I wonder when people look at me what do they see? Do they see my spirit? Can you see who I am as a person? All that I’ve worked for? All that I’ve accomplished? I wonder what people see when they look at my parents, my brother, my friends? All my life I’ve been black, I’ve never found any shame in being proud of who I am, where I come from, and the majesty that is the center of my identity. I’ve loved blackness, black people, black culture with no shame in sight, so much so that it even offended others, and surprisingly most of those people were black, lol. At the age of 22, I ripped off my mask and stopped the exhausting task of policing myself, I finally began to let myself breathe, and I saw myself in every other black person I came in contact with, even those I didn’t know or may not have agreed with. I started my journey to loving myself and by extension it gave me the strength and courage to love other people that looked like me and experienced what I did.
But I still wondered what people saw when they looked at me? Did they know I had multiple degrees? Did they know I had a little brother that looked up to me? Did they know I was my mother’s greatest accomplishment? Did they know I was cultivating the black girl magic in a young girl named Avery? Did they know I wrote poems? Did they know I loved to read? Did they know I hugged people I didn’t even know when I could see they were upset? Did they know I collected vintage records and loved jazz? Did they know I had loss someone? Did they know I washed my hair in sections because there was so much of it? Did they know how hard I worked to love who I am and that standing in my truth became my hobby? Could they see that I’ve loved so hard up until this point that it nearly ripped me apart? Did they know my friends looked to me to boost their spirits with my overzealous compliments? Did they know I was somebody’s somebody? All the things that truly made me human, did people actually see that?
The officer that murdered Terence Crutcher out of fright described him as this “big bad dude”. She didn’t even stop to think that his sister, Tiffany, his children, his mother were at home waiting for him to tell them what he had learned in school that day. She wrote him off as this “big bad dude” who had no one, no place to go, nothing to lose, just some sort of problem looking to be exterminated, a stain on American society needing to be rubbed out. But not a father, not a brother, not a friend… So easily when looking at the lives of black people, many instantly lack the compassion, empathy or humanity to see us as someone having a home. There is more humanity for a flag or a pile of words than a black life. My dad is 6’3”, dark skin, a little over 200lbs, and could easily fit the description of somebody’s narrative of a ‘big bad dude’. But my father has two jobs, brothers who call him, gives out home remedies at work, falls asleep anywhere from working so hard, loves to read in his car, and picks up my phone call on the second ring. And even if he did none of those things, somebody would still love and be waiting somewhere for him. Keith Lamont Scott was waiting for his son to come home from school while reading in his car. When I look at Keith Lamont Scott, when I look at Terrence Crutcher or my dad, I see a father, somebody’s somebody.
Getting older, I've begun to realize that many people lack the capacity (and even refuse) to see the humanity in black lives, but no matter who we are somebody somewhere loves us, even if the majority doesn’t. As a black woman, I have to keep yelling, I have to keep speaking, I have to be a voice for someone because nobody is listening. There is so much diversity and depth to the black identity, it’s impossible to fit into just one narrative, especially a narrative that’s been lying on you since you were brought here, and yet that’s the only story people keep sitting down to listen to. Looking at me you wouldn’t know I was Muslim? You wouldn’t know my mother calls me every other day, or that my best friends send me ridiculous things to make me laugh? I’m so tired of trying to explain to people that black lives are people too, we love too, we hurt too, and we matter. So I took it upon myself to write all over a vintage jean jacket, all the characteristics that not only make me human, but black and describe who I am as a person to give people a better look at what they can’t see. This is a statement piece in more ways than one. I am someone’s, I am a daughter, I am valued, I am a sister, I am a friend, I am a niece, I am a scholar, I am loved, I matter. I’ve taken a stand all my life. This jacket is just a physical affirmation of my humanity, so even if you don’t realize it, I do and I am very real. I am loud, I am black, I am woman, I am unapologetic, I am revolutionary, I am magic, I am emotional, I am feeling, I am tired, and I AM HERE. I am somebody's somebody…
Know that you are loved and valued <3
Thank you for reading, until next time,
Jean Jacket/Thrifted Bodysuit/Zara Jeans/Zara Boots/EgoOfficial Glasses/TopShop