D’Angelo’s “Untitled” is on BET, your forehead pressed against the screen trying to look down, praying there’s a few more inches of TV. you don’t know what drives you to press your skin to the screen filled with his skin but you let yourself be driven, be hungry, be whatever this is when no one is around. you don’t know what a faggot is but you know a faggot would probably be doing this. you don’t know what a faggot is but you know you might be one. You don’t know what you are but you know you shouldn’t be. but you know that when D’Angelo sings how he sings looking how he looks, inside you something breaks open & then that odd flood of yes, a storm you can’t call a storm but the wind sounds like your name.
I loved dreadlocks long before I wore them, loved whatever I imagined they stood for, loved everything I thought they were supposed to mean. Before I grew my hair, a heartfelt question was lodged deep in my consciousness: “What would happen if a man who was, over the years, fairly consistent and quite conservative with his public persona, a man who was seen by his family, friends, colleagues and students in one particular way, suddenly exhibited himself in a way that ran radically counter to what people (thought they) had come to know in the years they knew him? What then?”
For those of us who have been wondering what it means to be "really black," John McWhorter is here with some impenetrable explanations. McWhorter is a scholar at the conservative Manhattan Institute and frequent phoner-in of columns to the New York Sun (seriously, today's is just him riffing on how much the play "Hairspray" sucks, for no apparent reason). In an essay on TheRoot.com, he takes on those backward-thinking idealists who reject the question of who is "black enough." What's McWhorter's groundbreaking formula for measuring blackness? Hint: It involves dance skills, Ebonics, and chicken!