I cannot pinpoint exactly when I ‘found out’ I was Black. I remember being enamored with my skin, and how cool I thought it was that it was the same color all over my body! I mean, I remember being 4-5 and just very present in the fact that I was here, in this body, at this time and I was happy.
I was fortunate to have my mother and father, in love and totally young, gifted and Black, with a brother and sister that followed. I remember being really good at finding colors and defining them, so I wasn’t ‘black’, I was ‘brown’. All the people that I drew on my papers I gave to my mother for her scrapbook–all of them were brown faces and black hair.
Everyone in my world was brown! My aunts, cousins, people at school! It was so–amazing. And my world consisted of family, school and drawing! And the most excellent of those memories was the neighborhood I grew up in. I spent more time with my maternal grandmother in North St. Louis City. I went to a local school, and walked home with my cousins: John, Josh and Nay.
I was protected.
I was loved.
I was confident being me.
At that time, the world looked like me and that was beautiful! The greatest thing about these early memories was how Black everything was! Like, it didn’t matter that She-Ra and Rainbow Brite were White. There was my father that loved Star-Wars and James Earl Jones was Black! I was represented in the world around me–and the people that I saw that mattered to me, they were all Black.
Never was I told Black was bad.
Never was I told Black was an issue.
Never was I told being White was good.
My childhood, Black as hell.
And it was that much more fabulous for it!