How Sis??? How? How do you personify, embody, AND exemplify the feeling of the HBCU experience and snatch souls at the same time? As a proud alumna of THEE Florida A&M University, it brought legit tears to my eyes. I had the pleasure of watching the live stream (my boss wanted me to do something for him real quick Monday). It was everythang and everythang it was!
The pure display of culture. HOW? When you are the first African American woman to headline the Coachella performance and you UNAPOLOGETICALLY kill it! We must look beyond the songs. Let’s look beyond Bug-a-boo, Lose my Breath, Partition. Let’s go a step further. For her to illustrate through music the feel-good consciousness of what it means to be black in America given the odds stacked against us?!?! Well she did that! Let us not forget Beyonce used her platform at Super Bowl 50 to make a statement as well.
For so long, African Americans wear the mask. How long has it been “rumored” that once you reach a certain level of success, you have to lose any and everything associated with black culture? And this isn’t just in the entertainment industry. African Americans have taught generations upon generations the art of assimilation just to survive. Discussions are still being held whether the way our hair grows naturally out of our head is appropriate for the workplace. Even when we neatly tame our crown in braids or locks; policies are still being created to remind us that when we are in our natural form, we are still not “good enough”. We are still having conversations about appropriate names for success and our rightful piece of the American Pie.
And no, I am not exempt. My husband drove from Chicago to Atlanta recently and our “see you soon” talk consisted of me telling him to stop in well lit areas, drive not a mile over the speed-limit, make sure phone is fully charged, and to not drive too late at night. I also suggested the outfit in hopes that he not look too urban DWB (driving while black…crossing street while back, retrieving wallet while black, pumping gas while black, asking for directions while black, etc). I will be the first to admit none of these methods were a sure way of him avoiding racism as thee Oprah Winfrey taught us that Shopping While Black transcends all socioeconomic aspects.
So, yes I am here for it! It is beyond refreshing to see someone of her caliber with that platform remind US that WE are enough! This performance was for the culture. And for all of my HBCU alumni, This One’s for You (TM 103: Hustlaz Ambition vibes).