Last year, February 27, 2016, I was volunteering with The Bronzeville Visitor Information Center , I acted as a liason and assited with welcoming tourist to the city, seated for the infamous Black Metropolis National Heritage Area educational tour, dinner at Yassa’a African Resturant, and “Chicago’s Bronzeville The Musical”.
I recommend the next time it comes to town, GO SEE IT!
There was no videotaping or photographs allowed but I did Snap Chat while I was in the building so ADD ME: Billie Da Kidd, they know me as Billie Jean. You know how snap chat rolls, after 24 hours its over with, so it’s pretty much dead in that area.
The Chicago’s Bronzeville Musical was enlightening and striking with history of renown creative geniuses: Nat King Cole, Mahalia Jackson, Marcus Garvey, Lena Horne, Katherine Dunham, Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughn, Josephine Baker, Dr. Margaret Burroughs and etc. I mean even the names highlighted around them were powerhouse names. The play highlighted key times in history that we may often take for granted like the waves of the great migration, Pullman Porter, lynch mob, riots , and how we came to Chicago to build unapologetic-ally knowing who we are.
It was beautiful to see imagery of how our ancestors came here in hope and in search of a new life, creating a new promise. Slavery was a big deal yo! Everyone recognizes it because it happened but they don’t acknowledge the 110-160 years after the abolishing of slavery. Its a great story before and tyranny in between that we don’t even get into. To justify what came out of the migration north was pure power of greatness. Set aside all of the barriers that had to be knocked over or broken down in life, look where we are today.
I see my youthful peers or 30 and under lost, but acclaimed by the awaken as sleep. Don’t sleep on yourself and all of the ones who lost their life for you to be able to enjoy your current life. It’s not luck that we are here, its divine order, and in order for us to grow we have to let go many habits to cultivate.
I walked away from this play with pride of self because I’m already knowing who I am. No need for a introduction or a need to fit in, I am just a higher being here with a master plan to make things happen. I can say that I was a bit surprised that it was strong symbolism of The Nation of Islam when as a Afro American that belongs to no religion, social, or political party that confused me just a tad bit when our legendary blues geniuses weren’t acknowledged. Then after Margaret Mahdi’s salutation I realized that it was history from a Muslim perspective. I mean don’t get it twisted the NOI put in work but I’ve never felt a care from the Muslims until this year, which that’s a entire story with in itself. Never-the-less, what we have in common is far much greater than our differences and I couldn’t be happier to see our greatness in diversity.
Know where you are in life. Know where you could’ve been in the timeline of our complex history. To know where we have been is important to know where we are going. Your future’s always bright when you face it with knowledge of self.