black women: ready for our flowers

I’m thinkin’ we go about life not reflecting on it all that much, because if we did — when we do — we’d be paralyzed by what’s really going on (frfr) and then everything would

stop.

Work unfinished, meals uncooked, homework incomplete, dirty things unclean,

movements un-fought.

A few years ago I wrote and posted a poem that cried out for others to have my back as dependably as I have theirs. At the time I did not know how deeply most Black women desire such support, that my experience was more than just an individual expression of what seemed to be a momentary succumbing to whatever weight of responsibility I was feeling. I did not know it was my connection to the collective, to how pervasively persistent a feeling it was among others who present as I do — a melanin-rich, woman-identifying human being too often caping for the world, too often left out in the cold by the world,

Image: Unknown source

too often still returning to the rescue — bare-backed, and bare-chested.

The other day or so I saw another meme, prompted by the recent egregious arrest of Georgia State Representative Park Cannon after the atrociously staged signing of the state’s gross voter suppression law (Jim Crow 2.0). The meme reads something like, “Black women saved democracy with their votes. Now it’s time for democracy to save their votes.”

And the images were before me — Stacey Abrams and Park Cannon.

Images: vogue.com, cnn.com

And the questions formed, like — Where were the flowers for Black women’s prowess when Rep. Cannon knocked on a wrongly shut door — keeping private what should have been public? Since when does a knock on a door warrant aggressive arrest, … while storming the nation’s capitol warrants widely smiling selfies?

But we know the answers. These are really more sarcastic statements.

Yet there are questions which demand real answers, like — How do we (frfr) establish permanent policies and legislation that create and defend an equitable, democratic society in which every single being in this nation can enjoy full freedom?

However we do it, it will not happen without Black women.

I appreciate Janie’s grandmother’s lament that Black women are the mules of this world. (Their Eyes Were Watching G~d, Zora Neale Hurston) It’s as accurate as it is despairing. Today, I’d begrudgingly admit that we are the wombs of the world — bearing, nurturing, life-giving. From our view comes a wide perspective of all that matters for the highest good with effective pathways of how to get there, including everyone. But like my Big Mama, we also require a strict standard of integrity that those who are self-centered often choose to resist. And that’s when the womb’s strength wields its power to protect and advance the greater good over selfish ambition.

Tina Turner, and husband, Erwin Bach. Image: thesun.co.uk

There are humans of all ethnicities and identities across this globe who have cared well for Black women in our personal and collective relationships. I have yet to witness, though, any of them come through in clutch moments like Black women do. Whether this is our sole plight or not during this period in this lifetime, I cannot confirm. I just know this is what we do. I know that we keep doing it because it’s needed — and to be honest, we must also experience a level of fulfillment from it as well — or else we would not persist.

So, what do I want — for me, for us? I want our flowers. To be commensurately regarded wherever we go, in whatever capacities we serve this world — without struggle, without a fight — freely given to us as we give to the world.

Reciprocity.

Asé.

#blackwomen #politicalpower #staceyabrams #parkcannon #theireyeswerewatchinggod #zoranealehurston #blackwomenwriters #mulesoftheworld #wombsoftheworld #giveusourflowers #reciprocity #havemyback #respect #mypeople #thedugasmethod #compelCOMPLETEfreedom

© 2021 candi dugas, llc

aretha

Image: vogue.com

Happy birthday, Ms. Franklin!

Like millions of viewers, I’ve recently completed watching “Genius: Aretha” produced on the National Geographic channel, and streamed on Hulu.

While many people have been upset about how this production covered her life, since I did not know her personally, I do not know enough about her actual life to compare it to the series for accuracy. Distilling fact vs. fiction was not my experience.

Rather I allowed the series to take me further into a reflective place of sadness and deep empathic connection to the difficult journeys of Black women (seemingly a focus on singers …) living through earlier eras. This journey began as I watched The United States vs. Billie Holiday, both scripts written brilliantly by Suzan-Lori Parks.

At first, I admit, I struggled while watching Ms. Franklin’s struggles, which seemed to be never-ending in the first episodes. I kept asking, “WHEN will we get past the years with Ted so I don’t have to look at him no more?!?!?!” 😉🤦🏽‍♀️😄 I cringed with each of her childhood pregnancies, each time her mother discovered her father cheating, every time Rev. Franklin … well, was Rev. Franklin.

But I continued to watch, and like life, when we hang in there through sorrowful nights – joy indeed comes in the morning. Small sparks of light began to peek through – I think it was around episode three (or maybe it was four or five …) – when I had a particularly revelatory moment of Ms. Parks’ brilliance in connecting all of Ms. Franklin’s dots. It was like a flash in my soul. And as the series was winding down, I enjoyed learning that her motivation behind choosing music in the 80s and later (that I did not understand at the time) was to do FUN things, after already having a multi-decade career. (Of course, not that I had to understand! 😉😄) And finally, the morning’s joy arrived fully by the end of the series as we witnessed Ms. Franklin happy and fulfilled – triumphant.

THE most impactful part of the series for me, though, was the episode around the making of “Amazing Grace.”

Image: rollingstone.com (like in my personal vinyl collection)

I cannot express how much gratitude fills me right now. This double-album set was a staple in my house every Sunday morning growing up. I learned every nuance of every song, even coming to know the skips on the vinyl as actual parts of the song … 😉😄 The songs’ deep meanings were associated with a single mother’s struggles – my mom’s and then later in life, my own – until this series. Again, Ms. Parks’ meticulously laying out Ms. Franklin’s difficult life up until this recording made every moan and riff and lingering note fill with – overflow with meaning – meaning now that is deeply connected with the life of the singer and producer of this work. Most especially the 16 minutes of the title cut.

Now, I so get it. “Nothing but that same grace … will lead meeeeee right on, right on hommmmmme. Yeahhhhhh.”

#arethafranklin #genius #queenofsoul #blackwomen #nationalgeographic #hulu #suzanloriparks #blackwomenwriters #amazinggrace #mypeople

(c) 2021 candi dugas, llc