Many complain that in these last eight years black people didn't get anything; I beg to differ. These last eight years black folks got freedom. We got the freedom to say whatever the f*ck we wanted, live out loud, be liberated and be magical. We created our own spaces and got voices like Very Smart Brothas, For Harriet, Blavity, and Smart Brown Girl. We got to love on each other and watch each other flourish from the big screen to the small presses and drag with impunity whosoever got in the way. We created and started the most businesses under the bewitching powers of black girl magic and black boy joy. We were summoned, invited, and welcomed at the White House where we dined, entertained, and were celebrated.
Tragedies struck and we mobilized, we marched, we took over Twitter and Instagram with memes and hashtags. We fought back with every form of new media that we dominated. We fought with dollars, we fought with clap-backs. We hijacked the spotlight and shined it on stories that matter. We were done with being confined to mediocre expressions of blackness. We showed our asses but we also showed our depth and demanded that Hollywood do the same. These last eight years were a win for black people worldwide; from Wiz Kid to Lil' Yatchy we run the gamut of creativity, self-love and success.
As Obama leaves office we're probably looking around and asking ourselves what now? It feels like time has run out like we've reached the end of an era. Folks are bottling up their magic and putting it back up on the shelf because we see the anger and vitriol on the other side of the buckling fence, restrained only by threadbare leashes. There's a sense of powerlessness because compassion and common sense will no longer sit at the helm in the hands of 'our president.'
Despite the fear, let's refuse to be undone by fear. Barack and Michelle are gone from the White House, but in the words of the great poet Kendrick Lamar, "We gone' be alright!" Our president ain't black no more. In fact, he's a startling shade of nuclear orange, but that shouldn't thwart our progress. Instead of being fearful of change let's look at what we learned and loved about our glow up under the Obama administration that can get us through the next four to eight?
1. Let's continue to love ourselves unconditionally—our colorfulness, our cultures, our thick thighs, our mistakes, our flaws, our emotions. Let's be unapologetic for being us and bump trying to fit in. We've been cured of the need to 'wig down' our natural hair for the interview, and we sure as hell don't need to talk differently about work than we do with our friends. We are multifaceted. We can be bougie and "speak with the vocabulary of a highly intelligent trap queen." If there's anything this administration taught us it's this: our culture and our experiences as black people in America, is a form of intelligence and is the sauce that makes America great.
2. Let's continue to create. We need our writers, bloggers, and cultural critics to stay on top of their 'A' game. We need our perspectives on the issues presented and voiced; it's the most heroic thing we can do. Ditto, our meme-sters and clap-back kings and queens; we need the humor to get us through these hunger games, so please don't fall asleep at the wheel…mmmmkay, thanks.
3. Let's keep put your money where our heart is. Let's continue to reward our creativity, our voices and our businesses with our patronage. Let's keep supporting breakthrough filmmakers, writers and artists who are telling our stories. Let's keep reading, posting, commenting and staying engaged.
4. Let's keep the love on tap. Affirmation has been the hallmark of this era, be it romantic or platonic, a fist bump or a head nod. Whether it is the way Barack places his hand on the small of Michelle's back or daps up Kevin Durant; the Obamas inspired us all to acknowledge each other. Let's do whatever it takes to keep affirming one another.
5. Lastly, the Obama era taught us that progress isn't a one man job. We all contributed to moving the needle a bit in the direction of progress. It'll take all of us to keep it there even when it starts to feel like we're stuck in neutral.
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