The dude with Tourette’s woke me up!, so Im waking you up!

19 May

As the dude with Tourette’s who lives in one of the flats downstairs abruptly wakes me from my slumber at 6am…. I’m inspired to blog: 

As Say Sumthin 7 fast approaches and so the making of the show begins, most of the other interns and I met for a meeting about it all. The meeting was full of delegation, bouncing back and forth fresh ideas, our theme ‘Displacement’ and analysis there of, recollections of past Say Sumthin events and fumes from the freshly painted Nottingham Writers Studio walls. We kept the doors open so that we could breath and it was a uncharacteristically sunny day.

As the machinations of mouthy occurred, we were interrupted by 3 school kids at door, 2 cute dark skinned black girls both with long braids and spectacles and a dark skinned boy equally cute with a very small afro with inquisitively large brown eyes all decked out in smart navy school uniforms, with blazers that had the words Nottingham Academy embroidered in white on each of their lapels, As they asked themselves …

‘Can we go in?’

We said ‘yes of course come in!…’ of course. 
They looked at me as they cautiously eased into the room, one of the girl students recognised me from somewhere.

‘Oh its Honey!!’

Then a flurry of un-shy questions followed, their statures changed, now un-afraid they enquired about what the building was for? Writing and poetry. They were very eager to be involved and were already fully aware of Mouthy Poets and Deborah Stevenson as one of us teaches poetry at Greenwood, Nottingham Academy (of which made me feel proud of Mouthy)

I knew that one of the reasons why they may have felt a tad more comfortable about being able to effectively trespass into the building is because they saw a black face sitting in there and a familiar one at that, made them feel safe enough to ‘say somethin’.

Got me thinking about how daunting a prospect it can be at times, being the only black person or ‘non-white’ person in the room and wanting to express yourself. You as a Black person may fear that you may be misunderstood, dismissed, underestimated due to the plethora of negative stereotypes made about black people pumped out into the world into our heads via media, arts, books all forms of communication, daily. 

Which coincided with an article I stumbled across an article yesterday:

“There’s Been a Stunning Trend in Children’s Books Over the Last 12 Years”

By Elena Sheppard May 2, 2014

http://www.policymic.com/articles/88811/there-s-been-a-stunning-trend-in-children-s-books-over-the-last-12-years?utm_source=policymicTBLR&utm_medium=main&utm_campaign=social

‘Since 2002, the number of children’s books published in the United States has increased, but the number of children’s books about people of color has decreased’

tumblr_n4ytrkiPZD1r83d7lo2_500 tumblr_n4ytrkiPZD1r83d7lo1_500 tumblr_n4ytrkiPZD1r83d7lo4_500 tumblr_n4ytrkiPZD1r83d7lo9_500

Then I wondered what about the UK? Would the stats the same? Then I found this article that had been written before the American one.

“YOU CAN’T DO THAT! STORIES HAVE TO BE ABOUT WHITE PEOPLE”

Young Writers of Colour by Darren ChettyDecember 7, 2013

http://mediadiversified.org/2013/12/07/you-cant-do-that-stories-have-to-be-about-white-people/

Of late I feel that some in the west have become complacent about race, ‘ethnic minorities’ now have rights, what more could they want? Everything’s fine now, my best mate is black etc. The temptation has been to see whiteness as a default human setting ‘normal’, when in reality human comes in all shades from the darkest of browns to the palest of whites. Sadly the arts/literature is not reflecting this though.

When you are reflected it can make you feel as though your views/ opinions/ ideas/ artistic expression/ voices important, powerful, interesting, beautiful, intelligent, amazing enough to be depicted in any book or poem etc. Plus I find it inspiring to learn about different perspectives, it’s as if you are travelling the earth through peoples minds.

….I mean what’s the point of having a whole paint box full of colour’s and only continuing to use just 1 same colour year in year out? zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz yawn (cliched but poiniant).

I think that Mouthy Poets can help this situation by promoting diversity and actually continuously working at being diverse, in terms of race as well as other things such as LGBTQ, nationality, language, religion, size, ability, class, ethnicity, culture and how all of those identities intersect perhaps poetically. (cos Id hate for us to become complacent too)

I’ve often wondered why the universe chose to put me in a flat above a dude with Tourette’s Perhaps he acts as a constant reminder of how important and how compulsive it should be to want to continue to express myself too.

 

by Honey Williams
t: @honeywilliams ….tweet me if you feel me

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