Curtis Mayfield had found a way to disseminate a “stop this drug madness” caveat throughout my community, and black communities far and wide, like few others had been able to. He put it in song, tapping into a timeless oral tradition that kidnapped and monetized African bodies brought with them like spiritual contraband; this unsanctioned heritage they smuggled aboard slave ships from the motherland and kept it hidden, folded into their anguish.
“In America we always say we’re in a post-racial society. That’s debatable, but we act like it, at least. However, in Japan, race is the only thing they focus on. And even with non-Japanese it’s the only thing they focus on as well — black idol, black idol — but I don’t mind. I like breaking barriers!”
My first year at the school, there was an isolated incident where one student who was being bullied by another finally had had enough and went after him, in the middle of the class, with a pair of scissors. As I approached the student with the scissors stealthily from behind, the Japanese teacher practically dived in front of the damn things to stop him from slicing the other. The way he had thrown himself into the fray led me to believe that maybe the Japanese teacher’s guidelines say something along the lines of: in the event of an altercation, if there is blood spilt it had better be yours, or heads will roll.
Over the course of my 13 years in Japan I have found that many of my feelings I just can’t express well in Nihongo. The Japanese “cuss” words just don’t do it for me. For example, all the feelings I would use “Fuck” to express in English, I simply couldn’t feel with its Japanese counterpart. So I was forced to create […]
I had planned to write a travel piece about Haiti, describing how idyllic she is: the lush green countryside, the cloud-capped mountains, the clear blue waters, the wistful art, the dignified people, their soul-stirring courage, etc… Then give an account of the trouble in paradise, Haiti’s well-documented downside: The political unrest, the undermining corruption, the […]
I’m talking about the man who brought the orient to the hood, who could bring his feet and fist to a gunfight and bop away beneath a shower of his opponent’s blood and teeth, the undisputed world champion of taking shit from no one, the shogun of soul, the sensei of sin, the monk of funk, the master of disaster…y’all know who I’m talking about!