Our host is driving through the streets of Negombo, swinging the car in a sharp cuts and wide loops around tuk tuks, people, full size cars and wide delivery trucks. When traffic forces us to pause, he points things out. A row of banks. A storefront bakery. A pile of firewood. “That is where the poor people get their wood.” He smiles and in the shine of his teeth I know we are to read that “they” is not “he.” They are poor. He, of course, is not. “My country. Very beautiful, but very poor.”
And I am switching my camera to slo’ mo’ to capture women whose faces look like they could be cousins, aunts, distant kin to me in a place as familiar and different as the Indian Ocean is to the Caribbean sea.
And I’m thinking about what it means to be in coalition.
To be in radical love.
Love for the Tamil people, for Sri Lanka, for India. For decolonial struggles halfway around the world. For black women. For global blackness as racial designation and color and claim, but also as political identity beyond phenotype.
And thinking, as always, about what that means being in and of Afrxlatina/Afrxlatinx, in and of black indigeneity across time and space whether swimming the Caribbean archipelago or hiding in the cypress swamps behind New Orleans. In and of the the South, in and of the city, in and of our waterways.
I don’t want it if it doesn’t come with anti-colonial struggle.
I don’t want it if it doesn’t come with Black power.
Get you a politics that can do both and more.
It isn’t enough anymore. It isn’t enough. I don’t want it that badly to leave my black/femme/Afrx/urbanness outside the door when I walk in the room.