Black. Phoenix. Tribute to My Parents on their 31st Anniversary

Black. Phoenix. Tribute to My Parents on their 31st Anniversary

10378139_10100780627203884_4646391822034953881_nCalypso is a phoenix. It rose as a voice of dissent from the ashes of oppression in my parents’ land.


I have watched my parents dance to some smooooth Calypso right in my home. Beneath 6-year-old no-tooth pictures of me and the wood-carved art of my grandfather, they dance…


Right between the toy steel pan of my youth and ornate center-piece composed by my mother every Christmas Eve, they dance…


Chippin’ (a little two-step), twirling and dipping, to the rhythm inside of the rhythm, they dance…


We sing the words together and they dance to this convergence of West African and colonial cultures like each step is a time capsule…like each swing of their waist is a story archived within our collective memory…


My parents’ love is a phoenix. A Black phoenix. It keeps rising as a force of dissent in the midst of a loveless story in our world. Black love has become a puzzle without the cover of the box to show us what the image should look like. So this image is rare and priceless.


“this is how yuh dance to kaiso” “…and then they useta dip so”… “and when de pan play and we come together for ah thanksgiving, dem was happy times”… “Jamila yuh need to know dese tings.”


Yes. From time to time, just like that, they give their hands some rest from shaping our future, and their feet a break from a long walk towards all kinds of freedom, and they dance.


And so my first glimpses of God were witnessed in the Black phoenix that is my parents’ love.

*Excerpted from a larger book project (Coming soon)*

  • 6 Jan, 2015
  • Posted by Jamila Lyiscott
  • 1 Tags