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As a public theologian and a midwife of culture for grace and truth, Ekemini Uwan speaks and writes words of truth, of conviction, of wisdom. She joins Latasha Morrison on this episode of the Be the Bridge podcast to discuss the new book she co-authored, Truth’s Table: Black Women’s Musings on Life, Love, and Liberation. They talk through the chapters she wrote on colorism, deconstruction and decolonization, the realities of living single as a Black woman in America, and diaspora dreams. This conversation is packed with deep insights and knowledge. Ekemini shares needed reminders of the fundamentals of our faith and blackness as an image of God. She vulnerably shares parts of her story and heart. Ekemini is a theologian we can all learn from.
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- Truth’s Table: Black Women’s Musings on Life, Love, and Liberation Book by Ekemini Uwan, Christina Edmondson, and Michelle Higgins
- Ekemini Uwan’s blog “Deconolized Discipleship”
- Truth’s Table podcast
- Get in the Word with Truth’s Table podcast
- Black Women, Black Love: America’s War on African American Marriage by Dianne M. Stewart
- Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism by Derrick Bell
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Host & Executive Producer: Latasha Morrison
Senior Producer: Lauren C. Brown
Producer, Editor & Music By: Travon Potts
Transcriber: Sarah Connatser
Not all views expressed in this interview reflect the values and beliefs of Latasha Morrison or the Be the Bridge organization.
The full episode transcript is below.
You are listening to the Be the Bridge podcast with Latasha Morrison.
Latasha Morrison 0:06[intro] How are you guys doing today? It’s exciting!
Each week, Be the Bridge podcast tackles subjects related to race and culture with the goal of bringing understanding.
Latasha Morrison 0:17[intro] …but I’m going to do it in the spirit of love.
We believe understanding can move us toward racial healing, racial equity, and racial unity. Latasha Morrison is the founder of Be the Bridge, which is an organization responding to racial brokenness and systemic injustice in our world. This podcast is an extension of our vision to make sure people are no longer conditioned by a racialized society but grounded in truth. If you have not hit the subscribe button, please do so now. Without further ado, let’s begin today’s podcast. Oh, and stick around for some important information at the end.
Latasha Morrison 0:51
Okay, Be the Bridge community, I’ve been looking forward to this all week. It has been a tough…let me tell you. It’s been a tough, I want to say week but I want to say year. (laughter) But really, the last few days have been tough. And I was looking forward to this conversation with my sister. She just told me, she said, “You done had everybody on here. Now it’s my turn!” I have Ekemini Uwan, Sista Theology. She is a public theologian, and she’s going to explain that to us, who received her M.Div. from Westminster Theological Seminary. Uwan is a contributing writer for Hallmark Mahogany. Listen, I just saw that. I am so impressed. She is a member of the Aspen Institute’s Racial Justice and Religion Commission. She has appeared on MSNBC and NPR. And her writings have been published in The Atlantic, Washington Post, Huffington Black Voices, and her insights have been quoted by the New York Times, CNN, The Washington Post, and New Yorker. And I just want to add this, she’s a woman of God. And I just love her. And I am so grateful to have her here on the podcast this week, during this time, in this season. Welcome Ekemini! I am so glad.
Ekemini Uwan 0:58
Thank you, Tasha. Honored to be here. So grateful to be here for such a time. Grateful to be with you my sister.
Latasha Morrison 2:31
Yeah. And I just love you. I feel like we’ve met in person maybe right before the pandemic here in Atlanta.
Ekemini Uwan 2:41
Yeah, that’s right.
Latasha Morrison 2:41
And that was the first time, but I felt like we knew each other because we had talked so much and texted and all the things and just…we all try to support each other, those of us that are in these public spaces. I know some of you may not understand, but you know, we try to make sure that we’re just looking out for one another.
