Last November, I spoke with Mark Anthony Neal of Left of Black about visualizing and consuming black death. Click here for the video.
I mention Hurricane Katrina in it because, for me, and, arguably for my generation, that will always be the epicenter of what it means to digest black death, trauma, and suffering as fact and spectacle, the fantasy (looting, rape in the Superdome, all myths) and the reality (the most vulnerable, under-served, and disenfranchised were unseen, unacknowledged, and left behind).
It is also an example of the way power and privilege can and do mobilize (in mainstream media, state institutions, and in individuals) to disappear iconic, illuminating events like this from public memory. It took and it takes a massive, grassroots organizing effort, led in this case by Gulf South and elsewhere southern black folx and their allies, to keep fighting for that memory, for transformative justice, equity, and reparations.
I was just looking back at notes I took in 2006 on meetings Clyde Woods was having with folks in New Orleans around commemorating the Storm. Comparing those notes to the Movement 4 Black Lives platform is a powerful thing. This struggle is not new.
I might not have shared this interview then because me and video–yikes! LOL. Apologies if I did and you’re seeing it again. If you haven’t though, you can view here: