Rosa Parks, by Mahal
"Uh-huh, hush that fuss. Everybody move to the back of the bus." ~ The fabulously creative Outkast
This morning the boys, who generally wake up at 9, were all abuzz by 6 a.m. They seemed to have caught some invisible windlift passing through & I was vaguely annoyed ~ those are my hours, not theirs. Some mamas work when the kids go to bed. I work when they go to bed & before they wake up, if I can. But they were so happy, checking on the status of the moon & the sun, rushing from room to room as if it were Christmas morning all over again.
And then Mahal turned on his boombox, technically not allowed in the morning. And while it usually starts with a request to play it, then a soft bit of children's music, this morning he thought he'd go straight for Outkast, playing the song "Rosa Parks." I know some of us don't care for rap music, And, I think that's born out of misperceptions & some really bad music. Some tend to think it's just the self-expression of gangsters. Not true!
For a bit of truly empowering Children's Hip Hop, check out Lake's favorite song, "I Gotta Be ME!!" by 23Skidoo.
I grew up with hip-hop. It's one of the only truly American cultural art forms, developed here out of the experiences of Americans. It's poetry, it's dance, it's percussion & a visual language that can claim pieces in the Smithsonian & the White House. It's a capella & the body as an instrument. It's history in the form of movement & acrobatics. It's something born out of a struggle for people to find their way on a blocked path. We don't listen to it much, but it's one of the great loves of my life. D & I were both hip-hop dancers as teenagers. My dad would take us to a huge lot in Downtown San Francisco called Psycho City to watch master artists create massive art pieces on cement walls. Distinct from vandalism-style graffiti, these were geniuses participating in a sport ~ if a piece was truly beautiful & worthy of respect, it would stay up for weeks & even months without another artist spraying over it.
Who knows what impact it had on me to see art being made at a building-scale by boys, men & girls with hoop earrings. To see that kind of freedom, use every color of the rainbow, words mixed with images, words as images, story telling that competed with itself to be good. Better. Best. Where the object of the game was to think outside the box.
I had to laugh, at 6am. Seeing these boys ~ all three, bumping around the house singing, "Uh, huh! Hush that fuss! Everybody move to the back of the bus!" I lay in bed, & watched them run from their room to ours, knowing perfectly well that D was meditating in another room & that I should probably quiet them. Then it hit me. They're excited because it's Inauguration Day.
Not so long ago, black people had to sit at the back of the bus.
An older black woman named Rosa was tired. She didn't believe she should have to get up & move to the back of the bus.
Black people stopped riding the buses for 381 days. They walked to have the freedom to sit were they wanted. They walked to have freedom. The bus companies almost went out of business.
The Supreme Court agreed with them. It became illegal to segregate people on buses. Over time it became illegal to separate black people from other human freedoms.
This allowed other people of color to have such freedoms. It made a safe space for Mommy & Daddy to be together. It created a world for me.
We mixed rice milk + almond milk. Then we added chocolate milk. Much more interesting! But sometimes the best change takes time.
So we froze them. We'll have them when their ready. We've done our part, & now we can look forward to them.
Martin Luther King Jr. & President Obama used their voices to inspire freedom & change. These are our liberty bells.
Des Colores. All the colors in me, all the colors I see, come together, in a rainbow of one.