Why I love 📸? Many aren’t aware that I grew up in abject poverty, was a ward of the court, am the eldest of 9 on my mother’s side, motherless and fatherless, survived childhood trauma, homelessness, and late enrollment in school. So, in most cases it’s not difficult to understand why I cherish images so much.
I once had a person violate my trust by deleting images from my cellphone without my knowledge. It hurt because it was not only my personal property, they betrayed my trust with impunity and told me they were doing it for me. I no longer have contact with that very toxic person, yet the symbolism wasn’t isolated. Made me recognize how important it is to protect my heart and sanctity at all costs, and to cherish memories I create.
They never cared enough to ask me why images were so important to me, so it likely wouldn’t have made a difference.
Yet, they’ll never know how I didn’t take school pictures because we were too poor, or how evil my grandmother was about it, ripping the packages up in front of me. How I took my first school picture at 15 and got a camera that same year. How we would visit mama in prison during the holidays and took pictures that mean even more now that her and two of my brothers are gone. And other unspoken truths.
I take so many photos to preserve my visual legacy. Because while the memories are sacred, the images are living proof that I was there. An irreplaceable, visual poem that chronicles one of the many love languages of my life.
Ordered Akara, Nigerian black-eyed pea fritters @upohar_llc today. My first bite was full bodied. I tasted “black licorice” from the fennel coursing throughout. Fennel, coupled with deep fried, vegan goodness, I kept thanking my ancestors. First for activating my DNA. Second for allowing my physiological memory to recall such a delicious cuisine. I almost told myself I didn’t like it, but then I knew better. Yes, ancient Afrikans enjoyed black eyed-peas. No, we ain’t put no damn swine in it lol! Taste-heed. 😍#akara #blackeyedpeas #fennel #fritters #girlrillavintage #theeamazinggrace #nomoreextremitiesandentrails #peppersauce #upohar #vegan
Remember. Life. Before. The boats. My people. We come from someplace. I wrote this for y’all. Full poem video below. Shout out to Gerri McCritty of @pavaagallery for djembe percussion and @napollonia for 🎥! 🖤 #blackallyearround #blackhistory #blackexperience #contemporaryart #firstfriday #pastandpresent
There has never been a time I’ve stopped thinking. I may think more or think less, but I do. I intuit how not to overburden. My nerves. Bones. Eyelids. To think is essential. And most times a powerful privilege. Keeps me alive. Like the heart beat. Thankful to one radical thinker Dr. King. Your contribution is priceless. For complaining when it hurt. For thinking the change. For denting the backbone of a system. For the will. Happy birthday! 🎉
Hey everyone! I am back after taking a short needed break. Last week marked the third year that I have been running this blog! Yay! Happy Anniversary!
Today I return to highlight a few writers I found out about after reading Bilphena Yahwon’s post on Africa Is Done Suffering, “The Writers I Never Learned About.” In this post, Yahwon writes about mainstream literary establishments and education systems lack of inclusion of black women writers in their canons. Her pieces is an addition to a growing critique of these institutions, like Junot Diaz’s “MFA vs. POC” and “We Need Diverse Books Campaign.” Besides listing writers I already knew, she did include ones I did not know as well and wanted to show their work here. The two women and their books I want to feature are Nigerian writers and activists Catherine Acholonu and Molara Ogundipe
Before there were nine, there were three #justthethreeofus. Oh, the lot of life we experienced back then, no one should. My god. We were old before we were ever young. Rest well David! ♥️ #fbf #1985 #younggirlrillas #girlrillavintage
I keep pulling memories from my follicles, little bro. Wish you had left here a little easier. A little softer. Calmer. A bit more peace left behind. A little less dramatic. But shit, it wouldn’t be you. You remind me. You remain, the deepest love I’ve ever known. My brother. Missing you on this day of your death. Shoutout, to my loved ones for showing me today! ♥️
On the eve of your departure, little bro. Post-up In the mirrored halls we’ve spent so much time. Time being #queer #young AND #black lol! I peak over my shoulder, only to see you there. Missing you beyond the 7-letters in #forever. #tribesgiving #belvedere #mybrothersswag #agingmakesmeknowit #magicalspirit
I just came across an article about @wendyshow fainting on live tv the other day. The article went on to say that she hadn’t taken a day off in years and that she was hungry and dehydrated. Neglecting ourselves, traveling here and there, doing “busy work” will not make us more sufficient. Being busy all the time doesn’t equate to success, or being more important, or worthy, or good. It’s killing folks out here. Hope Wendy is alright and listening to divine messages of self care.