"How do Black folx cultivate everyday practices of liberation?"
#BlackFolxAreRich is birthed from the research question: "How do Black folx cultivate everyday practices of liberation?" To address this, I center the voices of 18 folx (interviewed by me, between 2021- 2022.) Each person was born within the critical influence of Hip Hop across the Deep South, Southern California, NY and the Midwest and are identified as Black Storytellers. We pivot away from DuBois’ musings regarding the white gaze in 1903, “what does it feel like to be a problem,” and pivot toward #BlackFolxAreRich. #BFAR disrupts anti-Black ideologies, movements, and institutions (especially in schools.)
FYI: "Rich" is not based on a limited understanding of fiat notes and modern currency, but instead honors the holistic existence of who we are (internal) rather than just what we have (external.) We are folx of both trauma and dignity and are hereby rich in blood, flesh, joy, labor, land, faith, intellect, creativity, rest, and Village.
Black Storytelling is a reflection and practice of various identities; I name three types of stories: firsthand, hand-me-down, and kaleidoscopes. We – Black folx – do it through conversing, posting, cooking, worshiping, stuntin, breathing.
As a reflection of art and scholarship, I identify Black Storytellers such as James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, Romare Bearden, Zora Neal Hurston, Nikki Giovanni, Robin Boylorn, Septima Clark, Bisa Butler, D. Soyini Madison, bell hooks, and Ms. Lauryn Hill.
As a practice / method, I posit four movements for Black Storytelling: (1) Record (2) Reconnect (3) Reward (4) Repeat. These four movements are integral to every part of Black Storytelling. This is not a necessarily a linear or fixed process, but one that repeats. Because "we always have to come back to self to experience freedom. And it’s gon take more than one cycle for us to be liberated.” (Shanyce Campbell, 2020.)
These are firsthand stories given to us by our elders, their elders, and their elders... When Kahn's grandmother showed up as one of the first Black women at her upwardly mobile, white-collar job in 1960 something, her new co-worker said, "the way they talked about you, I expected you to walk in here on water." She responded, "well, where's the water?"
Doris P. Tilford (1930 — 2020), Asé.
Sankofa Waters, M. B. (2022). Black storytellers and everyday liberation: At the nexus of home, school, and Hip Hop. Qualitative Inquiry. https://doi.org/10.1177/10778004221139.