Ekemini Uwan 3:03
Latasha Morrison 3:04
And you always looking out for me and I try my best to look out for you. And I’m just grateful for you. I’m grateful for your voice. I’m grateful for your gifting. The world is better, the Church is better because you are alive. And so I’m so grateful for you.
Ekemini Uwan 3:20
You gonna make me cry already. (laughter)
Latasha Morrison 3:21
And I get to talk about, first of all, this pretty book!
Ekemini Uwan 3:28
Oh, thank you!
Latasha Morrison 3:29
It’s just, like the words in it are pretty. But the book is just pretty. If y’all haven’t seen the cover, it’s like you know, back in the day…you don’t want to cut this one though. You need to get an extra one…
Ekemini Uwan 3:41
Latasha Morrison 3:42
…and cut it up and then you want to hang it on your wall. It’s so pretty. (laughter)
Ekemini Uwan 3:47
Oh my goodness, I’m so glad you love the book. The book, the contents and the cover. Okay?
Latasha Morrison 3:52
Yes, yes. I love it. I love all of it.
Ekemini Uwan 3:55
We put so much thought into it.
Latasha Morrison 3:53
Yeah. And I’ll just say, we would be remiss if we didn’t….I love the first, in the introduction how, if you’ve listen to the Truth’s Table podcast, they always start off with “Hey, y’all welcome to Truth’s Table.” And it’s just like that church music in the background. And they say, “We’re the midwives of culture for grace and truth. We are Ekemini, Michelle, and Christina. And this table is built by Black women and for Black women. So welcome to the table sisters.” And then y’all always say, “How y’all doing?” And I love how you you guys are like unapologetic about that. So I want to talk a little bit about that before we…because the book is Truth’s Table. So I want to know what inspired that. Why did you start the podcast?
Ekemini Uwan 3:56
Yeah, so whew. Well. (laughter)
Latasha Morrison 4:10
I know. Right, right. I just went in. (laughter)
Ekemini Uwan 4:29
Well, I mean, whew. Yeah, so the podcast originally started did in 2017, March 2017. But we went into pre production in the fall. Actually, well, the last quarter of 2016. Which if you all recollect, that was during the presidential election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Latasha Morrison 5:19
Ekemini Uwan 5:19
And so we decided that it was very, very important for us, because we knew the way it was going. And we were like, if this goes the way we think it is gonna go, people are going to be having some very traumatic racial experiences and traumatizing…even, I’m saying gender, violence, there’s all types of triggering responses to this election. And so we wanted to be able to stand in the gap, and be the midwives of culture for grace and truth, holding the hands of our sisters, as we traverse, you know, through that very difficult, difficult time. It’s still hard. (laughter) But that difficult season we were entering into. You know what I’m saying? And so that’s why we were like, “We need to start something.” And we were like, we just didn’t see any other podcasts out there that tackled race, gender, culture, and politics from a robust Christian theological lens. At least and if they did it, it wasn’t Black women that were doing it. And so until this day, I don’t know other podcasts that still do that. And so that’s how Truth’s Table came to be. And it was birthed in March 2017, during Women’s History Month. So that was also very intentional. We’re very intentional at Truth’s Table.
Latasha Morrison 6:40
Right, right. Well, thank God, thank God because it was needed and is still needed. And I know it’s been a blessing to so many people. And, you know, I love the fact that you’re really unapologetic of who it’s for. Like, anyone can listen, but this is who it’s for.
Ekemini Uwan 6:40
Latasha Morrison 6:44
And so I mean, I want to know, like, how has that been received? You know, because like, when, you know, I know the world that we live in, this racialized society. And when you say that, even with your intentions, because people don’t understand why we have to lift up our community and our peoples sometimes they feel like the lifting up of Black women means that you’re putting down white women. That’s just a racist ideology, because you’re not understanding the history and the context. So like, what has the reception been like with that?
