life. I have a friend who got tired of asking me where I got an article of clothing or an accessory, lest I say those dreaded words, "I got it in London." The sad part is, while developing into a shopaholic on the streets of London, I only wanted everything just so I could say, "I got it in London." There, I can be pretentious, especially when it comes to fashion.

Well I don't live in London anymore and it has been a transition. The long list of things I missed about America, I have not seemed to really get involved with too much. Namely, the lack of black men with swagger was my favorite complaint. However, I am starting to believe most of them live in New York City because DC is filled with black men out of jobs and their swagger just does not appeal to me. Yes, I am being pretentious again. The only sure upgrade about being back in the US of A is Mexican food. I love enchiladas. Yes. I do.

Yet, DC has made me question where my blackness fits into the landscape of all this gentrified chocolate city. And I am still not quite sure. All I know is that I am back on America's soil and hopefully back to using this blog. It is taking time to adjust to having this identity as a writer, but I need to embrace it. This entry is more of a blog, I promise the rest will be back in my usual essay style.

So, I'm Back...I know...I'd better be!


Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Happy July 4th?

"Hang on to the world as it spins around
Just don't let the spin get you down
Things are moving so fast
Hold on tight and you will last
Never mind your fears
Brighter days will soon be here
Take it from me some day we'll all be free

Keep on working tall hold your head up high
Lay your dreams right out to the sky
Take it from me
Someday we'll all be free
Just wait and see
Someday we'll all be free"
~ Donny Hathaway, "Someday We'll All Be Free"

Every year on July 4th I make it my business to pay homage to my ancestors who were not free on our nation's independence day. I love celebrating the independence days of some of my black friends from other countries who have their own day to celebrate, but I feel guilty for joining in on any July 4th shindig. On July 4th, 1776, America won its revolutionary war which allowed it to break from the economic and patriotic pull of the British empire. At that time, the slave trade was still in existence pulling thousands of Africans from familiar shores to horrific ones. Yet, black people are the main ones having picnics, when even that word has suspicious usage in our culture-- lynchings occurred picnic-style, with us as the main course. I never felt comfortable celebrating the independence of a country that has worked to keep my people in chains whether they be iron or virtual. So to pay homage to my ancestors, who did not even have the liberty to strike up a grill and eat, every year I read Frederick Douglass' speech he delivered to a group of abolitionists who wanted him to celebrate July 4, 1852 with them. Even though Douglas was a free black at the time, he could not celebrate with his brother and sisters still in bondage. Now, 155 years later, I stand with Douglass in his sentiment. Although I am an ocean away from the festivities, I still cannot celebrate. I cannot celebrate when our people receive poorer healthcare, our students in black school districts are in the 9th grade and cannot read, our children have black fathers locked in jail who were guilty of nothing but being a black man, and our sistas are working too many jobs to support children alone. So please take time to read Douglas' words, because they are as alive as they were one-hundred and fiffty-five years ago.

Maybe someday we all will be free, but I am tired of waiting. Let's do something to be free.

What to the Slave is the 4th of July?
By Frederick Douglass

Fellow citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here today? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? And am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us? Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions! Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful. For who is there so cold that a nation's sympathy could not warm him? Who so obdurate and dead to the claims of gratitude that would not thankfully acknowledge such priceless benefits? Who so stolid and selfish that would not give his voice to swell the hallelujahs of a nation's jubilee, when the chains of servitude had been torn from his limbs? I am not that man. In a case like that the dumb might eloquently speak and the lame man leap as an hart.

But such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity, and independence bequeathed by your fathers is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought light and healing to you has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn.

To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me by asking me to speak today? If so, there is a parallel to your conduct. And let me warn that it is dangerous to copy the example of nation whose crimes, towering up to heaven, were thrown down by the breath of the Almighty, burying that nation in irrevocable ruin! I can today take up the plaintive lament of a peeled and woe-smitten people.

"By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down. Yea! We wept when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there, they that carried us away captive, required of us a song; and they who wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How can we sing the Lord's song in a strange land? If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth."

Fellow citizens, above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions! Whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are, today, rendered more intolerable by the jubilee shouts that reach them. If I do forget, if I do not faithfully remember those bleeding children of sorry this day, "may my right hand cleave to the roof of my mouth"! To forget them, to pass lightly over their wrongs, and to chime in with the popular theme would be treason most scandalous and shocking, and would make me a reproach before God and the world. My subject, then, fellow citizens, is American slavery.

