Well… African Heritage Month is coming to a close and thus ends the crazed period of program scheduling. I am not complaining, I am a working artist and so I welcome it. This year I was able to get back to my “favorite” high school here in Southern California… Gahr High School. As an added bonus, I took my daughter with me. She goes to a different local high school and will be graduating this year and so I thought it would be nice for her to meet the young women of Gahr’s OAAU.
The young women of the OAAU (Organization of African American Unity) hosted me once again. I don’t know if any of you have read my previous post, from last year, but I had a great time with the young women of the OAAU. This year was no different. There was only one member of the council left, the others had graduated and left for college.
This year was a little different in that I decided to open up more of a dialog, talk about what they wanted to talk about with a little music and storytelling mixed in. I was also really pleased to see the majority of the African-American students enter and head straight for the seating up front and not stay seated in the back (we had sort of a Rosa Parks issue last year… honor and respect those who’ve sacrificed for you, etc.)
The most exciting aspect of what occurred that day wasn’t the performance part of the program, but what occurred afterwards. At the close of my performance, when I was about ready to pack it all in, a number of the young women stopped me and asked if I’d mind hanging out for a while longer and answering questions. I saw from my sister friend who bought me there, Mrs. Wirt, that it was ok, so I sat down. It was lunchtime so I let the ladies know that I would take up too much of their time so that they could get to lunch. Their emphatic “No, don’t worry about it” was pleasantly received by me. They didn’t care about their lunchtime; they wanted to get into a serious discussion, because they had questions.
I think the smile on my face probably touched my ears. We sat for the entire lunch session, me and about 30 beautiful young African-American sisters, engaged in very deep and meaningful conversation. They shot questions at me ranging from issues of racism to male/female relationships. I have to say, patting myself on the back; I fielded their questions like a seasoned pro. If you are one of those eclectic readers who sometimes question your desire to read/research all types of topics and material, please be aware that you will know the value of it if you are ever placed in a situation like this.
I sometimes don’t like to call what I do “work.” I feel there needs to be another name for it. It is difficult to consider what you do “work” when it touches the very fiber of your being. I can honestly say that I love each and every student I come into contact with. I can further attest that they touch me in more ways than I believe I could ever affect them.
My little sisters of the OAAU at Gahr High School keep putting it down like ya’ll do. Baba loves you!
Dooni, dooni kononi be nyaga da.