Did anyone really listen to what August was saying?
So when I read this on social media like many people I was shocked. I mean Will and Jada are black family royalty and I remember reading post after post until eventually, I searched for the interview, and what I found surprised me.
His interview more than anything really speaks to the current situation we are facing in this world. Being a young black girl from Zimbabwe, in Southern Africa. It’s crazy how similar and how so connected our stories are.
This documentary really came out at a time when our voices for once are getting amplified and as we listen, watch and experience his story. It’s important for us not to forget that. To speak on his wisdom, to speak on his journey, and be true to what he was speaking on and not only the narrative we want to build on it.
1. The black family unit
Within the interview August has with Angela Lee, he really breaks down his experiences with his mom, and beyond that this idea of black silence. Our need to always be kept within this box.
He speaks on an experience many of us including myself have faced. Our need to portray this picture of a perfect family. This idea of keeping the peace by staying silent about our stories.
The way we deal with so much trauma that we can’t ever talk about or acknowledge because as black people we are always meant to stay strong.
In Episode 2 he says this:
“It’s forbidden to speak on because the sharing of your own truth is ‘disrespectful’”
As a young girl this for me, meant not speaking out about abuse. So much of the time we get told but how will that make this person look? How will they think about us? Our families, our people are so consumed by the shame that they forget about the crippling feeling of keeping it all inside. It drowns you, the silence drowns you.
I find it powerful that he is speaking out. Speaking out with the true acknowledgment that saying your story doesn’t mean that anyone is bad or wrong or evil but it just is. It is your experience and it is what happened and it’s up to us to finally get to a place that we can own that.
This for me is something important to learn because I know I’ve been scared for a long time to speak out. For a long time, I was scared of what that would mean for my family. So I swallowed it and pretended everything was okay and it’s time we all collectively step out into the light and own all that is a part of us, the good and the bad. Time we begin to talk and share and be open about everything that we’ve experienced.
Time to normalize speaking out.
2. The culture of Oppression
He talks about how as black people we’ve had hold in so much animosity. With oppression that was first brought on by white people and now we do it ourselves.
I live in a country with a black president and we still have dozens of black people murdered by the police and dozens of black people dying from hunger and poverty. We aren’t free we inherited this system of oppression that’s never went away.
On social media, we talk about black lives matter with a lens of speaking one specific life but we all over Africa and beyond are facing the loss and continuous rape and murder of our fellow brothers and sister whose names are never said. Whose lives are never fought for and who never find justice.
We have this prevalent culture of drugs and pain and these common stories of youth who end up homeless at one point or the other across different countries. This pain remains the same.
3. The normalization of abuse and trauma
What I really admire about this man. Is the courage and the strength it takes to be completely vulnerable. To admit to not just yourself but to everyone that the stuff we see, the stuff we go through as black people isn’t normal and it isn’t okay.
“People always talk about how black people, black men, are angry, but you got a lot to be mad about. Cause how can you now be traumatized from seeing things like that.”
I remember distinctly staying with my aunt and uncle in Capetown doing an IT course there and hearing my cousin crying. He was in pain and it wasn’t the first time I had heard about it but it was the first time I really got to hear and see it.
My drunk uncle was there kicking him and beating on him and I remember my aunt saying, ‘Don’t get involved, that’s what he does.’ And in that second I was so angry at her for letting this happen but it was only later as an adult I realized that she was scared too.
There are so much death and abuse that surrounds us that we learn to push it down and move on. Especially as women, as black women, we learn to push it down and take care of the family. Surviving is the mantra, we have to keep it moving and hide the pain. This pain that manifests as anger sometimes. Anger at yourself, anger at the world, anger at the pain we are forced to ignore.
Yet they are surprised. Why? Because they expect us to be okay with this world we were handed in which we aren’t free in our own skin.
4. Being Molested
When his documentary starts he talks about always being braced for impact and that’s truly a side effect of facing so much trauma. You become almost physically unable to be comfortable, to ever feel safe.
This feeling for me was ten times worse because when you’ve been abused, sometimes you experience this inability to feel safe within your own body and if you can’t trust your own body. What can you trust?
For a long time for black man they weren’t expected to speak out but to take it and keep it moving and we are finally at a place where we are speaking out and that’s something we need to applaud him for.
When August talks about his molestation in episode 5, he talks about the fact that he would have gone to the grave with it and never told that secret but as someone who has countless male friends who have been forced to keep this secret because of the fear of what society would say, I just want to say on behalf of them thank you.
Thank you for normalizing speaking out and sharing your story. Thank you for normalizing being a man and still being real and being vulnerable and sharing your story with the world because there are so many others worldwide who can’t.
Thank you for not allowing anyone to treat or make you a victim and for really saying out loud, what needed to be said.
“You can’t heal, what you don’t reveal.”
Love and light to you King.
The Full Interview:
Amanda Marufu (@mandytait52) is a Feminist, Entrepreneur, TV Producer, Blogger and Author. Co-Founder of Ed-Tech company SMBLO and Zim Digital and Social Media Awards. Founder of Blogging Platform It’s A Feminist Thing and CEO of Media Company Visual Sensation.