‘I Don't Have To Do Nothing But Stay Black And Die!' Is A Phrase Of Resistance. Here's Where It Came From
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I can remember begging my Mom as a child for a brand new toy, imploring that she merely “needed to get it for me.” Her response: “I don’t need to do nothing however keep Black and die.”

Years later, I’d study that she didn’t in actual fact provide you with this pithy flip of phrase. It has been round for many years with many students attributing its first look to a Langston Hughes poem entitled “Necessity.”

“I don’t need to do nothing / however eat, drink, keep black, and die,” Hughes wrote.

In Lean on Me, Joe Clark, famously performed by Morgan Freeman, paraphrased Hughes, telling the mayor, “I don’t need to do nothing however keep Black and die!

The phrase appears ubiquitous—in response to The Root, “Billie Vacation even uttered it throughout her first encounter with Maya Angelou.”

However what does it really imply to “keep Black and die,” particularly within the context of being a Black lady?

As Forbes experiences, “[t]he must succeed is a pure human want, but for Black ladies, our success is past easy bragging rights or a pat on the again. Our success represents one thing greater than our personal private victory. This idea can function a motivator but it surely additionally presents an added stress. Usually when offered with a significant alternative we really feel we are able to’t afford to fail.”

In keeping with the 2020 Women’s Report, “The rise of the black lady: Celebrating Black ladies’s excellence,” critics suggest that continually striving for Black excellence “overemphasise[s] the strengths ofBlack ladies and preach[es] an unreachable degree of womanhood — which is able to turn out to be anticipated — a degree that denies Black ladies permission to be human.”

One answer to embracing this expression comes from Tricia Hersey, founding father of The Nap Ministry, who says that “relaxation is a type of radical resistance.”

By that logic, it follows that resting, within the type of discarding the mantle of regularly striving to attain greatness, and easily current may also be a type of resistance. Being unapologetically Black in a white area is a approach of “staying Black” and residing.  

Due to this fact, this Black Historical past Month, Black ladies must ensure that all of us take a second to lean into the oft-touted phrase, as a result of on the planet we stay in, being Black can, is, and ought to be sufficient.


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