Is African American Literature a Thing of the Past?

Dr. Kenneth Warren, a Professor of English at University of Chicago, seems to think so. His recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education “Does African American Literature Exist?” and excerpted from his recent book, What Was African Literature? suggests that Black literature is dead.  You can read the essay here.

For those of us who actually write literature and who are African American, Dr. Warren seems to be “a mite too previous,” to paraphrase Zora Neale Hurston.  We consider what we do to be a thriving cultural practice. But if you read the comments section after Warren’s essay, there are some folks out there who think we need to pull out our CD of Mahalia Jackson’s Greatest Hits,  put “Precious Lord” on a continual loop on the stereo, and call up our relatives to start getting the funeral casseroles together.

I read Warren’s essay, which, admittedly, made me furious. I wrote a long response in the “comments” section under the article. If you scroll down, you can read what I wrote, but here’s an excerpt:

African American literature is not solely about the engagement with Jim Crow, slavery, and the concept of race– but let’s take Professor W’s premise and parse it out: are there not still discriminatory practices against the Black community in effect?–The recent mortgage crisis comes to mind. Do we not still have de facto segregation in most of our schools, communities, churches? Thus, there are still “Jim Crow” issues in effect, although as someone once said, those are now “Mr. J. Crow, Esq.” issues.

But a Facebook friend (a famous one) suggested that I write a more formal response to Dr. Warren, and I am mulling that over, because I think we Black creative writers–who have no problem being Black–need to start talking about these issues in public and in essay form– instead of only talking about it with out Black peers when no White folks are listening, because we are scared to death of the professional consequences.

And by the way, talking on the corner with RayRay and Pookie and them isn’t exactly a critical response to these issues, either. Those Brothers haven’t published books yet, though they might have some brilliant analysis of the last Iceberg Slim novel they read thirty years ago.

I’m not saying an issue only becomes relevant when White folks know about it, but I am saying, sometimes naming an issue in the (integrated) public square is a freeing thing.  And also, we Black creative writers can’t just all be cowards and wait for Toni Morrison to write a brilliant sequel to Playing in the Dark. She can’t do all our work for us, okay?

Certainly, I’m American and (most times) proud of it. But my Black community within that American community is very important to me. The serious reason for that is because I want to honor the struggles of my ancestors.

The not so serious reason–but equally as important–is that I like going to something called “a party” and have there be actual dancing going on with a DJ playing Parliament Funkadelic and not just folks standing around talking about Derrida or some such, drinking Chardonnay and breaking off pieces of Brie–sometimes with unwashed, bare hands but that’s another cultural issue I won’t discuss here–from the plate on the refreshments table.

Anyway, the issue of “race and writing” is a pressing issue for me these days, because as I said in my last blog post, I’m tired of being called a “race writer.” I don’t mind being a “Race Woman” (notice the capital letters?) because that’s something I choose for myself. It was not thrust upon me.

Being African American is another thing I choose for myself, with joy and absolutely no trepidation, but now after all this time–of first being Negro, then Colored, then Negro again, then Afro-American, then Black, and now African American and/or Black–I’m told that what I choose to call myself is an outdated term. And the literature I write is now defunct.

For someone like me, who reveres the work of Zora Neale Hurston and who considers herself Hurston’s literary descendant, these are some strange times. These days, I keep waiting in the Fields for word from The Big House to tell me how it feels to be colored me.(Here’s Hurston’s original, wonderful take on that issue.)

But tell me what you think. Leave some polite comments below and let me know how you feel about this issue. Y’all know how I am about cussing in public–behind closed doors is a different story–so please keep it clean. And keep it civil, too, please.

Small Protest for the Day

I have decided that, after thirty-seven
years of writing (since I was six years old)
and fourteen years of being
.
a professional writer, I would finally
say something that’s been
on my mind for a really,
.
really long time:
I don’t write about “race.”
I don’t consider myself–nor should you–
.
a “race” poet
or fiction writer
or non-fiction writer.
.
Over the years, I’ve lied
and said I wrote about “race”
because if you are Black

and more than two Black people
(with names) gather together
–as in the slave riot rule–

in your work, (most)
White writers or critics will decide
for themselves that you
.
are writing about “race.”
And if you say, “No, I’m not doing that,”
you will be called “unrealistic”
.
or a “troublemaker” or both.
And now let me say that “you”
is “me” and I’ve got to make a living,
.
especially during Black History Month.
So I just don’t object to being
a “race writer.”

