The Mourning and Sadness of Black Life
Updated: Apr 8, 2019
In 2015, Claudia Rankine wrote an article for The New York Times Magazine titled "The Condition of Black Life is One of Mourning". The article spoke of the the fears that black women have for their sons, the terrorist attacks on the African American community from the 16th Street Church Bombing in 1963 to Dylann Roof's ambush at Emmanuel AME Church in 2015, the growing reports of police brutality, and the development of the Black Lives Matter movement. The title of Rankine's article pulled at me, especially with the recent death of rapper Nipsy Hussle. It made me think of the constant losses we face in our daily lives.
I cannot think of one famous person who's death made me cry. Truth be told I really don't have too many tears when people I know and love pass on. I don't really cry for any reason; happy, sad or indifferent. That's who I am, it's the person I have always been. At some point, I created this philosophy in my mind that crying doesn't fix anything so why put the energy into it. It's not something I was taught and I have not instilled that idea into my daughter. It's just a - me thing.
Well since last Sunday, I have cried everyday and I hate it. I'm not going to pretend I was some mega Nipsy Hussle fan. I don't the lyrics to his songs. I've only purchased one Marathon brand item and it was gift for someone else. I'm familiar with his ideas and philosophies on how to better that black community because of social media but I've never sought out any information on or about him. When my friend called to tell me about his death, my initial reaction was "Damn". Not a emotional Florida Evans' damn, but just damn like another black man lost.
That night, as scrolled Instagram my timeline and explore page were filled with pictures of Nipsy and quotes both by and about him. The photos went from pictures by himself to pictures with his friends, his children and his fiance. The more I saw pictures of he and Lauren London together, the more I cried. At first, I thought I was crying for her. To loose your lover and best friend is hard. Monday night, the same thing. Tuesday, there were more tears but I realized they weren't for Nipsy's family. They were tears for myself.
The condition of Black life may be one of mourning but too often we do not allow ourselves to mourn completely. In July, it will be ten years since I lost my daughter's father. My daughter was 3 years old at the time and his other daughter who lived with us was 10. When we parted ways on the fateful morning, no one would have imagined that would be the last time we saw him. We couldn't imagine that someone would put four bullets into his head and take him away from our family. I lost my man, our children lost their father and his mother lost her only child. I don't know why Nispy Hussle's death has cause me to relive all of this but it has.
I didn't cry for his the first week after he died. I didn't have time. I had children and at 24 years old, I found myself planning a funeral. Was I suppose to cry between picking out caskets and burial plots? The day after the funeral I went to work. My kids needed to eat and the bills weren't going to pay themselves. I became a shell of the woman I was but it was a working and functioning shell. Why? Because I had shit to do. Mourning was only going to slow me down.
It took some time - like 5 years- but I was able to work through losing him. I don't like the saying life go on, but I will say that it progresses and as life progressed, I came to terms with the fact that although I lost him that it's okay to continue my life. I thought that was my ah ha moment. I thought that coming to terms with him no longer being here was my big breakthrough. I see now that was only part of the process. My tears this week are not because I miss DiAndre. (Yes, I miss him but in a way that I enjoy the memories.) I cried and I'm still crying because I never allowed myself to experience the pain and the trauma I went through.
Cassanova2x did an interview that I posted a clip of on IG this morning. He spoke of not being allowed to really express emotional pain as Black man, but his statements are true no matter the gender. When he was locked up, his mother basically told him to man up. Someone who doesn't understand the culture would say how could she, but I think it was probably out of love. She too probably had many situation where she had to put on her big girl panties and get things done; therefore, that was the only advise she had to give to her son. I'm not saying to was the right thing to do, I'm just saying that until we as a people know better we cannot do better.
Hey Black people! We need to allow ourselves to fully heal from our traumas. We need to give the men in our lives room to have emotion without making them feel weak. As mother's, girlfriends and wives we need to take of ourselves as much as we take care of others. We need need to learn to deal with trauma, grief and sadness without just putting it away.