Too Black Too Strong

You were Our Blackness
Reinvented
By the necessary of our condition

A pride chiseled in your flesh
Defiant as a mountain
and as abrasive

You put the diss in dissonance
A sonic boom clash of dissent
Bombarding our senses with an incessant chant
of right and exact

A pariah to those ensconced in a status
born of our bloodshed
Your voice cracking the mirror of their God complex

Your disposition was ever vexxed
Held their head fast to the truth
with the threat of drowning them
in your stream of Black consciousness

You pulled the curtain back
Exposed their declarations as nothing more than mere bombast

Your voice an alarm resounding
Waking us up from integration fantasies as fraudulent
as ploy and entrapment
designed to keep us in check
Serving up assimilated wishes on platters of respectability
Suffering from a psychosis of the infirmed
Hemorrhaging under a hundred years hegemony of self-hate
Your homilies reverberating with the conviction of a djembe

What we know now is what we’ve always known
Your assassination was an american gestapo
A cabal of FBI informants in cahoots with the NYPD
They conspired to kill you
Your murderers making deals
on who would take the rap and who would walk
The main gunman living out his life under the arches of a mosque
portrayed as a saint who was a killer
hidden in plain sight
Literally lived on the film that recorded your death
as your body rushed across the street
to the hospital where you would be pronounced dead

The very man pretending to resuscitate you
was an agent pretending to be a Black man
Like the man now ruling the city where you once held court
A cop called mayor wearing the camouflage of his skin
bamboozled his people to win the office
who wants to bring back stop and frisk

These are the times we are living in

Times you prophesied would come to a people still being led astray
Conditioned to measure justice
by how much a family gets paid
when our children are murdered by police

Is this some sordid civil rights severance pay for cops
who continue to terminate us at will?

Or is this some sort of reparations for a people still unfree?

Or are we again being hoodwinked
by race hustlers who know how to
talk the talk but stutter in their step?

For them marching is a media stunt
Degreed negroes making cream
Signing mega deals with media conglomerates
while victims’ families still catching shit

A class of house negroes
left in charge of the plantation
Who’d have us live vicariously through
their acclaim and success
while we remain without a defense
Singing we shall overcome
Someday

As governors post tip lines
for white parents to snitch on those
who would dare teach openly about the likes of you
Our history as education
As passport to the future

These are the times we are living in

History is stuck on repeat
As a regime foments civil war out in the open for all to see
the swastikas in their eyes
and the crosses on their tongues burning

They have always known of our power
That’s why they take such lengths to control
to distract us with negroness
and bourgeoisie carrot sticks to chase
While they sit in the stands and place bets
on those who will lose
When we are the race, the track and the runners
On our backs they’ve saddled up

Yet some of us still study you
Your life
Follow your steps from Lansing to Boston
to prison to Harlem
to Mecca to Ghana
to London barred at France
And back home to a family firebombed

These are the times we are living in

Where the world’s majority is brewing in a sea of rebellion
Leaning on your every word
Undeterred
Like your smile
Broad and bodacious
Winking with a foreknowledge of our rising
Righteous as the truth made plain
Righteous as the return of ill-gotten gains
Righteous as your voice
An eternal echo in the chambers of our collective mind

Booming like a Public Enemy soundtrack

Reminding us to always be

Too Black
Too Strong
Too Black
Too Strong

Ewuare X. Osayande is a poet, activist and author of several books including his latest entitled Black Phoenix Uprising. Available at Osayande.org.

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Activist. Poet. Essayist. Author of Black Phoenix Uprising. Learn more about his work at racial-justice.org.

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Ewuare X. Osayande

Ewuare X. Osayande

Activist. Poet. Essayist. Author of Black Phoenix Uprising. Learn more about his work at racial-justice.org.

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