/ “BLACK IS GOD,” 2019. Film. 14 Minutes. 

A short film in conversation with album "Black Glow" by artist Fake Cousin.

Ella Bridgeman
Additional Photography
Kamilia Arroyo
Ramon Hughley

“God’s Interlude”
poetry by ikechukwu sharpe

You ask me what the real world is like.

The real world is filled with weary black men with wrinkled creases on their forehead. More wrinkled than their worn dress shirt on a Tuesday morning. Threads of white hair forming and glistening like snow on its first day. Hands rough with decades of hard work amounting to just enough money to make ends meet.

‘Cause once you turn 30 it’s like
They take the heart and soul of a man
Out of a black man, in this country

You ask me what the real world is like.

The real world is filled with black bodies whose American Dream was snuffed out of their sleep and ripped apart like how those little black kids rip open Christmas presents - but for these weary black bodies, there is nothing inside the package. Not even air lives in this atmosphere. It is as empty as space, as lonely as the 52-hertz whale, and as broken as God’s body when He was nailed to the cross.

I have been reading a lot recently on the bus. I recently read “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates. I am now reading “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander. I am reading how The Civil Rights Act of 1964 opened the floodgates for “black children to shop in department stores, eat at restaurants, drink from water fountains, and go to amusement parks that were once off-limits.”

I imagine what it was like for the first black child to enter the gates of an amusement park. I envision it like how Moses, Aaron, and Joshua lead his people to the promised land. I equate that same feeling to how the higher I go, the less of me I see, and the first of my kind to enter these spaces.

I took a course in sociology in school. I studied how people operate in different spaces. It taught me how to read certain circumstances and environments and quickly adapt to protect my black body. As I see these broken black bodies, I also see a GLOW. A special GLOW. We call this glow BLACK GLOW. And this GLOW will propel me to reach higher heights because of those before me who laid the foundation.

In this country, a black man only have like 5 years we can exhibit maximum strength
And that’s right while you a teenager, while you still strong While you still wanna lift weights, while you wanna shoot back

When you look at me, you are looking at 400 years of slavery and cotinued oppresion to this day.

You are looking at Freddy Grey.
You are looking at Michael Brown.
You are looking at all the pillaged black and brown bodies in a world where our BLACK GLOW is praised and condemned in the same breath.

When you look at me, you are looking at resilience personified.

You are looking at Martin Luther King Jr.
You are looking at Malcolm X.
You are looking at Nelson Mandela.
You are looking at Rosa Parks.
You are looking at what my history has done to put me in the place I am at now.

When you look at me, you are looking at my single-parent mother who raised four children, who worked day and night, for the sole reason to give us the ability to chase our dreams.

You are looking at my grandmother, who made it a point that I become a spiritual and intellectual human.

You are looking at a village of individuals who mentored and took a chance on me.

When you look at me, you are looking at Shaka.

You are looking at Sandi.
You are looking at Zalen.
You are looking at Alyah.
You are looking at Jamila.
You are looking at Blaise.
You are looking at Mary-Elizabeth.
You are looking at Chris.
You are looking at Nas.
You are looking at Ikenna.
You are looking at Kassina.
You are looking at Rev.
You are looking at a man who will never break or fold because of his foundation and continued support.
You are looking at a man who carries pride. Pride of who he is and where his roots were forged, deep within the motherland.
You are looking at a man who carries a pure energy source that holds the POWER THROUGH GOD to bring love and happiness.

You are looking at BLACK GLOW.