You Will See Me

One wonders what happens when black bodies continue to refuse to be unseen. What does it mean to demand visibility in a world that goes out of its way to keep you silent? What does it mean to have your visibility taken away?

(What, I wonder, does black excellence mean?)

A story is told of David Rudisha going in for the world record in the 800M finals. The wording changes from tongue to tongue but the story remains the same. One version has Rudisha telling Kitum “Timothy, I am going to give some simple advice to a fellow Kenyan: do not follow me if you want to win a medal.”

One wonders what it is to go into a race knowing that you are going to win.

I like to imagine a version of a story where Injera puts the marker in his socks before the game knowing what’s going to happen. I like to imagine a version where he only puts the marker in his socks in this one game. Where he cuts and the marker scratches his calf muscle; a reminder. Where every single stride is pushed by, “it’s time now. They will see me, I will be known.”

(What does it mean to want to be known?)

I’m wondering what demands for humility entail. Love, Deray reminds us,  is never a request for silence.

I’m confused about what a request for silence is.

A story is told of Okwiri Oduor winning the caine prize and Binyavanga immediately beginning to delegitimize it. Kwani nini?

(What, I wonder, does black excellence mean?)

Still, Elani and H_Art the Band continue to pack rooms to the thousands.

Somewhere inside the idea of humility lies a construct that reminds us that we are not enough. Somewhere inside the idea of humility lies a need to remind people that they are not enough. Something inside the need for silence demands silencing.

(Checkmate beats a drum, the pulse of a city reverberates “hakuna kujificha tena kwa giza ukimess up – put everything on the table, face facts.”)

A violin speaks, a violin replies.

And then a dance. And then a dance.

Still we continue creating, putting markers in our socks to remind us, it’s time.

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