Black people loving, respecting, protecting each other and doing for self, can’t be anything but revolutionary.
A good friend of mine and fellow laborer in liberation would always say “Black love is a revolutionary act,” whenever he’d see me out with my family. My wife and children, complete with flawless melanin, unashamed natural curls and locs, innocent souls, and dreams that would make our ancestors smile, garner uplifting cultural comments like this all the time.
But how exactly is Black love revolutionary?
As great as it sounds, I never thought of what it meant. I mean, I knew it was dope and I responded to its timeliness but what does it mean?
One day, I paused and thought about it after listening to my favorite Malcolm X speech, Message to the Grassroots. In this speech he reminded Black people about the seriousness of the word: “You don’t know what a revolution is. If you did, you wouldn’t use that word. A revolution is bloody. Revolution is hostile. Revolution knows no compromise. Revolution overturns and destroys everything that gets in its way.”
While he was speaking in a different context, I think its safe to use the idea of his definition, to champion the American story and struggle of Black love.
All around the world, there is hate for Blackness. The very threads that made America have anti-Blackness in them.
From the trans-Atlantic slave trade, to the murder of one of the most non-violent people in human history (Martin Luther King, Jr.), to the constant biological related attacks (Henrietta Lacks, Tuskegee, J. Marion Sims, food deserts, racism in American healthcare, pseudo-scientific racism, environmental racism, etc.) and more.
With this in mind, I understand my friend’s statement much deeper now, Black love is “revolutionary.” It is the action that sparks all others.
To the lovers of anti-blackness, Black love is not afraid to get “bloody.” To the fetishizing of mixed-race children because they’re “prettier” or interracial relationships that build themselves up by demeaning black women/men, it “knows no compromise.”
To those married to white silence, it is “hostile.” And those who champion Black love understand that it “…overturns and destroys everything that gets in its way.”
In our situation, Black love sparked revolution the minute that stolen Africans fought slave master’s to reconnect with their loved ones. When the need for docility made Europeans misappropriate belief systems of old, Black love restored its usage to serve as survival for Black people.
Think about the various forms of Black liberation theology, or the findings of Kongo cosmograms and slave hideouts in African started churches. And we can’t forget about the ancient West African beliefs hidden right alongside invader religions (Santeria).
The love of Black women allowed (and didn’t allow) white men to take advantage of their bodies, to protect Black men. This included dying/killing (and using infanticide as resistance) to protect their children. Black men led uprisings that killed anything in the way of rescuing their wives, lovers, friends, children, etc. They also died trying; a love bigger than life itself.
Black love is fictive kin (play cousins, big mamas, etc.) taking care of you because slavery damaged so much of your biological family structure. The idea of cutting the link to a people’s past — hoping to confuse their future — has been revolutionized.
The Black Panther Party’s love offered free healthcare, free breakfast, and many other free training/education programs. These actions were so revolutionary, they became threatening to the F.B.I. I mean hey, how dare black people love themselves in ways that don’t include centering white people or waiting on a government that is leaving them behind.
With Black love — of all types (platonic, erotic, queer, selfless, etc.) — we break chains of oppression. Black love is the remedy to self-hate; we must revolutionize ourselves. Black love creates communities and sustains them without depending on outside forces; we must support each other. Black love is the Sankofa Bird in action; we must shape our future by seeking our past, forgetting the anti-Black things taught to us. This leads to revolution.
I believe it starts with black women being free to love themselves without “having” to be wives and mothers (every woman is not a wife or mother and may never be. Though vital, their worth is larger than these roles). They must love themselves and their well-being, first.
I believe black men must let go of all aspirations created by white men that lead to the further oppression of themselves or their lovers/families.
We must love ourselves in new ways. We must hold up platonic love as a standard among black men; combating the violent social world, a lot of us live in.
We must physically put our bodies in the way of what comes to harm black women. Whether that be poverty (and it’s symptoms), rapists, abusers, or exploiters; we must watch, train, prepare, and revolt against it.
Let’s love each other more and more family. In the midst of love, we will find the revolution we’ve been waiting for.