I have never liked the nomenclature “black.” To be honest, it grates against something within me to use it, to identify myself by it.
I have always felt it was a definition meant to “other,” to “lesser than,” to “not enough” – me, and all the peoples who fall under that definition.
“Jerome is a black man” poisons me to hear, sometimes. Although I so much love that which has come up in the world under that title (for me, and the culture and people that raised me under that title), I have always felt in my cells the initial intentions behind why people who look like me were called that, and why people who don’t, weren’t. “Black” and “White“: as different from each other as could be, two opposite ends of the spectrum, two different values and functions, two living beings as separate from each other, as night and day.
But no. Not for me, anyway.
I live in both night and day. I bring both light and darkness, and it is blindingly beautiful that I do so. But I ain’t “black“…not by this current definition anyway.
I am of African ancestry, which I love. I am of African ancestryed people’s who live in America’s culture, which I love. I am of darker skin color, the same I share with those who are also African ancestryed, and the culture and experience which shapes that in America, which I also love.
But I ain’t black. Not the one that’s othered than white, anyway.
You can’t push me into a margin and not care anymore what happens in that margin because you’re living on the page where all things white belong, or you’re living in the margin with me, where you believe all things black belong.
No Loves, my life is words and songs, which have always painted the pages, made them have meaning, made people want to read them. And even further still, my life is me, and I am the entirety of the page, and I am the tree in which the page was crafted from, too.
I am the very cosmos wearing a t-shirt and jeans, eating collard greens, and vegan mac and cheese.
I ain’t black.
Not that definition anyway.
Dark, yes. African ancestryed, yes. Wide-nosed, thick-lipped, glistening skinned, rhythmic souled, earthly grounded, and cosmically connected, yes.
But Othered? No. Less than? No. Separate? No. Not enough? No.
Plus, last time I looked in the mirror (especially these days), my skin is chocolate-colored. Mocha. Rich. Beautiful. I’m sure there have been some people in my past who would also say it’s delicious, too, cause it tasted that way. But what it ain’t is this popular definition of black. Though, don’t get me wrong, sometimes I still use it, and believe it has a place in the dictionary, because, you know, people know what I mean when I say it. But I don’t identify with it fully.
Yes, I will keep my ancestry, my culture, my family, my “peeps”, and I will gratefully do so, because my God it’s fucking glorious, and oh so unendingly beautiful. But I will also burn your margins, and your definitions, and your boxes, and your nomenclature, at the same time.
Not because I hate you, but because I love me.
And part of that love is to stop calling myself by any name that was offered me that muddies my own reflection when I look in the mirror. If nothing else, I want to see me clearly. Every time I look upon myself, I want to see the unfiltered wholeness and worthiness that’s really there.
I need that. Cause that’s beautiful. That’s true. Deep ass, chocolatey-ass, African-ancestryed-ass, beautiful truth.
Black may be beautiful. But it will never let you see all the beautiful of me. All the beautiful of we that are called black.
And you need that. You need to see all the beautiful that we are.
Trust me, you need that.
Much ❤️, Jerome
I will call you whatever you wish to be called. And what I see of you is embodied love.