.
“Race” is a concept going back 300 years.
I am not a concept.
I am obviously (I hope) a human being.
.
I ate breakfast this morning:
one piece of buttered toast,
a half cup of blueberries,
.
and a large half-decaf soy latte.
When White folks write
about their families and their communities
.
and their minds and their bodies,
they also write about their lives,
which for some reason are far more

.

compelling to White writers and critics
than other (Non-White) people’s lives.
(Why is that?)
.
Nobody ever says that is “race” writing.
Nor should they.
White folks are obviously (I hope)
.
human beings, too.
I’m not asking
that we now call White folks
.
writing about other White folks
“race” writing.
I’m simply asking–okay, sort of demanding
.
that it be acknowledged that I am not
writing about  “race,” either.
What I occupy is the state of being a person
.
in my own unique body
which is a fine caramel brown
in the wintertime
.
and a fine mahogany brown
in the summer.
And what I do is write
.
about my family
and my community
and my mind
.
and my woman’s body.
And there just happen–well, they didn’t
just happen–to have been some
.
jacked up political policies and/or
violent physical actions
perpetrated against
.
my family,
my community,
my mind,
.
and my woman’s body.
That’s not about “race” to me.
That’s about my [insert expletive adjective]
.
life.
Now that I finally said all that,
I feel so relieved,
.
even though I probably
won’t be getting
paid anymore
.
during February.
Thanks for listening.

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Happy Birthday, Audre Lorde

And thank you–AGAIN– to friend and poet Sharan Strange for reminding me about Audre Lorde’s birthday, too!

Yes, my mind has been bad all this week, y’all.  If it wasn’t for Facebook today, I would be forgetting important Sisters left and right and that would be unforgivable of me.

Ok, so now that I have remembered, I need you to listen to something.

Listen.

Are you listening?

I don’t know know any other way to say it: the poetry and prose of Audre Lorde have literally saved my life and my mind since I was twenty-one years old. Her essays “Poetry is Not a Luxury” and “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House” break it down.

Let me say that again: Saved. My. Life.

What I just wrote is no exaggeration. I want that to marinate with y’all all day long. So send a prayer for Sister Audre’s beautiful spirit as she fellowships with the Ancestors up in Heaven. She remains a truly great woman on this side of Heaven, even after her transition years ago. I love her so much, and I never even met her.

I don’t want to violate copyright laws, so here is a link to one of my absolutely favorite poems by Audre Lorde, “From the House of Yemanya” on the Poetry Foundation website. They paid for the poem, and so I want to give them their due.

And if you are a Black woman, and need your life saving today, or any other day, and you need your Black woman’s life–your very existence–affirmed as I did, order this book off Amazon.

Sisters, if you have not read this book, I need to say that it will fill your needs as strongly as scripture. Y’all know how much I love the sacred, so I promise you. This woman was sent to us for a reason.

Happy 80th Birthday, Professor Toni Morrison

Thank you to my good, good friend Crystal Wilkinson for reminding me (on Facebook) that today is Toni  Morrison’s 80th birthday.

That’s La Morrison on the right, when she had a different name and when she was young–but I can’t say “when” she was beautiful, because she’s still a very pretty lady. Clearly, Certified Dime Piece Black Library Girls just get better with age.  I hope all the men (and women, because this is, after all, the 20th Century) out there are taking note of how fabulously Sisters hold up over the years.

I know. We are so super-bad, aren’t we? We just can’t help it, and even if we could, why would we want to?

Below (scroll down) is one of my favorite interviews of Professor Morrison with Charlie Rose (who clearly worships her, as well he should.) This interview took place a few months before she won the Nobel.

And click this link for the announcement in the New York Times about her winning the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Lest we forget, Professor Morrison remains the only African American female to win the Nobel of any kind (for Literature, for Peace, for Science, etc.). There have been haters over the years, but they need to quit. She is not only a genius, but she is unafraid to speak her mind. And she knows her responsibility to the world. I admire her greatly.

And finally, if you have always wanted to give this lady a birthday present but didn’t want to be a stalker, click here to donate to the “Bench by the Road” project that she started through the literary society founded by admirers and named for her.  (Read about the “Bench by the Road” Project here.)

