[Featured image by Melissa Brown Photography]
“If you are silent about your pain they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.”
-Nora Neale Hurtson
What a time to be alive and witness the winds of change that are sweeping through our world at this current moment. It has been a time of mixed emotions and feelings, a time that has left us feeling really high and yet also low all at once. But for me, this time has been particularly a time of holding my breath in great anticipation for the new world that seems to be descending upon us. For me, it is a time that seems to bring great hope; a revolutionary moment that seeks to affirm me as a young black African woman that perhaps there’s a place for me in this world- to breathe, exist and matter in a way that my great grandmothers were not able to.
Countless of changes are taking place in our current social and political sphere that make my heart leap in great joy and I would like to take a moment to just reflect and savour upon them:
It is a time when I as a dark-skinned black woman can finally wake up confidently and look into the mirror without wishing that I could be a few shades lighter because: #MelaninOnFleek. I can walk down the street next to my light skinned friend without being made to feel inferior by our typically colourist society because the world is finally realizing that black really is beautiful and no skin colour is inherently better than the other.
It is a time where women empowerement is taking the forefront and brings with it the hope of raising a new generation of daughters that will be taught new, empowering ways of seeing themselves as women and their value to the world; a new generation of daughters who will know with full conviction that their worth lies within their own selves and never in relation to a man. It is a time that perhaps I as a women will one day be able to boldly take ownership of my own body, thoughts and spirit and be who and how I want to be without the dictates of a patriarchal and misogynistic society that often screams to me what a “real woman” should be. It is a refreshing time where I as a woman I can take possession of my own sexuality and embrace it without fear, shame or guilt. It is a time where as women we are beginning to wake up and realize that there is so much power in women coming together and supporting each other’s dreams, goals and ambitions in a society that has taught us as women to not just hate ourselves as individuals but to also hate and bring down other women.
It is a time where the LGBTQ+ movement is gaining astounding momentum and the world can no longer silence them. The force that they are destroys every closet that society has forced them into and the time is near when there will no longer be any closet for queer individuals to be “coming out” of because their lives will matter equally as that of their heterosexual counterparts. It is a time where as a heteronormative society we are realizing that maybe we’ve got it all wrong- that everything we have been taught and believed needs reevaluation and thorough critique because the ideas we have held on to have caused the sexual and psychological oppression of others.
It is a time where the black feminist movement is taking precedence in conversations and although often taunted, it is making society take a second look on the toxic forms of masculinity that It has cultured under the guise of “gender norms and roles”.
The feminist movement is encouraging men to be vulnerable and speak up. And I foresee a new generation of men who will finally live to be the great kings that we’ve always believed them to be, a new generation of men who will not believe that expressing or showing emotions is a sign of not being manly enough and a new generation of men who will no longer be expected to live up to impossible standards of apparent “masculinity”.
It is a time where white-monopoly capital is being threatened, where people are realizing the injustice of crucial resources being only accesible to individuals based on their class and income bracket, in a world where 20% of the world’s population owns over 80% of the world’s wealth [as cited in WSJ]. Movements such as the #FeesMustFall are crucial in addressing some of our structural inequalities in society that keep black people in a perpetual cycle of debt and poverty; and a time will come when quality education will no longer be a luxury only reserved for the wealthy.
It is a time where every black person is waking up from the white supremacist-induced coma where they had accepted and settled for less because that’s all they had been made to know. But my people are waking up and reclaiming their rightful places as Kings and Queens in a racially oppressive world that has always told them they are destined to be slaves and servants. My black nation is rising and disrupting the very structure that said they would always be at the bottom. It is a time when we as blacks are reclaiming our indigenous identities and relearming our cultures in a Eurocentric world that made us spit in the teachings and practices of our Ancestors because the white man had taught us that they are “primitive”, uncivilized and even barbaric. It is really a time where being black is “so lit” right now, in a world that has always tried to burn us to the ground. But now we are the fire and we will consume anything that seeks to oppress and nillify our existence.
Despite all the positive things that are happening, I cannot speak about social change while being oblivious to the painful price that it comes with. I cannot negate the fact that this time has brought to surface some of the darkest aspects of humanity that we wish were not real but simply a terrible nightmare. But I believe that with every change comes great pain; and this revolution that our world is experiencing is so painfully necessary because we have swept a great deal of the rot of our society under the carpet of “peace and reconciliation”.
“…great violence will possibly erupt as the oppressive system that has sustained itself for many centuries tries to fight for it’s threatened survival…”
However, this is a time that all is revealed. We may feel nauseated at this appaling sight, we may experience anxiety wondering when did things get so bad and perhaps we will fall into great depression, asking ourselves if anything will ever change as great violence will possibly erupt as the oppressive system that has sustained itself for many centuries tries to fight for it’s threatened survival. But things will change, they have to change for as quoted by Ida B. Wells-Barnett, “The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them”; and indeed it is only when things are brought to light and surface that they can be dealt with and a new story can be written. Our society has been hurting for far too long and we are living in a time where we are speaking out about our pain and healing it; and what a time to be alive and see the possibility of living in a world that is different to what we’ve always known.
What a chaotically beautiful sight to see almost every oppressive structure and institution in society tearing up at the seams and exploding from the inside out. What a time to be alive to see people like me who have always been at the bottom of the social hierachical chain gloriously rise to where they have always belonged- at the top, where every human life should be.