i can't even tell you how much happiness flooded my soul when i heard this song. all of a sudden, it was summertime and i was 7 years old again -- surrounded by aunts and uncles and a hoarde of cousins in charleston heights, south carolina. i remember everything: ripping and running and romping around in the countryside, eating lots of seafood and reading whatever i wanted all the time -- which was mostly encyclopedias and biographies, and of course kid-lit like the little house on the prairie series. i loved half-pint!
i suppose i could ask "how green was my valley" as i remember my little kidhood but the real question to explore is: how black was my world? i had my great-grandparents, my grandparents and my parents. get christi love! was on the tv. pam grier was at the drive in. and so was cicely tyson. and abbie lincoln. and blacula. don cornelious was on soul train. all of my aunts and uncles had naturals. everybody wore dashikis. the first time i ever saw my uncle jackie's then girlfriend/now wife aunt mattie, she had on a beautiful gele, and i thought she was glowingly lovely. lots of their friends were visiting africa and spending time there. and this song flooded the airwaves -- or at least, my uncle tyrone's 8 track stereo system.
no one had to tell me that black was beautiful.
i watch black music videos nowadays, i look at black pop stars and i wonder -- was it all a fad? was it fashion? or a dream that we collectively felt would never end?
i think there was a moment back in the day when we began to truly love ourselves and each other. it's not that the "n" word didn't exist -- it's just that everybody was so caught up in calling each other "brother" and "sister" that no one ever bothered to use it. (we were COGIC, too -- i'm pretty sure that had a lot to do with it.) we began to explore our history, we embraced our past and found our way back to africa as best we could.
and then the 80s happened.
the thing is, all of what i remember is still alive in all of us, right below the surface. i know this is true because when i walk down the street and i call someone sister or brother, they give it right back to me with so much feeling that sometimes, it aches. years ago, i fell back into the habit of saying it all the time -- especially to the africans. instant unity: the glow that is exchanged never goes away. it's just sitting there, waiting to come alive whenever any of us says it to each other again.
we really are the black gold of the sun.