“Artists are the gatekeepers of truth.” ~ Paul Robeson
Harry Belafonte, who I have had the pleasure of being around & learning from the past few years repeats Paul Robeson’s words often. Artists (also actors/actresses) will not liberate us alone but have a responsibility to use their platforms to elevate the issues and the truth of the moment & to remind people of our history. Harry Belafonte was a successful and prominent artist who used his platform to discuss racism, support the civil rights movement and privately financed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Movement work is messy. We are doing it at a messy time during a rise in capitalism. We won’t all agree on tactics and strategies but let’s try to come to the place where we don’t assume intentions and believe that we are all on the same side working the best we can with what we have for our people, at a minimum, getting their stories heard.
Hyper visibility for activists isn’t glamorous or fun. We often see the temporary glam but miss what happens behind closed doors or on the internet - the heart shattering and soul crushing backlash coming from every direction, the racist, misogynistic messages, the threats, the heartache and burnout, the moments where many activists don’t want to get out of bed in the mornings. People miss the many defeats, the times policy campaigns were lost, of our friends being deported even tho all hands were on deck. Critiques are welcome, we won’t always agree and that’s ok - no movement ever has but erasing decades of work by women for choices you may not agree with is a bit too far.
There are people counting on the movement who for so many reasons can’t participate - they hope we have all hands, ideas, tactics, strategies on deck. They need us to win. For many of us, these people are our own families and communities.
Let’s move with more good will and open hearts and open minds this year. I am feeling good and optimistic. Just remember as we move and navigate this movement work - unity is not uniformity. Our hearts can be united, our missions aligned but we are on different paths to the liberation we all deserve and fight for every day.
Proud of our sisters who took the Golden Globes stage. As someone who knows them personally, they have sacrificed so much for all of us. Keep them in your prayers and I ask God to protect their hearts and give them the guidance and fortitude they need to keep moving forward.
I am proud of every sister, every woman of color who gets her own show, starts a podcast, lands a book deal, a column at a major paper - we need your voices and stories. It’s never luck - it’s years of hard work, perseverance and sacrifices and damn hard choices you were chastised for but in the end, you deserve it. People have told our stories for TOO LONG, time for some of us to tell ours.