Dear you (3 white girls, 2 Asian girls, and tha brotha),
I write this out of love. Love for myself and Black womyn. Love for spaces we create for one another and places we enter to be in community. When I saw you, my ego prefaced my thoughts with, “how dare you…” But the rest of my thoughts were about my sense of knowingness, so, how dare you see us gathered and not give it any thought to pause, not to insert yourself.
Though you don’t value us, you see the value in our space. You didn’t pause, cos you were on a mission to use the aesthetically pleasing space to shoot an unauthorized video, and to picture the many books “for us, by us.” The irony is that you all ya-ya over our precious books, but you can’t deal with the flesh, the humonness of us, those who wrote these books shelved in a sanctuary extending all the way up to the heavens.
We were there, behind glass. Doors closed. Do not touch.
Black womyn COLLAGING FREEDOM—creating, manifesting being reminded of ourselves, and you tried it. But, unbeknownst to you I’d already blessed the room, shined upon the books, cleared negativity and placed protection around tha sistas in attendance.
I saw you when you first came upstairs and you stood outside of the glass wall. You, lurking around and then building a nerve to speak. You, caught me while I came back from the ladies room. You, tried to make small talk, tryna get details, waiting for us to wrap up. Still unbeknownst to you, I don’t do small talk, it confuses me and it comes off as suspect. You, made a passive aggressive comment about us being done, or not.
You think you slick though, slipping in, asking what we’d done. Showing interest in our doings. Bets be glad that I got a whiff of Florida mixed with Rose Water, I didn’t know where it was coming from, but the smell kept me sweet, but stern.
Then you tried some more, overtalking. Offering to help me “clean up” the space as everyone left, except for the one sista who was meticulously holding an incubation space for a poem that was tryna come to life made outtta Jet magazine scraps.
Again, you asked if we were done, I said not quite and you came further into the space asking if you could help out, you wanted to clean up after us. Ha. You were ignoring me repeatedly saying, with my disposition and with words, this be’s my ritual of processing, organizing my thoughts and purging—my praxis after holding space.
Don’t rush me….
Oh, and I know you oh so well, because you were offering to clean, not out of generosity, but in an attempt to erase us from the space so that you could do what you came to do—to see, to use & to plot.
Saturday, May 6, while facilitating a workshop, COLLAGING FREEDOM, for the Chicago Free Black Women’s Library Pop-Up at the Stony Island Arts Bank, you came and did what you do, gazed upon us. We were temporarily confused cos we thought this building, this place was meant to center us and our being, this day.
When I addressed you I started my statement with, “I say this outta love…” The love I was referring to was for us, Black girls/womyn. I called out your reckless disregard and your privileged behavior. The lbvs (laughing but very serious) thing is that it was you, brotha who didn’t check those white/Asian girls, you merely fell back and took their lead. And it was you, Asian womon who apologized saying, “We didn’t want to make trouble.” White girls, you stood there in shock. Stunned that I had interrupted your privilege with the smell of mixed Rose &Florida Water lingering in the air. I have no idea where it came from, that smell.
Maybe it was the books, speaking on my behalf…
Black girl “space-maker,” Black girl collaging freedom