Ekemini Uwan 7:35
Yeah, well I mean, we’ve gone through many different iterations with responses to that. You know, Truth’s Table, we do believe in the importance of declaring ourselves and saying, like, very explicitly, “This table is built by Black women and for Black women.” Even with the book, Truth’s Table: Black Women’s Musings on Life, Love, and Liberation. These are Black woman’s musings. These are not our answers; this is not what thus saith the LORD. These are our musings.
Latasha Morrison 8:02
Ekemini Uwan 8:03
What we’ve gathered through our lived experience. And so people, you know, there’s been a variety of different responses to it. I think the good thing about declaring yourself and being explicit about who the show is for, who you have in mind when you’re writing, is that it does implicitly, I would say, teach people outside of that demographic. So non Black women.
Latasha Morrison 8:26
Ekemini Uwan 8:27
Which would include, an outside of that will be Black men as well. It teaches them to learn how to listen… (laughter)
Latasha Morrison 8:34
Ekemini Uwan 8:34
…and learn from people who have a different social location than you, that have a different experience from you, to learn from people that are probably more marginalized than you depending on where you fall in this racialized society and in this system. Right? And so yeah, there were some people that were just completely offended, I’m sure, you know, in the very beginning. Right? Because Truth’s Table has been around for five, five plus years now. And we’re on our sixth season, the podcast. So you know, we’re not new to this at this point. (laughter) Initially, though, initially, there was like, “Oh, my goodness.” But it’s like, just because we’re centering Black women doesn’t mean you can’t learn.
Latasha Morrison 9:17
Ekemini Uwan 9:17
In fact, you can learn a whole lot from a group that is deeply oppressed in this land about what it means to not only be resilient, but to overcome, to persevere, to bask in joy and Black joy. You know? But you get a whole host of that on the show. And you’ll get that in the book, too. Of course.
Latasha Morrison 9:41
Yeah. And so, I mean, the space is so needed. And so what, like so…you guys had a successful podcast. I mean, like you said, there was nothing out there in the Christian space like this. And then the different personalities. I think you complement each other so well. And your relationship, even outside of the podcast, like it just really exudes, I think, what it means to be a Black woman in this world and friendships, you know too.
Ekemini Uwan 10:17
Latasha Morrison 10:17
And I think that’s…I love the beauty of that. You guys are all very different. And you have your distinctive voices, your convictions, and it just works really well. And I think it’s something for us to see. Because for me, like, you know, just seeing Black girls, you know, I’m not trying to knock anyone’s hustle, but just seeing us at each other on reality TV and just on TV. I hate that whole, that divide, because we don’t need that. We get enough of that from the world and from the white spaces that we’re in, that the spaces that we create for ourselves can’t be about competition, it can’t be about, you know, “Your voice needs to sound like my voice,” or, you know, just all this competition. Just all this like, mess. And so, I love that. And I’m pretty sure that you have your disagreements because we are human.
Ekemini Uwan 11:17
Latasha Morrison 11:17
But I love what it displayed. It really came at the right time. Because I don’t like the messiness. I’m probably one of the few Black girls. I don’t like the messiness of reality TV. I can’t stand it. (laughter) I can’t stand it. I’m telling everybody. no, I don’t like it. I know, I don’t.
Ekemini Uwan 11:35
Look at me I’m like. I do be liking my reality shows. But I hear your words. (laughter)
Latasha Morrison 11:42
I like the drama because it takes the focus off of my drama. (laughter) That’s what people say. But I wanted to know why the book. You had the podcast. Why did you decide to write the book?
Ekemini Uwan 11:58
Yeah, you know, so, I’m so glad you asked that. You know, what’s interesting is that what you’re echoing back to me about our friendship, the camaraderie at the table, the sisterhood at the table, the diversity within the unity, if you will, even with our various social locations, different positions, even theological positions or political positions.
