Issa Hotep Columbus

I am here before you tattered and worn down.

Fighting the demons within myself, dancing with the skeletons of my past and standing face to face with the monsters in the mirror.

I am trying to navigate in a world that my skin is seen as a weapon.

A world where the gender of my partner warrants excuses of hatred from others.

A world where what is between my legs determines how much I get paid and if I can walk the street without fear of harm.

A world where only white people show up to Black Lives Matter rallies, to prove they are the good ones and return to their gentrified neighborhoods to fulfill their Christopher Columbus fantasies.

A world where rapists get contracts and record deals but those that speak the truth and take a knee become unemployed and made and outcast.

A world where poverty and miseducation becomes glorified in a ISSA meme and we perpetrate the images they use to typecast us as.

A world where dashiki, head wrap wearing hoteps become the newest form of black elitism, that austerities those that don’t fit into their mold of wokeness.

A world where artists that subscribe themselves as activists only show up when there is a check or photo-op on the other end of the mic.

A world where the only Black Lives that matter are the ones that are trending and have a catchy hashtag.

A world where the government sees white rights as the new Civil Rights Movement.

A world where black apathy and white privilege is what has led us all to this point.

A world that engulfs me and makes me want to turn the other cheek and just let someone else take care of the Revolution.


Then I look at my son and all the children amongst the yard and I remember what it was like before my blackness was thrown in my face.

I remember that I must see past the structures set before me and see the innocence that the world can truly possess without its chaos.

I remember the freedom of thinking the hardest problem I will ever have is finding my passion.

I remember that in every one of us, is a young child that once knew nothing of oppression.

It is for them that I fight.

It is for those moments that I am dancing amongst my own skeletons and I am reminded I am not alone in my pain.

I am not the only one fighting for the freedom to truly be who I am.

I remember that I must break free from my own preconceptions of people and see them for the person they are, not the person I want them to be.

I remember that it is in the moments I am truly myself and honest in that knowledge that I am one step closer to being the healed person I fantasize about.

I must remember that until I confront my own inner Issa Hotep Columbus, I will never be in a place to move forward.

To my inner Issa: Know you are more than a stereotype. Know that all the world isn’t waiting for you to become the next meme. In you lies beauty that is undeniable. No matter the roadblocks, push on. Remember, your worth will never be determined by fame or what others think of you.

To my inner Hotep: Know that blackness comes in all forms. We all stand amongst the same earth, our feet are planted on the same ground. No matter if those feet are bare, in stilettos, Jordans or knock offs from Payless. We are all on a journey of identity that can not be determined by any one else.

To my inner Columbus: Don’t forget the America you love, is what it is because of the erasure of Native People and free labor from the enslavement of Africans. Know that the bootstraps used to keep you in check, all came from white reparations aka The New Deal. Remember that not all spaces that you enter, are in need of you taking over.

We must all come face to face with our demons, skeletons and monsters and learn to dance amongst the rain.

It is then that we open ourselves to the love we can possess. It is only then we will allow ourselves to accept others and remember the child within us. We will then do the work to make sure everyone has the freedom to live a life where finding their passion, is there only problem.

It is only when we face the darkness, that we are truly open to see the light.

The only way to change the world, is first to change ourselves.

Then and only then, will a change truly come.

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