Unapologetically Black and Emotionally Undone: In The Wake of Freddie Gray

Freddie Gray protests in Baltimore, Baltimore unrest, police brutality in BaltimoreBy A’Driane Nieves

Joy and mourning. Anger and love. Hope and despair. My mind and soul are carrying all at once.

I’m supposed to be running around finishing up last minute errands to prep for Bert’s departure to California next Tuesday and for my trip to Mom 2.0 tomorrow. I’m supposed to be excited and ready to relax and enjoy a few days away and attend some killer sessions, see some of my favorite people. And I will. But my mind and heart aren’t as in it or eager as they were before because they’re both tired…consumed and troubled about Baltimore and the relentless, deliberate disregard for Black life and value.

I’m praying, I’m worried, I’m enraged, I’m tired, I’m randomly crying, I’m out of words…I’m taking care of myself mentally and emotionally as I watch all of this unfold yet again, after the lack of justice for Rekia Boyd, after Walter Scott, three years of being barraged by injustice…but I am still undone. Still terrified for my kids. For myself. For my brother and sister and Mom and cousins and aunts and uncles and stepdad and friends.

But I’m also still unapologetically Black. I am still a Black woman-unapologetically. One who is vocal and consistent in my demand that you hear and listen. A Black artist who is unapologetic about using art and words to challenge, provoke, and disrupt what you think you know about our lived experience, about living in Black skin, about justice for all-just like other Black artists have done and continue to do. I’m still learning from those who speak on race in America from a higher level and who contextualize it as necessary — and that is why I’m unapologetic about my demand that you do, too. I am Black and unapologetic in my sharing on social media of what’s going on, in my lack of f—- to give about only not filling your news feeds with other items that make you more comfortable with being my “friend.”

This country and its inhumane system can’t take that from me. And this country and those who continue to enable and excuse White supremacy cannot undo my resolve to keep standing in solidarity with those who speak out, who demonstrate, who riot because frustration and anger over brutalization and being terrorized makes them feel they have no other recourse, who continue to try and force justice to turn her hand in our direction, to value our lives. I stand in solidarity with the movement — all aspects of it — and will continue to press for it to fight for all Black life-cis, transgender, female, male, gay and straight. I can’t always be out in the streets demonstrating or doing the work in ways others do offline so well, but I support the movement and those involved the best I can from where I’m at.

I’m still for revolution by any means necessary. I’m still for Martin and Malcolm’s fight to wrest freedom for The Negro from the hands of The White Man. I’m still for being radical. I’m still for The Dream.

So if you see me in person this week and I seem quiet and pensive this is why. If my feed is heavy on the unrest, this is why. I’ll still be celebrating the good and what is still lovely about humanity…but I’ll also be mentally tearing my clothes in grief over the depravity of it too…and yes, also over the cruelty of Nature and how she can take the lives of thousands
in an instant.

Joy and mourning. Anger and love. Hope and despair. My mind and soul are carrying all at once.

A’Driane Nieves is a USAF veteran, writer, artist, and speaker with a heart for serving others and social good. She’s also a mental health advocate living with bipolar disorder, and a survivor of postpartum depression and anxiety. She writes about the intersections of life, art, motherhood, mental health, and race on her personal blog. She’s been a contributing editor to Postpartum Progress, the most widely read blog on maternal mental health, and was selected as a BlogHer 2014 Voice of The Year. Her superpowers include knowing every Prince song not sitting in his vault, making the best faces while dancing, and rocking a hot pink afro. She’s mom to three boys and wife to her robotics loving husband.

Thank you so much A’Driane for allowing us to share this!

Image via Wikimedia Commons/CC License

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