Latasha Morrison 12:24
Ekemini Uwan 12:25
You get those varieties. Right? Yeah, or you get that variety, you know, from the show. And you can tell our different, like, you know, just views and stances in the show. And it is pretty complimentary, we complement each other pretty well. And I think that’s something that people have been saying back to us about our book, Truth’s Table: Black Women’s Musings on Life, Love, and Liberation is, “How did y’all get this book, the three of y’all, how did y’all write in such harmony?” You know, honestly, I think it’s just a work of the Spirit. Which is the same way that the book really came about. I had spoken at a conference many years ago. Some may know or may not know, this was a conference back in 2019. And there was a lot of controversy over what was said, what I said, at that time. And an editor reached out to me from Penguin Random House asking me if I had, you know, any thoughts about a book. And so, you know, I was like, “You know, I have been kicking around this idea for my own solo book, but it’s still germinating. Not ready yet, you know, to really write on it. But I will get there.” Right? And so, and then she said, “Okay, well, what about…” Because this person loves Truth’s Table. “What about a book for Truth’s Table?” And I was like okay, you know, and other publishers had reached out about it. But truthfully, the advance money, they just couldn’t afford, you know, to give us the right advance in order to make it make sense for the three of us to be able to sit down and do what you need to do in order the write a book. You got to decline a lot of opportunities in order to say yes to writing. Right?
Latasha Morrison 12:27
That is so true. Yup.
Ekemini Uwan 12:58
You know this. You know this, Tasha. You know better than me. Okay, you’re writing right now. (laughter) So I took it, you know, back to Michelle and Christina like, “Hey, what do y’all think about this?” And, you know, they thought about it and prayed about it. And in the midst of doing that the pandemic. Coronavirus hits our shores, and things are now shutting down, the world shut down, you know, I’d say during season one of the pandemic because it’s still going on. And so we couldn’t get on planes and fly and talk and speak and do what we were accustomed to doing. Right?
Latasha Morrison 14:44
Ekemini Uwan 14:45
You know, jet setting everywhere to go and speak and so we decided, “You know what, this would be probably, you know, the right time for us to go ahead and secure that book opportunity and take this time to write. Now of course, we didn’t know we were going to be as burnt out and, you know, still running on this rat race in the midst of the pandemic. We didn’t know. We thought we were gonna have more time. And, you know, we’d have more time to ourselves, time to think, and that’s not quite what happened. But that’s all right. (laughter) So we had to deal signed in summer 2020. And started writing toward the end of 2020, early first quarter 2021. And now, the book is here.
Latasha Morrison 15:26
Ekemini Uwan 15:27
Of course, it’s in stores everywhere now.
Latasha Morrison 15:29
Yeah. And I mean, the timeframe of that. Yeah, cause I remember us having the conversation back in 2019 about you possibly doing a solo project. You remember that?
Ekemini Uwan 15:40
Yes! Oh, my goodness, yes, Tasha.
Latasha Morrison 15:42
And I remember that. And we were talking about agents and all of those things and stuff like that.
Ekemini Uwan 15:47
Oh my goodness, you were so helpful. Oh my goodness.
Latasha Morrison 15:51
But I am grateful now that this came out first. And there’s gonna be more to come.
Ekemini Uwan 15:59
Latasha Morrison 15:59
I’m speaking this, like yeah, we know that. There’s more to come.
Ekemini Uwan 16:01
Latasha Morrison 16:02
But I think to start out with this one, a Black Women’s Musings on Life, Love and Liberation, there’s so much to being a Black woman. And sometimes I think there’s this binary, just this very small myopic view of who we are. But I think you guys represent so much of who we are as Black women in your diversity. You know what I’m saying? Within that. And so when you, there’s some chapters that you wrote. And what were your main chapters that you wrote? And we’re going to talk about a few of those. And I also want to talk, even, you know, I know you can’t speak to Christina’s or Michelle’s but we’ll just give people a little taste of what those are about, too.
Ekemini Uwan 17:05
Yeah, sure. Absolutely.
Latasha Morrison 17:05
Which chapters did you write?
