There are a disproportionate number of illness specifically harmful to black people. We are the highest in cholesterol , blood pressure, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and on and on. My family medical history is something out of horror book. It includes mental illness, kidney disease, glaucoma, diabetes, blood pressure and other life-draining maladies. Ironically, my family history does not include terrible eating habit, sedentary lifestyles or generational poverty.
Recently, I am experiencing issues with blood pressure and joint pain and I decided before I just join the pill club I should do some research. What I discovered is that alot of our family issues was related to the endocrine system and specifically the adrenal gland. This particular gland is susceptible to stress which is throughout my familial history and that is factor for many black families. My father grew up in colonial Jamaica and my mother during the Jim Crow south. Whether there is the threat of financial instability, inequalities at work, hostile reactions in public, fear of walking down the street being subject to suspicion these are factors present today and even more intensely during my parent generation and beyond.
It is easy to begin to understand how stress has played a heavy role in my own family's health and the health of others. The challenge is there is some stress which you can avoid, how do you not drive if you need to, how can you not walk home if its only a couple of blocks, how can you screen every job to make sure its one conducive to a black employee, what if that is the college that has the specialty your looking for, what if there are no other political candidates on the ticket.
As black people we begin to swallow this as our reality and as a result we swallow the pain over and over. This is not relieve the responsibilities of blk people who make bad choices or who create havoc in their lives and others but there is a level of stress that is just being a member of this beautiful race.
There is a level of #everydayracism that we have to squash because its we can fight every battle. That lives in our system and no matter what food, or exercise or meditation we may need to do it is a daily battle to keep that coat of armor in front of us. More than 200 years later the aftermath of America's shame still lives in our system and those from the African Diaspora from other lands who experienced there own horror it written in their faces and many wounded, pain-riddled bodies.
This is something we must know and make part of our understanding of our bodies, we need to be gentle and informed when we enter that doctors office. Some of the bad choices that effect us are our own but some of the affects on our health we must not wear as shame but as deeper knowing that should be dealt with as compassion not shame or guilt.
November 8, 2016 which officially become the day this country returned to the Dark Ages. Never in my life, would I thought the word Trump and Presidency would ever become one.
As the night of Tuesday November 8 unfolded, it was as if my world was losing light and then it just got dimmer and dimmer. It was completely unfathmoable, to think this country would elect a ...reality star. This has to be one of the lowest moments in our modern country's history. He has no experience in foreign relations, no legislative experience and no political expertise. I just couldnt comprehend, how did this country with all this wealth and power choose to elect the lowest common denominator? It made absolutely no sense. We are now into the first week of the official status of ..the new dawn of darkness.
Many are trying to normalize, noticing he has stepped back on many mandates he shared during the Presidency. He has decided to not be so extreme on Obamacare, Roe vs. Wade , the Muslim registry..(?)..I refuse to try to breathe. Even if he swayed from everyone of his campaign promises...he is completely incompetent for this job. How did we deny the woman with 30 years experience including as a U.S. Senator and Secretary of State for a man who created The Apprentice?
Each day I wake up hoping this is all a bad dream and then I look at the news and it all becomes too real again. How I yearn for 2008 when there was such hope and expectancy in the air. There was such anticipation of what was coming and not the fear or dread that seems to permeate the air now. You can't seem to have a civil conversation because the personal stakes are too high whether you were With Her or not. There are moves to try to normalize what we have just experienced and I believe this is people's way to make it palatable but this election has crossed a line that can never be uncrossed. It confirmed that we dont want to change, we want what is familiar. This country was not ready to continue to move into the unknown, charter territory that has not been covered before.
These last 8 years have been accused of being the same but that is completely untrue. We have seen siesmic change, not the least an African-American family occupied the White House. We had an amazing First Lady who was the descendants of slaves and a President who's father was a citizen of Kenya. We have seen queer people openly serving in the military, people living because now pre-existing conditions are a thing of the past, gay marriage the law of the land, the Dept of Justice investigating the death of one black child. We have a Latina on the Supreme Court, we have 3 women appointed to the Supreme Court, a President who spoke about and supported the conversation of Climate Change..on and on. It was all too much for a country that only 10 years ago went to war to protect ourselves from the "Axis of Terror". People needed reassurance that we still have cowboys who can take out Indians, that we are tough on crime, tough on terror, tough on immigration..we're just tough.
The next four years will look like anything but progress but what the end result will be is anyone's guess. The one shining light of these days of dreariness is that we have seen a mobilizing of citizens that is unprecedented. People are speaking out loudly that this is not our normal and it is unacceptable. The hope that this is momentum will carry us into a backlash of the stagnant.
I was on my favorite bus from New York to Boston..the LimoLiner. It's a pleasant way to take the bus and for comfort I would say better than Amtrack (definitely better food) but I digress... on my way back home they screened M.A.SH. My first thought was, there is a remake of M.A.S.H. I wasn't aware of? It turn out no, it was the original movie.
Then I was like, they are showing a movie made in the 60's??? Like..., why? Well, that question was never answered but screened the movie, they did.
In between the writing, travel plans and facebook , I viewed the movie mostly in silence. What I was struck by was just the absolute lack of color in that FILM! There was an Asian man who had an under 5 role, some women who I assumed were supposed to be Korean were workers in a brothel as part of prank with no lines, a pretty black woman an officer with maybe 5min of screen time , a random black man who had the most lines as he was a singing most of them and Fred Williamson lookin like a model speaking for less than 7min.
The movie was filled with the "irreverant white dudes" who bucked the system, outwitted authority with their sincere arrogance. There was alot of "tongue in cheek" humour where women served no other purpose but to be hysterical, supportive and sexual partners . It's a film that reflected the changing times but white heterosexual men were still the captain of the ship.
It was a wonderful reminder how things have definitely changed. That film represented a period of time when our prescence didnt matter at all, it was clearest example of demeaning tokenism.
Now with films like Moonlight, Birth of a Nation, and tv shows like Insecure and Being Mary Jane we are on the screen AND we are occupying the screen.
My appreciation and heart goes out to all those who had to wait around for 5 hours just to say lend their "otherness" to a scene, or have your body used as an symbol of illicit behavior.
M.A.S.H. is considered one of the masterpieces of modern film and will always be a part of the canon of cinematic history. It should also be seen as a marker of how far we have come from just being the melodic voice for the benefit of others.
An Actor/Director sharing her thoughts on creativity in this crazy metropolis, New Yawk Citay.