The Week Past: Uncle Joe’s Win, Turning the Wind Into a Song, and The Night Being His Time

As expected, South Carolina gave Uncle Joe the victory he so sorely needed.

Source: Washington Post

The numbers indicate a landslide, especially among the older Black voters who, when their right to the ballot is not being suppressed, show up and show out for establishment Democrats.

I have viewed this election cycle through the lens of Black personhood, and the interplay developing between younger Blacks and our elders. My grandparents left the South at the tail end of the Great Migration to flee segregation and racism; my grandfather often told stories of seeing the Klan when he was growing up. Though they had it rough in New York- they raised their family in Farragut Projects in Brooklyn- the only fond stories of the South they had was concerning their family. Everything else was either horror or too unspeakable to talk about.

I now live in Arkansas, and the bulk of my family, educated and employed, moved back down to resettle our ancestral homeland. My grandma’s old cautions still live though, and have been passed down to her children, and give her children’s children pause. It was her sacrifices that she made nearly 80 years ago that allowed my family to break through to the middle and professional classes. We did not have to survive and flee the things she had. So when she, and the Black folks of her generation, feel Biden would be best to defeat a party that would take us back to the horrors that still remain in her living memory, I feel I at least have to understand it.

I find Biden to be a flawed, weak candidate; I also find Sanders to be too politically wizened to be as stupid as he is on race- his colorblind, class-based approach ignores the primary of race in American history, and does not account for tragedies such as the Elaine Massacre, or how after the Civil Rights Movement, mass incarceration was the next state-sanctioned demon to stalk Black folk.

But still- elections between flawed candidates is what primaries are about, ain’t it? I’ll be going out to vote for Warren today.

I’ve been reading all of Sade’s lyrics for the next update of my “What is the Empress?” series of posts. Lots of early mornings over coffee, doing readings while she played in the background; this has been the most fun I’ve had doing extended research and writing since grad school.

In my second piece, I noted how Black folk made a claim on Sade as soon as “Diamond Life,” and how the early visual culture surrounding her also racialized her in Blackness- despite Sade claiming that race did not figure out much into her worldview. It led me to really see how race popped up in her lyrics of love and loss and strength.

“You can turn the wind into a song.”

The album “Promise” holds the title for the most racial references, implicit, or explicit, due to the song Tar Baby being present. There are other songs across other albums- Pearls, Immigrant, Slave Song- that also seem concerned about Blackness. I’m doing deeper dives and hope to have the next post in the series done by week’s end.

I’m a sucker for sublime writing, and some of the best in fiction is currently happening in Al Ewing’s “The Immortal Hulk.” This look at this page describing Bruce Banner’s origin:

“The Night is His Time.”

“But I couldn’t stop screaming. So I got up again.” Ewing uses simple, economical language to get to the existential terror of being the Hulk- that even in death, he will give you no peace.

Can’t wait to pick this up in trade volumes.

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Hal H. Harris

Hal H. Harris

Black on Both Sides. Medium Writers Challenge Winner. The founder of Established in 1865. I Tweet @Established1865. E-mail is hal.harris@est1865.com.