Ekemini Uwan 17:07
Yeah. So one of the first, the actual first chapter I wrote, and it starts the book is “The Audacious Perseverance of Colorism.” Then the next one. So actually, let me say it this way. So the book is Truth’s Table: Black Women’s Musings on Life, Love and Liberation. And so those sub titles of life, love, and liberation is how the book is organized and divided. Right? And so you go to Life first, and you will see we begin with “The Audacious Perseverance of Colorism.” And then within that same section of Life, I also wrote “Decolonized Discipleship.” And then in there is also Michelle’s chapter about “Protests as Spiritual Practice.” So that talks about her own origin story, actually, and also her experience as an organizer during the movement in Ferguson…
Latasha Morrison 17:13
In Ferguson, yeah.
Ekemini Uwan 17:46
…you know, after Michael Brown was killed by the police there. So yeah, so that’s Life. And then in Love, I wrote “Hidden in Plain Sight: A Single Black Woman’s Manifesto.”
Latasha Morrison 18:17
That right there. That’s a whole book by itself right there. We gonna park there for a minute in a little bit. (laughter)
Ekemini Uwan 18:25
Tasha, it is. Because listen, it turned into a manifesto because I started writing it as a chapter. And then I was like, “Wait a minute, this is really turning into a manifesto.” And it’s the longest chapter in the book. (laughter)
Latasha Morrison 18:39
There’s so much to say. There’s so much to say. Oh my goodness.
Ekemini Uwan 18:42
So much to say, such little page room. (laughter) And so the last section Liberation, I have a chapter in there called “Diaspora Dreams: Blackness as the Image of God.”
Latasha Morrison 18:55
Yeah, yeah. And it’s so funny. You know, it’s right here in the notes of which ones. But even if it was a test, and you gave me this book, and you said, “Okay, which ones did Michelle write? Which ones did Christina write? And which ones did Ekemini?” I would know exactly. I would get them all right. (laughter)
Ekemini Uwan 19:14
You would know! That’s so funny! I love that, I love that.
Latasha Morrison 19:16
I would get them all right. But anyway, okay, let’s go back to the first one, “The Audacious Perseverance of Colorism.” You know, you can give people a brief overview of what this chapter is about, but I want to talk about how this looks in 2022.
Ekemini Uwan 19:41
Latasha Morrison 19:44
You know, and I know you’ve talked about it on your show. You tweet about it and all of those things. And I know this is something that even for us, it’s a conversation we need to have in our community. But also, I think it’s something that other communities can learn from. Because it’s prevalent in the African American Black community, it’s also in the Hispanic community, the Latinx community. I don’t know, sometimes I don’t know which one to say, because I know some people don’t like Latinx. It’s like, I don’t know what to say!
Ekemini Uwan 20:26
I know. I’m hearing Latine, so I’ve been saying that. So I actually say that in the book. But I don’t know, it does change quite a bit. So I try to say okay, I think Latine is what people are prefering, but I don’t know. That’s what I put in the book. But I know it could change.
Latasha Morrison 20:39
So Latine and then also the Asian American community. I mean, and I know your perspective even being from Nigeria. This looks different than what it looks like in America, too. So I would just, you know, love to hear your writings and some of the things you talked about in there on that first chapter.
Ekemini Uwan 21:02
Yeah, you know, so, yeah, you know, “The Audacious Perseverance of Colorism” is, you know, that chapter…I thought it was important for me to title it that way because it does continue to persevere. Right?
Latasha Morrison 21:15
Yes, it does.
