By Tahyira Cordner
‘These Streets Will Make You Feel Brand New The Lights Will Inspire You’
Music lives in me as I believe it lives within all of us. I think its sort of the universal language of the World. I’m a New Yorker born bred and raised. I went to school in suburbia and grew up in the boroughs. I can say I’ve seen both sides of the coin. I’ve lived it. Not having to go to private school until post-High School I went to public school. My elementary school is a block away from where we find the lyrical masters behind the 2014 break-through track ‘Hot Nigga’. Its in the same borough ex-Crack dealer Jay Z (stolen from an article I read this month from the NY Post) made his drug name and inevitably learned how to properly “hustle”. It is the same city that brought us that one YouTube video back in July 2014 that depicted the murder of someone strangled in a choke-hold illegally used by a police officer.
I’ve always felt strange post-9/11 being from NYC because of how people view us. It was a sort of sorrowful yet intriguing interaction when I would travel and people figured out where I’m from. For the past 5 weeks I’ve felt like I’m living in a War-zone. Things are different. The country as a whole is different. Things on paper seem to be getting better as far as jobs, spending, and basic consumer nature which is vital to Capitalism. But we are more broken now then ever before.
It is hard for me to separate myself from social issues. I pride myself on not necessarily being a leader but on not being a sheep, a blind peasant, merely seeking for survival. I can’t be quiet. My voice is rare. Because you see I’ve seen suburbia. And I’ve seen the hood. And I know there’s a difference and it isn’t skin color. It’s awareness. It’s education. It’s understanding. It’s economics. It’s politics.
I encourage everyone I know to educate themselves. Ignorance cannot remain bliss. Especially if you are a minority in this country. The burden has been placed upon you since the day you were conceived. It is a birth rite to be great; to reach our full potential. There are many people who we recognize in history for breaking down barriers and opening countless doors for others to not have to struggle as much. I want to break down doors. I want to be a positive light. I want people to live full lives and experience happiness. It isn’t the oppression we face that makes us bitter it is believing we have been ‘chosen’ to suffer. You have to free yourself from this mental slavery. Ignite the fire within and do some damage; this is our country also and we can either chose to do nothing or chose to do something.
I tweet A LOT (@TAsterisk) moreso when there is a big debate going on. I like Twitter because you really do get a unique mix of ideologies from people who are exactly like who to people who you can’t even believe live in the same country or read the same current events as you do. I am a hashtag bully so I find what I’m looking for (hands down my favorite was #CrimingWhileWhite, fight the power, lol). I’ve been told already and, this is strictly based on my limited 140 character responses, that I am illiterate/poor/stupid/a racist/and a part of the problem. I have also gained favorited tweets, retweets, followers etc so you see you can’t be too concerned over how you are perceived. Some will understand you clearly, others will need another 280 characters for clarification and others will judge you outright simply for having an opinion that is your own and challenges how they personally feel. I will never be silent. Writers possess this inner power. We feel bold. We feel free. So I will continue to keep my spirits up so I can be strong. Strong enough to fight another day. They say the best kinds of people are the selfless ones.
Too many young people are complacent with mediocrity and trying to mimic what they see instead of tapping into their full potential. We are also way too easily distracted. We need more leaders. We need more change. And to my fellow African American bros and sisters I say this, we are oppressed because we are the strongest. The Black race has been through hell and back but we are still a threat. It shows me how powerful we are. And for my White readers who don’t believe in racism or that it exists in this country, I’m sorry you feel that way but sadly it does, trust me I wish it didn’t. I wish I didn’t routinely get turned away from jobs because I happen to go to the interview with my natural hair and not my weave. I’m sorry for that one time I got a summons for being a in a park, a park I grew up in, but now that the neighborhood is no longer mixed I have to stop and show my ID to an officer who said his boss is concerned, he’s never seen me here before. I’m sorry that my work resume nd my last name gives a different impression to many and when they see my skin color that impression is completely gone. I wish it was different. I wish when I tell people I have a Masters of Science degree at 23 they didn’t ask me well how did you get into your school, was is it a special program? I’m sorry that my teenage cousins who have a darker skin tone than I do gets labeled “being Haitian decent” because they learned how to speak fluent French from public school. The fact that every White person I’ve ever really spoken to about anything real has said, Hey Tahyira feel lucky you are the rare few. To the White majority who choose to fight against injustice and racism, it has been a pleasure fighting besides you. There is much more work to be done. But this is our reality. Being quiet and living like sheep will not help us. The majority in this country can never fix the problems of the minorities. We are running out of time and being slaughtered in the interim. We have to do better. And fight like hell to make sure we create a better future, for ourselves and for others.