I need to make some rasx() context videos about my poetry…

On my YouTube channel, I set up a rasx() context playlist that only has five videos in it. In stereotypical fantasy, I literally rolled out of bed this morning fired up about taking direct action without elaborate preparation. I need to make some videos about my poetry—especially the work I did when I was in college.

Specifically, I was remembering the spoken-word/rhythm-rhyme piece I made called Ida B. Wells: Agitation against the Lynching Evil. I have not released this work on the Internet or in print because it is meant to be heard first. This choice is completely under the influence of one of my mentors/elders Sekou Sundiata—most of his work was released by record labels.

My problem is the huge, multi-decade-long delay between developing the material and releasing it as originally intended. I need to escape the all-or-nothing trap and at least do a solo Google Hangout and re-live the material. Now, I will show myself a bullet list of things I should hit whenever this happens:

  • The young people need to know that Ida B. Wells was the first investigative journalist—not the first Black investigative journalist—but the first investigative journalist. Period.

  • I need to reference the documentary about Ida B. Wells, featuring Toni Morrison the voice of Ida B. Wells.

  • Of course her autobiography, Crusade for Justice.

  • Two events from her life stand out to me: (i) her husband sold his newspaper to her instead of giving it to her and (ii) one of the most poignant moments in all of American history is when a young Ida B. Wells—born in freedom—was thrown off of a train as Jim Crow began to rise. It is exactly like being in a dystopian sci-fi horror movie.

  • Ida B. Wells crusaded primarily in response to black businessmen being murdered for living the American dream. This history flies in the face of the 20th-century, child-of-European-immigrants arrogance about their grandfather coming to America with a nickel in his pocket to build an empire—and why can’t these Black people do the same.

So getting this done is less tragic than not doing anything publicly at all. At this moment in my miserable life I assume that I will no longer fall into more private-life spider webs so I can continue to get the work done to get the work out there.

Update: in typical Bryan un-fashion, I see that I failed to actually hit upon my poetry. I went into the history (which I love). Let’s try to fix that:

  • I need to explain every single line of my work (which sounds artsy-egocentric until we start thinking about the children that use YouTube like a terrifying, never-ending episode of Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood). This suggests strongly that the Google Hangout should be (mostly) a screen share, instead of me showing my (artsy-egocentric) face.

  • I make a reference to the1997 movie Love Jones (which demonstrates just how old this work is).

  • The used vulgar language was not unconsciously habitual out of socialization. I was well aware of fluent, Shakespearean English as well as vernacular forms. The use of this language was for its percussive efficiency as well for an intended audience.

  • This first line of the piece was a direct quote from Ida B. Wells. It was the saying she intended to make famous. My poem about her is following her instructions an example of my respect for her. (However, I am more than certain that she would not approve of my use of vulgar language—but Ida B. Wells would not know how far from the grace of non-white God her people has fallen since her death.)

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