If you are an academic, you can join The Toni Morrison Society as well for only $30 a year (which is seriously inexpensive); it’s a small society,  the conference is every two years, and Professor Morrison attends each conference.

Here’s the video, y’all. Enjoy.

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(A Very Special) Good Sister Watch: Rosalyn Story

Before I go any further, let me say, you’re about to get free swag. I’m not playing with you.

Now that I’ve got your attention, let me keep going. Then, I’ll get back to the free part again.

Rosalyn Story wrote a well-reviewed book, Wading HomeWashington Post, Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, and Essence reviewed this book about a community and family in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It was Story’s third book of prose and her second novel, but apparently, it didn’t sell as well as it should. At all.

I hear y’all saying, “Well, Honorée, if this book was so good, why didn’t it sell? There’s a dead cat on the line somewhere here.”

But you already know Story’s story because it’s an old one.

Remember, Zora Neale Hurston? She was the award-winning author of The Black Woman’s Second Bible, Their Eyes Were Watching God. Well, she died in poverty and her work had to be resurrected by industrious English university professors and Alice Walker.

And then there are all those good Black films that didn’t even get nominated for Oscars, let alone win, like Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing, Kasi Lemmons’s Eve’s Bayou, and Daughters of the Dust by the genius Julie Dash.

Can I get a “dang” here?

Somehow, it takes the rest of the world fifty to a hundred years to catch up with good Black art. But now, we Black folks have the internet, and guess what? It’s easy to spread information about Black art. If you’ve got a computer and can pay $19.99 a month for internet access, you, too, can be part of a new, self-empowered, and internet-based Black Arts Movement.

But here’s the thing to learn from the previous BAM that took place in 1960s and 70s: We got the power in our hands, y’all. Trust.

But first, we have to free our minds of the attitude that if White folks don’t put us in the paper, we can’t make a decent career in the arts. That’s just not true. The internet is now the extension of the African American grapevine—just like dinner in the church hall after Sunday service, the beauty parlor, and the barber shop.

That doesn’t mean that we can’t and won’t appreciate when White folks put us in the paper, too. Don’t get me wrong, now, because every little bit helps. And I like to see my name in the paper and so does my mama, by the way. But it does mean that we have a long tradition of having our own publicity and news outlets in the Black community, both non-traditional and traditional.

In addition to those three places I mentioned, we had Ebony and Jet magazine, too. Collectively, those five venues were all you needed, back in the day, to get your hustle on.

I’ve been talking about this issue  for a while with a very good friend of mine who wishes to remain anonymous, but suffice it to say, I think we need to be talking more about it with more self-awareness. There are pockets of us who are self-aware about what the positive uses of the internet, but too many of us Black folks only use the internet to keep up with the myriad ways Beyoncé flaunts her glorious butt cheeks in glamorous locales, or to start beefs with people (with ridiculous online aliases) that we’ve never met and never will. More of us Black folks need to start understanding our power to extend the “community” beyond our physical neighborhoods, and how that can be both a good and bad thing.

But for now, it’s all about the good.

So let’s spread the word about this sister’s fabulous, sassy book, and it will be easy for you to do, because until February 28–the end of Black History Month– her book is available from her publisher for free. That’s right. YOU CAN GET THIS SISTER’S NOVEL FOR NO MONEY. I told you at the beginning of this post that you were going to get free swag.

Do I ever lie to y’all? I think you know the answer to that question. So you also know I’m not lying when I say that within ten minutes of finding out this information on Tayari Jone’s Facebook page, I downloaded this book, because y’all know I sure enough love me some free swag.

Here’s what to do.

One, download the book for free by clicking this link right here and support this sister’s publicity of her hardworking art hustle.

And then, two, once you read this book, go on over to the Amazon page for the novel and write her a nice review, when you get the time. (I recently found out that this helps Amazon–and other prestigious venues like The New York Times bestseller list–choose sales ranks, in addition to how many people actually buy the book.)

Then, three, join Good Reads and list it as one of your books, so other (non-Black) people can start reading the book and spreading the word in the circles of their friends.

And finally, four, if you have a blog, write a short piece about the book, and include a link to the book’s Amazon and publisher pages. There are some fabulous Black writers blogs out there–look on the right side of this page and scroll down, and you’ll find links to several of them– but you can start your own, too. In many cases, it’s free to start your own blog.

