PROUD FLESH: A New Afrikan Journal of Culture, Politics & Consciousness (2002)
PROUD FLESH: EDITORIAL STATEMENT
What in the world would PROUD FLESH be? Or Who. Skins standing out and standing up, evidently, unmistakably, in a history of war and wounds and struggles full of wonder. A letter from Soledad Brother by George Jackson reads: “I have only the proud flesh of very recent years to hold up as proof that I did not die in the sickbed in which I lay for so long.” “I’ve drunk deeply from the cisterns of gall, swam against the current in Blood Alley, Urban Fascist Amerika, experienced the nose rub in shit, armed myself with a monumental hatred and tried to forget and pretend. A standard black male defense mechanism.” “It hasn’t worked.” “My recall is nearly perfect, time has faded nothing. I recall the very first kidnap…”
See, some call it “keyloidal” tissue; something associated with basic “ugliness,” “ugliness” that spreads or deepens over time and should be avoided at all cost. But some of us have worked hard to revise their language. To live. Julie Dash spoke through one character in her film Daughters of the Dust: “We wear our scars like amor [sic], …for protection. Our mother’s scars, our sister’s scars, our daughter’s scars… Thick, hard, ugly scars that no one can pass through to ever hurt us again.” This shield was not unattractive at all though in Sonia Sanchez’s Homegirls and Handgrenades : “Couldn’t she see that I had one eye shorter than the other; that my breath was painted on porcelain; that one breast crocheted keloids under this white blouse?” The “mark of the Amazon” was also assumed by Audre Lorde in Zami: A New Spelling of My Name. She explains that “keloids” signify a surfeit of flesh wrapped around a wound to ward off future, further injury: A SURPLUS OF FLESH THAT IS A TELL-TALE SIGN THAT SOMEBODY CARES ABOUT BLACK SKIN! Our “Sistah Outsider,” who later spelled her name Gamba Adisa (“Warrior: She Who Makes Her Meaning Known”), once wrote: “I will never be gone. I am a scar, a report on the front lines, a talisman, a resurrection. A rough place on the chin of complacency.” Yo!
The white editor of Soledad Brother defined “Proud flesh,” with an asterisk, as “a medical term for the abnormal growth of flesh that sometimes forms around a healing wound.” He didn’t tell us in whom this flesh most ritually forms; he didn’t tell us where or from whom medics would take the term; and he, worst of all perhaps, dubbed it negative (“abnormal”) despite Comrade George’s radical revision. Blood in Our Eye! PROUD FLESH here is not clinical but cultural, political, absolutely positive and consciously Black/Afrikan. It’s linguistically preferable to “keyloids.” It rejects the “normal” logic of the society that injures; the society that imprisons us, says our survival is “ugly,” etc. Our “skin” speaks volumes, beyond “mind/body” splits, a tablet upon which we write and are written, testifying in movements of resistance toward the deepest transformations. We run with the metaphor. May PROUD FLESH: New Afrikan Journal of Culture, Politics & Consciousness help keep us moving.
PROUD FLESH in short promotes Black Life, its Culture, Politics and Consciousness, for “All Over the World” Afrikans, in a world that seeks to take Black life away. We aim to be youthful and old in perspective, both fresh and wise. We are about creation, opposition, and more with respect to mind, body and spirit. Socially. Economically. Artistically. Sexually. Critically, we seek revolutionary words and strive to make them flesh.
Assata Shakur: "Strong woman. Amazon. Wear your scars like jewelry. Cause they were bought with blood."
Copyright 2002 Africa Resource Center, Inc.
Thomas, Greg (2002). PROUD FLESH: EDITORIAL STATEMENT. PROUD FLESH: A New Afrikan Journal of Culture, Politics & Consciousness : 1, 1.