I Don’t Feel Like Smiling…

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I Don’t Feel Like Smiling
Photo Credit: Shahnee Naphtali

I Don’t Feel Like Smiling.
I Don’t Feel Like F*cking Smiling.

I am well within my right not to smile.

I am not “okay.” And I am well with my right as an American to feel hurt, to feel angry, and to feel abandoned by a powerhouse of the world. Our ancestors were kidnapped from our native land and forced to work. Greed was placed above morals and integrity.

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i Don’t Feel Like Smiling
Photo Credit: Shahnee Naphtali

“Being A Black Man, Especially A Big Black Man Is Dangerous. I Am Told To Smile More So That Other People Will Feel More Comfortable Around Me. I Strike Fear In The Hearts Of People Because Of Stereotypes.

Due to the rules of COVID-19, the state of New York “suggests” that we need to we’re masks to prevent the spread of the virus.

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I Don’t Feel Like Smiling
Photo Credit: Shahnee Naphtali

Masks

I should have recorded the reactions that I get as a man who is 6’1 & 324 pounds walking around New York City in a mask. It’s a situation where no one wins. The color of my skin is used against me. A white woman in Central Park, Manhattan was so insulted that a black man told her to place her leash on a dog. She called the police and tried to weaponize his skin. These threats of calling the police on black people  for just breathing has to cease and the culprits have to be held accountable for their actions

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I Don’t Feel Like Smiling
Photo Credit: Shahnee Naphtali

How Am I Okay?

How the fxck am I okay? How can I be okay when there are pictures and videos of my people being killed? It reminds me of the images that I see in history books with “strange fruit” hanging on trees after black men and women were hung. The glee, the joy on the faces of men & women that hate me flash within my mind. It’s too much to see and hear about black men and women being killed. Especially when they pose no threat and they are unarmed.  It’s as if you are forcing me to believe that my existence is worthless. I can be murdered in the street, shot down like a dog and the murderer is still free. Even worse, I am paying my murderers!

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I Don’t Feel Like Smiling
Photo Credit: Shahnee Naphtali

I can’t be okay. I watched a man beg for his life. I am not okay with having to plead with the world that “my life matters.” My feelings are justified. My stomach burns and my tear ducts are filled. These men & women that were murdered are worth more than a hashtag that the world will forget in a week. We are going backward, these police shootings are modern-day lynchings.

How can we reverse 400 years of oppression & systemic racism? At what point systemic oppression and vilification of black, brown, and other POC will cease?

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i Don’t Feel Like Smiling
Photo Credit: Shahnee Naphtali

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