What is Black?

by D.L.Teamor

What is black? 
By definition - - producing or reflecting comparatively little light and having no predominant hue.
Soiled, as from soot; dirty.
Evil; wicked.
Cheerless and depressing; gloomy.
Being or characterized by morbid or grimly satiric humor.
Marked by anger or sullenness.
Deserving of, indicating, or incurring censure or dishonor.
Of or belonging to a racial group having brown to black skin, 
especially one of African origin.
Aren't we all of African origin?
Whether now claiming Italian or Latin or German or Irish or any nationality - - 
the origin of man is Africa.  
It is "Africa," which means, "Free of cold and horror; 
the womb or birthplace," or better yet, its original moniker, 
Alkebu-lan, meaning, "Mother of mankind; 
garden of Eden."  
But I digressed…
Where was I?
Oh yes, black…
See, when I think of black, I don't think of adverse imageries.  
I think sleek, bold, strong, potent.  
I think about the pupils of one's eyes, 
the windows to the soul.  
I think of the splendor and mystery of a night sky 
peppered with stars.  
I picture the onyx stone, the rare black pearl and the even rarer black diamond.
I don't think negativity when I think of black.
I think of my African ancestors, my grandparents, parents, my brother and my son.  
I think of my own grandchildren, those future generations that I won't see, 
and the thought brings a smile to my face.  
I don't smile when I think of soil from soot; evil or wickedness.
I surely don't smile if I'm cheerless and depressed.
I get no joy from the characterization of morbid or grimly satiric humor; 
nor with those things or emotions that are marked by anger or sullenness or deserving of censure.
When I think of my occupation of a space in this racial group 
that has brown to black skin and definitely of African origin, I AM PROUD.
So then, what is black?
It's the blood that runs from the Motherland to the islands to the Americas.  
It's the chanting and the dancing and the feeling that permeates our bodies in the beating of the drums.
It's the authority of the call and response, 
the smooth tempo of jazz; it's the rhythm and flow of the rumba and guaguancó
and comprasa and tumba francesa.
It's in the grit of the blues and glorious soul of gospel.
I see black and I see all good.
What is black?
It's the turban and kofia, fedora and zoot suit, dashiki and dreadlocks, afro and cornrows.
What is black?
It's Cleopatra and Celia Cruz, Huey Newton, Hannibal and Harriet Tubman; 
it's Benjamin Banneker and Barack Obama, Malcolm, Martin and Mandela; Sidney Poitier and Pelé; 
Lorraine Hansberry and Langston Hughes; John the Baptist and Jesus, Himself; 
King Tutankhamun and BLACK IS ME!

What is Black? by D.L.Teamor

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