We are products of our environment. They shape our perspectives and sometimes dictate the experiences that mold us into who we become. I often wonder if little black boys were given books instead of balls would we have so many athletes? If little black girls were given legos instead of baby dolls would we have more engineers? We have been conditioned to be self-made, self-taught, and selfish. I've always likened the black experience to crabs in a barrel, which is unfortunate because it's a lose-lose situation.
I grew up in New Orleans, a city known for its murder rate, decadence, hedonism, and liberalism. I can't say it is the best place to raise a child, but I wouldn't change my childhood for anything. I learned life lessons fast and young. I learned Louisiana history and current caste systems. I recognized early that colorism is real, and I could not pass the paper bag test. My last name was not French enough to be considered Creole. I was not athletically inclined so, education would be my lane.
I excelled in all things arts and literary related. I wrote poems and performed them all around the city. I listened to Big Daddy Kane and Special Ed on Q-93. I memorized verses from Monie Love and Queen Latifah. I was given a pen. I was given self-expression. I was given the opportunity to re-invent myself every time I wrote. I was given the chance to create my own reality.
And understand I got the gift of speech
And it's a blessin,
So listen to the lesson I preach,
I talk sense condensed into the form of a poem,
Full of knowledge, from my toes to the top of my dome,
I'm kinda young, but my tongue speaks maturity,
I'm not a child, I don't need nothin for security
I get paid when my record is played, to put it short,
I got it made - Special ED
For your listening pleasure: https://youtu.be/MYUPmiT-Yzw