I just finished watching Ava DuVernay and Spencer Averick's "13th," released on Netflix today. Currently playing on my radio: Fela Kuti's Trouble Sleep. Earlier today, I released a video of some of my experience in Haiti - earlier this year - and my reflection on the destruction caused by Hurricane Matthew. To add to that, I am internally celebrating a pivotal and immensely surrealistic moment in my career that I am still not yet at liberty to officially announce. There is so much running through my mind and sitting on my heart, that I know not where to begin or how. I do know that this is an opportune time to share those thoughts with you, as they come to me. I am actually giving myself permission to simply "write" without overthinking; you will excuse me in advance for how that may manifest...
My primary question: What is needed to drop the distractions and excuses, to (finally) be proactive in a way that is not fed by anger and revenge, but brilliance? After watching 13th, I cannot totally say that I was mad. I was, however, disrupted, confused, heartbroken, concerned, and yet inspired to create, to stand up, to speak up and to hold my ground, no matter what. Even if I alone cannot physically take on the world and enact change, I can change my world and, therefore, permeate the world around me with the energy that fuels me to be me. I can take back my power and encourage others to do the same. Even still, I find myself asking "how?"
It doesn't surprise me to hear the painful statistics that 1 in 3 Black males will be incarcerated in there life, or that I am a part of the 6.5% that make up the nation I was born into, which has 42% of the men who look like me circulating in the prison system. It. Does not. Surprise me. It hurts. It makes me realize how distracted this generation is that we have not collectively eradicated elements of a system that has had it out for [Us] for centuries on end. It. Hurts. It hurts to know that a resilient, once pioneering country has been rendered dead to the rest of the living world. To know that we don't speak up for Haiti, like we have been for other Black lives, hurts. It hurts.
When I visited Haiti, I feel like I accepted a responsibility, an honour if you will, to carry our Her name back to this "free" land we call the U.S.A and help share the story of Her beauty, Her history, Her strength. As unapologetic as Haiti is, she has a way of nurturing the roots of the soul that calls back home. But what we hear and see on the television is what a different world wants us to believe. That hurts, and I will not sip from that cup any longer. I will go back and will keep going back, and I will continue to travel to see for myself what ignorance once held me for ransom from: Awareness.
I am a Black man living in an America that was never my dream. I am a displaced Soul creating my home in a place that may or may not care whether I become successful, but just might count on me falling into the rising statistic. I say this, unfiltered and unapologetic, because I know I matter. I Am a Creator and I will edify the Home within in hopes of inspiring a place to call Home around me. Until soon...
#SmithDonnellE #13th #BlackLivesMatter #PrayForHaiti
Donnell E. Smith