#FeartheRemnant Campaign 2023: Oprah
Honest Hive be highlighting several thought leaders, artist, broadcasters, activists/abolitionists & community who exist as a catalyst to change in their movement work. They aren't idols, they are torches passed through generations who graciously share the keys to their wisdom, their gifts, with us.
Let's give it up for the saaaaame OP (Ginuwine Voice). We've lost some real ones, but we've got some real ones left.
If you’re in your mid-thirties like me, you have taken some hits these past few years. Maya Angelou, Michael Jackson, they even got Prince. The pages of history feels like they are turning into the new chapter for the millennial population. We’re the adults now (which sometimes I still struggle to process at 33). What are we going to do? Who will we look to as we continue ‘BECOMING’ (as Michelle Obama would say)? Just a few days I received news, along with the rest of the world, that Tina Turner had passed away; she was an undeniable remnant of power, art, vulnerability, recreation and originality with a steel-willed work ethic. I could almost hear the siren of the Hunger Games bell ring loud to signal ‘another one down.’
I've never been one for the sidelines. I take on challenges in this life to stand on the shoulders of those who came before me. I don't take it lightly that Harriet Tubman followed the voice of God to travel from the South to North and into Canada without losing a single passenger. I believe in that spirit, I believe in the supernatural, I believe in miracles and I want to use every ounce of my black girl magic to carve out my purpose, no matter how far out of the lines that may take me.
I know myself. I know I am a dog. For those who aren't sports minded a dog is a a player on the team who doesn't mind getting dirty. They will do the job no one else wants to do, they do the clean up. These players metaphorically represent people in this life who do the dirty work to make sure the team pulls off a victory. Whatever primal characteristic led to me being built (or born) with a competitive nature and dog mentality has been an ongoing theme in my life. I don't see life as going forward, I see it as going deeper. I'm a dog, with the ego of a franchise player. An ego as big as mind comes with a lot of responsibility. (1) A lifetime committed to pursuing humility and (2) a fulfillment of the self with a high level of excellence.
That leads me to shifting of generations, and the responsibility thereof.
For as surely as Oprah needed Maya Angelou and Tina Turner, surely, we need inspiration just as powerful. Documentaries, Videos, Books, Journals, Articles…they’ve all been left to give testimony to the secret life of artists. Bare your soul, leave this planet with a heart ripped to shreds (Brene Brown “Daring Greatly”). Give it all back. All the beauty, chaos, power and happiness life has given you, give it back to light the way. Even if that is you throwing in your darkest thought. Create your art. That is the call for me. I always say I am an artist. Maybe not with paint, brushes, and pastels but with my words. I’m (an out of practice) poet, novelist. I generally am a person with a cool perspective that people enjoy listening to. I’ve got a little Carrie Bradshaw in me. So what do you do when you are a writer? And a dog. The 'gift of gab' may seem like a cute gift but for me, life is just like the Hunger Games. I resonate with militants willing to die for ideas. The ones with thoughts so powerful they strike fear when spoken aloud. Such orators like Che Guevara, Malcolm X, John Lennon, Stokely Carmichael often have the gift of gab, the power in their words to change worlds. More than that they connect to people's soul with their raw conviction. I don't seek martyrdom but with a conviction as strong as mine I also cannot fear death. Oprah bared her soul as a Broadcasting Artist. Which notably, is not her only talent, just the most formidable. Look at her acting chops and you’ll realize she out-diversifies the Michael Jordan Basketball – Baseball talent spectrum.
But as a Broadcaster Oprah’s show The Oprah Winfrey Show gave us 4,561 episodes (can we talk about this along with our hilarious memes about Jerry Springer, may he RIP). Let’s acknowledge a living legend, an icon, an ancestor. She is indisputable. And I must repeat, this is only one chapter of her book. (If we went into her podcasting career +, we’d be here all day, but do check out Super Soul Sunday).
I figure she’s a good model to emulate. That’s the picture of resilience, of contentment, of freedom. She honored Toni Morrison, she honored Beyonce and Whitney Houston. She sat with artists and innovators across every discipline to help us know and see them through her eyes. She is the ultimate 'give-back'. Her beauty, her weight, her trauma, she stood in it all. Any black woman knows what it must have taken to live that aloud in public. She did it with grace, she is still doing it.
My Oprah-sized ambition is tucked in an agency #CVO (Chief Visionary Officer) right now, maybe yours is in being a mother, or teaching the next generation. On the days that I just don’t feel at Oprah level, I try to remember: What I am feeling and where I currently am, has nothing to do with who I am. And who I am is an endless spring of creativity, intelligence, and fervor. Immeasurable valuable.
Just like Oprah. Our ancestors (living and otherwise) aren't meant to be our idols, they're meant to be our motivation. The soul of Tina, Maya, Toni, Stokely...they will never die: Those who take on that charge seriously and pick up their cross, those are the remnant.