Rahk on the Jussie Smollet “Case”

As I wind down from a stressful yet productive week, I began typing the following Facebook status:

I know I am not the only one who is literally befuddled by this Smollet vs MAGA vs Chicago vs Smollet “case”. Like I truly cannot tell you how many times conversations about it result in “…WTF?!” On all sides! Whether I am talking to friends or coworkers or passersby, we just end up exasperated because we fight negativity and distrust every day. We fight the fear that someone will mean us, or someone we love, harm for one reason or another. We fight to support those experiencing hardship publically, even if it’s by sharing a Facebook post. We fight distrust and the very real possibility that there are those who not only conspire against us, but conspire to slay us (both literally and figuratively) for something as harmless as our skin color, or presumptions about our lifestyles because we choose freedom instead of bondage. We choose freedom instead of fear.

It is here that I paused and recognized that this would be the more appropriate medium to manage my anxiety. I will attempt to be as concise and clear as possible, but I make no guarantees. If you have been following the story, or just coasting on any social media platform, you will already know that Jussie Smollet’s 16 or so felony charges have been dropped. DROPPED. All of them. According to trusted news sources like CNN, Fox, and NBC, the “victim”-turned-“villain” and star of Fox’s Empire, Smollet, walked away by forfeiting a $10,000 bond to the City of Chicago and a couple days community service. Why? How? What happened to all the evidence that inspired the shift from investigating a hate crime to investigating the orchestrator of a staged hate crime all to allegedly (you guessed it) get more money.

Yall, I am just stumped. And frustrated. I’m confused. I’m angry. I’m not convinced that Smollet is, in fact, the victim of a hate crime. At the same time, due to the most recent outcome, I’m not convinced that he’s guilty of all 16 felony charges. And now, by some conspiratorial miracle, there will not be a trial. There is merely dismissal of the charges against Smollet. Then, perhaps because I am a Cancer, or maybe due to possessing a contemplative nature in general, tons of questions bounce around my skull such as:

  • But why would an innocent man (who is a known activist and community voice, who was assaulted by MAGA zealots, who was also accused of staging his own hate-inspired assault) accept so much unjust loss: a $10,000 loss, the loss of time, opportunities, credibility, TRUTH, etc.?
  • But why would the Chicago Police Department conspire against Jussie smollet?
  • But what about the two African brothers who said they were paid to assault Jussie and say those divisive statements?
  • But why would any of these people lie with so much at stake?
  • But where is this “Court of Opinion” located and how can I be a judge?
  • But when did I get so invested in this case and why am I so angry with Jussie?
  • Am I being judgmental despite my monumental efforts?
  • Who is the victim here? Is it Jussie? Is it Chicago? Is it Black and Gay America? Is it the present and future victims who will face skepticism when they come forth?

I could just go on and on and– you get the idea. Honestly, I’m almost certain I’d have to write a book to thoroughly articulate this swirling eddy of confusion and hope and frustration. Here, I end where I began: I know I cannot be the only one who is genuinely befuddled and utterly conflicted by this Smollet vs MAGA vs Chicago vs Smollet “case”!

Please forgive any typos. I do not have the energy to thoroughly proofread right now. I know, I know– no cookie for me. I don’t need that cookie tonight anyway (I ate too many yesterday, shhh!).

#grief, #jussie-smollet, #letter, #lgbtqa, #raw, #talking-to-myself

The Statement Jussie Smollet Did Not Make

Jussie:

I am here, asserting my innocence
The same way my attackers demonstrated that
my black gay life does not matter
That my black
And my gay
Should be washed away in a violent baptism

I am here, before you, my truth having been arrested
But I will not remain silent

For as I bled, as I became intimate
with the state of this union,
My name and my story
continued to be brutalized
on a cold night in Chicago

It is only by God that I am here
So I am here
Before your flashing lights
And heavy glares
Carrying the bloody brown stains
of my public dragging
The hooping and hollering of sirens
mocking my wounds, deeming them self-inflicted
as their ropes scarred my wrists

Because I am Black. Because I am unafraid to love.
Because I am not a nigger to be hung as the birds tweet
about my smell
Because I am not a faggot to be gagged and
consumed by your self-righteous fire

Because I am here
Standing before you
Twice a victim
Twice a survivor
And though it is my right,
I will not remain silent


-Rahk (on the Jussie Smollet disposition)

#jussie-smollet, #letter, #lgbtqa, #poem, #poetry, #raw

Ground Zero

a woman
deaf to her innervoice
cannot sing aloud
she cannot sing aloud
the truths swirling in her belly

and were she a man
he would shatter around
the song he could not sing
fearing his voice to be
quieter than hurricanes

and were she Black
she’d carry that muted song
beneath fields where her
siblings swung like grotesque bells
on a land whispered in the ears of corn
she nurtured but could not feed
her frail children

and were she homosexual
her song would falter
as it sat on the last pew;
witnessing Samson hurl pillars
from the pulpit–
her inner voice rending the silence
after the crumbling temple
decided Delilah should no longer
have breath to speak

a woman
having been silenced
to the detriment of her womb

a woman
having been silenced
to the detriment of her ego

a woman
having been silenced
to the detriment of her labor

a woman
having been silenced
to the detriment of her sacred places

digs through the debris of man’s pride,
with calloused hands and open wounds,
to free her voice from humility

-Rahk.

Manhood

God cried into the soil
splattering mud

a little boy refused to grow up
presuming the reach of his roots
fell short of his branches

oh, but he was a seed
swimming in the mud
of God’s coldest tears
determined to take root
in ground not intended
to hold him tight

-Rahk.

#grief, #poem, #poetry, #sons, #storytime