Black Renaissance Noire
The Institute of African American Affairs
READINGS & RECEPTION
Friday, May 1, 2015
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
New York University
19 University Place
(btwn E. 8th and Waverly Place), rm. 102
New York, NY 10003
Free & Open to the Public with Limited Space
Please RSVP to (212) 998-IAAA (4222)
An excerpt of Kalisha’s story, “Who Killed Her?”…
My father led me to believe Pam Grier on our TV was my mother at work, so I grew to expect more out of life than I got. My mother was actually a diabetic; she slipped away while I was not too far from her vagina. That’s the story her sister, who attended my birth, let me in on. Thanks, Auntie. I was her only child, the “high-risk pregnancy” she wasn’t supposed to have. I figured it out, eventually, once I started to tell my teachers about mom’s job or my friends’ mothers about my own. The friends’ mothers got the story when they dropped me off at home or when my father—only my father, all the time—came to get me. My aunts just shook their heads. They all let me carry on, though.
But pictures of Pam’s cinnamon face were all around our home: a torn-off Ebony magazine cover in a tarnished bronze frame just above the record player, a black-and-white close-up of her doe-eyes tacked near the telephone book, a yellowed and scratched Polaroid picture of her arms around my father and her huge afro just grazing his cheek as they smile. He told me he paid for this big fancy gala just to see her. He sang “Happy Five Birthday” Stevie Wonder-style, off-pitch and out of tune, just the two of us. She sat in the kitchen with us as well: her face smiled at me from the Jet magazine cover center of the table, near my pink and white cake.
And once in a blue moon, this mother appeared from the television to show me how to shoot a gun and how to kick a man and how to hide money between my breasts. And I waited for her to get home. And I waited. I waited. I waited. I waited.
She never came.