In his nonfiction “history of a fiction,” Jeff Chang ends his prelude stating ” there are many more versions to be heard. May they all be”. In the intro of can’t stop won’t stop, Herc writes, “if the people like you, they will support you and your work will speak for itself.”
I am often reminded of these notions when I think of the contributions, often unmentioned and looked over ( diff word) that Kuumba Lynx has cultivated with Chicago’s Hip Hop generations.
The 20th anniversary of KL celebrates over two decades of community support and creative works. Since our first gatherings ( insert some detail of people places etc) we have forged a trajectory committed to preserving, presenting and promoting Hip Hop. We open and pause ciphers encouraging our collective to have the courage to tell their own stories because more often than not those stories will either not be told at all or the narrative will be wrong. It is no ones duty but our own to be the counter narrative, but more importantly to share our experience with .”..time and race, place and polycukturalism, hot beats and hybridity.” Our version is not to tell the comprehensive history of Chicago’s Hip Hop and Spoken word culture, but rather to include ourselves in the legacy. we are solely responsible for the telling of our creativity linked together with a mighty roar journey. And so here we begin
Poetry has always been awkward for me. Writing is to storytelling as thinking is to speaking. To me your thinking is your original draft you talk the draft through you think it through some more, you let experience edit and craft your thinking . You write with every thought and conversation.
My West African dance mentor Harry taught me if you say it you can sing it if you sing it you can dance it . For me, this proverb translates to writing. If you think it, u can speak it, if you speak it you can write it. I have been in hundreds of classrooms alongside my partner in critical love, Jaquanda Villegas. Together we have navigated a failing school system ( etc etc) with the audacious hope that Jeff Andadre speaks of in his Rose that her from concrete ???. An Almost prelude to our work, youth usually respond, when asked if they are writers, “no”. We preface the class with ritual and reminder of their genius. their innate gift of thought our shared lineage composed of native daughters, griots and circle keepers. We ask who are the protectors of culture and our ways of knowing? We say even if u say you are not a writer indeed you are because you think and therefore you write you simply have not selected the weapon, the pen. This is where we begin authoring our lives reconstructing the entropy and reimagining and demonstrating. Simultaneously lifting fist and in unanimous chant “We express with our wrist the fight of our fist, blessed with many gifts , we use this to uplift!”