The day the world learned of Michael Brown—the same day he, tragically, became more than just "Mike Brown" but a symbol for anti-Black police violence—I was inside, in an apartment in Washington Heights. Amidst tweets showing Brown's body laying, festering on the pavement; or tweets explaining that, no, unlike what you thought, Brown deserved to die because he stole a pack of cigarillos shortly before encountering Ferguson police, author and political commentator Marc Lamont Hill retweeted something he posted from July 2013 that caught my attention.
Hill's tweet, about Florida teenager Trayvon Martin who was killed two years before, referenced the literal outside. He was, and remains, correct: it is incredibly dangerous to be both Black and in public at the same time. But as I sat in the (physical) comfort of an apartment in Manhattan, I could not help but wonder if there was something more to the idea of existing "outside."
What does it mean to live outside? What does it entail to exist outside and to present that existence—or another one entirely? Also, what does it mean to be Black and exist in a more transcendental version of "outside?" What does it mean to be Black and live outside the parameters of gender, or respectability, or heteronormativity? What does it mean to exude/perform this Blackness and this "outside-ness" (for lack of a better term) in public ways?
I started this blog to explore all the ways—musically, artistically, athletically, politically—we are Black and outside. This is a living, growing enterprise, one that will hopefully feature contributions from people within my community. Some stuff will be silly, others serious, but all will be born from the same initial perspective.