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  • Writer's pictureTaylor Waits

#DEEPTTHOTS: It's giving Harlem Renaissance

I came across this Tikky Takky the other day (of course I can’t find the shit) with a Black woman advertising a small town in America with a 76% Black population. She boasted about bustling local Black owned businesses, low costs of living, and new opportunities for young Black singles and families looking for alternative, more Black places to live. So of course I got to thinking - What’s wrong with Atlanta?

If you have ever stepped foot in Atlanta you know Black people are EVERYWHERE! Besides Memphis, Houston, or New Orleans I feel out Blacked by basically every person in Atlanta. I can only compare the pro-Black fervor to Compton or LA, places with deep history in the civil rights movement. But ask the Black people in those areas and shiiiitttt gentrification is taking everybody tf out. I’ve seen gentrification jokes on SNL, Insecure, Broad City, Love Life, Sopranos, bitch fucking Tuca and Bertie??!!!! White flight after WWIII created the nuclear family heteronormative White American dream facade so eloquently critiqued in Edward Scissorhands. Americans began to see the downfalls to centuries of stealing, killing, and scamming in the name of freedom with rolling recessions, corrupt elections, and continued rioting and racist violence. To be American inherently means to struggle. It means cutting off, leaving behind, and going behind anyone’s back to get what you want. Politicians in America personify Western individualist and capitalist ideals with their deliberate attacks on oppositionists. If you were taught history in America you would think I would be describing a Narcos episode or breaking down how things go down in a third world country. It’s us. We have always been the problem. Now White people are recognizing that so whooptyfuckingdoo. But if it took this long for White Americans to recognize that they are in fact a problem in America, how long do we expect it to take for White Americans to do anything about it in ways that actually benefit Black Americans? Assimilation to American ideals, inclusion in sports, endless contribution to popular culture, educating our children to govern and lead this country - and here we are. I think there has always been this divide amongst Black folks who want to make America a better place and those who wanted to get out of dodge. This is about the niggas who are ready to get the fuck up and go. America can’t be it.

Thank Beyoncé I’m gay and Black. Otherwise I would be sucked into thinking I owed this country anything! Josephine Baker, James Baldwin, Assata Shakur hell Kelly Rowland all know the truth: Black Americans have more opportunities outside of the country. Now I say Black Americans because being from America is the fetish. Oh yes colorism, xenophobia, and Anti - African sentiment are at play here. A Black queer icon Josephine Baker was highly regarded to Parisians and in 2021 was even awarded France's highest honor: The first Black woman to be inducted into the Panthéon mausoleum, more than 45 years after her death. The same can be said of Black American artists, athletes, writers and thespians reaching insurmountable success in Eastern Asian countries, the United Kingdom, and select European countries. Are they sell outs these Black Americans finding solace in other countries? In 2020, released, America’s Black brain drain: Why African-American professionals are moving abroad—and staying there. One of the Black execs profiled was Najoh Tita-Reid, a Black woman who relocated her family originally to London and then Switzerland with no future plans to return to America. She nods to Baker and Baldwin by referencing the phenomena of Black Americans escaping racial prosecution and leading successful careers by referencing the “James and Josephine effect” amongst close friends. She does express mixed feelings with her exit especially after George Floyd murder. “There’s a sense of guilt at not being on the front lines, mixed with affirmation of why they did not want to return.”

It’s above me now.

Expats obviously are not a monolith and have a long history of leaving America in escape of racial prosecution. Navigating going back and forth or arranging help for family left in America. International housing and job searches. Full ass Youtube journeys y’all. And with educated Black folk making more and more money I don’t blame them for wanting to spend it in a country where they can at least get some free healthcare or education with their racism. 2022 is giving Harlem Renaissance 2.0 in my eyes. Masses of Black Americans chasing joy and opportunity as so many have before. Making art all the way there. I am HERE for this. #Astheworldturns more and more opportunities for Black folks (and the communities who support them) to be free of substantial amounts of discriminattion keep popping up. And I know y’all mad. Now don’t get wrong I am all for building the block, buying y’all mama houses, and other Black capitalist tactics but please understand participating simply puts a band aid on a larger issue. Without the complete erasure if the racist frameworks America was built on (basically everything) America will be the same, babe. After this year, so much about my politics has changed. I’ve read so many different feminist perspectives to revolution, what role Black women have within in, and why my gay Black ass needs to give a fuck. And baby I have some conclusions. Mainly that my role is to be Black and die. I don’t know bout all y’all lmao.

So expect a lot of art in 2022. Legacies being continued in the States and baby steps to make waves in other countries too. I’m looking at all my options chile. As my ancestors would have wanted.

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