And I am Telling You…

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Editor’s note:

I wrote this in July, at a point where I was feeling pretty disgusted with the political atmosphere. I still believe it today, and though I never talk politics here, I’m sharing it with you all. I hope you can all move forward and be encouraged. We have work to do.

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Photograph by Rene Brooks

Everyone has something they use to help make sense of life; for me that is music. I love all genres, the weird artsy underground stuff, pop, country, showtunes, you name it.

I need lots of music lately, because not much is making sense. As this election looms closer, people are threatening (as usual) to move to Canada or parts unknown if they don’t get their way.

For me there is only one song to fit this scenario. Some of you may know it. It’s a song from a disillusioned lover, worn down from betrayal. It’s a final plea, no, it’s a statement that regardless of what has happened and how weary this person is, she’s going to raise her battle cry and go back into the fray. That song is the immortal “And I am Telling You, I’m Not Going,” from Dreamgirls. Now I love J-Hud, but if you’re coming on the journey with me I need you to understand we need Jennifer Holiday for this. The grit, the guttural delivery, the way she wrenches every bit of emotion out of that song is what you need to understand what I’m talking about here.


“Everyone has something they use to help make sense of life; for me that is music.”

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This is my battle cry. This is my final plea to America. An America which tortured and raped my ancestors black and non-black. An America which hung my grandfather’s childhood teacher for teaching about black pride and Marcus Garvey. An America that has raised up a nation of people who hate me. A land where I can’t walk through a department store in peace. A land where everyone assumes that I was raised in a certain neighborhood in a certain income bracket, that I am violent and so are the other people like me. An America that is afraid of me no matter how much I love it.

All of that is true but this is also the land of my first kiss. This is the land that cradled me and saw me grow from an awkward chubby kid into a confident awkward chubby adult who knows how to get where she is going in life. An America that taught me about inalienable rights and truths we hold self evident. A land every generation of my family has fought for in the armed services ( I write this as my younger brother is in AIT training with the Army). A land that made me believe in freedom for all people. This land IS my land. Where else could I ever go??


Photograph by Peter Tea

I refuse to move to Canada. Whatever shit is about to hit the fan, every able body needs to be on deck to fix it. So if you want to cop out, pack your shit and go. Americans don’t quit. We stay and we fight and we try again, even when it hurts. Even when we die. I’m leaving unless they drag me out.

So I am telling you for the last time, America. I’m staying. I’m staying. And you’re going to love me.
Until next time, (Oh, there will be a next time)


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