12 August 2013

{culture} Define Blackness

"To say something or someone is not Black - or is inauthentically Black - is to sell Blackness short."
- Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness?: What it Means to Be Black Now" by Toure'

Sunday morning reading | Fed Beans the Queen.  Check!  Worked out.  Ouch!  But check!  Morning breakfast with grapefruit, toast, scrambled eggs and two Belgium  waffles.  Okay, okay, no check there! Cereal and hot tea.  Check!  A word from the pastor.  Check! Sunday morning reading.  Check!  So far, so great!

So, I'm re-reading a book (eh-hem, because I didn't finish it) that my boyfriend loaned me many, many moons ago called, Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness, by Toure'.  There are so many quotable lines in this book; things I've thought about, discussed among my peers; etc.  This is just one of many that I'm sharing.  Toure' couldn't have said it better in his book, Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness?, "To say something or someone is not Black - or is in-authentically Black - is to sell Blackness short." 

It's funny.  Historically, and in the present day, we have and still do fight for equality for our race.  Great leaders marched, protested, and even fought so that our "differences" would garner the same respect and fair treatment as the next man.  Yet, within our race, we often contribute to this oppression.  What is Blackness?  How should I speak, how should I act, who should I hang around in order to identify with my Blackness?

Don't get me wrong, self-denial and self-hatred do exist but there is a difference in doing things that fall out of the realm of being "Black" yet still having self-love, acceptance, and identity.  Learn, know, and respect the differences.

Leanila Baptiste Photos
How do you define your blackness? What is acceptable?

There are plenty of moments when I've been involved with or heard a conversation of the challenge to one's blackness.  But what exactly does it mean to be, speak, or act Black?  We (black people) often "sell ourselves short" by placing limitations or definitions on what we think it means to be Black.  We can listen to any genre of music; play any sport, coach or even own the team; sky dive (as Toure' did and speaks about in his book); date outside of the race; and do so much more.  Why limit ourselves when black is cool among all facets of life.  

Don't sell yourself short!

Martial Artist | Baltimore, MD

Fashion in DC has grown to be more diverse within Black culture.

Artist at Broccoli City Earth Day Festival | Washington, DC
Music among Black culture is open to many genres.

We are artists, and it's cool!
We can embrace differences in our Blackness and still embrace our Blackness.
Featured, a woman is shown wearing African-inspired attire.
More African-inspired attire
United, we stand!

Least we forget the fight of our ancestors for equality
Embrace your differences. It's what makes you, you!
Black youth skateboarding | Washington, DC

Janelle Monae', singer known for her elaborate upswept hair, black and white tuxedo style attire, and futuristic vocals. 
Leanila Baptiste Photos
capturing colorful moments

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