A Cherry Tape Joint Presents: the Black Experiecne-ish

Words by Matthew Spence:

[I wish had Timmy Turners Magic Muffin to be able to process the food for thought]

People with the same skin tone and history can have different experiences and upbringings, but at the same time, no matter how or who you are—rich or poor, delinquent or honor student, a goober or a G. Huey or Riley. Directly or indirectly, you’re in the red in people’s eyes and minds because of your skin tone. People will judge you and comment on who and how you are. It’s like having Statler and Waldorf watch over you 24/7, except more racist.


The Black Experience is a cornucopia of emotions. Like the Wheel of Fortune, spin it, and you don’t know what the fuck you’ll get today or the next. What’s behind Doors 1 and 2, Pam? Beauty and Burden, Right Hand vs. Left Hand, Magnificent and Horrific. The torment that meets the artist. Picture that Simpsons meme: two directions, many outcomes. There’s the side of the rainbow: pride, hope, strength, culture, joy, love, history, innovation, self-discovery, and reflection eternal. The 8th Light shines hard.



It brings on a smile wider than Lil B’s discography when you realize how important your people are to a country. No matter how much the country wants to change the script more than Kanye changing his albums, Microsoft Word doesn’t offer enough pages to list everything and give credit where credit is due. The world-changing inventions that are social norms. Ranging from “Oh, that’s cool” to “Oh, Shit, REALLY??”.

I’ll take “Niggas did it first” for $200, Alex.

Traffic signals, chess, caller ID, oh, and civilization, if you wanna go that route. Arts & Culture: from fashion to science to technology, areas upon areas, Black people are at the pulse. Shaping the U.S. in so many fucking ways that America still owes us an apology (make them write “I Fucked Up” 1000 times on a chalkboard like Bart Simpson), millions of dollars, and a blowjob. The Originators of Greatness. Pioneers of DIY. The champions of taking scraps and making the most. Leaders of the old and new schools, while there’s this lingering gloom that can clog it all. Like bills, we don’t want them, but we can’t avoid them.

Pain, trauma, and isolation. The past is built with disdain, violence, torment, repression/oppression, and abuse in all aspects and every territory. The scary part is that it still trickles down to society today. Pick a period: Slavery, post-slavery, the Civil Rights Movement, the Black Panther Movement, or the BLM movement—Black people have been and are still fighting for their right to fight for their rights. The social nuances of living require you to be cautious of the area you’re around because sticking out, like a Pornhub subscription on a bank statement, is the last thing you want. Neighborhood, grocery store, banks, restaurants, name a place you can’t help but you wanna be aware of what you do, how you say it, and where you are, because you don’t want motherfuckers thinking you’re up to shit nor don’t wanna feel like its’ “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”. I’m not saying you need to be ten toes. Ready for war, Hell, you can chill; just leave a sticky note on the mental as a quick reference. Cause even if you’re chilling, you never know when things will go from 0 to 1000. Just look at the Emmett Till case, for Christ’s sake.



That weird sense of code-switching, whether on how you speak or behave. It’s a jungle gym, except not fun.



Social Subtext. It’s important yo.



Opportunities can get snatched away from you like a chain [pick one: Roc-A-Fella, G-Unit, Opium; it’s up to you], all due to your race. Leaving you to work and network twice as hard compared to others because you know shit won’t come easy. Police Brutality, History being stripped away and rewritten [I honestly feel there’s so much more shit, black people invented and had part of, that white people took credit for, that hasn’t been revealed yet], injustice feeling like a norm. Internal pressure and conflict on how to act “black” amongst other black people. Mental health being brushed off for decades until recent years. As a matter of fact, there are so many fucking intricate details in the hardships of being Black in the US that I can’t even tackle all of them, nor do I think I’m the best person to. Put it this way, everything I’ve mentioned is coming from a Geeky Straight Cis Black Guy; this doesn’t even scratch the surface of being a Black woman, anyone Black in the LGBTQ+ community, biracial people, etc etc etc. It has more layers than To Pimp a Butterfly. To put it briefly: Can It All Be So Simple?

I’ll take “Black is Black” for $1000.

You wouldn’t or shouldn’t trade it all. I get that I didn’t paint the most luscious life a couple of paragraphs ago. However, the beauty of being Black remains superior. There’s beauty in having a different life education than others. Beauty in Knowledge of Self. Beauty in our Wisdom. Beauty in being the pulse. Even if it takes many decades (which it will) to get the true recognition and respect we deserve. Beauty in knowing many are willing to fight, revolt, and make the system repent for their lack of respect and inhumane treatment. Yet, in between them, are the people who want to be us (for the convenient parts at least, to quote Paul Mooney: “People wanna be a nigga, but don’t wanna be a ‘Nigga'”)



Beauty in our art. Beauty in our eyes, body, skin, hair, and soul.





Black is Beautiful. Fuck J. Edgar Hoover.




[While writing this, I decided to make a playlist with some of my favorite songs that speak to my Blackness in some way. Whether they describe the Hard Knocks of the streets or speak to the everyday person. Good, Bad, and anything in between. Black isn’t a monolith. They remind me of the beauty of why being Black is a luxury in life and why I appreciate it. Give it a listen. If you want to or not… I’m not your parent, you can do what the fuck you want]


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