If I had a time machine…which coronation would I see?
If I had a time machine, I would most certainly travel back in time…to witness some great moments in history.
The birth of Jazz in Congo Square in New Orleans, or
Martin Luther King deliver that great speech in Memphis the eve of his assassination, or
The moment the first white man set shore upon the Niger Delta.
Would I go back and see
The crowing of King George, or
Queen Victoria’s coronation, or
Would I be wicked enough to sneak into the palace of the tiny Spanish queen Anne who gave permission and cash to ‘explorers’ who’d cast caste onto the dark skins of every ‘native’ they encountered.
Caste. And race.
Without imperialism, there’d be no black stain upon my skin against which my ancestors resisted.
Without the profit of human trafficking, there’d be no need for labels like Black or white, nor
Racism, nor patriarchy for that matter, a concept squarely meant to trace intergenerational wealth Black folks have been robbed in these United States and upon these British Isles.
See, my mother tongue is English –
The language my Black mother spoke to me came through colonialism.
We were enslaved and inherited names and customs that are easily recognizable to Brits today.
This language limits how I discuss these events, and
Unless I try really hard, and make concerted efforts,
This language limits how I think about these concepts.
You heard that? The English language limits places I take myself in my own mind!
These facts are maddening.
If I describe the Spanish explorers as conquerors, and
Tell you that virtually every pope was a sinner not a saint, and
If I could go back in time, I’d slit the throat of that young Spanish queen, and
If I admit that I have nothing but disdain for every English man, woman and child who’s held that orb Charlie held this past Saturday, then
Even by my own standards, I question if I’d be the hero of my own history.
If I were to go back in time and arm Nat Turner with weapons, or
Help Harriet Tubman guide folks along the underground railroad north to freedom, or
Go further back and try, try, try to stop the entire triangular slave trade altogether, then
I must accept that I’d be erasing myself.
I’d risk robbing Congo Square of its famed place in history, and
I might not be able to hear the pop, Rock, Hip-Hop and House music blasting out of this tawdry bar’s speakers right now.
I’d risk not even being me.
This does not make me grateful for the crown, nor
Does it reduce me to resentment and rage.
I’m proud of the New World cultures Africa and her Diaspora have made from our mangled past.
As layered and, again, as complicated as all the fates of all the peoples of the Commonwealth to whom I am now tied due to, dare I say, the golden and bejeweled crown
Carefully placed upon your king’s head.
Long may he reign.
We all want our histories repaired.
And an end to monarchy.
Dancing in Congo Square, AKA The Queens and Kings of Jazz