The Black Liberalism

Poetry-art series by Tobi Ogude

Curated by Tobi Ogude

Photography by Felice (@felice.c0m)

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                                      “Everyone has this lingering suspicion about

                                          capitalism and how inhumane it is even

                                             someone who is right wing is a closet

                                        environmentalist or a closet antiwar protestor”

—My shirt        

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I woke up to the sound of breaking souls,

Screeching sirens, tumbling bricks

and clicking handcuffs. I looked out the windows of my eyes

and saw a neighbourhood of naysayers standing over

the deconstruction plan of our community.

No one said nothing, with that being said,

We’d already heard too much.

There was an obvious plan already in play; a plan that

would take six hundred and sixty-six years to actualize and

we were just in day four hundred.


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I overheard the officers emphasizing the essence of time.

And time was his sentence.

A humble boy was barred down and told to “just bear with it”.

He stood in the center of the burial and

confessed that he simply didn’t know what to do with it.

I was just as confused as you

Until I started to notice things; as should you.

The barred brown boy was barren of knowledge

carrying cares that catered against his progress.

Such as wearing chains that made his teeth turn yellow.

The standing ovation of naysayers drew

just enough sympathy to

reset the jurisdiction.

But still, the deconstruction was inevitable

and with one sentence –

They destroyed both our home and culture

Then tied our hands when we tried to build it back.



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This piece draws its inspiration from the consistently overwhelming news of murder committed by officers in our community at large. Our fight for peace, equality and liberation has carried on countless years, and what’s ironic is that everyone alive today is aware of the struggles our community has faced (and continues to face.) There is no debate that this epidemic is in fact, an epidemic. In fact, to make everything worse, when we finally start seeing little signs of progress and breathing space, it is quickly taken away by yet more news of tragedy and murder. Our community is trying its best to fight, find and fix the brokenness of its system, but with each new piece of information given to us by either the media—police reports or video surveillance—we are immediately tied down again, and all the work we’ve accomplished starts to seem futile. We’ve spent years building our culture from the ruins it once was, but with each life that is taken or incarcerated, we lose one of our valued workers. With each time we have to exclaim “Black Lives Matter!”, it means that we have just lost one more valuable builder of our community—slowing down our work, or causing us to start building from scratch again. It is unfortunate that this present reality has now become our only sense of Liberation.





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