author – activist – faculty – mom
Last night, as Simone Manuel stood on a podium to be the first black woman to earn an individual gold medal in swimming, NBC decided it was more important to cover Russian gymnastics from several hours before…
Dear racists of America, we are coming for you. Coming for your pools and your balance beams. We’ve already come for your NBA, NFL, National Leagues (yes, Dominicans & Puerto Ricans count). We been done came for your Pulitzer Prize, your Nobel, your White House.
We, people of the African diaspora, have proven that we are some of the baddest folks on land, but now we came to claim air and sea. Watch us fly through the air on the floor, the vault, the uneven bars. Watch us glide through water so fast, even your shit talking about our hair can’t stop us. NBC, you can cut away to something else—
We interrupt this program to bring you a special bulletin: BREAKING: black people are phenomenal. In spite of slavery and Jim Crow, centuries of subjugation, separate but unequal, white and colored water fountains and pools; decades of all white gymnastics teams; in spite of scales totally unbalanced, uneven and unparalleled opportunities we were barred from. We’ve managed to vault over these racist hurdles and submerge ourselves in excellence…
And now, we return you to your regularly scheduled program on NBC—with hours old coverage of Russian gymnasts while history is being made and Simone Manuel is the first black woman to win gold, but this is not nearly as unprecedented as you might imagine. In our diaspora, we have always done better on the open water; Caribbean colonies where maroons escaped slavery, Simone is but the latest of our lineage. Early African American folktales speak of people who could fly—why not underwater?
Whether or not NBC feels the shame it’s earned by refusing to televise its own breaking news, be on notice, racist America, we are coming for you. We look all the way back to 1491, when king and queendoms of Africa and the new world still stood strong and this is how we plan to make America great….again.