Tag: activism

River Deep, Mountain High (Elegy for Tina Turner)

It is of the rolling of

Water in muddy rivers

That give the rebel

To the Belles along

Mississippi banks–

Give roar to what

Should have been

Whisper.

Gave power in havoc

Passion in chaos

And Anna became

Tina to tell us

How to get over

And the end of

One life is the

Gift of another.

The ancestral is God’s memory after all.

that is memory

Is gifted as

Music.

-JBHarris, 5.24.2023

Written after the passing of Tina Turner at age 83. STL KIDS CHANGE THE WORLD.

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30 Days Of Jaye – Day 20: Why Is He Free?

Written after the attempted murder/lynching of 16 y/o Ralph Yarl by 84 y/o Andrew Lester in the KCMO area. He shot Ralph bc he knocked on his door to pick up his siblings on 4/16-17.

It was the wrong door.

Shaun King brought attention to this incident and he is now arrested.

Our own domestic terrorism

Being product of our

Own capture

When those who

Bought us–have no more use for us.

When “Black and” is

Weapon and warning

While the weapon of our

Most current warfare,

Is not of this world nor

The principalities therein.

We are sheep among wolves.

Rabbits outrunning foxes.

Finding our own funds

Making our own guns

To make sure no White Knight

Enters our Black Day

Because we really want to know–

Why is he free,

And I am not?

-JBHarris, 4.18.23

30 Days Of Jaye – Day 7: Wedding White

This piece will be included in The Death Of Peter Parker & Other Fairy Tales (August 2023).

The vows that I rehearsed

havecnow become elegy

Quiet and cold

rehearsed and practiced

over tombs

My eyes have

grown tired of crying

my heart has grown weary

of the king who will not come

for me

whom has crowned me

coordinated me

as exam

laid his mark and collar

Yet it will not consummate

this love will not allow

his pride to come for his bride

Does he not now I have waited?

And I am in quiet for him?

Growing gills to breathe water—

Only because he asked?

I am Persephone to his Hades

comfortable and dark

Needing new air

to return to the world

of light —

Yet new fruit to keep me

in his possession

disparaging the weather

the wisdom of my mother

who has given me only spring

knowing that winter

will always be at hand

because I must be with him.

My veil has now become a shroud

Chapel Now a seplechre

And now I am here sentenced

in the land of the Dead

looking for my way back….

wondering if Heaven will have me again

JBHarris, 7.2021

Hell Is For Racist White People

Morrison said race is a distraction; looks crazy, feels crazy—stops you from doing your work. In a nation concerned with the color of Christ, than His character or cause, use history as eraser and bludgeon, powered by a theology by which will always see us as other as less outside of the God of the universe and His love—binding Him to White men whom need to hobble or brainwash anyone who does not find them to be the Almighty.

In pursuit of bravery and freedom, I leave the lazy descendents of slaveholders; grandsons of murderers; daughters of rape accusers and their defenders; daughters of all Confederates, to the god of their making, for the Hell they made for me and those who look like me.

This place devoid of privilege and power, where only suffering answers them. Gnashing on tongues they cut out or silenced out of Black people: remembering just how at that our of their death the plot twist most unimaginable! They see Mother Mary, her Son, and His Father are all Black.

-JBHarris, December 2022

SOCIAL MEDIA LYNCHING (Part 1): This Is Really Happening

My best friend told me getting on TikTok would be a good idea. Why, you ask? “You have so much to say!”

And I do.

Yet when I joined TikTok in September-October 2020 (at the first wave of COVID-19), right before the 2020 Presidential Election, I found my niche in social justice (Social Justice Tok), and there I remain 4 accounts later.

Reported videos begat bans, begat trolls, begat mass reporting and that pulling down of a platform I built within a year.

It took my breath away when I logged in my account and it was…gone! I felt like my voice had been ripped from me.

It felt like a digital launching.

From that realization, and being the student of history, I came up with the phrase social media lynching. I define it as:

(c) September 2021, JBHarris

The practice of suppressing the content/voices of minority people (especially African-American people) who actively use their voices or position to fight racism, discrimination, erasure, on a social platform only to be banned (silenced) or have their content suppressed, accounts taken or platform sanctioned.

I wasn’t shocked. I was not mad. I got real focused and made a backup plan. And backup pages.

I looked for a pattern to my banned videos and the patterns to bans to other accounts I followed. I saw these 4 things:

1.) Problematic comments filled with whatever a la carte -phobia or -ism.

2.) You check the comment; arguments ensure in the comments.

3.) These comments persist for days and someone reports the video or comment–or both.

4.) All other like videos are flagged (reported).

If you make enough noise, you get this on your account:

Then, you’re a cool kid.

In The End, It All Still Matters

I decided to believe in myself, and this series enough to make this a book of essays. Look for this book of the same name in May 2022. -JBH

I am a lover and a fighter. I am a silk hand in an iron glove. I am the same woman that can house love and fury, which do sometimes intersect in my linguistic acrobatics.

For that reason, I won’t give up on love. That emotion is too powerful to abandon, and love to great a reward to forsake. Yet, there are still so many things in the world that need to be changed, realized, and can be, will only be changed through love.

I am learning that love is three fold: power, acknowledgement and resolve. Love is never something weak, to be looked at as if it were something weak. Yet, even as it relates to writing, this is still a work of love. A record that someone in the world saw, lived, and left a record of someone whom strived to do better. To love a little better, a little wider, and to protect a little more. But, by heart–and I feel much like the Apostle Paul this way! The desire in me to change the world is so great, and also there are days where I want to leave the world to burn by the timber and fuel of its on ignorance! But I am reminded of my own heart, that ability to love, right?

