Telling someone you love – someone the color of coffee, someone whose smile lights up a room – the Walter Scott verdict… and hearing the wind get knocked out of his sails. Watching tears well up in his eyes. Seeing him speechless for the first time since you’ve known him. Watching his shoulders sink and his head drop. Listening to his voice crack as he says he’s feeling sick…
This is why we proclaim that Black Lives Matter.
…Because when he asked what happened and I broke the news, it sent a stark message to him that his life is less important than mine… It was a reminder that people who look like him are so often deemed unworthy of justice.
This is a grown man who’s seen more than his fair share of struggle, who has beaten every odd stacked against him, who grew up poor in blue collar America only to become one of the most sought after people in his field… A man who literally slept on couches while he was pursuing his dream, eventually rising to the top of his craft… A man who went from unknown to world renowned… The embodiment of the American Dream facing the reality of an unfulfilled MLK Dream… A man who could just as easily be targeted by someone who does not recognize him and questions why a man who looks like him is driving such an expensive car… A man who laughs at me when I remind him to make sure his tail lights are always working.
This is a man who purposely steers clear of politically charged conversations. He has no social media. He avoids controversy in his interviews. His art is his activism. A grown man who’s seen it all, just got shook by what went down yesterday. I’ve never heard him so defeated. “We’re just asking for our lives to matter. We’re not saying we matter more. We’re not saying we’re better. We just want to matter.”
I broke the news of Walter Scott, and a grown man broke down and wept.