Tag: life

The Miles Matter-Part 4: Why This Cannot Wait

Addendum: For more talk of Miles, the MCU, representation and all matters of hero support (if you know, you know!), please follow the Don’t Make This Weird Podcast hosted by Greg Howard, Jr. The show airs April 20, 2022. The title of the show is called (funny enough) “Hero Support“. Thanks for everything, Greg. -JBHarris

For the past four weeks, I have asked for your attention as it relates to my campaign for representation. For the last four weeks, I have poured my heart out (and some of my rage) towards why it is so important to have Miles Morales be more than a ghost in the MCU. He deserves to me more than something whispered about in forums, living through hashtags and spoilers on the innerwebs.

Miles Morales deserves to be more than something that we can say, “Well, one day it’ll happen.” That one day is here! Why? If there can be 3 Spider-Men in a movie, 5 actors to have donned the Cape and Cowl, and a redemption arc for Tony Stark, RiRi Williams about to headline Disney+–Where is Miles Morales?

I don’t want to hear anything about the name throwing people off–that is semantics at this point. There are Spider-Men, Spider-Girls, Scarlet Spiders–even Spider-Carnage!–in this world known as Marvel Comics!

It is not longer good enough to relegate the Black fandom to scraps to silence us! We cannot be, and we will not be!

All I have seen during my time as Black, Black woman, cis-het Blerd, is that characters whom are usually DAW (depicted as White), moving from that source material where whiteness is centered to the dimming and erasure of all others–they (the racist fandom) don’t want to have that worldview challenged! It’s selfish! That selfishness if reflected in the culture: centering of whiteness, minimizing of the opinions of other people, false sense of superiority where mediocrity is seen as grandeur.

It is in hope, I say this:

We of the Black fandom are tired of being erased, dimmed, and told to stop complaining. We know representation is equality, it is fairness, it is just and we are owed it! For those of us whom have to piece together their history, you will not minimize our effect on culture. Miles is as much ours as he is Marvel’s! He belongs to us too–so give him back to us.

Give him to us NOW.

The Miles Matter-Part 2: Value

I have a had a long-standing love affair with this character–this dichotomy of Peter Parker and his hero alter, Spider-Man. I mean, in following the timeline of my own life, I was dating the most horrible man when the first Sony Spider-Man starring Tobey Maguire was released in 2002. I was 21 then. At the time the third installment of Spider-Man was released, I was married, and pregnant with my first child. And what better way to bookend this love affair than with my teenage daughters, as a twice divorcee.

From Tobey. To Andrew. To Tom.

And Tobey is still a favorite–for obvious reasons.

As much as I loved Spider-Man: No Way Home, I still left much like an aunt looking for her nephew. I felt like a sister looking for her brother. And now–I feel like a mother looking for her son. That part roars because it is much less about me, and my desire for representation–it is for my children, grandchildren and other children whom still don’t see their faces on screen.

Representation still matters! Having one incredible Black-centered movie isn’t enough when cinema has only be around for about 100 years! I mean, as of next year the ‘prestigious’ academy is only 95 years old! And how many winners of those Academy Awards have not been White?

G’head! Google it! I’ll wait!

If there can be hashtags created in favor of Andrew Garfield being Spider-Man again for the Amazing Spider-Man 3 (I think the hashtag is #ASM3), where is the hashtag for Miles?! Where is Miles Morales?!

With this movie kicking open the door for the multiverse (clearly there are three Spideys!), and clearly the source material offers many other Peters (any BOY are there alot of them!), is making a Miles Morales movie a…risk?

There are a generation of children whom look like Miles, whom are waiting on Miles.

So, where is he?

30-DAY WRITING CHALLENGE (2022)-DAY 10

I am an avid lover of fruit, and trying my best to eat better and take care of myself. But, here I am hating kiwi.

I don’t like kiwi! I don’t like kiwi because it confuses me! It is brown, fuzzy, and green on the inside, only to be full of seeds! What is this, Lord?! And you want me to eat this–WHY? No, I cannot commit to eat a fruit that I cannot be sure should not be used in an ancient summoning rite?

