Tag: relationships

My Sister’s Keeper (Pt. 3): The Knowing Unknowing

Wit. Your first mind. Mother wit. Somethin-told-me. Intuition. Ancestral knowing. It’s still needed…and life-saving. -JBH

As of this posting Kyrie Irving has given $65,000 to her funeral expenses, and Shanquella has been interred in Charlotte, NC.

As I balance experience and protection for my now teenage daughters, I have to tell them these stories. I have to pull them closer to me to let them know the world is a scary place, and once your know that–you can navigate it. I am teaching my daughters to trust that intuition–what I tell them is their ancestral knowing or their first mind–because it will not steer them wrong. I tell my daughters for the want of being popular, trying to be seen, Instagramming your reality, people will override that still small voice.

I can’t speak to every other Black woman in the world, but I can speak for myself. I believe, and was told by my mother, that wit is something that every woman has. And it will reveal things to you, and show you things if you are willing to listen to it. I believe in this era of parasocial relationships, sliding in DM’s, viral likes and shares, it is easy to miss that tap on your shoulder to tell you that something is bad.

That something isn’t right.

That you shouldn’t go with that person.

Shouldn’t call that person back.

That something is indeed…wrong.

In this situation (much like Kenneka’s), I wonder if that intuition went off for Shanquella. If it went off for her mother!

As I look at this situation as a mother, sister, friend and Black woman, I have so many questions. Most of those questions are powered by my intuition! I wonder if Shanquella’s mother told her not to go, asked for her friends to come by the house. I want to know if anyone confirmed the itinerary–and that emboldened her friends to come by her mother’s house to tell her Shanquella was dead from (allegedly) alcohol poisoning.

I want to know if Ms. Salamondra Robinson’s eyes narrowed at these people when her daughter didn’t come back with them.

For the person who opened the door for this friend whom would later assault Shanquella, did your stomach drop?

Why did no one break this fight up? And how devoid of humanity must you be in order to leave a friend dead, only to have all the friends scatter?

I also want to know if Shanquella, resting in her hotel, thinking she was safe, felt the energy in the room shift when the door opened before her life ended.

I want to know if she felt something in her say, “Shanquella, don’t go. Don’t go with these people”. And she didn’t listen.

I pose the same question: If Black women are not safe around other Black women, where are they safe?

My Sister’s Keeper (Pt. 2): This Is Not The Time

TW: Transphobia

I do not agree with the accusation of the assailant of the Shanquella being labeled as a ‘man in a wig.’ Or immediately being classified as a Black transwoman.

So often Black women are classified as masculine! Our bodies are ridiculed, only to be mimicked. Black women have meet incredible standards to even be considered feminine, or the ever elusive ‘pretty’. In the forefront of this tragedy is this burgeoning transphobia, and anti-trans sentiment!

No. No, we are not about to do this!

The fact is Shanquella is dead, and the people who she traveled with are responsible! Yet, homophobia is never late! It is never late, never failing to be out of place! What needs to be added in this conversation is how easy sometimes Black women will not examine their own inner circles, but will always seek out ‘the other’ to determine who/where the enemy is.

It can’t be the women in my circle whom are capable of this, but a transwoman would because they are not real women!

No. Not here. Not ever. Not never ever.

Let me say this: I am a cis-het Black woman. I have never looked in the mirror and thought, ‘None of this [heart, body, mind, spirit] is right! I can lend sympathy and empathy to transpeople. And as a woman, I can respect women (cis/trans), and only ask for that respect in return.

This situation has nothing to do with transwomen.

Transwomen are not the enemy. I repeat: transwomen are not the enemy, and should not be the focus in this discussion! The focus needs to remain on Shanquella, and why her ‘friends’ got her in another country, (allegedly) murdered her, and lied to her mother about her cause of death!

If anything, this situation forces us as Black women to look at our own circles! We have to examine who is there and why people are there. Then, be brave enough to make them leave!

There are Black women who say this situation is not, should not be compared to what happened to Kenneka Jenkins. But, I offer to you that it can.