And keep doing numbers two, three, and (if possible) four for each Black book you read that you think is  good–and that you spent money on– whether it is poetry, fiction, or non-fiction. It sounds simple, and it is–but if every one of us did that for every Black book we read that we liked, we could boost sales, bit by bit. And we could help kick (slowly and to a painful death) that rumor that we Black folks don’t read “real” literature and we don’t support it with our money either.

I’m feeling empowered today, y’all, and I hope you are, too. Let’s get this thing going.

Happy Valentine's Day: The Honorée Playlist

Dear Y’all:

Yesterday was a sad day for me, but today, I am trying to shake that off. And I decided I just wanted to make people feel good today on Valentine’s, whatever their relationship statuses.

If you’re with someone, I want you show that person all the love you have, and accept that love right on back. Take your loved one out on a date, dress up for that date, hold your loved one’s hand, and then, come home and make some seriously good love. And then, eat some chocolate afterward.

If you don’t have anyone this year, well, yes you do: you’ve got yourself. So love yourself. Not just in the spiritual way, but make yourself some dinner. Put on a pretty–or handsome–outfit. And hug yourself and say, “I love you [Fill in your name here.]”

And you know what, you can make some good love with yourself. [And if you don’t know how to make love to yourself, that’s what Cosmopolitan Magazine is for, ok? And that’s all I’m gone say about that, ’cause I’m a lady.] And then, eat some chocolate afterward.

I thought I would celebrate Valentine’s Day with y’all and give you a playlist of seven of my all-time favorite love songs. I hope at least one of these songs will speak to something inside you, whatever your relationship status.

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Lucille Clifton: Still Missed And Always Loved

Lucille Clifton c. 1975, looking cute and serious

Today, February 13, 2011, is the one-year anniversary of Poet Lucille Clifton’s passing. It’s been a tough year, and a lonely year with my grief. I will admit that.

Other people knew the poems and the public persona, and I loved the poems, too, no doubt. But I loved the lady as well and she was my friend; it’s hard to explain to people that “I met her after a great reading” or “I teach her poems” is not the same as a real friendship. And the grief can’t be the same, either.

Sometimes, I’ve been so angry when I’ve mentioned online missing Miss Lucille, only to have a fan of hers say, “Oh, I know what you mean; I miss her, too.” If the fan is an African American, sometimes they refer to her as “Mama Lucille.”

I try to understand that Miss Lucille’s work meant so much to so many, but I gotta say, the narcissistic quality of  these encounters over this past year–the “ok, back to me and my feelings” vibe– burns me up. More than that, these encounters have been emotionally painful.

For example, last September (2010), I read as part of a public memorial for Miss Lucille at the Furious Flower Center at James Madison University. There were seventy-three poets and each of us was given a poem by Miss Lucille to read. Much to my embarrassment, I broke down into sobs onstage before it was my time to read and the poet Kevin Young–also a good friend of Miss Lucille–came on stage to comfort me and help me get myself together. I did get myself together, and gave the reading of the one poem I had been assigned, which was (ironically) about crying.

After the memorial, though, several people came up to me and congratulated me on my “acting skills.” They thought I had staged the whole thing.  One Black lady in particular kept hounding me. (“You’re an actress, right?” Those were her first words to me.) I kept walking away from the woman while she kept trying to get me to admit I was lying about not faking my tears, but she kept coming back to find me. Finally, I had to have some choice words with her to make her leave me alone. I’ll leave it at that.

I was appalled. I couldn’t believe that people would think I was so tacky to fake tears–until I remembered that 99.9% of the folks in that audience only had a relationship with Miss Lucille’s poems and not Miss Lucille the woman. I had been counting on the public memorial to help me get past my grief; I thought I could share what I felt with other Black poets and this would make me feel better, but instead, I ended up feeling embarrassed, misunderstood, and even more alone.

Sidebar: I’m not a blood child of Miss Lucille, who had four daughters and two sons.  Just like “I teach her poems” isn’t the same as “she was my friend,” I am very aware that “she was my friend” is not the same as “she was my mother.” I don’t know how her children feel, and I would never try to say my grief could be the same as theirs, because it can’t be.

No matter what anyone says, a friendship can’t equal being someone’s blood child, someone who shared the same heartbeat and blood inside a mother’s body, and rested in her womb, and then drank her breast milk outside–or, if you are adopted child, being raised by a woman, day in and day out, living in her house, being protected by her, eating the food she prepares for you, and nestling inside the comfort of her unconditional embrace.

