Addicted to the Drama
It’s been a rough week. I have felt an enormous amount of rejection from my country. I have felt unwanted, dismissed, forgotten and unloved. I entered this week struggling a little bit to begin with and then things quickly began to disintegrate. I saw Shuffle Along on Broadway, Tuesday evening with friends. This is where the dismissed and forgotten feelings began. As I watched this stunning show unfold, I found myself split. Fifty-percent of me was so proud of this part of Black-American history and fifty-percent of me was furious. Shuffle Along is closing early. The show is based on the true story of a production of the same name in 1921 that was written, directed, produced and starred Blacks. It was not only the first All-Black production, but it was also the first with a jazz score and this production inspired a slew of black writers, musicians, poets, etc that went on to great acclaim. One of the last songs in the show is called, “They Won’t Remember You”. A theater critic, in the show, sings this to the men who wrote the show and unfortunately it is exactly what happened. I didn’t know a thing about the original Shuffle Along until I heard about this musical coming to Broadway. On top of what I was feeling as I watched this beautiful show that is abruptly closing and a song about being forgotten, they later tell you what happens to each character. An Actress, Fredi Washington, who was in one of my favorite movies of all time, “Imitation of Life” was also in the original production of Shuffle Along. She left Hollywood after making that film because they wanted her to pass for a white person instead of claiming her heritage. I am upset because our accomplishments are frequently forgotten and now Shuffle Along is closing early because it was dismissed and not supported. My heart broke for this incredibly important production. The poignancy of what it is trying to say and it closing early was too much to bear.
Where is the Love?
“But if you only have love for your own race
Then you only leave space to discriminate
And to discriminate only generates hate
And when you hate then you’re bound to get irate” – Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway
The three mornings after I saw Shuffle Along I woke up to hear that people were taking lives out of fear and anger. A large portion of our country have become slaves to fear and anger and allow these “Massas” to guide their decisions. The first two murders made me feel unloved and unwanted. The pain and suffering that has occurred is not new. Race discrimination is just uniquely American. Most other countries deal with Socio-economic discrimination. Race and socio-economic standing are uniquely tied together in America because of prejudice and racism. They are not mutually exclusive in America. If you don’t know what I mean, read this. For a country that was founded on the idea of being free, we have not learned how to BE FREE. We have not learned how to be free because we haven’t learned how to love well. We do not understand what “Loving others as you would have them love you” really means. We say that love can overcome hate, and I absolutely believe that, but until we can fully understand what “love”is and how to be it and show it to ourselves first and then to others, we won’t heal. Love and truth are the only things that can overcome fear and hate. Fear begets anger and anger begets hate. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline”. – 2 Timothy 1:7
If You Never Know Truth Then You Never Know Love
What do we do? How do we fight anger and fear with love? How do we speak truth in love? How can we be light in the midst of darkness?
We each have a sphere of influence. We each have gifts and talents. Radical change begins on your doorstep. Starting conversations with friends, speaking truth when you hear a friend or loved one say things that are unloving and perpetuate hate and fear. If you have a talent, use it for good. I have a friend whose Super Power is list making. Seriously, this woman could bring a country to its knees with her lists. So, what do you do with being an organizer? You become a leader and you rally the troops. You deploy people to the places that need help by sending care packages, money for funeral costs with a GoFundMe Page or the like and directly help the poor people in your community whose lives have been ravaged by gun violence. That’s real. That’s practical.
I’m a writer. So, I write about what’s been going and bring awareness. Then I write a letter to those in Legislation and tell them to get the molasses out of their asses and do something! That’s my sphere of influence. That’s me using my talents.
I believe in thinking positive thoughts for others and praying for them. But we have managed to stop there and not put any action behind it. I am seriously worried about this passivist mentality I am seeing, especially with others who have the same spiritual lifestyle as I do. Jesus was constantly on the move. The Pharisees took him down because they were angry he healed people on the Sabaath. No one on earth, whether you believe he was the Messiah or just a nice Prophet is better than He. So, get up and act! You don’t get to run your mouth about being part of my faith and then be a lazy do nothing.
So, now, it’s your turn. What are you going to do? What is your sphere of influence? What are your gifts? No matter how small you think they are, they can make a major impact if you use them well.
To The Revolution!