No.

I will stick with my strawberries.

30-DAY WRITING CHALLENGE (2022)-DAY 9

My mother told me that “you have good genes.”

As a Black woman, I expected nothing less. No one looks at me and thinks that I am 40, soon to be 41. I drink my water, I have now committed to skin care, and a good night cream. I wear sunglasses, neither do I drink or smoke. I laugh often, and enjoy sex (it hits different after 40, trust me).

But, with all this new confidence in and at age 40, I understand that time is precious, and also because of my age, I am no longer considered young. Or youthful. And I am old enough to have a daughter 20 years younger. It’s weird though! I don’t feel old. So, I don’t know what it will be to be old.

I think that all the ‘old women’ are some of the most incredible people I have ever known! The fact that I can be discriminated against because I have lived?! That seems beyond unfair! In a culture that values everything instant, readily available and renewable–it would make sense that it doesn’t value time or age.

I am aging. I accept that–with deep sighs though! But there is that love hate relationship there! I am humble enough to know I don’t know everything, but confident in what I know because I’ve lived through some amazing nonsense! Ageism isn’t a wise believe pattern–it really isn’t.

I refuse to fault a woman (or a man for that matter!) for living…that seems dumb. Why would I fault someone for something that I, myself, do every single day–age.

30-DAY WRITING CHALLENGE (2022)-DAY 8

I am a bibliophile.

Dedicated. Bibliophile.

My library is in three places–physical books, Audible books, and my Kindle. So when it comes to books, I am thinking of what it means to say “I didn’t like this book.” But if I had to define that, it would have to be Merrick by Anne Rice. The reason why I didn’t like this book is complex! I love that Anne Rice included BIPOC people in her expansive universe, but I hated that she just abandoned Merrick!

As a Black woman whom is a horror fan, for her to see ME in this universe, only to have Merrick as powerful as she was, to just GO AWAY? That is a deep hurt and injustice. With her passing away in December of 2022, I never got to ask her why.

A book that I love is by Warsan Shire, Teaching My Mother To Give Birth. I love this book because of it’s honesty, and the crafting that Shire gives in her poetry. There is a power to a poet who can do this–I see this in Sunni Patterson’s work as well. Being able to draw you in, keep you there, remind you that you never need to leave.

I love this book because Warsan’s honesty is as melodic as it is beautiful. As a Black woman, that is always needed and necessary.

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.

In The Meantime…

There is a writer girlfriend of mine, Jessie Sandoval, who said this: “St. Louis will either make you a warrior, or a poet.” Being one whom is a native of this town, this is absolutely correct.

In being raised in a city that is blatantly racist, that operates in systemic oppression where #FergusonIsEverywhere, writing was always my outlet. It was always my weapon, my tool, and my way out. The fact that I happened to write a good love poem every now and then, didn’t mean that my desire to burn down every oppressive tool and idol in Missouri went away!

At this point in time, I realize that both portions of my creativity are needed. With the most essential thing being that my heart needs to stay soft. That is the most revolutionary thing that happens to activists, and it feels like a magic trick! You have to be prepared to fight, and at the same time, protect your heart enough to see what is wrong around you to not become cyclic or apathetic!

That is what I am doing, dear ones. I am sure you may have heard the term “the iron fist in the silk glove”. I believe this applies to me more than I thought it would! I am learning that I have to be soft enough to draw in the people I need to protect, to love, and to serve, and strong enough to protect them.

I know I won’t get it right all the time, but I can’t quit. There is entirely too much at stake. James Baldwin reminds all writers to do their work so that, “When I am needed, I will be there.” This iron fist in a silk glove is just part of that work.

What Does A Warrior Do On Valentine’s Day?

Today, Love Day, and I looking at the books that I have to submit to Amazon, and the happiness I have there, and have found in this new relationship. In writing Next Lifetime Things, this was a book which was totally unexpected! It’s not like that I gave up on love–but I wasn’t looking for it. Trust, no one is as shocked as me–no one!

