"I am The Stone that the builder refused.
I am The Visual, The Inspiration, that made Lady sing The Blues.
I'm The Spark that makes your idea bright.
The same spark that lights the dark, so that you can know your left from your right."
- Asheru, "The Boondocks Theme"
It's 1:01pm. I'm sitting in a black leather bean bag chair that vibrates at adjustable levels. My eyes are enslaved to the view from my window. The breeze is playing the tree branches like a puppeteer. Every ten minutes for the past 30, the sky switches from smoke grey to powder blue -- as if God Himself couldn't decide between which wallpaper He wanted to use for his desktop.
I decided to write.
June is a busy month. From commencement ceremonies, Father's Day, Juneteenth, Tupac's Birthday, Pride Month and Men's Health Month to the Puerto Rican Day Parade, it's a month-long celebration of the spectrum of identity. The categories that we claim are celebrated because of their historical significance or because the category of attention directs our lives to a certain degree.
Since I identify as a musician, I've been digging through music libraries for poignant recordings to form my contribution to celebrate "African-American Music History" Month. What I didn't expect to find was my utter disdain for the category of 'African-American'. I say this because the hyphen that connects those two continents isn't reflected in my physiological circuitry. I have no conscious connection to Africa. I currently am unaware of what Africa looks like. I haven't inhaled the air. The soles of my shoes haven't embraced the soil. I don't view Africa as 'my origin'. I view it as a great destination just short of Heaven that I wish to be worthy of seeing one day.
The sound of "African-American" rings to be outdated, just as 'Colored' or 'Negro'. The persons in positions of power have been handing Africans in America updated identities since their kidnapping. The ordinances that were put in place before me have restricted my predecessors from being truly limitless. They only had room to operate within their social and legal confines.
Maybe my connection to Africa is a subconscious one. Maybe I'm linked to my ancestors by way of a generational relay race, in the pursuit of ultimate freedom. Maybe my connection to my heritage is hidden in the research of their lifestyle, culture and traditions. Perhaps my homage to them is traveling distances that even they couldn't imagine, which would make the next generation's objective to go further than me.
In this current moment. I'm unsure of my identity. I know my experiences. I know my emotions. I am halfway aware of my interests. My identity, though, is still abstract. Here's a list the of categories that I've adopted and the ranking that follows: