Watch “Toni Morrison Beautifully Answers an “Illegitimate” Question on Race (Jan. 19, 1998) | Charlie Rose” on YouTube

This right here.

I have gotten asked variants of this [racialized, genderized, and generationalized] one too many times from people hostile to the subject matter I had decided to focus on as bluntly and so-called “self-indulgently” as have over the years.

They were always more hostile on the other side of asking that question…and more openly afraid because of the nature of my answer… …and the weight of my eyes consciously witnessing their responses to that answer.

But see…

Here’s the thing.

Long time ago¿

I met her~.

In the midst of the loudest brouhahas over all that.

At a party I got invited to by a literary agent of color while DAW had a few of the grievechronics innards on exclusive review.

& I’m not a farmer or a fawner.

And neither is she.

And it was brief, but know what I walked away with embedded in me? Energetically speaking?

“WRITE what the fuck YOU Want.”

Toni Morrison emanated that to anyone willing to receive it. & when it comes down to it, what the fuck else is she, a Great who seriously & defiantly DID that, supposed to say to Any of us “coming up” in the wake of her?

He was cool but I made no sense to that agent lol. Technically, I did. He had his assistant read it alongside him &flipped out because she got it instantly lol &translated it all easily. To him. His fear of my subject matter blocked him. It hadn’t mattered. I’d already landed the exclusive myself. We were feeling each other out and it didn’t work.

But I am forever grateful to him for introducing me to her.

We left that literary party like five or ten minutes later. Because he knew my spirit enough to know that was one of those “that’s all I need to know to go…on” moments.

… And I did.

Sommayallknow that kinda Auntie energy I’m talking about. That One in particular that just…blunts …it.

Beautifully.

&also teaches you to.

By example.

I hope she’s happy wherever she opted to go after all the work she did here.

-AB

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