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1 August 2020
Vol. X, No. 9

1 August 2020: Black Voices

Dedicated to The Silenced & Edited by F. Theresa Gillard.

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Three “Doll Studies,” by Karmimadeebora McMillan.

“I am sick of writing this poem/but bring the boy. his new name/his same old body. ordinary, black/dead thing. bring him & we will mourn/until we forget what we are mourning/& isn’t that what being black is about?/not the joy of it, but the feeling/you get when you are looking/at your child, turn your head,/then, poof, no more child./that feeling. that’s black./think: once, a white girl/was kidnapped & that’s the Trojan war./later, up the block, Troy got shot/& that was Tuesday. are we not worthy/of a city of ash? of 1000 ships/launched because we are missed?/always, something deserves to be burned./it’s never the right thing now a days./I demand a war to bring the dead boy back/no matter what his name is this time./I at least demand a song. a song will do just fine./ look at what the lord has made./above Missouri, sweet smoke.

—“not an elegy for Mike Brown,” by Danez Smith

Three “Doll Studies,” by Karminadeebora McMillan.

“Doll Study,” by Karmimadeebora McMillan.

About the artist featured on our August 2020 Home Page: From “The Boston Globe: “A lawn ornament of a frightened black girl and two floppy black-faced rag dolls pop up in many of Karmimadeebora McMillan’s kaleidoscopic landscape paintings. ‘I’m taking these characters out of their Southern mentality of having to be a certain way,’ says McMillan, who grew up in North Carolina. ‘They can be anything they want.’ The characters intimately tie childhood and play to old, entrenched, crippling messages about race, and that powerful blend can be disturbing. ‘People say, “I feel sad looking at it,”’ McMillan says. ‘But I had a really good time making it. [These characters] are moving out of the phase you know into a realm where they can succeed.’ She works like a collage artist, moving colored sticks and cutouts of her figures around her paintings, creating unsettling juxtapositions of sunny tones and dark themes. ‘Darkness is considered a terrible thing,’ McMillan says. ‘I associate darkness with everything I am. Why not make it the most colorful thing you’ve ever seen?’”

About the poet featured abovePoet Danez Smith was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, and received an MFA from the University of Michigan. Smith is the author of Homie (Graywolf Press, 2020), Don’t Call Us Dead (Graywolf Press, 2017), which was short-listed for the National Book Award, and [insert] boy (YesYes Books, 2014), winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry. The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, they are also the winner of a Pushcart Prize and co-host the podcast VS alongside Franny Choi. Smith lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Serena Williams, right, with referee Brian Earley.

Status Quo Minus Amplified

“I Am Not Crazy—Just Black,” By F. Theresa Gillard

BOSTON Massachusetts—(Weekly Hubris)—1 August 2020—I am not crazy—just Black. Now, if that feels or sounds familiar, you are either some-sort-of-Black or all-sorts-of-Black or you have thought this. Listen, there is so much more that defines me as a person than being a Black person. However, I am constantly redirected by how I am perceived, rather than how I present. So, fine. Go right ahead. I mean, you’ll do it anyway, regardless of what I say, do or think. And, because you either consciously do this or unconsciously do it, you miss who I truly am. That really sucks. Just plain sucks. (Read more . . .)

Ground mural depicting Breonna Taylor, Annapolis, Md.

Ground mural depicting Breonna Taylor, Annapolis, Md.

Toward Justice

“Every Physician Should Be Antiracist: A Medical Student’s Call to Action,” By Alex Coston

BOSTON Massachusetts—(Weekly Hubris)—1 August 2020—I want to start with a moment of silence to remember so many who have been stolen from their families and communities as a direct result of rampant white supremacy, anti-Blackness, and police violence: George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, and too many others. George Floyd was murdered on May 25, 2020. Protests began the following day in Minneapolis and have catalyzed a swift wave of righteous anger and rebellion that continues to swell across the nation. (Read more . . .)

From “Visualizing Racism.” (Photo: By Jahi Chikwendiu, Washington Post staff photographer.)

From “Visualizing Racism.” (Photo: Jahi Chikwendiu.)

