However, that’s standard. What’s not standard is my mother saying I can go to Hollywood after high school. That is so startling I immediately decide to take advantage of it. On Monday, when I return to school, I’m going to sign up for the drama club.
I’m used to being the sole drop of chocolate in a sea of vanilla. After-all, prisons aren’t exactly located in the hood. So it was no surprise that only white faces looked at me when I entered the room set aside for the drama club. However, it was surprising that the girl from the prison visiting room was there. Not only was she there but during introductions, I found out she directed most of the school plays.
The next one scheduled was Othello. When I heard that, I burst out laughing. Who on earth are they going to get to play Othello? The only brothers I’ve seen in the school are firmly oriented toward sports. Chloe nodded her permed head at me and all eyes turned in my direction. It was scary for a minute but then I decoded what was going on. They want me to play Othello!
I could hear my mother in my head: “Not only do they want to deny your womanhood but they also want you to play a miscegenator? Do you have to kiss Desdemona?” I could see her point but a role is a role. Or is it? I told Chloe that I would have to think about it. Then I picked up my things including the script and left. I could hear her calling after me but I didn’t stop. She can wait.
Your daughter came home today with a look on her face combining both guilt and defiance. I didn’t get a chance to ask “what happened?” before she spilled the proverbial beans. That drama club wants her to play a black man in love with a white woman; not just any man, mind you but Othello, the original OJ Simpson. She tried to mitigate it by telling me that the director of the play is a girl whose father is in prison with you there. She said she saw the girl when she last visited you. Do you know the father? What can you tell me that will help me to help her navigate this. Self-determination applied individually, is, sometimes, a hard concept to unite with.
Dear Yain Kain,
The father participated in the Scourge economy. In here, he articulates revolution but I’ve been down long enough to see through a con. If you need visual representation, check out a television show called OZ. There was a character on that show that captures him perfectly: Adebisi except he doesn’t involve himself in homosexual behavior. The mother has been up here a few times. According to the grapevine, their visits never go well. Now she just sends the girl.
Yes, self determination is a hell of a concept but I think it’s time we loosen the reins before she starts calling us the oppressor. We have to trust that we’ve educated her sufficiently enough for her to make the right decision(s).
Yet again, it is as if I have no name but I do! Let me introduce myself. I am Moyamba Funmilayo Sewafe Salma Yain Kain Yaa Asantewaa Nzingha Ida Lisabi Alice Claudia Nomzamo Winfreda Wangari but everyone, except my parents that is, calls me Funmi.