First thing first I want to thank everybody who voted for Daily Lyrical Product in the RedEye Track-Off. We won! We'll be in the RedEye on Thursday so if you're in Chicago definitely cop that. I was really touched that my friends and supporters were able to rally back and get the victory. So thanks.
Today in my history tutorial we discussed the Natives' Land Act of 1913 that took a lot of land from Black Africans. We talked about if there should be reparations given to the people. Oh, you gotta love a good reparations talk. The tutor brought up the similarities between the South African and American questions of reparations but I was quick to point out a few key differences (time elapsed, size of population, miscegenation, etc.). It was an interesting topic and conversation.
In my African Literature class we talked about the question of language in African literature. We discussed Franz Fanon and his chapter "the Negro and Language." The whole question of whether an African could legitimately write in a colonial language (English, French, etc.) was an interesting one to me. I think it's because as a Black American poet I am preoccupied with language and its ramifications and I know that at some points I do feel that English, or at least standard English, is inadequate to express some things in my writing. Additionally, I've had the conversation with some other Black writers and I've found that iambic pentameter is very hard for me to grasp. As a kid I always did really well on vocabulary quizzes EXCEPT the part where we had to pick the syllable with the stress. Black English in America has a tendency to be more fluid than that rigid system so it never occurred to me that the stress HAD to rest at a particular place. That's one of the things you notice in rap, is that words change emphasis to fit a scheme or even an accent. Our language is dexterous to a fault. Iambic pentameter is supposed to mimic the pacing of actual speech but I think for Black folks it does the exact opposite. Not to say that I haven't done good work in it and there haven't been plenty Blacks who have been great traditionalists in the European sense (Brooks, Wheatley, and others). I just think that naturally our language has different patterns.
My mama also called me today. It was a good call. I talked to her about my plans for the rest of undergrad and afterwards. She seems cool with it all. She asked me about where I was thinking of going to school for my Ph.D. I told her Northwestern was high on my list. Then she started talking to me about how her and my father are a lot more comfortable when I'm not in Chicago. She says the city is so dangerous and random now that it's better we're not around. On one level I feel her but I really feel like part of my calling in life is to reverse that trend. I talk so much mess about how Chicago is the greatest city in the world and it would be a terrible thing for me to gain so much from the city without reinvesting in it. I'm not saying that I alone can or will save the city, but it will take people with the will to do so to really affect change for our people back home.
"every interview i'm representing you, making you proud"