Ekemini Uwan 21:15
Because I was trying to make it clear that like, yeah, 2022, this thing is still here. And it’s still showing up and it’s showing up like this, like this, like this, like this. And this is how it’s impacting me and many other Black women like me, dark skinned, let me say, dark skinned Black women like me. And so I think that, and I write in that chapter that you cannot be anti-racist and be a colorist. Like, you have to be anti-racist and anti-colorist. You got to understand the relationship between racism and colorism. You know what I mean? And knowing that it is racism and white supremacy that is the foreground, that is the roots. Those are the roots of colorism. And so although this is an interracial dynamic, primarily, you do see colorism practice even outside of our community. Right? By decision makers and power brokers. And so I think, so let me say this. So colorism, just in case your listeners don’t know what it is or are not familiar with it…obviously, I believe y’all will pick up the book and you can read the definition there.
Latasha Morrison 22:20
Ekemini Uwan 22:21
This is just my little, my quick summary. But it is, colorism is when dark skinned people within an ethnic group are discriminated against because they are darker. And so they are discriminated against in ways that are detrimental. So with regard to even our interaction with say, the criminal justice system, with regards to job opportunities, promotions. This impacts our marriage markets, our ability to have as many possible options with regard to dating and then marriage. And so there’s stats and data contained within this book, and particularly that chapter that talks about how the ways that actually light skinned women have higher rates of marriage than dark skinned women, and how they receive higher pay than dark skinned women, and they receive easier or lighter sentences than dark skinned women. And so it’s very punitive, colorism is, on a systemic level, but also on a personal level as well. And so for me, that was really, really important to be able to elucidate that through stats, through data, but also through my own personal story about how colorism has impacted me.
Latasha Morrison 23:41
Ekemini Uwan 23:41
And what it meant to be a dark skinned Black girl born and raised in California, which is deeply colorist. And so there’s different levels to this type of the colorism experience, your colorism experience depending on where you were raised or where you live. You know, that’s not to say, colorism is everywhere. It’s a global phenomenon, which is why it doesn’t, it’s not just connected to just our own Black and African communities. No, it’s definitely global. Like you listed out, non Black racial groups and people of color also have colorism within their own communities, and so it was important for me to lay that out and then also lay out the ways that even white people perpetuate colorism. Right? Because still, yet and still, they are the ones that are making decisions on, hiring decisions. Who are making the decisions about legal sentences, when people interact with the criminal justice system. And so there are still, that mechanism of oppression is still functioning, sadly, alive and well today in 2022.
Latasha Morrison 24:56
And explain, too, you know, cause in the book you write, “Colorism is an offspring of white supremacy.” And I think some people don’t understand like how you’re promoting, even as a Black person, you’re promoting the ideologies of white supremacy when you subscribe to colorism.
Ekemini Uwan 25:19
Yeah, yeah. So you know, because, well, first of all, we know that white supremacy and whiteness is made up. It is a myth, fundamentally, that was meant to stratify. Right? And so to put, of course, Black on the bottom and white on top as superior. Which is a myth, is false.
Latasha Morrison 25:43
Ekemini Uwan 25:44
And as I put Black on the bottom, I’m also going to name our Native neighbors and siblings, too, who have suffered from genocide. Which is why we don’t often or oftentimes they are forgotten, because they have been disappeared. But we thank God for those that are still here. So that’s important for me to say that. But yeah, so when we, when I talk about how colorism is an offspring of white supremacy, well there are advantages conferred to people who are have lighter skin tone. Because on the color spectrum, right, light is closer to white. It is not white. And I do talk about in the book, how you know this is not about light skin versus dark skin beef. That’s not what’s happening in this chapter, you know, and I go into the history, even going into slavery. You know, what it meant for an enslaved person that worked in the home versus what happened for an enslaved person that was in the fields and just talking about the danger and the risk of both. So that we are not, you know, trying to act as if they had it made in the shade sipping on lemonade. That was not the case at all.
Latasha Morrison 26:05
Right. That was not the case.
Ekemini Uwan 27:05
That is wrong, that is evil. And that is also a myth of white supremacy meant to cause a chasm between us. And so that was important for me to lay that out, and to say that. But, because they are closer on the color spectrum, the darker you get the further away you are from whiteness, quote, unquote. The lighter you are, the closer you are, and so you gain benefits. You know, whether, you know, you’re still as a light skinned black person, you’re still experiencing racism.
