“Trayvon Martin and I Ain’t Shit”
If you haven’t read Questlove’s “Trayvon Martin and I Ain’t Shit” piece at NYMag, you must; it’s kind and honest and heartbreaking, a reminder of how strongly our bodies speak for us and how fraught this speech can be if you’re big and black and male:
My friends know that I hate parking lots and elevators, not because they are places that danger could occur, but it’s a prime place in which someone of my physical size can be seen as a dangerous element. I wait and wait in cars until I feel it’s safe for me to make people feel safe. [….] But my feelings don’t count. I don’t know why it’s that way. Mostly I’ve come to the conclusion that people over six feet and over weight regulation or as dark as me (or in my tax bracket) simply don’t have feelings. Or it’s assumed we don’t have feelings.
Would this piece be widely read by white people if the writer hadn’t been the universally appealing Questlove, who plays children’s instruments on Jimmy Fallon and produced for Fiona Apple and Joss Stone? The answer to that question (a definite “no”) adds a crucial dimension to his story.