Sunday, May 6, 2012

First Guest Post EVER: It All Belongs to Me

Who would have thought that this would resonate so well with me today. Thank you Sista Porshe. 


For weeks I have tried to figure out why the new single of R and B singers Brandy and Monica “It All Belongs to Me” resonated with me so much. Like literally I have played this song at least seventy times since it first came out. Today, while driving down 57 to attend a baby shower of a college friend, it hit me why I enjoyed this song so much. I realized it was not the melodies or harmonies created by the voices of these women or the instruments used. No, it was not even because of my excitement to have these two vocalists back on the scene. I love this song because it resonates Ntozake Shange’s words of the lady in green from the choreopoem For Colored Girls.
The lady in green so eloquently states,
Somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff

In the chorus of “It all Belongs to Me” Brandy and Monica name physical personal items that they have sewed into relationships that they want back. They state,

I know you mad/Cant take no more, but put that back/ that ain’t yours/have a fit, /slam the door/ but leave them bags on the floor/that sh*t belongs to me/those clothes those cars those rings/yeah/ and that macbook/that sh*t belongs to me/ so log off your facebook/It all belongs to me

This chorus is speaking directly to the lady in green’s words by adding tangible effect to the word “stuff.” The Lady in Green also gives tangibles to the word “stuff” when she claims it as, “the kick and sway of it the perfect ass for my man…my love my toes…my rhythms and my voice…” While the song gives more tangible items that can be brought, Shange’s lady in green talks about the things taken from her that one can not purchase or return for example voice. We build these relationships with people who mean us no good but to run off with all of our “stuff”. We pour into them and they give us nothing in return. They even steal our voice, which is the most powerful thing we have. 

The illustrious poet, Audre Lorde tells us “that what is most important must be spoken, made, verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood.” The difference in my reading of For Colored Girls and It All Belongs to Me is that the Lady in Green seems to be speaking to a man or person whom she did not have the opportunity to tell because they had already walked off with her “stuff” whereas Brandy and Monica are speaking to the person before they get the chance to leave completely. Although I believe it is good to find your voice period, I believe Audre Lorde would urge us to speak before people have the chance to walk out and off with all of our “stuff”. She tells us “[y]our silence will not protect you…so it is better to speak knowing you were never meant to survive.”

I agree with Lorde and I am learning to do just that. It takes daily practice and reflection and while both pieces speak directly to women’s relationships with men, I think this is the principle we should apply to all facets of our lives including relationships, friendships, family, partnerships, etc. Find the voice and courage to tell these people to give you your “stuff” back before it is to late.

I urge myself and you all to “go and get yo sh*t back”

Porshe a.k.a. Pretty Black a.k.a. Sista Po Po is one of my homegirls from college. She's a writer, scholar, and Black girl. Much love.

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