Latasha Morrison 27:36
Ekemini Uwan 27:37
You’re still experiencing misogyny. You’re still experiencing all of those things. It doesn’t mean…like you are Black, no doubt about it. But there are privileges that are conferred to you that you may not even know about, or you might be aware of. Right? And oftentimes, our first interaction with colorism is actually within our own family systems actually.
Latasha Morrison 27:58
Ekemini Uwan 27:59
Because we just noticed like, oh, the variety of skin tones. Every Black family got, we have a variety of skin tones in our families.
Latasha Morrison 28:05
People will check the ears of a baby or check the cuticles of a baby to see if you know…
Ekemini Uwan 28:12
What color the baby will be eventually. That’s right.
Latasha Morrison 28:14
…what color, yeah, yeah. And I mean, it’s prevalent in my family like, today.
Ekemini Uwan 28:20
Oh, this is a global thing. Absolutely.
Latasha Morrison 28:21
And that was the issue. I don’t think people realize how even in our systems, even in our like, our anti-racism systems, like you think about the NAACP, that was one of the the things that Marcus Garvey, you know, was upset about, you know, with W. E. B. Du Bois. They were saying like all light skinned people come were working, you know, at the NAACP. And I think it wasn’t until you see Martin Luther King come on the scene that you start seeing more darker skinned people being advocates and voices, being a voice for the community. Fannie Lou Hamer, you know, like a lot of that. So this thing goes back. This thing goes back.
Ekemini Uwan 29:10
It’s deep. It’s deep. I didn’t put Marcus and W. E. B. Du Bois in there. I decided to talk about Nannie Helen Burroughs. But yeah, I mean, there were so many ways I could go. And went in because I took up so much space in the singleness part.
Latasha Morrison 29:11
I wrote about that one. So don’t worry about it. I had that one. (laughter)
Ekemini Uwan 29:26
Oh great! (laughter) We did cover…you know what it was? We also covered Marcus Garvey and Du Bois in our Truth’s Table, in our colorism episode on the show.
Latasha Morrison 29:36
Ekemini Uwan 29:37
So that’s why it’s like, well, you know, let me take it to another historical people.
Latasha Morrison 29:40
Yeah, I love that. Because the more you expose people to, the more they can learn and the more context they have.
Ekemini Uwan 29:47
Latasha Morrison 29:47
But I think some people probably didn’t realize about the college policies. Talk a little bit about that.
Ekemini Uwan 29:52
Oh, yeah. Oh, absolutely. So yeah, I put in there…I don’t know, for me this is just the way my brain works. Is that it’s important, and I guess, you know, for me as a public theologian, my job is to interact with different disciplines. So from sociology to history to politics, and you know, so civics. Right? What they used to call civics, I don’t know what they call it no more.
Latasha Morrison 30:14
I know right. (laughter)
Ekemini Uwan 30:14
I think we might need a new name. Because I don’t know what’s going on. And then also, my own personal experience to make these subject matters that are very hard, very dense, really difficult to enter to make them accessible. And so I do have some additional historical pieces in there about the ways that colorism manifests and showed up at HBCUs, at churches. At Black churches where there were brown paper bag tests and palm tests for Black people to enter in – these are Black people – for Black, for dark skinned people, whether they can either make the cut, you know, the light skinned cut to actually be entered to gain entry into the actual church y’all to worship. To worship. Okay? This shows you like just how evil.
Latasha Morrison 31:08
Ekemini Uwan 31:09
Latasha Morrison 31:10
Oh, my goodness.
Ekemini Uwan 31:12
Latasha Morrison 31:13
It’s like self hate. It’s like self hate. Internalized racism. Oh, my goodness. And it’s worse.
