I’d like to start off by saying that however, Raven would like to label herself is her right. (I would say her Black ass right, but she don’t want to be labeled as such so I’m gonna go ahead and respect home girl’s wishes.) What is interesting though, (and Crissle pointed this out on my favorite podcast The Read
) is that people want to throw away labels ONLY when they are labels that are devalued in society. (Everybody want to be a nigga but don’t nobody want to be nigga.)
A rich, fine, intelligent billionaire never says, “Oh no, no, no please don’t call me rich, fine or intelligent. I don’t want to be labeled.”
So as I said I’ve got no beef with Raven and her lack of labels. Hell this fool Mike Tirico from ESPN claims to be 100& Italian. (Real tears.) If he wants to live in a delusional cloud of foolishness then by all means I say go on ahead boo. (Though I do hope he realizes that if this was 1815 he wouldn’t be talking about none of this. He would be right next to me in all of chocolate glory trying to pick some cotton, or grow some tobacco, or cultivate some sugar. He wouldn’t have even passed the test to be helping in the big house.) But its 2014….so be Italian if you want to.
What did aggravate me and irritate me is when Raven said, “I’m an American, and that’s a colorless person.”…… 0_O
I’m sorry what?!!!! Ms. Raven, while you were playing Olivia on The Cosby Show(the most successful BLACK sitcom of all time), did you not have a tutor? Perhaps you missed a few lessons. Being American is the opposite of being colorless. Ain’t you learn about how we’re supposedly this melting pot of cultures, people and ideas? Were you not taught that wars were fought , that people have marched and died, have been assassinated, exterminated, interned, removed, violated, lynched ,and on and on because color is labeled as other and other apparently fosters fear and hatred.
I am not a colorless person. Colorlessness evokes erasure and as Viola Davis recent stated after that simple-minded New York Times
article. “You can’t erase ME!.”
I grew up on the South Side of Chicago (Chicago is extremely segregated still, so my neighborhood was predominantly Black.) I went to an all Black elementary school and middle school. Black history month was huge for us, we had Black Santa’s and figurines at Christmas, we had subscriptions to Ebony and Essence. I know the Black national anthem and I know all the colors on the Black American flag and what they stand for. I’m well versed in Black history, I know where my Mama’s people came from(Mississippi) and I also know they came to Chicago during the Great Migration. My mama was ten when MLK was assassinated. She remembered that day, I remember that day through the stories she’s told me. I understand from listening to my elders; my Big Daddy, and my aunts and uncles. I am a fervent reader. I watch a ton of documentaries on Blackness and Black history. I understand the historical significance of Nigger, Negro, African American, Nigga and Black, My dad was Nigerian and he was very ingrained in his culture as well. Blackness raised me, it is in me, I live it and I breathe it. My skin is extremely dark brown. It’s there always visible, ever-present. I can’t remove it, would never want to even if I could. I have been teased and tormented for it. I’ve been praised and sexualized because of it. I can barely find foundation and drawers to match my nude. I can’t contour my face because of it.
So I embrace my labels, because they were earned with my ancestors’ blood and tears and perseverance. My humanity is still being fought for, look to Ferguson or Florida, just flip on the news or walk around any major city.
I am not colorless, I am Black, visible and present. I refuse to be shoved into the background.
I’m an introverted extrovert.
I have dark skin.
I am boisterous.
I am humorous.
I am raunchy and free.
I am a bookwork.
I am a Chicagoan and a Harlemite,
I am more hetro then homo
I am young
I am a woman,
I am a Black woman,
I am a feminist,
I am happy
I am parentless
I am childless
I am curvy
I am Nigerian
and yes I am also an American but certainly not colorless.
xoxoxo Chocolate Girl in the City xoxoxoxox