It's Fine to Just Cry, Too

Illustration for article titled Its Fine to Just Cry, Too
Photo: Rich Fury (Getty Images)

I keep coming back to resilience. And how I hate how we consider it to be an essential and inherent and invaluable characteristic of Blackness. I hate it because it’s dehumanizing. Being born Black don’t make us any more resilient than anyone else. We ain’t stronger. We ain’t tougher. We’ve just been given more shit to carry. Our kinship with resilience is just us convincing ourselves we can hold that weight, and them justifying how heavy they pack our bags.

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It’s sticky as fuck, too. Stuck to how we live and how we cope with death. Death can’t be just death. Can’t just be an ending of life. There must a takeaway. An edict. A lesson learned. Even the dead must rest in power. And I get it. We gotta be strong. We gotta be tough. We gotta persevere. We always gotta we gotta.

But if that weight suffocates you, if it gets too heavy to move, if it weakens your skin, your bones, your spirit, your soul, if it so consumes you that you can’t think or see or feel anything, if it makes you sad, it’s fine to just cry, too. It’s fine to just acknowledge what’s been taken, and how those losses make movement harder. It’s fine to feel dejected, not uplifted. It’s fine to be weakened. It’s fine to stop being who we tell ourselves we have to be—and who they pretend we must be—and just be human.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)

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blackmage2030
BlackMage2030

Thank you for this. The thing that gets me is how little time he had to just give to himself. From 2016 onward if he wasn’t shooting something he was promoting, representing, presenting, and all the shit we expect from those stars we admire to promote his work. Strangely for me it was less about Black Panther or any of his iconic roles, but his SNL appearance: made me wonder if there was any comedy or romance or drama, or anything that would be a fun romp without the immense weight of our expectations in his future. Just something he can have fun with, like when riffing off the notion of “tuliping”. We are allowed to be sad and he was allowed to be human and I’m grateful for him.