Diamonds & Pearls: Black Women on the Front of the Line

I don’t know what the woman’s name is although I’m sure it’s relatively easy to google it at this point and find out her entire life story. I instead chose to name her myself. I decided to call her PEARL.

A demonstrator protesting the shooting death of Alton Sterling is detained by law enforcement near the headquarters of the Baton Rouge Police Department in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. July 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A demonstrator protesting the shooting death of Alton Sterling is detained by law enforcement near the headquarters of the Baton Rouge Police Department in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. July 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Pearl /perl/

Noun

  1. A precious thing, the finest example of something.

Here she stands as fearless as a Pearl sitting in an oyster shell, stoic in her demeanor with a relentless aura that pours from the realm of photography into reality. I can feel her presence through the photo as if I were the dress blowing in the air. I’ve blown this picture up until it was so pixelated that I had to guess at certain parts, just to see where she poses a threat. I’ve looked for reasoning for the body language of what looks like Special Forces Riot Officers but have yet to find it. They look hostile in their protective gear and shields, and she looks…courageous.

Her right arm is placed across her upper body while her left one is slightly extended as if offering a handshake. She probably wasn’t offering a handshake, but the ease exists nonetheless. She looks so relaxed that Heaven could probably feel her defiance to back down. It’s a beautiful pose in an ugly war for simple inclusion in the human category. Treat us humanely. Black Lives Matter. It’s not a fucking statement made up to alienate ourselves; WE WERE ALREADY ALIENATED!!! This is a collective group of people and allies that are simply asking not to be killed when they aren’t posing a threat. Alton Sterling and Philando Castille should NOT be dead and if you think so, something is mentally fucked up with you. I’m sorry for not sugar coating it but I just can’t even begin to see what Trayvon Martin did to deserve death. Or what why Rekia Boyd isn’t marching in a protest if she wants to. There are so many names that we forget some people and so many people that we can’t even all the names. Black death at the hands of police officers is an epidemic and someone has to fight back. People who don’t get it, don’t WANT to get it. And there stands Pearl in the center of it all without an ounce of trepidation to curb her enthusiasm. She will go to the brink of fire and get burned to prove that Black Lives Matter and in the name of justice. She represents no guts, no glory the ever-evolving story of the precious black woman’s game face in the midst of pain. And what a fine example she is… I wonder what happened in the second after this flash went off? I should Google it and find out, but part of me doesn’t want anymore. I don’t want to hear that she was jailed, ruff-housed and beaten and that now she will have a record simply for being a peaceful protesto-

-wait.

-For simply being a BLACK peaceful protestor. After all, Black Lives Matter and all of its associates (race aside), are terrorist groups right? Therefore treat them as such. *Note: ISIS is a classified terrorist group just so we understand titles.

Rather than finding out the rest of this story, at least for now, I’ve chosen to try to convey in words what I feel when looking at *Pearl, and all the women just like her who, in the most solemn and wounded way, are inspiring and will inspire generations of black women to come.

Diamond – “The word diamond is derived from the  Greek word “adamas” meaning “invincible..” (redcjewels.com)

She was crying when the cameras started to roll. As George Stephanopoulos welcomed her with a sympathetic tone, she wiped tears from her eyes. She was back. Holding it together on national television the same way she held it together in the video that was recorded only moments after she was released from custody. She held it together the same way she did when she Facebook Live recorded the man she loved being shot and killed before her and her young daughter’s eyes. She held it together as if nothing on Earth can break her. It’s no wonder the little girl had the know-how to say ‘Mommy I’m here’; look who she came from! Even in the face of a murdering police officer who was yelling and pointing a gun at her and her child, she remained calm. She spoke to the camera as if she was recounting a story over the phone with a friend and even spoke back to the officer with the same self-awareness. I saw her on The View, once again with a striking sense of poise although her eyes were red and glossy. By the end of the segment, she started to break down, but she caught herself even still. We aren’t allowed to be human. Not as black people. I’m willing to bet that although there are plenty of tears falling, she hasn’t really begun the grieving the process. She hasn’t had the opportunity. From the moment four bullets were pumped into her boyfriend’s body as she sat next to him in the car, she was forced to be invincible. In order to protect her four-year-old daughter, who was crouched in the back on the floor and in order to keep from getting shot her damn self, she had to be invincible. She had to tap into her name’s Greek roots and do several things:

