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WTF IS GOING ON? 

ERICK S. GRAY

What the “Eff” is going on with our identity, our portrait? Our existence is becoming threatened because of the hate they give. Don’t let the world believe that your dark skin is a sin. For us, the Black man, and the Black woman, need to go from survival mode to development role. We need to teach one, each one, with everything going on in the world today. From systemic racism and COVID-19 cases and deaths being disproportionately higher in communities with larger Black populations, we need to continue to educate and love ourselves no matter what. We need to keep pushing, thriving and cultivating—building communities stronger and thicker than the earth’s core and becoming a voice so loud, indistinguishable to the sound of thunder.

 

They keep saying the justice system is broken. For something to be broken, it had to be working correctly in the first place. The system isn’t broken; it was designed to work the way it is—to work against black people, cripple, imprison, and deprive black folks of their rights, and adhered communities to the status quo of poverty and perpetual injustice. Since James Town, Virginia, 1619, this country has been designed to enslave, rape, hate, and exploit our people. They wanted to break us and hate us. But when the world wants to see the worse in us, let us continue to show them the best in us.

What the “Eff” is going on when black women choose to bleach their skin to look lighter or whiter, thinking lighter is better or prettier, forsaken their chestnut texture believing their skin is a curse and a sin. To my sisters, I say this, continue to love yourself. Continue to be the backbone of society, love thy skin the Lord has blessed you with, and wear it proudly like you’re a warm, sunny day. Because who doesn’t love a warm, sunny day? No matter how dark or light, your skin is not an offense to you, so wear it around proudly and become a beacon so bright, you’re hard to miss, glistering with expectations and wonderfulness. Glorify your blackness. Shout out, “I love it!” Because I do. We all do. 

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I love your blackness in all shades, from light skin to dark skin. Black! Black! Black! We all should relish it. I do! It’s me. I love it! And I make no apologies for it. I’m a black man, and I’m a black man without apology. I’m dripping dark with culture and intelligence. I’m proud to be what I was meant to be. Black! Black is oil; Black is coal; Black is our earth’s natural resources; think about it, every country drills for that black gold and mine for that rich coal. Why? Because we all need black to live. Black is power, and Black is unity. Black is highways and roads that pave the way. And yes, being black can be a struggle, and it isn’t easy, but our trials and tribulations will only make us stronger. To those that want to discredit their blackness and hate black, I ask why? Because Black is beautiful. Black is history, black it’s our culture, and it’s not a fashion trend. Black is us, being proud of the skin you’re in and being unapologetic about it...no matter what! If you’re black and unapologetic about it, shout out 100 or say amen!So, what the “Eff” is going on, I’ll tell you what’s going on, being black is to love yourself, no matter what.

BLACK LIVES MATTER ALWAYS

What the Eff is going on, when, We SCREAM out Black Lives Matter, and they want to contest it with All Lives Matter. If All Lives Matter, then where's the justice for Treyvon Martin, Eric Garner, Sean Bell, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Philando Castle, Michael Brown, Alton Sterling, along with hundreds of black men and women gunned down without cause, police out here playing judge, jury, and executioner. Families are torn apart. Our government declared war on the Black communities, nothing new. We are already judged because our skin is our sin, a black man born a criminal in the eyes of the law. We're in a racist system that implements prejudice and bias even before a black man is born.

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THE FULL ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE IN FEBRUARY'S ISSUE OF

INTELLECTUAL INK MAGAZINE

THE YEAR IN REVIEW

           As I look back and reflect on the last year it’s safe to say I mirror everyone’s sentiments with “what the eff is going on?” It was like the entire world was the protagonist in a B-horror movie. There was the death of Kobe Bryant that started off the year, subsequently Chadwick Boseman, and the recently departed Tommy D “Lister Jr and Natalie Desselle-Reid. On top of all these deaths, we had to deal with the Corona Virus, aka Covid which essentially shut the entire world down. The entire United States as well as countries internationally was on some sort of lockdown such as one would experience in a maximum-security prison. 

          “This year will be remembered as a turnaround point in human history,” said Marcelo Gleiser of CNN. He is correct in his assessment. Some might say that 2020 wasn’t quite that bad—those folks probably lived in a bubble somewhere. It honestly depends on how you look at it. It was definitely memorable, to say the least. Certainly, this year is, for many people, is perhaps the worst year of their lifetimes and one that they probably wouldn’t wish on their worst enemy. This Covid pandemic has personally affected almost everyone indirectly and directly myself included.

           

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           This pandemic, however, is offering us the chance to think and reinvent ourselves. Tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone. Within the blink of an eye, you can be here today, gone tomorrow. 

The sad thing is to be born, to live, and then die, and the world never knew you existed. Before you find yourself saying, ‘what the eff is going on’, value your time and make everyday matter—and productive. Don't wait until tomorrow; start right now. Don't wish for your big break- make it happen right now by planting, cultivating, and harvesting your dreams, goals, desires. Whatever you want to do, take the time to start it NOW.  

           Covid is a wake-up call, and it’s in cahoots with time. Time waits for no one! It doesn't show favoritism, and you can't negotiate with it. It’s valuable. Appreciate the time, and make it valuable to you, and that also means spending time with family, your kids, and love ones, and taking some time for yourself to enjoy life, not abuse it. Your kids are going to grow up whether you're in their lives or not, and growth isn't going to wait for someone to get their shit together. 

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          As we go into a new year, people remember this; time is the most valuable thing we have, especially after living through this pandemic. We might lose our jobs, but there’ll be another job in the future. We can replace any tangible thing. Take advantage of an opportunity that comes your way—save, and invest, take calculated risks, and take a vacation or two, laugh, enjoy, and be merry and thankful. Take the time to tell someone, anyone, or everyone that you love them. 

          As 2020 comes to an end, and we kick Covid’s ass like a schoolyard bully. In 2021, please take the time to focus on progress instead of the outcome! Do you...no regrets! And hopefully, in 2021, we won’t be saying to ourselves, ‘what the efff is going on?’ and we can get back to our regularly scheduled program—and that’s without Trump in office. 

Love you guys, Bless. 

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