Both young women trusted people whom could not keep them safe, look out for them, or even had the base level care most Black women have been taught to have for one another. And for that misplacement of trust, they are dead.

The remaining questions I have is:

Who really looks for Black women and girls except other Black women and girls?

If Black women have no trust among each other, then were can Black women have it

My Sister’s Keeper (Pt. 1): What About Your Friends?

Author note: As of this posting, there have been no arrests in this case. #JusticeForShanquellaRobinson -JBH

Shanquella Robinson should not be dead. And the fact that she is in the company of Black people, in a foreign country, with her mother on the news demanding answers?

Disbelief isn’t the word!

Yet, it but I cannot help but remember the words of my mother: “Not every one is your friend.”

The most vicious thing about her murder is still how callous this all was! It rings of what happened to Kenneka Jenkins in Chicago. There is a debate on social media which debates this, but there indeed is a parallel. The main one is: who do you call your friend. And…why?

This young woman wasn’t yet 30.

A college graduate.

Entrepreneur.

And she traveled internationally with people she knew.

And yet, she is gone. A portion of her assault on the internet for all to see. An one of her assailants is a Black woman! The urban philosophers T-Boz, Left Eye, and Chili once said, “What about your friends?” As a mother now, this is my worst nightmare. I am trying to equip my children to be in the world, being able to listen to their intuition when things are wrong, and knowing exactly what a friend is!

This young woman is dead because of jealousy, and trusting the wrong set of people. Yet, there is a deeper element here. More sinister.

With Black women being so unprotected, with us working towards trying to build and keep safety, the safest place should be with another Black woman! In watching the video, in seeing this beautiful Black woman thrown around, pummeled, and with a Black man in the video saying, “Shanquella, you ain’t gon fight back?”

Furthermore, then, to find out that her murder innocence was videotaped on the phone? Only to have that video then begin circulating, which contradicts everything her friends told her mother? Horrendous.

How have we gotten here?

I believe one of the ways by which we have gotten here is we no longer value human life… that goes beyond race. In this reality by which we now currently navigate, and traverse, it seems what we value is. Everything is intangible. this generational gap is evident that what we as Gen X, millennials were taught, did not trickle down to GenZ. Or if it did, they didn’t believe it was worthy of implementing in their own social circles.

It doesn’t matter that this young woman had hopes dreams, a mother that loved her, family, that she belonged to–the fact that her friends in my opinion were jealous of her.

I’ve been a woman for a consider amount of time now. And I know enough that, when a group of women don’t like you? They will do the most nefarious things to you to either isolate you, ridicule, you, or hurt you.

Yet, in this parasocial relationship, social media crafted reality, we must remember that not everyone that likes your images, like you. Not everyone that follows you, is defined as ‘friend’ will be one. Not everyone wants you to win, loves. And there are people whom truly desire to be in your space in order to harm or destroy you!

yeah, some of the questions I still have are:

What can be done to be pulled back?

And who was holding the camera?

Who had opened the door?

Trust as a Black woman is a powerful thing, and most fragile. Once it is violated–especially by another Black woman, that is hard to repair. If not impossible.

Bonus Piece: Fast Girl Epilogue (NSFW)

While this piece was not included in this printed work, it was too good not to share.

When I asked you

to be my first,

I meant that

first—

last

The everything

first time

my legs would shake

on your shoulders.

The first time

I will ever feel a

spread in my hips

to the point every chakra

would realign to

ruin me for

any other man

that would dare

look at me

knowing that I was yours

deeper than senses

longer than love

quicker than Lightning flashes –

that kind of belonging

you can’t buy…

that kind of power—

you can’t mimic

when I asked you

into my body

to be the first

to explore

to awaken

to erupt everything in me

that was meant for you

I meant that.

I meant that,

like God is real

admitting all I held

for you—

would belong to you,

which means there

was a lock on the inside

of me with

your name on it—

If you thought my

mouth was slick,

You’ll find out

What else already is

A lock that

no one could find

but you—

Just like they put

names on hollow point

bullets so that the soul

will be captured,

I wanted to be

captured—

to be held

to be found

by you and none but you.

