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“Everyone’s journey is individual. If you fall in love with a boy, you fall in love with a boy. The fact that many Jamaicans consider it a disease says more about them than it does about homosexuality.”
This is a quote by the very historic American writer and playwright, James Baldwin… In the quote, I replaced the term, ‘Americans’ with ‘Jamaicans’.
Baldwin in my opinion was first and foremost a human being BUT in his time, he was merely BLACK and GAY. The sociopolitical stigma and prejudice that encompassed the topic of color and sexuality forced him to migrate to France in the 1940s. Though still evolving, France was one of the more liberal countries at the time (and currently is).
Referencing back to the quote above, bear in mind that 20th century America represented the ‘Egypt’ of Baldwin’s lifetime and it does make you wonder what life was really like in America in the 1940s.
Still yet, we can look to Jamaican society for a firsthand experience.
On the other hand, America today, for people like myself represents the ‘Canaan’ of what France was for Baldwin in the 1940s.
A man without roots, without a country to call home. James Baldwin used his experience to unveil what it looks like beyond being BLACK,
beyond being GAY and even more, beyond being an IMMIGRANT, a line of thought that is still unfathomable to many people in our lifetime;
in this day and age.
Baldwin superseded labels – in my opinion, Baldwin was neither BLACK nor GAY, nor was he an immigrant,
he was a human being who was denied his rights.
I’ve been inspired by James Baldwin.
What does prejudice look like in America from the perspective of a French lifestyle?
What does hope look like in France from the perspective of an American lifestyle?
These are questions Baldwin may have possibly asked himself.
The following poem is by Warsaw Shire [the poet behind Beyoncé’s recent album] – she explains what she thinks of home amidst prejudice and fighting shame.
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