Underneath the rich beauty and culture that is Louisiana lies the bitter truth that nothing is ever this beautifully black without its foundation being rooted in pain. A metaphysical hurt. Its everywhere but society tells us its nowhere. Black president "what more do you want." Its not good enough. Our lives are still worth less to you then a crate of watermelons. A stereotype with roots few know. Our culture we fight for and the world capitalizes off of. Its what survived even if only in bits and parts when some of us did not. Three days here, this city illuminates me. Its feels like home.
Try as I might tho to only see Its beauty, I see all else as well. I see the buildings withered with water damage from a storm that showed us that when you are black, help comes last. I see how white people travel from all over the world to visit here, let its allure cloak them in all that it has, yet they look me up and down in an elevator of a hotel designed for the rich, and they ask me if I'm sure I am actually staying here. Because as usual, blackness and its breathtaking appeal is good enough in aesthetics but not in human form. Because as usual we exist in a state of diaspora where we feel rejection and estrangement in a place, in a country with which we built but dont come from. We dont belong to what our hands engraved. This isnt home. We are lost.
We now belong to the waves of the sea. The deep dark void of sandy bottomless ocean. We belong to the rivers that we were told not to ever learn to wade through so we couldnt swim to freedom. Water we can't drink unless it says "colored". Water we do drink that makes us sick. Flint. We belong to the wind as we swung from trees. Strange fruit. Blood on the leaves, blood on the root. Clutchin at the ropes around our necks, we became the middle passage. Space between homeland and colonization. Between connectivity and mistreatment. We are what survived.
If you listen hard you can hear the screams of our ancestors and their songs of triumph as well. We are the children you tried to stomp out. The offspring of ghost screams. I ride in the back of a bus. Leaving a plantation. My heart felt heavy booking the tour. I woke up wanting to cancel. White visitors sip fruity alcoholic drinks, they came to see a pretty house and gorgeous landscape. Here to pretend they are in a film called Pride & Prejudice. Here to learn of the house's owner and his abundance. I came to learn as well but for a different reason. Black boy in server clothes greets me. Too realistic.
I am the only black person on this tour. I came to feel connection. I want to understand how we survive. How we went from slavery to the belief that we were free only to become 'strange fruit', only for slavery to become our identity when our stories started long before. Only to become stuck in systems of pipelines to mass incarceration and police brutality. Only for slavery to now go by a different name. And to bind us in chains to capatalism, prisons, and abuse. To bind us even in the hatred of our own people. Our oppression evolved as our fight against it grew strong. We are a force. I walked away from the group. Take it all in alone, slaves huts on the land. I'm trying to understand how we are still here. The air in the hut has a chill which ran down my spine in the middle of summer.
How I am still here? Brown skin, nappy haired girl how did we ever survive it all? How did anything survive? How rich our culture is as we look at it through broken glass, we are the shards. Black girls, women, hips abundant to carry life, we birthed our people, we kept the central heart of Africa beating in a new place long after we left its soil. We carried it in our wombs to a place called "The Land Of The Free" a land which comes at a price to anyone not white. An expense we can't afford. Black and indigenous people still paying for using their bodies instead of blood money. Still so much struggle but we gon make it, we gon be alright my people. Don't give up. Let our ghosts guide you, hold on. We are the revolution, fists in their air, Black Lives Matter we scream. Never stop. Don't we dare never forget who we are or what we can do. Survival has always been the largest weapon we have. Resilience our armor. They can break our bodies but not our spirits. I learned a lot today, I felt more. I'll carry this with me in my heart for the times I need a monumental example of strength and how far my people have come. I'll keep it there.