I shall see this day and its popular characteristics from the slave's point of view. Standing there identified with the American bondman, making his wrongs mine. I do not hesitate to declare with all my soul that the character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this Fourth of July! Whether we turn to the declarations of the past or to the professions of the present, the conduct of the nation seems equally hideous and revolting.

America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future. Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity which is outraged, in the name of liberty which is fettered, in the name of the Constitution and the Bible which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate slavery – the great sin and shame of America!

"I will not equivocate, I will not excuse"; I will use the severest language I can command; and yet not one word shall escape me that any man, whose judgment is not blinded by prejudice, shall not confess to be right and just ... For the present, it is enough to affirm the equal manhood of the Negro race. Is it not as astonishing that, while we are plowing, planting, and reaping, using all kinds of mechanical tools, erecting houses, constructing bridges, building ships, working in metals of brass, iron, copper, and secretaries, having among us lawyers doctors, ministers, poets, authors, editors, orators, and teachers; and that, while we are engaged in all manner of enterprises common to other men, digging gold in California, capturing the whale in the Pacific, feeding sheep and cattle on the hillside, living, moving, acting, thinking, planning, living in families as husbands, wives, and children, and above all, confessing and worshiping the Christian's God, and looking hopefully for life and immortality beyond the grave, we are called upon to prove that we are men!...

What, am I to argue that it is wrong to make men brutes, to rob them of their liberty, to work them without wages, to keep them ignorant of their relations to their fellow men, to beat them with sticks, to flay their flesh with the lash, to load their limbs with irons, to hunt them with dogs, to sell them at auction, to sunder their families, to knock out their teeth, to burn their flesh, to starve them into obedience and submission to their masters? Must I argue that a system thus marked with blood, and stained with pollution, is wrong? No! I will not. I have better employment for my time and strength than such arguments would imply....

What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass-fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy – a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States at this very hour.

Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms – of the Old World, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.


Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Younger, Gifted & Black

"To be young, gifted and black,
Oh what a lovely precious dream
To be young, gifted and black,
Open your heart to what I mean"
~ Nina Simone, "Young, Gifted, & Black"

This weekend I celebrated my mother's 50th birthday, what a blessing. The funny part is my family wanted me to deliver a speech I wrote at seventeen about black women to salute her. So I thought since my past met me on Saturday, I would let you see how I became this way.

A memory that stays with me about this speech is that I delivered it my high school for an assembly and a young sista working there for the American Corps told me that I should be careful who I pay homage to in black women's history in a pretentious attitude. At the time I did not understand her and I still believe she could have demonstrated her point a bit more eloquently--I was seventeen! Now, I see where the sister was coming from. Some of the women I highlight in my speech, Madame C. J. Walker and Oprah, specifically, do not sit right with me because of their role in our history. Ironically, they both represent economic growth black women, but their means of that growth trouble me today. Walker made her millions by training black women to look white. Oprah made her billions by appealing to white America's culture and shedding her own, virtually becoming the Mammie character I describe in the speech. However, I feel we should pay homage to these women if not for anything, their entrepreneurship.

We are all black women and excluding any given part of ourselves is false and counteracts sisterhood. I'm all about sisterhood, not about just criticism, though my blog may seem so. I want black women to love ourselves collectively and as Oprah once refrained, "remember our spirit[s]."

The Black Woman: Resisting and Rising from Slavery

You may write me down in history with your bitter, twisted lies
You may trod in the very dirt, but still like dust I’ll rise

These words of Maya Angelou explicitly describe the plight of the black woman. You see, the story starts almost four hundred years ago when the first slaves were brought to America. Africans were pulled from their native soil to a new land of desolation, tribulation, and isolation. Families were separated. Foreign languages were imposed. The dead were mourned. So in the midst of all this misery, pain, and strife, it was the black woman who had to build a family among strangers. These hard and humble beginnings of the black woman did not succeed in oppressing her, no, she rose and is still rising today. So listen to her royalty, her resistance, and her rise. Frederick Douglass in his Narrative of Slave revealed how a slave was made a man. I shall reveal how a slave was made a woman.

The motherland, filled with vast mountains, deserts, hills, and valleys is where the black woman found her roots. Heiress of powerful kingdoms and descendant of queens like Sheba and Nefertitti, she found that inner strength to survive slavery’s toil. The power to resist enabled her to endure the grueling, horrific conditions of the Middle Passage. And that same power would be essential for the survival in a new land.

