A room full of young men, broad shoulders, energy pulled upward, standing tall, aware of each other, aware of each other as strangers, potential assholes to fight, potential brothers too.
A room full of young men and the man onstage who raps to us says, “Damn there’s 11 girls in the room, that’s a lot for a hip hop show.”
A room full of young men and the man onstage tells us about money, about how it ropes your life, how it ropes off who you can be, who your parents could be, how they wanted to be better but they were so tired and so worried and were getting beaten up everyday.
A room full of young men and I am wiling out, like the old lady I am becoming, because this is the music I both came up with and was always outside of.
A room full of young men and many are white, many are black, many are brown, who knows the breakdown of the 11 girls, and am I even counted in the girls anymore, my weirdo ass bouncing with one hand up, my jewelry younger than I really am.
I love these young men. I love them and now that I am older it is safer to love them. It’s safer to love a man as an adopted son than a potential lover. If you can be a mother they will not punish you. The younger women here will be punished for being young women. They will be punished for who they fuck and who they don’t fuck. They will be punished for being pretty and not being pretty enough. They will be punished for collaborating, they will be punished for snitching- every path pushes their face in the dirt.
The young women will be punished because they cannot glue back together what money breaks. The young women will be asked to be the solution, to make it all better, with their love, with their sacrifice, with their loyalty, and when they can’t make it better because nothing can make this game we’re playing any better then they will be punished.
The 11 women still show up. They love these young men. They want more than money will ever let anyone in this room have.
The men show up. They are scared of the other men. They are scared of the 11 women. The man on stage tells us about money and what money has done to us. We bounce as a sea of people, bodies pushing against bodies, to remember we are not natural enemies, we came into this world from the same wombs, landing in the same fights. The beat shakes the walls and we feel who we could be in a world of enough money, a world with so much money the money cannot make us scared, the money cannot tell lies about us, the money cannot make us forget we are fam.