Free Pt. II
after Jasmine Mans
“400 years of slavery sounds like a choice”
Kanye Omari West
Celebrity is a ghost town. I can’t deny that you are free or ill—white marble floors, calabasas, paris, glasgow, lonely heartsore son of Black academia-chasing spirits like a moth chases flame.
I love you like boys who grew up Black as me in the burbs, my day 1’s and play cousins. We never dreamed of growing up and being you. A star is not a sun without planets in orbit, and we orbited you like moons. You, diamond-cased name-brand deity of Otis Redding and Chaka Khan samples, rap fanboy turned it boy, multimillionaire by marriage and major record sales, collector of awards along mansion walls.
We can’t tell you nothin, nah, but we can tell that right; money got you believin there was an option other than the yo money ain’t ship, or the jaws of a shark, got you thinkin whip, fist, rope, and poplar tree were not the only destinations besides house or field, got you forgettin enslaved Africans were born and raised on plantations, sold, rented, or freed by death off plantations, got you blankin on written passes enslaved folk needed just to leave plantations, got you slow to state the police state is an evolution of 19th century slave catchers-why get yo money right just to get yo history wrong?
Who are we without our ancestry, Ye? Who are you without the musicians you resurrect through samples? How can you say race doesn’t matter anymore when the media won’t acknowledge your mental wellness, but will empathize with white nationalist shooters? You were right about one thing: no one man should have all that power. You are mortal after all, not a G/god, or the son of one. You are your Momma’s Blackboy, from chicagoland, who rapped and made soul beats until the world took notice.
Who would’ve guessed what idol-worship and riches could draw out of you. Your world is so distant from mine, I fear hear me even if you heard this, but Kanye, I hope you live to remember the immeasurable strength our grandest parents had, you can’t and the sacrifices they made to survive. What more can we ask of those who risked it all for our chance to be? We hold them in flesh and spirit; we are their wildest dreams.
Sean Avery Medlin