I didn’t mean to. I went to the grocery store to buy spring mix salad (they didn’t have it) and Colavita Olive Oil (they had it) and a tupperware so I can take said salad to work and continue my diet reawakening.
And as I passed the long rows of cheap, surplus oranges and apples, the burst of pink and yellow Easter flower arrangements for sale caught my eye.
I didn’t bother. I don’t own a vase. And flowers in my house wouldn’t last very long and I’d never be home to enjoy them (flowers at work would just seem ostentatious).
But behind the display, sat a sad little bookshelf covered in green things. Unremarkable, potted, green things. I didn’t even know what kind they were.
On the left hand side, waiting quietly with a singed leaf, sat my plant.
It was love at first sight.
Seriously. I feel some kinda way about my little plant. She makes my heart feel big. And I know if I feel this strongly about a plant, then if I ever have children, woe on that which threatens them!
“Over time I have become comfortably numb; purposely dumb. I have been programmed to move on command, to long for animated fairy tales that resemble nothing familiar to my experiences. I think I’ve always lived in my head, more than out here in the ‘real’ world. It’s been the lab where much of my anxiety was first created (what to think, how to think, what to believe, what to be happy about, waht to be sad about, what is appropriate what is not accepted by the ground, how to speak, what is proper, how to love, how to dream and so forth). Yet and still, (one of my grand mama’s terms) I am a bundle of light energy looking out of myself from the top hovering over myself with the compassion of a good mother for a child learning a thing for the first time. This is where it gets good. I have somehow managed to stay woke even in the warm womb of complacency…”
Erykah Badu, “Liner Notes,” New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh (2010)
Rapsody: My first encounter, that I can remember, where I saw Hip-Hop and I was like, “Wow”… was MC Lyte’s “Georgie Porgie” video because it was, “a female is doing this?” And she was a Black female, and it was poetic. After her, you know, Lauryn Hill and Queen Latifah. And I like Lil’ Kim, but I was more on the Lauryn Hills and MC Lytes because they positioned themselves in Hip-Hop visually as something else, as being strong without taking off the clothes, and they were smart and witty with their words. From then, I always knew it was something that I wanted to do.
Treva: Interesting. How important is it for you to identify as a female artist? Do you frame yourself as an MC, as a female MC, or is it something that fluctuates depending on who you’re in conversation with?
Rapsody: It’s real important to me because lately I’ve heard a lot of males saying, “I’ve never dug female MCs like that, I don’t really like them, but you, you’re alright.” And I’m like, “What do you mean you never listened to female emcees? You’re not gonna sit here and tell me you didn’t bump Lauryn Hill and MC Lyte. That’s a lie.”
or, “Paula Giddings and Ida B. Wells Throw Down” –>
“…and I said its because there is an interest, no, there is a need on the part of students, on the part of others, to understand the world. Who we are, and how we got here, and you NEED to know more than what is provided in the traditional canon to answer the question.”
“”I am not tragically colored. There is no great sorrow dammed up in my soul, nor lurking behind my eyes. I do not mind at all. I do not belong to the sobbing school of Negrohood who hold that nature somehow has given them a lowdown dirty deal and whose feelings are all hurt about it. Even in the helter-skelter skirmish that is my life, I have seen that the world is to the strong regardless of a little pigmentation more or less. No, I do not weep at the world—I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.”
“Only the BLACK WOMAN can say “when and where I enter, in the quiet, undisputed dignity of my womanhood, without violence and without suing or special patronage, then and there the whole Negro race enters with me.” Is it not evident then that as individual workers for this race we must address ourselves with no half-hearted zeal to this feature of our mission. The need is felt and must be recognized by all.”
“O, ye daughters of Africa! what have ye done to immortalize your names beyond the grave? What examples have ye set before the rising generation? What foundation have ye laid for generation yet unborn? where are our union and love? and where is our sympathy, that weeps at another’s wo, and hides the faults we see? And our daughters, where are they? blushing in innocence and virtue? And our sons, do they bid fair to become crowns of glory to our hoary heads? Where is the parent who is conscious of having faithfully discharged his duty, and at the last awful day of account, shall be able to say, here, Lord, is thy poor, unworthy servant…”
“When the poet Jean Toomer walked through the South in the early twenties, he discovered a curious thing: Black women whose spirituality was so intense, so deep, so unconscious, that they were themselves unaware of the richness they held. They stumbled blindly through their lives: creatures so abused and mutilated in body, so dimmed and confused by pain, that they considered themselves unworthy even of hope. In the selfless abstractions their bodies became to the men who used them, they became more than “sexual objects,” more even than mere women: they became Saints. Instead of being perceived as whole persons, their bodies became shrines: what was thought to be their minds became temples suitable for worship. These crazy “Saints” stared out at the world, wildly, like lunatics-or quietly, like suicides; and the “God” that was in their gaze was as mute as a great stone….”