So this Valentine’s Day, I am in the presence of a man that adores me. He opens doors for me, and remembers just how I like coffee, complete with cheek kisses.

Yet, as I sit her, happy, caffeinated, and with my legs in his lap as we watch television, I am reminded of Breonna Taylor and how she was with her love when her life ended. I am thinking of all the Black men who didn’t come home to their wives. I think about how tired I am of writing about grief, abuses, and trauma!

Then, as I let the anger settle, something else rumbles from that.

It is hot, and simmering, and comes through the deftness of my fingers.

What does a warrior do on Valentine’s Day? Warriors still fight, still war, because they believe in love, in justice and peace. We may just eat chocolate first.

When The Pen Is As Sharp As The Sword

“Women are powerful and dangerous.” -Audre Lorde

What I have learned in this Level 40 of being Black and woman my heart is both a liability and an asset. I am loyal to a fault, and when I am done with a person, I am completely finished. What I find interesting is when people hear or know that you are a ‘love poet’, they assume you have no other passions than love, lust or sex.

No, not at all.

Through my maturity, aging, and personal activism, my concept of love has done two things: strengthened my ability to love and be reminded that be being passionate means I need to be able to confront what I see around me that is wrong.

As one whom is Black and woman, my concerns for my community, my family, the world at large fuel my activism in a way that love makes one bold, vulnerable and strong. The trickiest thing I have to keep in mind as my healing of mind and heart continue, is to keep my heart soft.

Again–my heart is an asset. It is a liability. It is mine.

I love hard. I am not afraid of commitment. I am afraid of becoming impervious–unwilling to be vulnerable again, because there is no safety to be such. That warrior in me and the lover in me take counsel in the words of another warrior-scholar, “Remember to use your genius, soldier, when nobody is around.”

Stop Weaponizing Non-Black Children To Gaslight Black Mothers With Their Children!

Anti-Blackness is real.

With this new found ‘success’ on TikTok (@whatjayesaid2.0), people seem to think that the same thought-provoking commentary was going to ease up! No, not at all!

This week, with seeing a mother whom I thought was White (turns out she was Mexican–and very fair), with her child crying on her lap crying, about how her classmate/friend, couldn’t come to her birthday party. Why? Her classmate was Black girl–with a vigilant Black mother!–was not going to be allowed to come to her birthday party.

While that is sad, as the mother of Black daughters, in a world that leaves a 23-year-old Black woman in her house dead, trying to protect them in world that either wants to kill/mimic/erase them? In a pandemic? I would have said the same thing! And what is that, you ask:

No, you cannot go over the house of a little girl (Black or White, but especially not White), whose mother I do not know. No, and do not ask me again.”

But in looking at this video of this little girl on her mother’s lap, something else struck me about this. Rather than taking the time to reach out to this girl’s mother, it was more advantageous to embarrass her daughter’s classmate and gaslight her mother. Which…only proved this little Black girl’s mother’s point!

This woman weaponized the tears of her daughter, to ‘get’ back at a Black woman! It was important for this woman whom weaponized the tears of her child–for what, exactly? To the point that she went to the school board to tell on this Black girl’s mother (Follow the TikTok account @gordacorajuda for her breakdown–I shared the video on my account as well)!

Tell me you got drunk on White supremacy without telling me you got drunk off White supremacy.

The girl’s mother used her child to advance the cause of white supremacy using Karens’ number one tool: gaslighting.

It was never about any kind of racial harmony, unity or trying to stamp out racism! This is stems from the fact non-Black people trying believe they have the right to all aspects of Black people! This includes time, culture, and personal space.

A Black woman set a boundary. A non-Black woman didn’t like it, and tried to bring the world down her to hurt her. But I promise you: as this continues to play out, she will say she’s not the one who is racist! She has Black friends! How dare we say that about her!

Then, she’ll cry.

It never fails.

She has tasted what whiteness tastes like and cannot be trusted.