It was great for a while, we stood together strong and tall, proud be represented, diverse, with a rich heritage of culture, knowledge and skill from a land many hath yet to touch.

The world stood up and saw us, took note, and many chimed in celebration of the great accomplishment and then, a record-breaking world-beating institution-breaking status.

It was great for a while. I felt strong, proud, empowered with a new perspective of my potential in this manufactured on the bones of colonised world.

We did this.

 

Designers, writers, actors, artists, producers and directors. Unrestrained, professional, as good as any before defined as the best.

The journey was long, starting with Gordon Parks in 1971, Shaft was a hero, black and proud  followed by Cleopatra Brown a title after the once great queen although both a cliche on identity this was the world as it was, but the seeds were planted for Spike Lee when he Did The Right Thing taking on the institution strong. Another 9 years saw vampire hybrid, Blade birthing an institution building heros of all forms if only for the value of money. How do we keep the ball rolling? Can we build a Wakanda. A gem of a city as good as Dubai, New York, London or Shanghai?

It takes but a few to lead, to set things moving. Visionaries coming together.

I’ll finish my PhD and be a voice approved by the state, certified and framed. I’ll let the young know they can, because look, I never stopped even when I was told I can’t. I did. See.

 

But as the lights, the fanfare, the interviews, the celebrations fade, you return to the before, your voice of pride fade as you return to the 9 to 5; until the special edition DVD in 6 months time where you talk in hushed groups and speak-easies. Your power reduced to the construct of the experience and not of the self empowered to cut the cloth handed to you.

The rolling ball stuck on an incline limited to Sony’s 50inch lcd; twas the same as afore but you stopped talking tall. The international companionship long dissipates to looking out for oneself, yet still, demanding for more. 

The hill is still there but I’ll complete my targets, my ambition, my work still remains, no less silent than before, and I hope somewhere along the line you will be brave, be aware, be strong enough to join me where the sun never sets.

Ian Barrington