Presumed dangerous – playing while black or brown

I drove by a park today. A typical park in Houston and little boys and girls were playing all sorts of games as kids do. I looked on enviously at their carefree youthful exuberance. Memories of childhood games rushed into my mind, toy guns, action figures, bikes and utter glee. The ability to play oblivious to time constraints.
The light changed and I continued on my way. One little boy sitting alone on the sidelines caught my attention and all I could think about was the video, of the little boy. The 12 year old playing with a toy gun like boys do, who was shot without warning. I was angry that the media portrayed him as guilty. I was angry that so many people said he should have known better. I was frustrated that the cops lied about the encounter, reframing their extrajudicial killing of a child as justified. I was sad that another mother had to bury her baby. Her baby who died not knowing why? A 12 year old kid who did not know that playing while black / brown is a capital offense in the USA.  RIP Tamir Rice. http://abcnews.go.com/US/cleveland-cops-recklessly-shot-boy-12-toy-gun/story?id=27402837

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Privilege

There was once a man

he lived for his knowledge.

Each day, he would get up

go somewhere,

discover something,

classify something,

paint something,

characterize something,

develop something…

But this man

wore no unique clothes.

His were the norm.

He had no colour,

His was the expected.

He had no accent,

His was the average.

He lived a normal life

Spoke a majority language,

wrapped himself

dominant.

Oluwatoyin Asojo Peterborough Ontario Canada 28th May 1991

Late Night Mother – A song for West Africa

Late Night mother

and you must rest

Late Night mother

and you must eat

Late Night mother

and you must drink

Late Night mother

Please heed my plea…

Must  you go on sweating?

toiling?

weeping?

Mama, it is late

rest your weary back

Please hear my plea…

Late Night mother

and rivulets dance untouched

roaches resume their hunt

rodents their relentless voyage

Yet you toil

Please heed my plea

Raise your back mama

stand up, high,

No please sit

and rest your feet

better still

lie down mama

please heed my plea…

Late night mother

and you must rest

the relentless toil

will take its toll

rest for my sake

and theirs too, Mama

Please heed my plea.

– Oluwatoyin A Asojo September 1989 Pearson College

Praise singers

There is a new generation of praise singers that constantly sell their souls and voices to the highest bidder. They are so loved by the rich and powerful as they complement every word, idea, spewed by these people for some rice, naira, dollar, or whatever tip, privilege or opportunity that is tossed in their direction. They praise with their blogs, their songs, their dances and worship at the feet of their masters, who can do no wrong. These praise singers are spineless chameleons changing colors and teams without blinking. Curiously resilient their voices are loud and they reap the rewards of their ‘loyalty’ as they ascend to levels previously reserved for sacred cows. Once in a while, however an insane master, unmoved by the incessant adulation, crushes a praise singer, like roach. Before we can get used to the quiet another praise singer arises ululating dirges to the memory of the fallen gong.

Happy birthday Nigeria

October 1st 2014 and Nigeria is 54 years old today. Dreams and fears stand side by side with hope and loss. It is hard to celebrate when there is so much work left to do. It is hard to celebrate when we still need to #bringbackourgirls. It is difficult to celebrate when poverty is increasing and greed is the greatest prayer from the mouths of the anointed. But sparks of hope, the resiliency, the vitality, the laughter, the dirges, the smiles, the tears, the fears, life itself summons the words happy birthday Nigeria, may the lessons of the past stimulate growth. Ase!