On Deep Breathing.

poetry

This poem was inspired by Jaden and Willow Smith: their overt displays of alternative blackness, and the negative reaction they received. I remember reading a tweet that said that we’re just not used to seeing “free black children.” That really resonated with me.

We really laughed quickly at Jaden Smith. Like, really quickly. And his sister. We were all like, “No.” And I get why. Cultivating a philosophizing black child is damn near impossible in this world.

A black child that can freely explore their dreams

wrap their aspirations around themselves and others

That exploration of freedom is just not something we’re used to. We have to talk to our children,
hushed voice,
hunched back, teach them how to inhale and exhale as efficiently as possible
teach them the fine art of deference
show them how to make a world out of no world

But these free-form loc’d, septum-pierced kids are making paintings, breathing heavy all over this world

A mind-boggling display.

With the world such as it is, don’t their parents arm them with “please” and “yessir” and “I’m taking out my wallet”? Don’t they line their clothing with bullet-proof acquiescence? How how have they lived so long, breathing deep and singing songs?

using this universe as their playground?

We laughed so quickly
conspicuous derision in the chortle
because we were afraid. being black and free you don’t you don’t see that every day. I think we were overwhelmed with what could be. We were overcome with awe at the prospect of possibility.
Them breathing in deep? that’s possibility in the making.

(2015)

For Reference:

The Issue with the Perceived “Whiteness” of Being an Alternative Black Girl

How Jaden Smith And The #Carefreeblackboy Movement Are Redefining Black Masculinity

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