Black women boarded ships as Nubian queens and disembarked, slaves. Once on this foreign soil, stereotypes, prejudices, and assumptions developed. Knowing where she came from allowed the black woman to realize that her iron chains were just a temporary substitute for the gold that had once adorned her body. Whites looked upon her as too sensual and promiscuous. Women slaves who picked rice in wet, swampy fields had to lift their skirts high above their knees to keep their clothes dry. Thus, exposing their legs and creating an image of vulgarity and indecency. The black woman was then classified as either Mammy or Jezebel, perpetuating another stereotype. Mammy, introduced to our society through a pancake box possessed a role of leadership and was well venerated and revered because she did it all. Jezebel, on the other hand, was head of the bedroom; this was her only means of survival. Usually, she would act as the master’s concubine and produce fair mulatto children to work in the big house. Like, Sally Hemmings, the quadroon concubine of President Jefferson. You see, these women had no choice of the role given to them; they were simply chosen for the job. In spite of this, the black woman’s resistance enabled her to rise.

A change in tide was first evident in 1851, when Sojourner Truth spoke the words, “Ain’t I a woman?” She would soon prove to be a superwoman since she worked the field just as hard as any man, denied her own children breast milk, and experienced the heartache of viewing her children sold away from her. Those famous words of hers told America that black women were on the rise. Women like Madame C. J. Walker became millionaires by selling hair products to the black community. Then, there’s Mary McLeod Bethune who opened a university of higher learning. Barbara Jordan had a seat for both the House and the Senate for Texas in the twentieth century. All of these women were rooted in resistance. Our royalty and our resistance have set us up to rise.

Black women have risen from the false ideals of American society to become leaders in this country. We’ve had to overcome the promiscuity that once labeled us, and resist that black face on the pancake box that’s supposed to represent us. We’ve gone from three-fifths of a person, to five-fifths. We’ve gone from leaders of the Big house, to leaders of Congress. We’ve gone from sharecroppers to millionaires. There is something special about our legacy as black women. We have risen from the deep pits of oppression and gloom to be equal if not above our white counterparts. Remember, for every Rosie, there’s an Oprah. For every Hillary, there’s a Maxine. For every Bette, there’s a Pattie. For every Britney, there’s a Beyonce. For every Judge Judy, there’s a Judge Mablean. For every Teacher of the Year, there’s a Marlene. And for every nanny, there’s a Mammy who has used her royal past as a stepping-stone to triumph. Only by remembering our royalty and resisting our oppression can we rise to victory. So my sister and my dear mother, keep on rising because Sister Maya said,

We bring the gifts that our ancestors gave,
We are the dream and the hope of the slave

Let’s rise
Let’s rise
Let’s rise


Sunday, 24 June 2007

Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Speech

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
~ U.S. Constitution, 1st Amendment

Just because a white guy decides to call a group of black women "nappy-headed hoes," Russell Simmons decides that the word Nigga should not be used in Hip Hop. Just because a friend and fellow comedian screams Nigga in a comedy club, Paul Mooney decides that the infamous Nigga consistently used as a punchline for his jokes will no longer fall from his lips. Nigga this. Nigga that. Black people continue to disappoint me. I am sitting over here, I guess, an ocean removed from the sting of the word Nigga, and no I will not give our oppressors' translation "the N-word," and the word does not bother me the way it incites our "black leaders." Al Sharpton lost the presidential candidacy a few years ago and there have not been too many black outcries lately, so he always strikes up the band with any utterance of Nigga when it is not coming from our side. All of the many black issues that breed and flourish in America are repeatedly ignored by everyone. Yet, if someone says something to offend us, there is an uproar. Well I said it, Nigga, and I will say it again and again. Brothers and sisters continue to be upset with me, but I will not stop using it until we stop using it because of an internal struggle, not an outward one. Yet, I suggest you still read on.