Yes, it’s been a very sad year, but I have changed and grown in ways I could never imagine over this year, even in my grief, or perhaps because of it. I am stronger and more fearless.  I’m a woman now, more than ever, and I understand some of what Miss Lucille understood and tried to tell me, though I will never be a mother like she was. What hasn’t changed is my love and devotion of her.

I know it’s time for me to let Miss Lucille rest now, though it’s so hard.  I’ll remember her birthday every year, of course, but in some Native American communities, it is considered wrong to keep calling the names of the dead over and over, lest you disturb them. I don’t know if that’s true, but I know I want her to be happy and at peace.

It’s time for me to be private about my feelings, so I don’t think I will keep talking about them. I know I have to move on, in public at least, but I wanted to celebrate Miss Lucille,  before I stop calling her name in public constantly.

Here is a link to a podcast I did with poets Nikky Finny, Elizabeth Alexander, Lyrae Van Clief Stefanon, Kelly Norman Ellis, and Miss Lucille’s first-born daughter, Sidney Clifton. It was in celebration of Miss Lucille’s birthday, June 27. [When you get to the page, click “Episode 8.]

And below is a video I found of Miss Lucille reading with the Lannan Foundation–a full reading, not just a snippet–and then an interview with the poet Quincy Troupe, who was a good friend of Miss Lucille. I hope you enjoy it. Miss Lucille is looking so pretty in her outfit. She loved very colorful blouses in shades of blue, and loved you to tell her how cute she was looking in them.

The videos take a few seconds to load up, so please be patient. If it doesn’t load for you, click this link to go directly to the site.

Enjoy–and when you watch the video, don’t forget to say, “Miss Lucille, you’re looking pretty cute in that outfit.” She would really, really appreciate that, y’all.

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Black Library Girl Swag Sale!

Hey Y’all, there’s a 50% sale off today for  on the Black Library Girl Coffee Cups on Zazzle.com–but it only lasts for three more hours!

I just found out about the sale, and then I thought, I’ve been asked about the Swag so many times, so every once in a while I will  share the info  on these sales that Zazzle lets me know about–but not too much, because one, I don’t want to get on your nerves, and two, I am not a Full-time Swag Vendor.

(Although you KNOW a good t-shirt sale is coming soon, and I gotta let  you know about that.)

The sale code is FFHSMUGS4YOU and the sale ends at 4pm EST. This sale also applies to all the other coffee cups on Zazzle as well.

Here is the link to the sale.

These coffee cups are fabulous for the  Sassy Brilliant And Cute Women in your life. And by the way, I’m designing more  BLG swag for my Sisters, and for friends of the Black Library Girl who don’t happen to be Black or female, too.  New Swag will be ready in time for my new website launch later in the summer.

So stay tuned, and drink up that coffee.:-)

A Quickie Loving Question

Are you using condoms this morning as you enjoy your quick morning love pick-me-up (when you should be at work right now)?

If you and your partner have not had blood tests, you should be wrapping it right on up!

Trust me, ladies, it feels just as good for us covered up as it does uncovered. And fellas, if you get a little creative dialogue going on, you won’t even notice the difference, either.

Happy National Black HIV/AIDS awareness day, y’all!:-)

Love,

Honorée

Most Black Folks I Know Don't Like Snow–So Click on This

Tuesday was Brother Langston Hughes’s Birthday and the first day of Black History Month–my FAVORITE month of the year.

But I feel like remixing the first line from Hughe’s’ “Mother to Son”: “Well, y’all, I’ll tell you, life for me HAS been a crystal stair–it’s covered in ice and I slipped and fell down on it!”

I was all geared up to go to the AWP Conference, but then, we got a major snow storm on the prairie on Monday night.  I was all ready to go, despite the weather. Yesterday, I spent an hour shoveling off my driveway, only to find out that the roads were declared officially hazardous by the state highway department. So, I had to cancel my plans and not go to AWP.

And I had to admit that although being a Radical Black Feminist is 90% fabulous, the other 10% sucks. So roughly 328 days a year are great. But 37 days a year aren’t– those are the days that I must perform manual labor that I would want a man to do. Only that man is snowed in as well–at his own house. Without me. In his own bed. Without me. You know where this is leading, so let me move on.