In that own inner wisdom, I have said, “We fight, because we cannot afford to die.” This, too, is love.

Black Women Aren’t Coming

*Written in response to White women demanding solidarity with this abortion issue (the Heartbeat Bill) in Texas in September 2021. This is dedicated to all the Black women whom keep saving the world from people determined to not have us (Black women) move in it. -JBH

This is above me now. Y’all fix it. I’m not coming.

Black women aren’t coming.

No heat, no fire, no smoke.

Black women aren’t coming.

No cavalry, no drumming, no singing.

Nothing.

Black women aren’t coming.

The Queens will send no soliders,

Their sons will not die, or be blamed.

The far off Kings from time and lands

Will not bend to your tears.

Black women aren’t coming.

The clouds have broken.

The rain has stropped,

And our feet are still.

Our backs are turned,

Our shoulders are square,

Mouths silent.

We are walking…away.

There is no reason for us to come.

There is nothing to do.

BLACK WOMEN ARE NOT COMING.

-JBHarris, 9.9.2021

#BlackBlogsMatter Challenge—Week 12 (2021)

Black women are some of the most incredible human beings on the face of the planet. We are. We are the Dora Milaje!

That Sisterhood, both mythic and ancient, bought by blood and time—we are amazing. That word Sis is ours! It is that recognition of each other, the divinity in each other—it is activated by the word Sis. 

That power cannot be wielded by unbelievers! It cannot be transferred by those who cannot see Black as divine. White women cannot have this space, accessing our love and power because she feels she can. This is ours! This space is ours! This love, this security, this inevitable protection in this space.

A Black woman is more that what she appears to be! And will always be! It is up to the Black women of this Sisterhood to approve the worthy of access to that word, that space, to those whose melanin quotient doesn’t match our own!

We own this space. 

We will not apologize. 

Your whiteness is not a guarantee for approval, access, and acceptance! We own us now. We are of our own purchase. We are Queens again, your fury our thrones.

#BlackBlogsMatter Challenge—Week 12 (2021)

Sis. Noun. Short form of the word sister; a female sibling; term of endearment among women.

I have an issue if you are not a Black woman and you call me ‘Sis’. I do. I always have! I feel the same way when people call (or try to call) me Jenny rather than Jennifer! But that is a different conversation. 

In being on TikTok (@whatjayesaid) for almost a year, I have somehow managed to avoid any real dramatic stupidity (a White dude with a lip ring who looks like he never washes his clothes face and a Black man who tried to read me in front of a shower curtain), but I through my bra in the fight (to quote @glammelanin) over the word “Sis”.

It is a term of safety, love and recognizing. It is not meant to be said by people that didn’t understand what it was like to fight for things, have lost things, and move in a world that chooses either to erase you, mock you or steal from you. 

Sis is not meant to be said by those outside this sphere. I know there are other cultures that use sis and that’s fine! But for me? Don’t call me sisbecause you don’t know me. Don’t know what it feels like to be ignored by the same world that expects you to be in it—as they see fit. 

This thing, our thing, this is just ours. PERIODT.

In The Letting Go

For the sister I didn’t know I needed—Jahaira Balenciaga (DeAlto).

It took me a week to write this. It took that long to write this because I am still processing all of it. I am actively, equally outraged, heartbroken and in rolling disbelief. The woman I had watched on YouTube for the better part of a decade, who I connected with through the gift of social media–for the better part of a decade–was murdered in her house because she was helping a woman leave her husband.

I am devastated. And here is why.

I was introduced to Jahaira through the YouTube channel MuchLove From KY (Ms. Nina!) who I love like an Aunt also. I liked Jahaira because she was funny, smart, and she changed her hair like I did! I didn’t even know Jahaira was trans until disclosed that. Now, was I raised to be homophobic or transphobic? Not at all. So, Jahaira being trans, was a small part of who she was. What endeared Jahaira to me was her authenticity, her love for the people around her, and her steady committment to make the world a better place.

I followed her YouTube channel (JahairasMission) for years! I celebrated when she got her associates degree. I rejoice when she enrolled in Simmons University to finish her bachelors degree. I was so happy we won her award! She was doing so much good in the world and to have her life snuffed out like this? It is so unfair.

I am reminded of the statistic that she gave when excepting her MOVA award about 3 years ago now. She said that the average age that trans women get to especially transwomen of color get to, is only 35. At the time of her passing, Jahaira was 42,43 years old.

Foolishly, I thought that she was passed that danger point! I thought that she had made it over so to speak. And that all the good in the world that she was aiming to do, the children that she helped raise, the love and legacy that she left—she was going to be able to be one of those trans women they got to see old age and seen the reward of all her hard work. I wanted that for her…

It is being reported out of Dorchester, that The person that murdered her was actually staying with her! He’s now in custody, and I am enraged!

I have been watching her videos on YouTube for a week because my mind cannot wrap itself around the fact that this woman that I knew, who had gone through so much, who was destined to do so many good things is GONE!

It is being reported out of Dorchester, that she was murdered by the estranged husband of the woman she was trying to help to leave him. He wound up killing Jahaira and his estranged wife!

This ain’t right. This isn’t fair. And I don’t know how I’m coping. I can only imagine how her mother feels! Jahaira DeAlto is the 21st trans woman to be murdered this year. Yeah, even in all of my grief and anger, I’m choosing to do the very thing Jahaira reminded us all as her sub tastics told us do: LIVE.

And with that four letter word, let that be her legacy. She encouraged us all to live and live unapologetically. Owning every last piece of our truth, embracing every flaw that we have, and celebrating every victory!

See you one of the other side, Jah.