Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Prose: Urban Fabulous-ness or "How It's Cool When White People Do It"

As young broke black teens we would dye our hair with packets of kool-aid,
Marveling at how, in the sun, the red, orange, or blue colors would pop.
Our perms were not used to make our hair curly, but to "relax" it into a straight state,
And then we'd style it up into braids, waves, waterfalls, twists, buns, rolls;
While jars of ampro lined our dressers, beside the soft brushes we'd use to lay down our edges.
Our nails were long and adorned with different colors, jewels, and sometimes dollar bills.
Fitted jeans and Baby Phat tees.
Timberlands were not work gear, but a symbol of social status.
Juicy Fruit. Bangles. Bad Attitudes.
Not bad meaning bad but bad meaning, I'm so good.
Through our speakers banged the voice of our generation:
Biggie, Tupac, Bone Thugs, TLC, Xscape, Aaliyah.
Our bodies moved in sync to the rhythms of their words and we were great.
But we weren't seen as good, but more like hood.
Ghetto in every way. Don't hang around them or they will lead you astray.
Don't care about school, and thinks its cool to hang out on the corner.
Their parents don't care about them, and all they do sin.
Sinners. They need Jesus.They need to pray. They need us to tell them what's right and wrong.

Fast forward 20 years later, now they praise us.
The colorful hair is now the next big think.
Baby hairs are now "slicked down tendrils."
Braids are BOLD. Long pointy nails are EDGY.
Du-rags are now made of vegan leather.
Kente clothed items are available at your local store,
and if you don't have a black friend, you ain't cool.
The bad hip hop is now okay because we now see white faces spitting rhymes.
White faces with urbanized accents to lend authenticity to a culture they appropriated.
And now we don't need a special channel or a special show to see our favorite rap videos.
YO!
That's dope right?
The Harlem shake is no longer a nod to the fiends who walked up and down 125th
But a comedic meme that shows no love to the original.
Miley invented the twerk, and if you are confused, there's plenty of articles and videos.
And "nigga what, nigga who" why can't we say what you do?
Gangsta grillz...no gold mouth adornment that can urbanized your look.
There is never any love to the original.

See it's not enough to be stolen. Or to have your history stolen.
The one thing that we can still be actively involved in is our culture.
The one thing we thought we owned, that no one could steal or take from us.
For years, our culture was less than.
So less than that it's now cool and on the runways of Milan and NYC
Our culture is on the cover of magazines. In the pages of Vogue, Marie Claire.
You want that fab slicked down hair? Or see the latest in street wear?
Youtube is there.
But we aren't there.
Because when we do it, it's ghetto.
When white people do it, it's cool.