“I’m a movement by myself but I’m a force when we’re together.”
–Fabolous featuring Ne-Yo, “You Make Me Better”
We’re four weeks into the New Year; a little over a year into this crazy shit we call a Presidency and it’s been a little less than three weeks since we heard the earth shattering speech at the 75th Golden Globe Awards that has everyone chanting Oprah 2020!
While that is the popular cheer these days, I don’t think it’s radical enough. Would Oprah be a good candidate for president? Hell yeah, but at this rate I’m willing to take a person in a coma over this lunatic sitting in the house that is White. The thing that really struck a nerve with me is the fact that people are finally beginning to realize what I’ve been saying to my inner circle all along and that is…wait for it…
Black women know things.
When I saw the motley crew that was the Republican candidates back in 2014, I knew we were headed for the Apocalypse but once 45 became President, it just became a full on circus. And as with any circus, you expect to see a Ringmaster (Paul Ryan) a clown (45) and elephants (the Republican party) but you don’t expect for the animals to throw their feces at you and have the clown take his costume off and reveal that he’s the devil himself. Not the finale any of us had hoped for.
But here we are America, demanding a refund to this terrible show that many of us don’t recall buying a ticket for and unfortunately the crooks who sold us the tickets are nowhere to be found. So here’s my thinking, we don’t just need Oprah 2020. We need Ava Duvernay, Angela Davis, Patrisse Cullors, and a whole team of Black women to get this country together. Think the women’s round table in Jay-Z’s “Family Feud” video.
So while Sway might not have all the answers, I believe that Black women do, hence our magic. Here are some of the answers that are making Black women the best candidates for 2020:
Jewel #1: It’s not about one person.
I just finished reading Angela Y. Davis’ book, Freedom is a Constant Struggle. Shout out and Happy Birthday to Queen Angela! For those of us who are familiar with her work and those who aren’t, she has always been for the liberation of all people and has been an activist for over five decades. When you think of someone who puts in that social justice, culturally responsive work and just calls the patriarchy out on its shit, you better be dropping her name in these streets.
One of the simplest yet profound ideas that she discusses, revolves around the idea of leadership. She basically states that we have to stray from the notion that leadership is solitary and leadership is male. There is no denying that Martin and Malcolm and Marcus and Medgar were dope but there are other more inclusive ways to lead and women have always been part of those movements. Rosa Parks, Fannie Lou Hamer, Ida B. Wells and countless other women carried these men along to greatness and would definitely be considered leaders as well.
One of the things I bowed down to was her modesty and humility as it pertained to the movements that she was involved in- she always refers to herself as a participant of the movement, never the leader. This is Angela Davis saying “I’m just a small part of a larger movement.”
Listen, if she’s a small part, I’m non-existent but I know she wouldn’t say that. She would say that I am contributing my gifts and my talents but I could be doing more as we all can. One of the lines that struck me the most was her praise of Black Lives Matter and the criticism that some people have given about it being leaderless. Dr. Davis sees this very differently, stating that BLM is not leaderless but leader full. That’s my new word y’all, “leader full” There truly is enough leadership to go around and in order to be a secure leader you gotta see everyone’s value.
45 and the Republican party can learn so much from her. Every time I think about her kind of leadership, I just want to run up on the President and scream, Be humble. Hold up bitch! Sit down little bitch. Be humble. Sit down! (Kendrick voice)
Jewel #2: We’re all in this together.
Another woman who demonstrates this same level of humility and truthfulness and should definitely be on the BWfP (Black Women for President) ballot for 2020 is co-founder of Black Lives Matter, Patrisse Khan Cullors. I recently saw her speak at the Schomburg in Harlem and I’m so glad that I did. Side note: I had a stomach bug that day but I was determined so I had the Pepto and saltines on deck. I’m just saying.
It was beyond dope to see the amount of women, especially Black women who showed up and showed out to see her and asha bandele in conversation. Aside from immediately giving credit to all of the people and especially the Black women who made BLM possible, she also explained the importance of organizing.
