In my quest to re-ignite my love for reading (books/novels) I came across one by Rebecca Walker in either Ebony or Essence magazine. They were highlighting her latest work, which is a compilation of essays by esteemed writers, professors, etc. in which they tell a story of what they feel personifies 'black cool'.
I'm not completely sure what it was that drew me to the book other than the words on the cover. Reading the description piqued my interest and before I knew it, there was a confirmation email from Amazon stating that my book was on the way. Since it's arrival, I have had a hard time putting it down and when I am forced to (because of having to service a customer at work or something like that), I would rather be reading.
Black Cool: One Thousand Streams of Blackness is 153 pages of thought-provoking viewpoints of what it means to be black and cool. From our "Audacity" (written by dream hampton) to our "Swagger" (written by Dawoud Bey) to our "Reserve" (written by Helena Andrews), we are allowed to get lost in the greatness that it is to be black today. I am proud to be black and can honestly say that I have never wanted to be of any other ethnicity. I have always admired our versatility, our beauty and just how cool we were and are (word to the Harlem Renaissance).
One essay, "Hunger" by Veronica Chambers, really reached out to me. In the seven pages of her essay, she recounted her days in college studying the Harlem Renaissance (my favorite era by far) and the social parties of A'Lelia Bundles (daughter of Madame C.J. Walker).
I'm sure everyone is aware of soul food and what it means to the African American community. All the love and happiness that comes with the preparation of the food. The fellowship with loved ones coupled with a myriad of libation. Just being in the atmosphere sparks such a feeling of love and admiration for the people around that it makes it hard to want to leave (at least for me).
I experienced that familial feeling last night at a birthday get together for my Z Baby (Zainab). I was brought in to the circle of young, black, up & coming professionals a few years ago by my best friend, Rasheedat. Anytime there is a function that I can make, I'm there because with them is great fun and endless laughs. Last night was no different. As I looked around the room I couldn't help but smile and marvel at how grown up we are all becoming. It was like a scene out of a black romantic comedy or something.
Zainab stood at the stove, dancing to The Throne's "N*ggas In Paris" while preparing a tomato paste alfredo. Brittney was right behind her, focused on her task of chopping up garlic cloves and onions to add to the mostaccioli sauce. iTunes was doing a great job at mixing in some of our favorite songs while the rest of us mingled, catching up and discussing our lives, dancing and drinking.
I used to think dinner parties were pretentious, reserved only for the bourgeois upper echelon but it wasn't that at all. The setting was chill. Outcome, memorable. Definitely one of my many memories to come of 2012. I anticipate the day I can host my own dinner party in my Brooklyn brownstone, having these same people enjoy in my company.
As we were riding through the streets of Hyde Park, I realized that this is the feeling I've been missing and one that I want to have forever. A life filled with genuine people of kindred spirits. I am slowly but surely learning to appreciate the space in which God has me. He is affording me this extra time at home to help mold me for life once I leave the nest for good.