#31st for Marissa


Ashamed to say this is the first letter I've written to cross the wall in many years. Unsettled too, because I realize I can’t even write all that needs writing, all I’ve seen. I’m still bound up in some of the same silences that put you in harm’s way. I haven't read the other letters, so that my fear of redundancy or irrelevance might not prevent me from telling you what’s true to me.

So about 18 years ago... is that a generation? I know the sociological definition is not precisely about when the state officially recruits citizens into its business of death, as jurors soldiers or voters, but I’ll call it that.

A generation ago, I went to Washington D.C. with a million or so of my closest mans and them -- not to be flip, but to suggest the feeling we had. A brother minister had called us together to atone. It was supposed to be a tipping point. We would put our, & our people’s victimhood in perspective and assume our share of responsibility for the future. But still, here you are Marissa.

And we have a President who looks like us, whose imaginary son looks like Trayvon, who takes every occasion to lecture us, rebuke us in front of whitefolks, about personal responsibility. He is tasked, I believe most importantly, with protecting the psyches, bodies and spirits of two black girls growing into young women under the eyes of the world, and partnership with their mother. But for all of his shining about responsibility, he will not speak for Mama Assata, for Sybrina Fulton, for Rekia Boyd, for Islan Nettles, for Miriam Carey, or for you. And I wonder if that’s only his fault, or whether all the brothers have to raise our hands.

Somebody tweeted the other day that black women are the only ones who have ever had our backs. I thought 3 thoughts then:
even, and often when we don’t have our own;
 even, and often, when we don’t have theirs;
even, and often, at their own expense.

DrumLanguage Presents Chico Boyer, a Pioneer of Haitian Roots Music

Originally published on The Haitian Times, Oct 31, 2013

heartbeats to breakbeats
skins, traps & steel
[pans] & wheels
emerging voices from the global south
on peoples’ sovereignty,
ethics & human rights
speak with Drum Language
news, views & music
dispatches from the corner
hoods barrios & favelas

We are proud to introduce DrumLanguage, a radio trance-mission through the Global South, as an inter-generational conservation in many tongues — across continents. This premier episode is anchored by the first significant interview ever granted by Chico Boyer, a pioneer of mizik rasin.

There is a subversive discourse now moving through the Aid-Industrial complex, that information itself is aid. That is, supporting people telling their own stories, and being able to communicate among themselves, may do more to emerge from catastrophe, than the invasion of the international crisis market.

We have long understood this in the diaspora, but what if we extend it to the block, and to people of conscience everywhere — to tell our own stories, share our own solutions, save our own lives.

Like the drum once did, radio gives us access to news in realtime. Further, it allows us to tap into energy flowing through the air to connect to the voices of our ancestors: memory, identity, and song – every antenna, a poto mitan.

This is not quite that, but time moves, and as this podcast launches, we lean on a claim made recently by Manbo Dowoti Desir: that cyberspace has unique potential as a liberatory space — a consecrated and sacred space.

Perhaps, the antenna in your smartphone, or wireless adapter in your laptop/tablet can serve for now.

DrumLanguage, because the beat will always save us.


Ep. 2: Attack of the _____

Drones went there homie

word to @joshbegley

We did, we did just kill a kid Sam I am!
Skies rain death, not acid rain of our 80s babies future, not exactly a bulletstorm, call it hail-fire
This is about respect for life, or it should be, 'American' or otherwise
Star Wars fits, your boy Bigblackamerica is closer to the real reagan than the dreamtime
nostalgia reagan of racist conservationists

These U.S. slouch ever further rightward, toward Babylon
I would say there is a blessing, the world is clearer now, but ask the families of these two-legged targets, if you can find survivors

Drone pilots clutch joysticks
Watch screens on easels
Tense and bored at the same time
Humanity escaping from their lungs, leaking from their pores
Soaking the backs of 50's-era command chairs

Kill list on ticker tape
Print out kill lists on receipt rolls
Gratuity included

You want spare change
You better ask Obama


We haven't finished

Black Star bound, black sun shining
sweet weather and that beat
inside our own breasts, which will always save us
Source code to boom bap, boom chk
and that thump
What we want is what we believe made manifest
Let it breathe

Horn section come in
hollowed conch & quadruped
we blow the reveille
breathe uhuru 
deep diaphragm work
(pronounce that 'wuk')

Strings together
weaving joys and pains
triumphs defeats
and hope
and will
and love 
and lineage
Strum the wavelengths of all our colors
red notes, yellow notes, brown and black notes
Blue notes true still
Maroons indigo
vibrate deeper

Keys unlock 5 tones we carried
re-call mbira and balafon
gourds hang
full of our wisdom

And we sing a song full
with truths & hopes
shaped by our passage
over and through
we sing limbo
we sing redemption
we sing rivers
for all these we have known
we sing from heart, and soul, and root
All 3 make us hue-people
We sing pride, power , and #takenoshit

We haven't finished singing