I Will Burn My Name Onto It

#BLACKLIVESMATTER

Published on The Body Is Not An Apology

This is the work of Cody Charles; claiming my work does not make me selfish or ego-driven, instead radical and in solidarity with the folk who came before me and have been betrayed by history books and storytellers. Historically, their words have been stolen and reworked without consent. This is the work of Cody Charles. Please discuss, share, and cite properly.

To be a Black artist — a Black writer, a Black singer, a Black intellectual, a Black chef, a Black inventor, a Black sculptor, a Black sound, a Black creator — is to constantly live in a space where your creation can be stolen and monetized for the benefit of others.

Historically, our names have been lost and intentionally erased from books, historical ledgers, and from the imagination of the colonized mind.

White supremacy says that our narrative does not include intellectuals and creators, but instead is a story of inferior people reliant on white supremacists of all kinds — the kind that are well intentioned, the kind that are self-loathing, and the kind that actively demand the heartbeat of status quo.

We are sometimes portrayed as angry, sometimes experienced as hopelessly content — and always as the deserved victim. We are more than what white supremacy say we are, and we must demand that history remembers us as a people fighting for our liberation.

I will not be silenced. I will not be erased.

“I am an invisible man…I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids — and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.” ~Ralph Ellison

This is the work of Cody Charles; claiming my work does not make me selfish or ego-driven, instead radical and in solidarity with the folk who came before me and have been betrayed by history books and storytellers. Historically, their words have been stolen and reworked without consent. This is the work of Cody Charles. Please discuss, share, and cite properly.

To be a Black soul is to inhabit the being of that miller’s daughter, spinning gold from straw for the consumption of someone else, for an entity that chooses to dehumanize us, erase us, while simultaneously feeding from our limped backs. We are given the straw, but no spinning wheel. We have to become magical and otherworldly. We are stuck in a large room with a meaningless task.

Some of us believe that if we produce enough gold, the master will grant us freedom, forgetting that our freedom is in direct opposition to the production of the spun gold. We spend very little time questioning who created the room and why we were placed in it in the first place.

Some of us are spastically trying to find a way out, knowing this foolish attempt will eventually lead to our deaths. Some of us have given up, with straw in one hand and our tears in the other — this is the real meaning of a trap house.

And somehow, the protocol and expectation from white supremacy is that we ask for our liberation in a soft voice, using non-threatening language, and blurting out strategic “thank-yous” and words of affirmation to the folk in power. Other Blacks are content with burning the room down, gold and all — bodies and all. Our words, our creations are fire when used strategically.

To be Black is to create, and expect that our words whispered, songs sang, inventions crafted, clothes worn, records broken, lives lived — will somehow be owned vigilantly by another.

We are taught to be smaller by the system, institutions, peers, friends, and even family members, by both enemies and loved ones, cloaked in identical fabric of white supremacy. We are taught to endure beatings and to respond in a morally high and mighty manner, but never with a response that upholds our dignity.

We have been *traditioned language that speaks our oppression from generation to generation.

“Mama: We ain’t no business people, Ruth. We just plain working folks.
Ruth: Ain’t nobody business people till they go into business. Walter Lee say colored people ain’t never going to start getting ahead till they start gambling on some different kinds of things in the world — investments and things.” ~Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun

“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” ~Matthew 5:5

“Oppressive language does more than represent violence; it is violence; does more than represent the limits of knowledge; it limits knowledge.”Toni Morrison (Nobel lecture, 1993)

Language disguised- condemnations used to manipulate Black folk into not claiming and celebrating our beautiful and full selves by fostering the thick air of contentment.

We are taught to be kind and trusting of the very people that commit violence against us and mean to expunge us from existence. We are taught that the fight for liberation is bigger than just us, not taking in consideration that we just might erase ourselves by not claiming our efforts.

Our words.
Our names.
And our space.

“When you know your name, you should hang on to it, for unless it is noted down and remembered, it will die when you do.” ~Toni Morrison

We must be remembered. We must be preserved. We must be cherished. We must not be co-opted. And we must never be erased.
For the sake of the spinning room and the spun gold
For the sake of our names and the lives lived before us
For the sake of the precious breath we cradle in and diffidently let go
For the sake of our liberation
For the sake of it all
For goodness sake

***If any of his writings help you in any way, please consider tipping here =>cash.me/$CodyCharles (Square Cash) or @CodyCharles(Venmo)<=

This is the work of Cody Charles; claiming my work does not make me selfish or ego-driven, instead radical and in solidarity with the folk who came before me and have been betrayed by history books and storytellers. Historically, their words have been stolen and reworked without consent. This is the work of Cody Charles. Please discuss, share, and cite properly.


*Traditioned — The act of passing on behaviors that maintain the status quo from generation to generation. By status quo, I mean imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy.

“imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy” ~ bell hooks


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