Y’all, I was so swole. First, I had all my cute outfits picked out, and I had lost five whole pounds. And I was going to blow dry my hair so everyone could see how long it had grown.  I thought I was going to be able to showcase my Sassy Trifecta and “stunt” at AWP.

Alas, that was not to be the case.

I’ve toyed with the idea of dressing up in my AWP outfits and walking around my house, but I’m afraid that might lead me to some strange mental health places, so I’m just in sweatpants–but I am wearing full make-up as a compromise.

So anyway, here are some sassy links to help you–ok, ME–make it through being snowed in:

Nikky Finney’s new book of poetry Head Off And Split is coming out this week! If you don’t know about this wonderful Sister-poet, you should! Here is her website link so that you can find out about her and her essential work.

Sidebar: One of the reasons I’m so upset about not being at the AWP Conference is that I was supposed to see Miss Nikky read at an off-site reading at Howard University. As we speak, though, my Ace Boon Poet-Friend Tony Medina has called me on Skype on his laptop during Nikky’s reading, put it on full volume and I am listening to Miss Nikky RIGHT NOW!

My good friend Heidi Durrow’s first novel, The Girl Who Fell From The Sky has made The New York Times Bestseller’s List!  I did Heidi’s first interview the month that her book came out, last year.  Here’s the podcast of that interview. And here’s the original review of her book–mind you, this is a first book, so that’s an achievement in and of itself–in The New York Times Book Review.

I’ve done a Guest Edited Poetry Feature on ConnotationsPress.online! I know I shouldn’t blow my own horn– but Toot-Toot and Beep-Beep!:-) All the poets I’ve chosen are wonderful. Some of them you have heard me mention before on this blog, like Randall Horton and Remica L. Bingham, but others are brand new, like Ron Davis, the co-editor of Mythium.

You know that last fall, I set it off by talking about the issues with Black women in the Black poetry community. Well, the fabulous woman’s writers website Vidaweb.org has compiled the gendered numbers of writers published in the most well-known literary magazines in the country–and by “gendered,” I mean, how many women were published and how many men were published in those magazines.

Yes, it will blow your mind. But what will–or should–blow your mind as well is that they because they don’t split those numbers into racial categories, you know that most, if not not, of those women that are published in those magazines are White women. So not only are the numbers of “women” appalling, but the numbers of “women of color” are, well, abysmal.

And finally, Certified Dime Piece Desiree Rogers has taken over the position as CEO of Ebony and Jet Magazines. Y’all will remember that Desiree Rogers is the former Social Secretary of the Obama White House, and left under a sort of cloud. I still don’t understand why, because I just love Desiree. Maybe because she is just unabashed about being beautiful, brilliant, and always dressed in fabulous outfits. Maybe it’s that Desiree is over fifty years old and still looks thirty. She is reportedly a descendant of the Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau of New Orleans, and I believe it y’all, because you gotta know roots to look as good as Desiree does at her age. I love Sisters Who Stunt And Don’t Give a What.

I’m hoping that Desiree can turn Ebony around, because what would Black America be without Ebony? For those of us of a certain age, Ebony, and its younger sibling, Jet were part of our childhood. But both could be tacky as you-know-what, and those of us who grew up with Ebony and Jet knew that as well.

The vintage, completely sexist “Are Black Women Stealing Black Men’s Jobs?” articles in Ebony. The typos and the cheesy layouts–we knew that, too. The pictures of dead people IN THEIR CASKETS in Jet— Lord Have Mercy.

But then there was Ebony Fashion Fair, the fashion show AND the make-up! (Fashion Fair was the first make-up I ever used. The foundation base in the pink compact would not come off all day, y’all.) And the list of Black folks on TV every week in Jet! And the fact that, every week, every one of us thirty million Black folks read the both of these magazines!

The poet Elizabeth Alexander has an essay about these two magazines in her book, The Black Interior. (You can order this book by clicking this link, and if you order it, you will not be sorry. Elizabeth is just as superlative as a prose writer as she is a poet.) In the essay, Elizabeth talks about how these magazines joined us Black folks as a community. It made it possible for us to walk into a room with a complete stranger, and if he or she was Black, we had at least one thing in common. So I surely hope that Desiree saves the Ebony and Jet day.

Ok, I’m off to drink my gazillionith cup of hot tea for the day! I’m pretending that it’s keeping me calm and centered.

Remember to keep the heat on, y’all.