I didn't know how much I needed this video.
I had gotten to the point where my soul needed an escape, but there is no escaping this constant barrage of black and brown bodies being severely policed for waiting in a Starbucks too long or asking for utensils at a Waffle House or asking for directions or quietly taking a college tour.
These are the stories of people who lived, but this ain't living. Since 1619, in America, the "wrong" place always has been ANYwhere--a college tour or a Starbucks or a Waffle House--with people who feel more entitled to exist in and profit from a certain space.
Even at a Waffle House or Colorado State University, aware of the hashtags, deaths, and the fear, some people (oh, white women, I am warily, wearily looking at you) really just don't give a damn. They feel entitled enough to call the police rather than have a face-to-face conversation.
This ain't living. This is America.
You should pull your pants up to live.
You should not use a cell phone in your grandmama's back yard if you want to live.
You should remember the repercussions of black-on-black crime and forget the legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, COINTELPRO, the war on drugs.
If you're not guilty, you have nothing to fear.
We are three-fifths citizens. We want to be whole. Any Christian nation would elevate human dignity and eschew unjust scales. But this is America, not a Christian nation.
When your brothers and sisters are slaughtered in your house of worship, you should forgive. The next day. Also, we will not mourn them. We are not kin.
When your brothers and sisters are gunned down, denied life, dignity, justice, and their day in court, we will assassinate their character, too. We are not kin.
When your breasts are exposed as you are being detained for asking for utensils, we will consume the sight of you. We will not cover you. We are not kin.
When your children are threatened, detained, abused, incarcerated, or murdered by adults, we will feel safer knowing that our children will never be treated like yours. We are not kin.
We can't even utter the words "black lives matter." Filthy. We are not kin.
And then there's Kanye. Or Candace. Or Ben.
Thankfully, Bryan Stevenson and now, Donald Glover, have held space to lament.
They have regaled murder victims with mourning that speaks to their dignity as whole human beings.
Stevenson's Equal Justice Initiative has created a Lynching Memorial in Montgomery. A lovingly curated space to mourn the lives violently lost, the memorial captures the terror and corporate trauma of lynching. The memorial remembers victims by name--when it's possible. The memorial's existence clearly testifies about the calculated, multi-pronged, systemic subjugation of black people in America which shelters (I feel it inaccurate to speak in past tense) the aggressors of these atrocities, through the marriage of media and law enforcement.
And Childish Gambino (Donald Glover's musical moniker) made space through music and visual art, a timely counterbalance to the ignorant narcissism of Kanye West. Glover's video sparely depicts the tightrope act of dancing and running scared, living and dying, joy and terror that weathers black life, regardless of class, education, or the location of one's pants, in this America.