I know revelry. I know booty bouncing to NOLA music during Mardi Gras. I know Crop Over fest with the Bajans who are unbleached and down-to-earth. Junkanoo in Bahamas. Shit, I’ve even partied in the Akara festival in Nigeria. And at all of them I danced until I almost passed out.
However, running to prevent from getting popped in the poon poon has never been my objective.
But three years ago, I made an oath to myself that I would never attend another West Indian Day Parade in Brooklyn when I almost lost my shoe from running away from a stampede.
The next day I heard someone got chopped with a machete and of course they were shooting.
I have to shake my head. My West Indian Folk are taking this Wild Wild West shit to another extreme. Carnival in Brooklyn is now a cross between a bad day in a favela and a heavy metal rock concert. According to news reports, 48 people were shot, 8 of the shootings ending in death, 2 of them were cops, and in a 24-hour period, 24 people were shot.
I’m sorry, that shit is unacceptable. And if they didn’t put West Indian in front of parade, you would’ve thought it was us regular cotton pickers. But, not today, the Caribes represented like a muhfucka. When they say “lik shot” on di soca song, it doesn’t mean to bust a cap.
Okay my West Indian massive, lemme school you on something you may not know about America. You see America operates very well with division. For the past decades, America has divided people of African descent with one of their tactics by saying that one group has a “better” culture than the other. Or that black Americans don’t have any culture, while other black people from other countries could come to the US and thrive because of a strong sense of cultural self.
Native blacks were stereotyped as lazy, criminals, and deviants. And one of the reasons was because of a pathological cultural-less existence.
Then there were those who perpetuated the myth (meaning niggas), and those who believed (meaning migratory niggas).
It’s just like European immigrants. As each came to America, the various groups were labeled as the new niggers until they were knighted into whitedom. Polish, Italians, Irish, Eastern European Jews, Russians, you name it, had to fight for their validity. Then they all settled into a prescribed white Americanness mixed with the cultural remnants of the home country.
What people don’t see in the hybrid existence is the liqueur of Americanness that poisons the sensibilities. It ghettoizes some, while paving roads for other groups. And as a result, the American dream for blacks immigrants results in a few who make it, while the rest are absorbed into poverty and inner city blues or create a West Indian/African version of a ghetto.
The children of children whose parents migrated, get lost and caught up in being half of one world and half of another, and nobody can make much sense of the madness that comes with hybrid identity. The most disturbing part of it all is that, the dominant culture doesn’t give a fuck if you are from St. Lucia or St. Louis, you are just another nigger with a funny accent.
From a persona stance, you kind of don’t fit anywhere. You are too black to be a true American, and too American to be a true West Indian; however, these children have the thickest Caribe accents I’ve ever heard, as they bounce between patois and the King’s English.
And they are not national accents that distinguish an individual from Antigua, or Trinidad, or Haiti. Everyone just sounds, West Indian. What the fuck is that type of accent? Ask Nikki Minaj or Foxy Brown, they perform it very well. Seen.
You can’t also ignore the fact that a culture of violence is bubbling overboard in countries like Jamaica, Trinidad, and Nigeria. A manifestation of globalization at its best — the have not’s of the country still not having, but still wanting what they think every one in the “rich” world has. Of course, violence, and how it becomes a part of reality has a deeper explanation. I know, I know. Just throwing a bone out.
But my W.I. massive remember that the tap of Americanity you drink is laced with a reality that you are sipping a deathly elixir that is so sweet, you don’t know that you are slowly dying.