Knowing the caliber of love

and love making,

Relentless exploration

that the kids call fucking

you would give to me

—and only me —

because I asked

it of you.

when I asked you

to be my first

I meant for you

to be the last

because how often

do you get to

touch the sun

and live to tell about it?

-JBHarris, October 2022

New Book: Sweethearts & Love Notes

To grab this book on Amazon or Kindle, click here.

I have written fast before, but this? This book poured out of me.

Through the luck of social media, and the uncanny nature of my own life, I have found my childhood sweetheart. For respect, I won’t give his name here, but he knows this book exists.

I have not seen him in 21 years, and yet he remembers the last thing I wore, and I saw him before he saw me.

I all but ran to him. Hugged him. And the world fell away. No, that is not an exaggeration.

For those feelings, for the power of that connection, I wrote! In being transparent, this was the man I thought I would marry.

There are attributes of this connection I have looked for in other relationships–to this day (I mean #ForeverBae plays Poker AND Chess!)!

This chap book is a reminder to me that…maybe I am still a love poet after all. As and maybe (just maybe) this is a reminder to younger me that I wasn’t crazy–and neither was he.

The butterflies were real and still are.

Favorite pieces:

Love Note #3

Hymnals

When Beale Street Talks

If you know you know.

My Mom Texted Me At 5 AM To Go Vote

My mother doesn’t sleep—

and now with her being

the proud owner

of an empty nest,

she makes her rounds

every morning to make sure

all baby eaglets

with nest of their own

are fine—

but with the approaching

wildfire season, she touched

her wing to the head of her

Oldest Babybird

to remind her

it is her turn to go save the world.

-JBHarris, November 2022 (US Midterms 2022)

The Death & Burial Of Kanye West-III

III.

Is going to be slow-singing
and flower bringing
If My burglar alarm starts ringing
is what the Notorious BIG said
and protecting his space
and all those in it
clocking these dollars
and not worrying about
who hollers—
at the same time
now we must celebrate
the death of the Only One.

the death of his blackness
the death of his heart,
his vision,
and what we celebrated
in him…
has now died.

because it is now died
there is no need for repass.

We saw this coming.

There is no need to mourn,
because even Mary and Martha,
when they fell at the feet
of the Master were
told that on the last day
that their brother
who had died,
Christ would raise!

They had faith. We do not.

the same God of the universe
who gave alphabets, dialects,
and dreams, muses and music
with visions of the ability
to count all the stars in the sky—

We close the casket.
We lower hope and faith
Into the earth so that
Blackness is all he will know.

But we go on because
there is work to do
work to be undone.

The betrayal most complete in death walking around, as if nothing is wrong.
all things Black, boy, and joy
being erased in favor
of the lies the Only One
and his fellow betrayers
have swallowed because
scraps from the masters’
table you deem better
than feasts in their own
houses warm with dark faces
Which open and grant peace,
….And yet his mother is dead.

The one who believed
in him first the
one who believed him last
in it is fitting that the last people
that believe in him
are both Black and woman.

did the space
with free thought
exist in the same plane
As whiteness?
Where your Blackness goes to die,
Surrendered to by
Those who only know
Lies and thievery?

We commit the Only One
To his mother, Donda—
Let her open her arms to
The Only One.

There is no room for mourning
for this is celebrated!
because now you have
gotten what you want—
And there is no way back.

No one to open doors,
wipe tears and
pour back into you
what the world strips.

The Jesus you walked with doesn’t know you.

That old song
says ‘diamonds are forever’
but yet with this
one now returned
to earth?

It was always coal.

Will be turning our eyes to the East,
lifting our heads up from which
Comes our help—
there is no morning for Mr. West.

-JBHarris

The Death & Burial Of Kanye West-II

If,
from the combination of all things, knowing and Black comes this abomination of what we knew of him
whose very name,
translates to “Only One”.

how befitting it is
the Only One be unrecognizable— indistinguishable
apart from the oppressor.

with the same palm
which gave rhythm
and popped collars
now recruits fingers
to make hand
punch out and down
everyone else who he thinks
opposes him
and his pursuit of whiteness—

The Only One asks
Why we will not come with him?
Why we will not rejoice with him?

