The night has been long, The wound has been deep, The pit has been dark, And the walls have been steep. Under a dead blue sky on a distant beach, I was dragged by my braids just beyond your reach. Your hands were tied, your mouth was bound, You couldn't even call out my name. You were helpless and so was I, But unfortunately throughout history You've worn a badge of shame. I say, the night has been long, The wound has been deep, The pit has been dark And the walls have been steep. But today, voices of old spirit sound Speak to us in words profound, Across the years, across the centuries, Across the oceans, and across the seas. They say, draw near to one another, Save your race. You have been paid for in a distant place, The old ones remind us that slavery's chains Have paid for our freedom again and again. The night has been long, The pit has been deep, The night has been dark, And the walls have been steep. The hells we have lived through and live through still, Have sharpened our senses and toughened our will. The night has been long. This morning I look through your anguish Right down to your soul. I know that with each other we can make ourselves whole. I look through the posture and past your disguise, And see your love for family in your big brown eyes. I say, clap hands and let's come together in this meeting ground, I say, clap hands and let's deal with each other with love, I say, clap hands and let us get from the low road of indifference, Clap hands, let us come together and reveal our hearts, Let us come together and revise our spirits, Let us come together and cleanse our souls, Clap hands, call the spirits back from the ledge, Clap hands, let us invite joy into our conversation, Courtesy into our bedrooms, Gentleness into our kitchen, Care into our nursery. The ancestors remind us, despite the history of pain We are a going-on people who will rise again. And still we rise.
Saturday, June 06, 2015
Celebrating Maya in Charlotte
ESPER; City of Charlotte Mayor, Daniel Clodfelter; the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church Praise Dancers; Postmaster of Charlotte, Le Gretta Roass-Rawlins; Dr. Paxton Hughes; and emcee for the event, WBTV News Anchor, Brigida Mack (who gave me one of the most fun and energetic introductions I think I've ever had). As everyone spoke and performed, I was reminded of the sheer genius, gifts, and reach of Maya's thoughts and work. After all, she was a writer, dancer, singer, poet, actress, director, civil rights activist, professor, and mother. The work she accomplished in her lifetime is breathtaking and magnificently inspiring. Most people don't realize that she directed the moving film, Down in the Delta,, starring Alfre Woodard and Wesley Snipes. Maya's legacy will influence generations and generations to come. She is the ancestor that she talks about in her work who speak to us, teach us, and direct us to higher ground. Thank you Dr. Maya Angelou for your words, your work, and your love. Here's the poem that I performed at the event. Maya wrote it for and read it at the Million Man March on October 16, 1995. Million Man March Poem