I have listened and read our responses to the murder of Nipsey Hussel - rapper, father, brother, husband, son, friend, a leader in the community, gang member, entrepreneur, hustler, protector….and the list goes on for the many adjectives we can use to describe this man. However, I see him as a Black man, human, flesh and blood…vulnerable. He is my brother, he is an extension of me. However, as we go out into the world our lives become entangled with other’s; our morals, standards, beliefs, happiness, hurts, fears, and pain, just to name a few become entangled with everyone else’s. We try to align ourselves up with everyone else, but sometimes it just doesn’t jive. Even when we share some of the same life experiences it doesn’t mean that we will make the same choices. Nipsey chose to elevate himself and his community, he chose to educate and feed the minds of his community into thinking, no, into KNOWING they were greater than their environment. He showed them through his ACTIONS that anything was possible, that determination and a desire for better could get them anywhere, and he did not leave them when he easily could have, he stayed to help bring them with him, he stayed to be a light to his community and to show them the way to a better life, he never abandon them. Some would say that this is what got him assassinated, victim blaming – I say that outright jealousy got him assassinated. I would say that cowardice got him assassinated, I would say that entitlement got him assassinated, I would say weakness got him assassinated…the perpetrator was a coward, he was jealous, he felt entitled to something he wanted to be GIVEN, and he was weak.
“I want to be with you, but I want you to relax your hair”
I have heard and saw discussions about Black men that dislike Black women’s natural hair…you know the hair that grows from our scalp…like theirs. We are the mirror image of Black men and we accept them in their natural state, so why is it a problem for us to rock our hair in its natural state? Hell why the fuck is this still an issue? I’m beautiful and even White men love my natural hair…so why did it bother me so damn much? This man told me that he doubt if his dick would get hard because of my HAIR!!!! My hair y’all!!! What the PHUCK!! When I met this man about 20 years ago, he was just starting his locs, and we know that for the most part, that is not a cute look, but hey, I found him attractive and he had a nice body. We started working out together, he actually got me started working out, and we dated off and on for years. His locs got longer and longer, and I thought they were beautiful, he was beautiful…and I loved the way they smelled (I can smell them now….ahhhhh) he kept them very neat and clean. I used to breathe this man. Anyway, fast forward some years we went our separate ways because of some other bullshit with him, but I won’t get into that, he reaches out to me and tells me he has a surprise for me and to check my phone. I check my phone, and I see the beautiful white straight teeth I’d also found to be so sexy, gleaming behind sexy lips I knew so well….mmmmmm, but on the face of a bald-headed man…well not quite bald headed, but a low haircut. My heart hit the floor, my eyes watered, and I could barely breathe…what the fuck happened to my Black, long loc’d jesus?!!! I was heartbroken…but I got over it…he said he needed to cut them as they were preventing him from getting a decent job…I could respect that. I accepted it and moved forward…he was still the attractive man I was crazy about and I was still physically attracted to him. So that is the backstory. I am angry because this man who now has a receding hairline and couldn’t grow the same looking locs if he wanted to, he dare to tell me my hair is sexually unappealing? He also finds dark skinned women like Lupita Nyong’o unattractive and nappy headed…when he said this, my mouth dropped. How did I not see this 20 years ago?
“Bend as much as you need, even til your nose touches the floor, keep bending, but don’t break.” Someone said this, and I readily agreed with it, after all, I was always told to never break no matter how bad things get, don’t break. That statement has played in my head over and over again, to the point it started to nag at me. Why not break? If you’ve done all you can do to stand under the pressures of life and the only relief you can get is to break, then why not? If you are constantly bending or straining to stay strong can that not eventually ‘kill you’, after all they say that “stress kills”. So why not break? If one breaks, is that not the same as just letting go? I guess it depends on how you want to look at it.
If a bone breaks, it will often heal on its own…yea look it up. The break may take 3 weeks, 6 weeks, or even 10 weeks or more to heal – the point is, most of the time, it does heal normally. Bending, but never breaking will never give you the opportunity to start healing, or for that matter, stand straight…it only allows you to keep taking on more and more stress. Someone will say, well Phoenix, not all breaks heal, and that I will say is partially true. All breaks do not heal in a way that you will be the same…sometimes you are never the same after a break, but is that necessarily a bad thing? I guess if you break a leg and you were a runner, then maybe a break that does not heal “correctly” could be a bad thing…right? Or if you break your arm and the healing causes you to lose a baseball scholarship, that can be seen as a bad break…literally. However, it is still a matter of perspective. In life, when you trust that all things happen for a reason, or all things happen for the good of the world, then it may stand to reason a break was meant to happen or was needed to happen to make a difference on a larger scale. That break may have been needed to prepare you to help someone else…to increase your compassion for others that are going through difficult times…to put you on a path to finally see your hopes, dreams, or goals manifest. How do we fulfill our destiny? Life can take us off course because shit happens that distract us, and we completely get off course, so what puts us back on course? Sometimes it can be as simple as someone checking you on how fucked up you’ve allowed your life to become and you have a moment of clarity in that moment and it puts you back on path. But, sometimes you are so far off the path that it takes a lot of struggle, disappointments, and betrayals to finally cause you to break. In that break, you finally come face to face with who you are and what you have become. In that break, you must decide where did it all go wrong. In that break, you must decide if you’re going to get up, go through the pain of seeing ALL that you are, find acceptance in your weaknesses and pride in your strengths, and decide to heal.
As you heal, you test how much you can endure at each stage of the healing process. It will be slow at first, but little by little you become stronger, yet cautious. You try to ensure that you don’t “break” again. Healing from a break causes you to focus…become more attentive to the decisions that you make. You have put yourself in a position to start fresh. It may not be easy at first, and it may seem like you made the worse decision to “break”, but if you TRUST the process Sis, lean on friends and loved ones when you need to, it’ll always work out the way it is supposed to. We are not here for ourselves, we are here for each other and the more we understand that, the better we all are. So, you can choose to bend and stay under the stresses of life, even to the point where your nose touches the floor under the pressure, or you can just LET GO, and break…believing that no matter what - you will heal, self-correct, and be back on course.
Read the extension of our podcast as hosts, Charli, Kay and Phoenix write about issues concerning woc simply because when you know better, you'd do better. Do better, sis.