Honestly, Paul Mooney put it best before his Nigga abandonment, "Everybody wanna be a Nigga, but don't nobody wanna be a Nigga." This one statement summarizes why other people use Nigga, they want to fit in. Black people have set the trend of what is hip, cool, in, happening, and fabulous for generations, from Cab Calloway to Aretha Franklin to Nasir Jones. However, the ushering in of the largely successful genre of Hip Hop has changed all of that. Hip Hop blurred the line of who is to use the word and who is not. However, Hip Hop has become music spit on the streets of New York, on the dirt roads of Tanzania, and even under the bright lights found in Tokyo. It is international, it slides around the world on the coattails of America's globalization efforts. Hence, Nigga ceases to belong to Blacks in America, but to an array of people worldwide of a spectrum of colors. Most importantly, the white kid from the suburbs feels just as entitled to use the word because they grew up listening to Niggaz With Attitude. This is when it hits home because that white kid cannot be cool or fit in if he does not spit all the lyrics, even if words like "young Nigga got it bad 'cause I'm brown," simply do not apply to him. That kid wants the cool privilege of saying Nigga, but he would never want to be caught in South Central L.A. with his feet spread and hands in the air while being read his rights by the LAPD.

Every so often Nigga becomes an issue and the catalyst this year was Don Imus's comments on the way the Rutgers' women's basketball team looked. It is amazing how everyone clung to the phrase "nappy-headed hoes," but did not listen to what he said afterwards, "the girls from Tennessee's they all look cute...kind of like a Spike Lee thing, the Jiggaboos versus the Wannabees." Essentially, Imus's comments demonstrate that white people really think they understand black people completely. He thought that black people would describe those women as such and he thought that Spike Lee's scene in School Daze not Do the Right Thing, was about ugly black women versus beautiful black women. In both cases he is wrong. Growing up I did hear my parents use Nigga, but I never heard them call anyone a "nappy-headed hoe." Words like the latter predominately came into existent in a 90s world where black women had already bore the pain of having to sport hair that is kinkier than others for centuries but were now hoes because they were continuously labeled gold diggers and Welfare queens. A younger generation reacting to the way black women are represented in the media and the way some women carried themselves in their community made the word "ho" a stamp of approval in Hip Hop lyrics. So Oprah and the like thought that Hip Hop was at fault for all of this, not Don Imus's racist ideals. Especially since, the first introduction of the word "ho" was from whoever he was talking with, he simply added "the nappy-headed" part. Yet in still, since all of this prompted blacks to want to revoke Hip Hop artist's Nigga card, would everyone be as passionate to take Spike Lee's poetic license from him for introducing Jiggaboos and Wannabees to America?

Since it is long after the Imus incident, readers must wonder why am I writing this? It is actually in reaction to one of my favorite comedians, Paul Mooney's article in the June Essence magazine explaining why he will no longer use the word Nigga. His epiphany came after his friend comedian Michael Richards screamed the word repeatedly at black men interrupting his show. Again black people in this case were hung up on the obvious obscenities, the word Nigga. When I saw it, what made me see that Richards had long packed away some racist emotions were what he said in the midst of his shower of Niggas. "Shut up! Fifty years ago, we'd have you upside down, with a f**king fork up your a**!" Richards even claims that what is buried away is shocking, and it was. Paul Mooney's relationship with this man inhibited him from seeing him for the racist he is, which is understandable. No one wants to believe that they are friends with a racist, and even Richards does not want to believe he is a racist. To me, there is a difference between using Nigga and creating imagery of lynching and white mob behavior against Blacks. Whites continue to hide their racist-tendencies behind the freedom of speech that should be allowed for what they must call the N-word. However, in what world do Blacks have to express their freedom of speech and use what they reclaimed as theirs?

Should Nigga be abolished? Maybe. If that day does come I want it to be because Blacks realized that this word does more harm to us because of internal issues, not ones where white media figures slip and expose that they are racist. These singular events only make us feel we should censor ourselves in an effort to help white people control their racist tendencies. So we continue to hide behind the phrase "the N-word" instead of confronting the real word that really exposes our internal scars of classism and measurements of inferiority to whites demonstrated by skin tones. This only shows that we are still slaves. When Prince had his battle with Warner Bros. he became an acronym, T.A.F.K.A.P., more so than a symbol and put the word slave on his cheek. Prince felt that he did not own the music and creativity that he poured out in every studio session for his then upcoming album; he felt he was a slave. He could not be Prince, so he became the artist formerly known as Prince, and that is exactly what "the N-word," the word formerly known as Nigger or Nigga. We keep talking around it and waiting for white people to make it an issue for us, we make Nigga purely reactionary. To me, our using Nigga for so long was black people demonstrating our agency and using the white man's words to be empowering or to make us laugh. Black people then knew you are going to be called a Nigger anyway, but when they wanted to hear it, they wanted it with love not hatred. Since most whites would not dare use Nigger, to our faces, we forget this. This is just my theory but there is a black power about that word. The reclamation of our circumstance, of our tribulation demonstrates that black power is not just making black positive, but also making what whites created to be negative for us positive as well. For me, Nigga will continue to fall from my lips. The arguments out there have not convinced me. The push for Nigga's abolishment has always been external, maybe if a riff outside of the classist realm comes from within I may change my mind. But until then, Nigga Nigga Nigga.


