Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My Chain's too Heavy: The Reading of James Baldwin "My Dungeon Shook"

"If rap was Harlem, I be James Baldwin" -Common

As the story unfolds it has taken me a while to read this prolific piece of work suggested by my good friends Fritz, E and Perea! So finally in a dark room in DC (my friends new apt & there aren't any lights yet except the kitchen) I start to read this & POW the battery gets inserted in my back instantly!

James ughhhhh. I pay tribute by re writing these words for this is what I can solely do currently in this moment in time.

Did you hear what this man said:

"The limits of your ambition were, thus, expected to be set forever" "You were not expected to aspire to excellence: you were expected to make peace with mediocrity" "Any upheaval in the universe is terrifying because it so profoundly attacks one's sense of one's own reality. Well the black man has functioned in the white man's world as a FIXED STAR, as an IMMOVABLE PILLAR: and as he moves out of his place heaven & earth are shaken to their FOUNDATIONS." "For this is your home, my friend do not be driven from it, great men have done great things here & will again and we can make America what America MUST become. It will be HARD James but you come from a sturdy, peasant stock, men who picked cotton & dammed rivers and built railroads and in the teeth of most terrifying odds, achieved and unassailable & monumental dignity. You come from a long line of POETS some of the GREATEST since HOMER. One of them said, THE VERY TIME I THOUGHT I WAS LOST, MY DUNGEON SHOOK AND MY CHAINS FELL OFF.

This piece of work is so prolific because not only does Mr. Baldwin have this conversation with his future self, but also he is trying to teach himself how to deal with the future in a white world. The dialogue expresses how it is the love that got him and his family through those tough times, and how it is imperative to survive if for solely love alone.

At birth you were given a deck of cards and due to the circumstances you must now move with your back against the wall. He explains the intent that the ghetto has among its people, it wants us to fail. He explains what we were dealt, solely because we were Black in America, and therefore what society expected you to attain or not due to your Blackness. Because of something you cannot control, not only were you not supposed to be dope but also no one even dreamed that you would be, and that is the problem.

It is highlighted the importance of knowing where you come from, the type of people you were born from and the experiences you hold. Even those people that don’t expect anything from you, you must still show them love. Because in order to create a world where you feel comfortable you must make the first move towards change.

take too long for niggas to get their turn, 
probably be cremated before I get my urn, 
they try to tell that aliens built the pyramids, 
I swear life's a bitch on a period, 
For every inch they cut the nose off the Sphinx, 
I made my jeweler add a few mo links, 
you can look at me and tell I don't care what nobody think, 
and my face always lookin' like somebody stink. 

Specifically in reference to My Dungeon Shook Kanye describes some instances of the importance of knowing what great people you come from. And how sometimes it’s unfortunate that the story we get is the one they want us to know rather than the truth. Some people try to erase these gifts, works of art & thoughts behind the revolutionary work that Black people specifically have contributed & implemented to create CHANGE. But love them anyway!

My chains heavy my chains to heavy, they say my chains broke the levees- Kanye voice

Ahhhhhman so if you can imagine I would be GOING IN standing on desk getting my Malcolm X by any means necessary on. This is an extremely powerful piece, as my good friend G$Money would say so #8000.

Here is the full My Dungeon Shook

1 comment:

  1. "Lifes a bitch on a period" I don't know about anyone else, but I would enjoy that man as a neighbor.