February 3, 2019

© Ariel C. Williams


A lot was happening at once. Glenn Jones reminded the crowd he was from Duval before church-crooning about love.

Two nice ladies from New York sold us books drenched in Zora’s excellence.

Africans lined the brown brick road selling modcloth, figurines, butters, and oils from the motherland. The authentic said as much while the others credited China. We noticed and kept walking.

Light skinned or blatantly white mannequins were adorned in Wakanda; the 9 year old gazing, puzzled. We noticed and kept walking.

We saw Zora. Felt Zora. From my heart to his eyes, I introduced him to Zora, daughter of Eatonville. The childless woman who I am certain is my great grandmother. The woman whose name generates, “I knooooow, mom. You talk about her all the time,” when I say she’s my favorite.

We park at Bishop Kimble’s church. Grandpa watches him on TV every Saturday night. Across the street from the library, skips away from Her Museum, nuzzled in “the hood”. “Mommy, is this the hood?”

We overdress; it is hot despite the 61° forecast. Elderly women marvel at my baby – handsome, strong, smart, realized. He is grateful for his new wooden rhino and toothy necklace. Only $10 for the culture’s drip.

Black excellence personifies as he looks around and says aloud, “I’m proud to be Black.” Southern black mama, nappy hair, almond-shaped eyes, brown skin, what more could I ask for in that moment.

We won’t meet Alice Walker, but he practices what he’d say to her just in case. “Hello Ms. Walker. It is nice to meet you. This is my mom. She has some of your books.” Imagine.

Introductions are over but before we leave, we dance. Dance in the dirt. Dance in the drizzle. Dance in the sweat. Dance in the music. Dance in the culture. Dance in the heritage. Dance in the hood. Dance in the richness. Dance for the old people passing by. Dance in spirit of daughter Zora. Dance in the spirit. Dance.

It was nice to meet you. We’ll see you again next time.

Click here to watch Dance video.


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