In the Bantu language Xhosa, Ulwimi olunye alwanelanga tu means “One language is never enough.” In the wake of Chadwick Boseman’s passing, there is an inconceivable grief rippling across language barriers and cascading through communities and countries. The letters on my keyboard look like a jumbled mess — trying to use language to communicate this loss is an act I am unfamiliar with.
When I was eleven years old, I bought Kitchen Confidential from the tiny bookstore in my tiny hometown. At that moment in time, I was a picky eater, not well-traveled, and in desperate need of a Mother’s Day present. My mother had mentioned a man named Anthony Bourdain and a book he had written. So that was her gift for that year; she still has it to this day.
At some point after I bought the book, my mother and I started watching No Reservations on the Travel Channel. I always appreciated Anthony Bourdain as a storyteller, a host, and as a critic. Over the years, I grew out of my selective eating habits, I traveled extensively, and I began acting. Now, I live in New York City, I’ll eat almost anything, and I write for blogs.
Truth be told, music has a much stronger hold on me than geek culture. While I love all things geek/nerdy/afrogeek/astroblack, music is how I experienced love. Growing up in an immediate household that was nothing but abuse and the absence of love, music was my portal to some place safer. My mom was a horrible mother, but she built upon a stellar record collection. A collection that she’d let me listen to without being beaten. After our year of frozen homelessness, we got an apartment where the previous tenant left a sizable record collection. Among the Chaka Khan and Rufus, Mandrill, Chuck Mangione, The Wailers, Miles Davis, and Santana albums were Prince’s For You and Dirty Mind. Despite the racy content, my mother and I listened to those albums until they were warped and scratched beyond all hopes of rescuing. We loved it because it sounded so different compared to anything else we listened to — which was mostly reggae and jazz. But it wasn’t until 1999 dropped in ’82 that I had to come to terms with the idea that Prince was going to be one of the foundation stones of my pop cultural biography. Continue reading “The Beautiful One”
I wrote this poem as a kind of eulogy for Miss Butler. I took her death hard, especially as we were beginning to correspond right before she passed.Continue reading “NOC Poetry: “For Octavia””