Signify! Testify!

Black Progress in the 21st

(Re)Learning a (New) Language …. In Black

“When I hear Black people saying, “Man, nothing’s happening with our people. We’re making no progress. It seems like we’re standing in place”, I think of Moody Greene and the 200-meter dash!

When we were coming up in middle school, Moody Greene was our runner. He had terrible form for the 200-meter, wagging his head back and forth as he ran, a fact that frustrated his coach and fans, that is, until Moody won the race, when the end ultimately justified the means.

As Moody would round the corner, people would shout, “Where’s Moody? I can’t see him! He’s nowhere to be found!” It never failed, though, that as soon as all of the runners were visible on the track, there was our Moody, out front, leading the way to the finish line!

“This”, Mahmoud said, “is analogous to the struggle of Black people in the 21st century, we can’t yet see around the corner, but as soon as we do, we will see our Moody, spearheading the road to our freedom, all the way to the finish line.””

Professor Mahmoud El-Kati, Professor of American History at Macalester College

My mentor, intellectual hero and friend, shared his love of black people in the telling of this story. This is the genesis of ‘Urban Agenda’, a desire to share our history, left for us in literature, art, mythology, story, custom, language and culture by our Ancestors. It is my belief that examination and reflection at the intersection of our history and present will help us to better understand ourselves, each other, and our contributions to the world!

In this post, I share ‘The Hiptionary: A Survey of African American Speech Patterns with A Digest of Key Words and Phrases’. I hope you dig it!

http://www.mahmoudelkati.com/publications/hiptionary.html

They want me to remember. They want me to remember their memories, but I keep on remembering mine.

— Lucille Clifton.

Hey Beauty!

Welcome to your Urban Agenda!

If you’ve ever listened to a segment of ‘Urban Agenda’ you know that we hold space ‘in the village’, a beloved community of our making and remaking, a place where black lives, perspectives and contributions are amplified and celebrated!

“Language can invent anything, so make your own definitions and live as if!” In the wisdom of James Baldwin, words matter. When I say “Beauty”, I mean YOU, the listener/reader/scholar/student/critic. “Fat on That Head” under “Signify! Testify!? My way of sharing information that I hope you will share to inspire others to see Black peoples and cultures through the lens of human-beings rather than through the myths of ‘race’. When I ask, “Can you dig it?” I ask as it is defined in The Hiptionary, 1.”To understand, to comprehend, to be in the know. 2. A signature word in the rise of bebop language. Dig suggests to go deeper into something, to make sure you comprehend. Circa 1930s and 1940s bebop.

One more thing you should know before you decide to read or listen. I love, LOVE, Love, lOVE, LOve, LOVe, LOVE Black peoples and cultures and that is the basis for this work!

Hope you dig it!

Lissa