Black Friday

My friends and family know about Sacred Friday. It’s my one day out of each week when I don’t answer my phone and I rest from external media. I eat food I didn’t cook and pour glass upon glass of Truth and Valor, whilst seated in front of the tele. Or not. Sometimes I settle into a hot bath with a book unfurling my knotted nerves from life’s stressors.  I need this one evening apart from humans, just like I need a Black Friday.

For just one day I’d like to turn on Netflix, Hulu, or Prime and every film, series, and original show features a cast who looks like me. The Black Voices button is replaced with “Other Voices” where shows featuring the others are novel, dated, limited. I imagine turning on the tele and scanning past screens of contemporary romantic comedies, mysteries, thrillers, sci-fi, and dramas with Black lovers, couples, best friends, industry titans and media moguls at the center. Written, directed, and produced by Black talent.

Imagine how that would feel. Just picture it. You’re hanging out on Black Sacred Friday and your senses are overloaded with Blackity-black images. You wander through the grocery store looking for a bottle of Coppola and the Black stock clerk directs you to aisle 9 where a Black couple is loading their cart with Guinness and Stella Artois, dark and light beers for their night to Netflix and chill. You swing through Piada for some Italian street food and Muzak is playing Anthony Hamilton and the masked girl behind the glass is loading protein and veggies into a bowl, the chef is Black and directing the staff on how to prep and chop the chicken. You wend your way home and a new thriller is in queue starring Delroy Lindo, Bokeem Woodbine, and Regina King.

It would only be 24 hours but after 8,736 hours of anything but, that seems fair. It’s not like I’m asking for the month of February. Just a day where every motorist, shopper, server, mail carrier, Amazon driver, and neighbor are all Black, right here in my little town. I don’t want to move to Accra, Gabarone, or Lagos for this experience. I want to know what it feels like, just once, to step outside my front door at 6am for my morning walk, passing neighbors walking Goldendoodles and trotting behind strollers. They wave and smile, tapping their apple watch. “We’ve only got 18 hours left, let’s make the most of it!” I laugh and give them the thumbs up. I’ve got plans for today. As much as I hate grocery shopping, I’ve already planned to go to the co-op and load up on fresh collards and cabbage from the Black farmers, then swing by the butcher and have Mr. Pierre slice up some bacon and salmon steaks. The over to Sweet Waters for my daily venti Americano (they’re Black owned) and tick off another completed errand. Next, the dry cleaners, oil change, and exchange my MK sneakers for a different size.

I reimagine a scenario I had a few weeks ago, but this time it occurs on Black Friday.

Blue and white lights flash behind me. I pull over and a handsome law enforcement officer built like an oak tree approaches my window.

Hello ma’am, did you know your taillight is out?

Hi Officer, no I didn’t. O’Reilly is right there, I’ll replace them.

Do you need any assistance?

Nope. I’ll YouTube it.

Have a good day ma’am.

No fear of getting shot, no accusatory “do you know why I pulled you over?” no need for a camera phone filming the incident, just a routine traffic stop and we both make it to our next destination.

Black Sacred Friday will be my most productive day of the year. And the happiest, better than my birthday, Christmas, or New Year’s. This single day will be shared by all 14.2% of the national population. When we are treated humanely by law enforcement, feel safe in our neighborhoods, and valued in our companies. Equity and inclusion will be more than buzzwords, we will experience equity when we apply for jobs, promotions, and home loans; our grocery stores will be inclusive, no endcaps for ethnic foods or hair care products, but the products we use daily will be at eye level on aisle three. Collard greens, cha cha, gumbo file, Tony Chachere, palm oil, cassava, and black eyed peas will be staples.

Sirius XM won’t be necessary, as R&B, hip hop, gospel, and trap music will be on all FM stations with conservative, left-wing, and contrarian podcasts offering glimpses into Black lives here and abroad. Anyone looking for easy listening, soft rock, classical, or Top 40s can find Phil Collins, Simply Red, and Sir Elton John on the AM dial.

Black Friday specials will include gumbo, catfish, red velvet cake, fried lobster tails, and pound cake. Writers and poets will bless the mic at Barnes & Noble and Starbucks. The DMA Arts & Letters guests will present work that speaks to the Black experience while the audience nods, snaps, and clucks in agreement. We will redefine Black Friday as the one day of the year when Black businesses rake in more cash than any other day. Our dollar circulates through restaurants, nail shops, barbers, bakeries, mechanics, banks, dry cleaners, and grocery stores, all Black owned. For that one day we will experience with the other 86% of the population enjoys 364 days of the year. Inclusion.

The aroma of hickory will waft through neighborhoods, clouds of smoke dancing above rooftops, the block lined with SUVs and sedans. Friends and family spilling onto the front lawn, Chinet plates and red SOLO cups in hand. This is our reunion. The one day of the year we are supported, valued, and connected.

On this day we live in Everytown, USA not in Tulum, or Dubai, or Punta Cana, but here, in our respective cities working, living, exhaling, simply being. On this day we are at rest, our minds at ease as the stress and uncertainty that clings to us like lint every other day of the year is brushed aside and we celebrate us.

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