First off, I love how she came out the gate letting people know that when it comes to organizing, she ain’t new to this, she true to this. While many of us may think her organizing began with BLM, she’s been doing this work since she was 16 years old. While most of us was coppin’ sneakers and trying to bag our next shorty, she was fighting for causes (not to say that you can’t do all three but you get what I’m saying.)
She addresses everything from mental health to violence against Black bodies to education. She read an incredible excerpt from her book, When They Call You a Terrorist that really highlighted the way this country treated her father, who was a Vietnam War veteran and how we use prisons as a way to house people we don’t give two fucks about. There’s no surprise that the folks America tends not to give a fuck about are Black ones. All of these issues are relevant, intersectional and international and the only way that we can create sustainable movements and guarantee change is by organizing and coalition building around these problems that face our most vulnerable communities.
A blog really can’t do this event justice but Patrisse has my vote for 2020.
Jewel #3: America needs a do-over.
One of the best things about both Patrisse and Angela is this idea that we just gotta do better and by do better and I’m slightly paraphrasing here just blow this shit the fuck up. One of the realest and therefore dopest things that Angela Davis said when the CREAD family and I went to see her at Riverside Church was America’s still out here pretending that it’s exceptional. Basically, you ain’t THE shit America, you just ain’t shit, period. #TheRealShitholeCountry
Be honest, what have we gotten from this administration besides ignorance, ego, insults and a government shutdown? Don’t worry, I’ll wait…
This country is sick and one of its biggest cancerous tumors is the prison industrial complex. Both Angela and Patrisse are prison abolitionists (people who are working and fighting to get rid of prisons) and this is radical for so many reasons:
- We have to stop sanctioning state violence against Black and Brown bodies and paying people to kill our communities (That’s right police, correction officers, parole officers, toy cops, etc. Our taxpayers won’t be used to help you fill graveyards with our bodies. FOH!)
- This requires us to not only imagine but create a world where we don’t need prisons which basically means we need to be better, more compassionate human beings. Just ask yourself, have prisons stopped crime?
- We need to invest in the state institutions that will prevent prisons from being our primary focus such as education, healthcare (including mental health services) and dignified housing.
The great thing about Black women is we have all the answers because we not only can identify but we call out all of the real problems. Despite what the media will have you think about Black women, we are nurturers, mothers, thinkers, doers and so much more.
White folks who love 45 stay talking about fake news and I’m just like y’all got fake problems. We don’t need fewer immigrants, less access for the 99% and more White men who keep fucking shit up. We need more community building, more opportunities for poor and working class people and Black women to help us get our lives.
Listen, I’ve stated my case (drops mic, does a Kenya Moore twirl and sashays away.)
Twirls back to address my educators…
- How can we incorporate Angela Davis into our curriculum? She typically isn’t discussed until students reach the University level. I know that’s when I heard about her and I actually didn’t hear much. Show videos of her and draw connections between many of her concerns and those of the Black Liberation Movement and Black Lives Matter. How are they similar? How has it transformed? Can we expose the little ones and have them present and create little books about the Black and Brown women of our movements?
- When we think about an ideal world, what might that look like? Who do we think can provide that ideal world? Have students grapple with this. As the saying goes, out of the mouths of babes. Angela Davis speaks a lot about children’s participation in and impact on the Civil Rights Movement. Black children sacrificed their bodies to fire hoses, dogs and prisons in order to gain their civil rights. Have students discuss the ways that they can contribute to current movements/issues that are important to them.
- Speaking of Civil Rights, in Michael Che’s Netflix comedy stand-up, he goes into the meager things Black people ask for and how absurd this sounds. The fact that Black people had to fight, beg and die just for civil rights is very telling of the road ahead. What does it mean to be civil and since we supposedly got our Civil Rights, did we win? What is there still left to fight for? Students need to not only discuss this but act on the remaining, plentiful issues.
- Drop a comment with the names of Black women and women of color that you would add to the Presidency Roundtable (I’m thinking Yara Shahidi, activist and actress from Blackish and Grownish, and Terana Burke, originator of #MeToo) but so many more deserve a seat at the table.
Based on the performance of 45, I’m thinking 2020 is not soon enough; I’m thinking Black women for President March 2018.
In the meantime,