Why we will not betray
all that we know
and follow into the Sunken Place
with him when Chris had
his own friend
who was Black and male
to rescue him
because he had to GET OUT.

In this gospel
told by Jordan Peele
we find ourselves
In flashing lights hoping
What was there before
he fell, could be found
again—
to find nothing but carcass.

A house swept clean
Which the Only One
had the only, one key
And had the
One One’s had vision
wide enough
deep enough to keep
the Chicago River blue—
To keep the eyes of Black
and Brown children sparkly
because he looked like them…

now we have a relic
of what it means
to be both free and Black
but neither Black nor free!

and yet we are
to dispatch the angels
of our present warfare
to fight on his behalf?

No.

For the extremism
he is embraces
Before us all
draped in White Lives Matter
With his Balenciaga Binky
wanting power, comfortable
and luxury custom to him
By his own mouth.

Are we are supposed
ignore this…
because his mother is already dead.

But yet he spits
in the face of all our dead mothers
dead forefathers,
who fought for the right
for him to be the Only One
to walk in the spaces
do what he does best—

And here we are here
and here we will remain
be the evidence of
things spoken
those things hoped
for the evidence
of things not seen—
seeing him,
and all his glory,
because this is who he is now.

No longer an urban prophet,
but an urban myth,
and like all myths—
they must be disproven

-JBHarris

The Death & Burial Of Kanye West-I

The opening of that
classic song says
‘nothing‘s ever promised tomorrow today’ that same energy
that kept us afloat
is now a millstone
around our her neck—
beckoning us to look
this way in that,
even though it hurts
our whole body
to do so.

looking at what
promise, privilege and power
does when at the core
the soul which was Black
is now White—
not by the washing of the Word
Or of the Blood,
but by the seeking of
validation of those who only know subjugation as power.

how ironic that villains of
This world whom prey on
The hungry desperate of power
Devoid of peace
seduce a prophet from
the midpoint of this
of these disjointed United States
to join into that dance
that is, and will always
call you nigg3r.

How befitting
he betrayed all that
he is all and he was—
with his mother already be dead?

how fitting it is
His father,
who he did say
he loved him so
can no longer be found
when he is in the throes
of what it means to be
Black and man
seeming to reject both!

at this time
in this space
and in this very place
at the time where 45
has been deep-sixed
that we may live again
to see 46
that he at age 45
be stuck between boy and man.

Wanting us all to follow him—
This Pied Piper forgetting
We know how that story ends;
betraying all that he is
all that his mother told him
all that the streets gave him—
drying tears opening doors,
to bestow title of genius!

Yet…we who demand accountability
who are alive and remain
to demand the better,
now we are now the problem…

and yet he wants us to not clap at his downfall

We already know the Chi town‘s finest ain’t always found on the mile.

-JBHarris

By Number

A Black woman died today.

The keepers of score say
Black women now leave
the planet at the
rate of one every 4.8 hours,
and there is one Black man
somewhere who will tell
multiple Black women
that we need to choose better.

Be softer.
Be more thankful you.
Less loud.
More quiet.
And do the thing
by which Black women
do best which is
handle life—
Even as it is thrown at them,
tossed at them,
or hit directly in their faces.

To be protector
of their predators
to be silent when
they should scream
and should lay down
and be taken because
that’s what we are
supposed to do.

To not bloom, but never plant.
Never ask but never fail to offer
but always be ready
to give over the any and everything—including body and mind.

And yet every 4.8 hours.
snatched.
Missing.
Found.

Mysteriously recovered
from ditches and streams
ravines, and washed up
on beaches
we are found… and yet unmissed.

We are missing, but never lost.
grieved, and yet never glorified
and yet we are told that our deaths
are lies and our lives misrepresented, unreported and should go with the territory of being
both woman and Black
because what did she really do to make him do her like that?

and yet…a Black woman died today.

-JBHarris, October 2022