RaceSex & Gender

afropunk bk: black identity defies definition

August 26, 2018
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Blackness is. It JUST is. To try and define it is to fall into a trap that white supremacy has set for us and we ain’t about all that. This weekend, we asked the people to tell us what they would like to say to those who want to dictate what Blackness is.

Photos by Zama Mdoda for AFROPUNK

“Blackness can be what you want it to be. It can be gay. It can be straight. It can be queer. It can be trans. It can be a woman. It can be a man. It can be anything in between. Blackness can be anything you identify as. I’m not talking about Rachel Dolezal of course… We come in all colors, shapes, and sizes, so we’re all Black and we should all accept each other.”

Jamar Hooks

“Fuck outta here! Watch your edges.”

Kristin Dodson

“What Syd said yesterday: Drink water and mind your business.”

Kaylin Dodson

“We all come from different walks of life and you can’t just put a specific type of Blackness on anyone. Not everyone grew up in the ‘hood. Not everyone grew up privileged. There are different types of Black people. Everyone isn’t even from America. You can’t be like ‘you’re not Black-Black because you don’t know this’ because we were all raised differently, with different morals and values. Everyone comes from different religions, backgrounds and cultures so we should all focus on unity.”

Jameel Karim Johnson

“They definitely need to be educated. I don’t even blame them for having that idea or thinking that blackness is a box because that’s what we’re told due to white supremacy, and it trickles down to our black community along with colorism. What I would say to them is that we are not a monolith. Black people can be whatever they want to be. Blackness is defined by the individual. There is no entity, society or government that can tell you who you are.”

Amber White

“If you can’t find ways to relate to your fellow Black person then you should be quiet.”

H’dari Hayes

“Instead of trying to tell people “that’s not Black”, why not embrace all Black people? Embrace us in every form, shape, color, sexuality, etc. Embrace every Black person instead of trying to have a box and telling people that if they’re not in that box then they’re not allowed to be Black.”

Errol Haase

“Well, first of all, you cannot dictate what Blackness is becauseBlackness is what it is. It was here first. It is the original and it will always be. You can never define whatBlackness is. Blackness is being yourself, being who you are. Being true to your nature and what you love to do. It’s loving your people. That’s what Blackness is.”

Kimani Mitchell

“Blackness is happiness, peace and true beauty within yourself. We are the culture. We move this. Nothing moves without us. That’s why they take from us. But you know what, we’re humble; we’re peaceful people and we embrace everybody because we’re loving. So at the end of the day, you can rock with us or hate us but you’ll still rock with us.”

David Webb