-Get her daughter to safety

-Save both of their lives

-Record this video for evidence

I was instantly captured by her demeanor on the original video which I will not post. She represents a legion of black women that line these racially charged battlefields with nothing but their physical being and their truth. The police have lawyers and codes of honor that protect the ‘brothers’ and keep secrets buried in a cemetery of 911 bullets. They have shields and bulletproof vests, high-powered artillery and even bomb-detonating robots. They come to the field as this were Afghanistan when it’s a simple traffic stop on a local street or a peaceful protest through an otherwise volatile city. But black women come as we are. We stand our ground as unmovable objects just like Pearl. There are no bells and whistles unless you consider our cardboard statements and bullhorns weapons. Wait- this is america (I don’t capitalize america): those ARE weapons!!!

Black women become invincible on the battleground because if we are not, we could be killed without the chance to fight the good fight. We could be silenced without our voice getting its due opportunities to speak out against billy club bullies. It’s been this way since we were leading the pack out of slavery. Black women must take their platforms, no matter how unexpected, and use them. Speak out on them. Fight. We must fight back, even in the midst of.

Life is ten percent what happens, ninety percent how you respond.

We must remain calm in order to fight back.

Diamond has appeared on several news outlets, as did Jordan Davis’ mother and Eric Garner’s wife. The same with Sean Bell’s fiancé. We could go on forever with the name calling. Black women don’t want to be death-driven celebrities. “I can’t wait to get rich from the police killing my son…said no black mother ever”, was a status I posted barely a month ago. We don’t want millions of dollars in the bank and a new makeup team to beat our faces for the camera courtesy of the death of the ones we love. We don’t want our first trip to the U.N. to be because we have to fight for justice in america, a place that won’t even acknowledge the crisis we are in. Black women don’t want the media intrusion, the articles all over the net or to come to know all of these people under these type of circumstances. We’d rather be broke and stuck in the projects with our sons and boyfriends and husbands and fathers instead of standing tall with brave faces on national television while fighting tears.

Can you imagine what is really happening mentally? God bless Diamond. God bless all these black women.

Several times throughout this year alone, I keep seeing black men talk about how black women are not supportive and not there for them. Just last week I saw one ask “what have black women done besides jump on Facebook and share memes?”

I challenge those very men and anyone who thinks like them to change something about themselves. You can pick from your attitude, the way you act and think, how you talk to people, how you treat people, and/or who you hang around. Something must be wrong with YOU because there are PLENTY of black women out here leading the charge, not just in their homes and relationships as well as, as mothers and employees, artists and teachers (catches breath), but also in their community. So if you don’t know any or at least enough to keep from making an ignorant statement like that, then something about YOU is off and in need of change. #GetAGrip

Black women ARE magic!!! I don’t hesitate to shout that heavily used term and I wish I had invented it myself. My brother Tony Styxx once spoke and said, “Abracadabra means ‘I create what I speak.” Black women have been doing the abracadabra dance since we were making up songs to take everyone’s mind off of the heat of the sun during picking time. Despite the transgressions done to us (everything from sexual trauma to abandonment to physical abuse), we are still one in the crowd, often leading the frontline, in the name of justice of our people, our women and our MEN. Tell me that ain’t Magic!!!! We wave the magic wand that lives in our hearts and turn our emotions on mute until the business is finished being handled. That’s not always a good thing. We have to remember to turn the volume back up sometimes so we may regurgitate the emotions and be healthy enough to continue to fight.

We are bold martyrs for the cause. We are protectors of our children and the partners to our men.

We alternate from soldier to lieutenant depending on what the situation calls for. We are multi-tasking Queens that should be admired. We inspire others even when inside we are breaking into pieces. I hate it and love it at the same time.

Can we be broken? Well, I have yet to see it happen. Black women have been making lemonade out of onions and roots since slavery.

We are Pearls floating outside of the safety of oyster shells but our delicate shell doesn’t intimidate the pit bull inside us.13680788_10207246396981593_8035603561362227802_n

We are invincible Diamonds. We will face adversity with our eyes wide open and our discernment strong.

Myrlie Evers at her husbands funeral, 1963
Myrlie Evers at her husband’s funeral, 1963

We are fearless.541227024

Even when we are scared to death.

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We suit up for the fight,1424920036832

And we will never back down.

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Whoopi Goldberg: “Is this, in the town that you live in; is this a surprise to you that something like this would happen?

Diamond: “It’s not even the town I live in, it’s the world I live in.”