P.S. This sista is trying to pull herself out of laziness, bear with me. I will start to write more.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

The Inauguration

I know...I know
Some places we can go, some places we can go
I know...I know!
Some places we can go, some places we can go
Do you wanna ride... with me?
~ Jay-Z, "Do You Wanna Ride"

Dear Black America,

As I walk the streets of London daily, passing Picadilly Circus, strolling in Trafalgar Square, and bustling through Brixton, I can only think of you, all of you. Often I find myself explaining where I come from, who my tribe is, the forgotten tribe of America. My presence here has redefined me. Furaha in America, is African-American, not American. Here, when I open my mouth to speak, everyone hears an American, though at home it is African-American. So as I embark upon my adult life and experience being young, black, and in London, I constantly reflect on how wide that hyphen is between the African and the American for us as a people, as wide as the Atlantic Ocean, but London is bridging the gap.

America's borders are brimming with immigrants. Everyone who lives there once was an immigrant, even the Native-Americans who crossed the Bering Strait. To ask immigrants why they came to America, answers would reflect thoughts of freedom of religion for those on the Mayflower, means to support family members for those who made it North of the Border from Mexico, or to simply attend school for the many Nigerians now in Texas. Yet, if you think outside of the word immigrant and were to ask all Americans, there would be some whose answer would lack a theme of a better opportunities. For the millions of African-Americans who have lived in America for centuries, they did not come by choice, but force. When they arrived, education was denied. When they came, the labor they found gave no wages. When the traveled here there was no road or planes, and the Mayflower for them was not flowery. Still, African-Americans are in America, have built America, but are thought to believe they are not Americans.

My entire life I have defined myself as African-American, a type of American. Most Italians, Irish, and Polish consider themselves American too, but their type was not always necessary. They are white. They belong in America. When I traveled to Tanzania last year, people would ask me where I came from. Saying America or Marekani seemed false because I had black skin, black hair, black features, I could not be from America. The only way to explain to them that yes I am American is to say that my mother, my grandmother, and before were all born in America. Then the Tanzanians would consider me American. So, how many generations of black people will have to live in America, to be Americans? We are consistently set apart, segregated by terms, but not by law. And I learned that I was American, once I left America.

Since our immigration, how many of us see past 125th Street or beyond our small town in the South? While America's land stretches from one ocean to another and its mass appears double stacked like a Big Mac between Canada and Mexico, few of us travel to even see the mountains, prairies or oceans white with foam. And even if you did, there will ring a consistent reminder that you are still just black. Driving from Philadelphia to New York would bring New Jersey state troopers profiling. Walking down the wrong road at night in Mississippi could cause rednecks to rustle. And since we see so little of America, we see an even smaller proportion of the rest of the world, which extends much greater than this beloved land. As long as these borders envelop us, we remain just black, or for them, we remain just niggers.

After living in Tanzania for three months and living in London for seven months I have developed a sense of ownership for America. I love America, the place, not the institution. America remains the place of our people, the lost tribe of Africans who made something out of nothing when they arrived. America caught up with the Queen and created a strong empire with a fraction of the history on the backs of blacks who worked without wages for most of that short history. That stretch of time with profit margins longer than Appalachian trail made America the strong force it is today. My people, our people, built this country, but we can never see this effort as long as we are trapped inside blinded by America's borders.

My time here in London has carved a new identity for me and offered me a new mirror to view myself. Before I was made to believe that I was a color or a descent, but now I realize how American I am and how much all of us are entitled to that massive piece of land. This entitlement has given me a spirit of confidence that keeps me focused on you, Black America, for we are the forgotten tribe. While we all cannot free ourselves from the bounds of the United, but disunited States, take this trip with me. When I left America, my community came with me, all of you did. So until we can all see beyond the borders and limitations that were set for us when our ancestors rocked on ships and landed in America, use the internet and me as your travel guide.

I miss you. I love you.