No Matter How Small the Voice

“(Don’t) Pardon My Tone & Cracked Foundations,” By Dwaina Howson

BOSTON Massachusetts—(Weekly Hubris)—1 August 2020—An unexpected bonus of this current coronavirus quarantine is the increased communication in my friendship circle. I have been sharing some important conversations with my similarly social-distancing friends across the country that have centered around what it means to be a Black woman living in this era. Sharing our frustrations around having to read and reread our draft emails to ensure there is no perceived tone. I am sure you’re asking yourself what makes this so significant. Let me explain. Tone is code for “Angry Black Woman Typing.”  (Read more . . .)

“Creation of the Haitian Flag,” by Ulrick Jean-Pierre

“Creation of the Haitian Flag,” Ulrick Jean-Pierre.

The Drums

“The Chain of Events After the Dance,” By Ricardo J. Josué

BOSTON Massachusetts—(Weekly Hubris)—1 August 2020—As a kid, studying Haitian history made me proud to be born in a country that was such an example of our greatness as Black people. Haiti managed to defeat the French army, one of the most powerful and ruthless armies in history. Our victory was due to Dutty Boukman, a voodoo priest who helped lead the troops and figured out ways to best the French army, whose forces outnumbered them greatly. Boukman guided the Haitian soldiers spiritually and was a great leader. His aura made people respect him, and the opposing military feared him. All of those factors led to the defeat of the French army and Haiti’s eventual independence in 1804.”  (Read more . . .)

“Dompas,” sculpture by Hank Willis Thomas.

“Dompas,” sculpture by Hank Willis Thomas.

Monarca Fai

“Sick & Tired,” By Clarence Morse, Jr.

ANDOVER Massachusetts—(Weekly Hubris)—1 August 2020“Got a foot in my chest,/Call it life’s rude awakening,/I ain’t a kid no more,/Can’t just thrash bout and call folk out,/That’s just the type of stuff that gets me tossed out,/Concrete jungle gon swallow me up,/And maybe there,/My light might shine through,/Till then,/I’m sick and tired of being tired,/I’m sick and tired of looking stupid,/I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired,/That’s just not me.” (Read more . . .)

Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X.

Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X.

Our Kaïros

“Bewildered & Black,” By Shirelle Pearson

LONG ISLAND New York—(Weekly Hubris)—1 August 2020—I am Black, female and middle-aged―a poignant trifecta, particularly in these unprecedented times. I was both honored and terrified when invited to write an Op Ed piece about how I was feeling during this pandemic and social injustice unrest mishegoss. I spend a lot of time thinking about the meaning of life—how to live my best one and help other people along my journey to fulfilling my life’s purpose—and not much on social media platforms, with the exception of LinkedIn. I am an active spectator who watches while other brave hearts speak their truth and get their asses handed back to them by the population at large. (Read more . . .)

Color Not Recognized

Color Not Recognized.

Color Not Recognized

“Color Not Recognized,” By Khris Robinson

BOSTON Massachusetts(Weekly Hubris)—1 August 2020—“As we patter/Using our voices and media to try and save future lives/Digging in our past as a drive to survive/The repetitive waves without usage of guns and knives/As they arrive/Keeping us deprived, as we try to strive/In an economy on the rise/With inserted obstacles/To hold us back/From the people meant to keep us safe and on track.”  (Read more . . .)

Commuters riding the escalators during the evening commute at a T station in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (Photo: Cassandra Zampini.)

Commuters during the evening commute at a T station in Cambridge.

Don’t You Know

“Whom Do You See When You Look at Me?” By Dr. Tanya Wright

BOSTON Massachusetts—(Weekly Hubris)—1 August 2020—Whom do you see when you see me rushing to catch the T? If you do not know, let me tell you: I am a proud, highly educated Black woman who grew up in the South and, though I was called a “nappy-headed nigger” at a summer camp, I did not let this deter or hinder me from graduating at the top of my class. I am a proud, highly educated Black woman who attended a historically Black college for my undergraduate studies, graduated summa cum laude, and was inducted as a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. I graduated from a historically Black dental school and was inducted as a member of the dental honor society, Omicron Kappa Upsilon. (Read more . . .)

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