In this segment of Urban Agenda, I’m in studio with Rekhet Si-Asar, Founder of ‘Ink Black Ink’, and Lesley Anne Brown, Author of ‘Decolonial Daughter: Letters from a Black Woman to her European Son‘. Join us as we explore myriad issues that are a part of living as black women in the world, and our strivings to celebrate ourselves and our sisters!
In Black Ink (IBI) has made it their purpose to make sure the stories of Minnesota’s black communities are heard. With a FUBU (For Us, By Us) mentality, IBI strives to capture the untold stories of African heritage Minnesotans by creating and publishing a database of black writers, editors, illustrators, distribution reps and other publishing.
A Trinidadian-American writer and activist explores motherhood, migration, identity, nationhood and how it relates to land, imprisonment, and genocide for Black and Indigenous peoples. Having moved to Copenhagen, Denmark from Brooklyn over 18 years ago, Brown attempts to contextualise her and her son’s existence in a post-colonial and supposedly post-racial world where the very machine of so-called progress has been premised upon the demise of her lineage. Through these letters, Brown writes the past into the present – penned from the country that has been declared “The Happiest Place in the World” – creating a vision that is a necessary alternative to the dystopian one currently being bought and sold.
“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!
They want me to remember. They want me to remember their memories, but I keep on remembering mine.
— Lucille Clifton.
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!