In this section, Lauren Brooks, the author of Lesedi and the Purple Lotus, highlights Black resilience by discussing how their book is a whimsical fantasy that portrays the strength and magic of Black people. They express their desire to create a fantasy world that accurately represents Black individuals and brings to light the real stories of perseverance and resilience that have been concealed from them throughout history.
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My Ode to the African American
By Lauren Brooks
My first book, Lesedi and the Purple Lotus, at its core, is the story of Black people. It’s a whimsical fantasy filled with rich history. I wanted to create a fantasy world Black people could see themselves in. As children of the diaspora and descendants of enslaved Africans, our history is often presented to us from the outside looking in. I wanted to give an inside look into what makes us magic. It was also important that I tell an authentic story. I’ve incorporated real stories of resilience and perseverance that have been hidden from us over the years in this book. This story doesn’t focus on the trauma that came out of slavery, it instead focuses on the Black girl and Black boy magic that carried us through it. It’s the story of who we are at our core as Black folks.
What you should know about me is that I’m a lover of all things Black culture- black hair, black music, black food, black slang etc…
Black resilience is Black History
My book is many things.
One of those things is a teller of those little-known black history facts you don’t learn in school. But what’s so beautiful about those things are that we still do them right now, even without knowing the history— it is just embedded in us.
It’s who we are physically
In South America Europeans tried to enslave the indigenous population first, but they died off in droves after being exposed to European diseases. Africans were chosen for slavery because biologically their immune systems were stronger. That is a fact- so just take a moment to consider that in terms of who you are and who you descend from. Biologically strong. Mentally strong. Physically strong.
It’s who we are spiritually
When you pour some liquor out for your dead homies- know that you are perpetuating African spirituality. That is an ancient African tradition. In rituals or libations, they would speak their loved ones by name as they poured fermented juices into the earth.
It’s who we are creatively & for survival
Those we descend from used their braided hairstyles as maps on the Underground Railroad. So those braids sis laid out for you with all the crazy patterns, guess what- her ancestors braided that same pattern and used it as a map while they were following constellations across North and South America with their babies on their backs. The same Africans who couldn’t read or write the English language, could accurately read the stars.
They calmed their children with chamomile and lavender on the months long journeys and sang coded songs like ‘Wade in the Water’ which really meant- if the dogs come go to the water because they can’t get you there.
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Black resilience – a mission worth storytelling
My mission and purpose in writing this book- which is my baby, is to raise awareness to the spirit of Black people which has never and will never be broken. To make the connection from present to past in attempt to make a better future. To highlight why it is that we not only survived but thrived in the midst of, in spite of and without.
We turn sadness into laughter
I was reading some of my old posts and came across one from 2020 that said “Black people calling the Coronavirus “the rona” is by far the funniest thing I’ve seen all week. Talking ‘bout “the NBA done got hit by the Rona.” I giggle every time I read that.
We’re just naturally encoded to find humor in the craziest situations. Taking those weapons formed against us and making it beneficial for our use. Flipping pain into joy, and it resonating in the loud howls of our laughter. That’s how we survive when the rest of the world’s stress levels are on 1000 and we’re chillin minding our business even though we got a million things we could be stressing about. We bought our hand sanitizer and went about our business.
And this sentiment exactly is plainly a testament to our survival.
Just like we did with the N-word. We have the power to take the weapon formed against us and flip it into something that benefits us. What is used against us as a slur, is used between us as comradery.
And speaking of business, Black folk coined the term stay out of black folks business. How is it that “you got the wrong one” and “you got the right one” means the same thing? Black people you so funny, you make me so proud.
It’s time to tell our stories
They’re trying to change the curriculum in the schools. They only told a fraction of our story to begin with, and now they’re trying to cut that piece out too. Our story has always been only partially told. With emphasis on telling the trauma. Well, let me tell y’all something. I’ve always had a proclivity for rebellion. My parents have many stories they still love to tell to affirm this. And it is my Black ass pleasure to present to you the most beautiful stories of rebellion. As long as me, Lauren Taylor as my momma named me, has breath, I will make it my business to tell it all. Our history is rich, and I take my role as your around the way neighborhood scholar of all things Black real serious. I promise to keep it real. Its 2023 and you know what we ain’t going for no more? That.
Something I carry with me is what I heard Erykah Badu say in an interview. She said she likes to do what comes easy to her. Meaning, she prefers to do work that allows her to tap into her own God given gifts. My advice to you black people, is spend time with yourself and find out what your gift is. And when you find that gift find a way to use it to be of service to your community. That’s the key to peace. I love you, and I’m rooting for you always!
I hate that stereotype black people don’t know how to swim. We know how to do everything.
About Lauren Brooks
By Lauren Brooks
Hello new friends and old friends. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Lauren and I write stories. I’m a Midwest girl, born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, and I have a degree in English Literature from the illustrious HBCU- Central State University in southern Ohio.