Poem from Jacques Fleury (one of several)

Branded: Black as Means of Commodity

by Jacques Fleury

[Excerpt from  Chain Letter To America: The One Thing You Can Do To End Racism, A Collection of Essays, Fiction and Poetry Celebrating Multiculturalism]

Light skinned face on the left staring out at the public with a finger pointing at it on a blue background. Text says Chain Letter to America: The One Thing You Can Do to End Racism by Jacques Fleury

Modern day black commodity, a derivative market of slavery…
Black body;
Black culture;
Black branding;
Fetish objects of capitalism?!
Devalued laborers as fraught consumers,
Filling the coffers of their oppressors.
In history’s vault…as Cedric Robinson wrote in Black Marxism:
“To be black was to have
No civilization
No culture
No religion
No place
No humanity
Worthy of consideration.”
In the cacophony of this capitalist country, black men were detained in their disparate
But imbricated roles, Like a run of toppled dominoes…casted as commodified bodies,
Disparaged workers and thronging consumers looking to escape their shame,
By wearing labels bearing someone else’s name…today that is their game;
Yet still they use their style and swagger
In protest and in search of a new maneuver, as they watch the usurpation of their culture
Scattered along the margins of the society which excludes them;
Their humanity and masculinity secondary to their race in a capitalist society
Whose primary ideology is the working male body; but black men’s souls become darkest at the
Crossroads of patriarchal privilege and racial repudiation;
That is to say…a real man must work no matter what!
But that work is hard to come by, especially when that man is black!
But as commodity they can “be like Mike” like professional athletes like Michael Jordan;
That is if they’re willing to see their remarkable ability commercialized…
Successful blacks used as trope to sedate and tantalize, elevate and emphasize,
The promise of success for those blacks who are marginalized…
But history manifested in our memory has taught us that tropes are in fact
Like the black characters in a horror movie…they are usually the first to get the axe!
Simply put black liberation is our collective investment,
But as capitalist commodity it compels our collective divestment!
Blacks need not succumb to being branded as “worthy”
By capitalist elites who place no “worth” on their humanity.

Young Black man looking out and smiling towards the audience. He's in a suit with a black coat and a purple tie.
Jacques Fleury

Jacques Fleury is a Boston Globe featured Haitian-American Poet, Educator, Author of four books and literary arts student at Harvard University online. His latest publication “You Are Enough: The Journey to Accepting Your Authentic Self”  & other titles are available at all Boston Public Libraries, the University of Massachusetts Healey Library, University of  Wyoming, Askews and Holts Library Services in the United Kingdom, The Harvard Book Store, The Grolier Poetry Bookshop, Amazon etc… 

He has been published in prestigious  publications such as Muddy River Poetry Review, the Cornell University Press anthology Class Lives: Stories from Our Economic Divide, Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene among others…Visit him at:  http://www.authorsden.com/jacquesfleury.

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