Ekemini Uwan 31:21
That’s right. And HBCUs were, in the past, very much known for this. You know, for also, for again, setting up a caste system, really, that’s what it is. And so what does it mean to be a dark skinned Black woman trying to crawl your way out of a caste system? And you can’t find any answers in the church. Right? You know what I mean? As a little girl growing up, 80s and 90s, I can’t find any answers in the church. You know, I can’t seem to find any answers like, why is that? How come I can’t find this very huge issue that I have been grappling with and wrestling with for the majority of my life? You know what I’m saying? For over half my life, I had deep self loathing over my dark skin. So how do you deal with that? And what do you do? And what are the consequences of that, and that’s something that I talked about, dangerous consequences that I talked about with regard to that self hate, I talked about in the book as well. And so it required a lot of vulnerability.
Latasha Morrison 32:26
I know. And I mean, do you feel like, you know, after you write sometimes, people come up to me, and they’ll say, “Thank you for being so vulnerable.” And I’m just thinking like, some of that vulnerability is not necessarily for people, but it’s also for yourself. Because it’s like, it’s like a healing. Was it a sense of healing for you? And writing, getting those words out, expressing some of those deep, dark, dark thoughts that needed to be said that can help other people. But the vulnerability was more or less for you.
Ekemini Uwan 33:01
Yes, absolutely. Yeah. I kind of, so in some ways it’s kind of two pronged. I wrote with regard to these chapters, but particularly with colorism, I wrote the chapters, in this case the chapter, that needed. That 15 year old Ekemini needed. You know what I mean? That 13 year old, 14 year old Ekemini, who hated herself, I needed. I wrote the resource that I didn’t have.
Latasha Morrison 33:01
Ekemini Uwan 33:01
I did not have. There was no where to go. I was like, there’s not…even when I was researching. I said okay, let me see what biblical Black women, biblical scholars that have done some work on this. Let me see where, I was like, I’m not finding stuff. I was like I gotta really actually create something.
Latasha Morrison 33:47
Yeah cause we’re still processing. We’re still living it and processing.
Ekemini Uwan 33:52
And it’s shameful, right? It’s shameful. It’s not something we want to come out and talk about. It’s not something, it’s really something that we’re very ashamed of that we know happens, it is still a reality. But there’s a lot of shame. And there’s a lot of pain. And there’s a lot of trauma. And so that vulnerability was like, one, yes, I wrote what I needed. I wrote toward my healing.
Latasha Morrison 34:15
Ekemini Uwan 34:16
To heal my inner child and to see even my own growth like, “Wow, I’ve really come a long way.” But also, I wrote for the sisters at the table. You know, who I know are grappling with this. I know because this is a million dollar skin lightening. You know, that whole industry, that’s a million dollar industry.
Latasha Morrison 34:37
Ekemini Uwan 34:37
You know what I mean like, and that’s in America and around the globe. So I was like, “Nah, I’m not the only one that had this issue.” Like, you know, so that was important for me to write to them. But then I would say even tangentially, I would also say to the Black men. Right? The ways that colorism maps onto black men, and so our brothers in the standing room section, I was like, let me write this too. I’m writing from the vantage point of a Black woman. And so I’m talking about how colorism specifically maps onto dark skinned Black woman. But there’s still something to be learned, something to be gleaned, there is something that you could still resonate with. I think most Black folks, wherever you are on the color spectrum, everybody can relate to colorism. To some degree, if you witnessed somebody else that had it, or you’ve had your own experience, somebody has something to say about colorism.
[Advertisement] 34:25[Latasha Morrison sharing about becoming a partner with Be the Bridge and shopping the Be the Bridge store] If you’ve been enjoying and learning from the Be the Bridge podcast, we invite you to join us in this work. You can support and sustain our mission as a recurring partner at BeTheBridge.com/Give. You can also help spread this word of bridge building by supporting and really sporting our apparel. So if you haven’t gotten your Be the Bridge hat, sweatshirt, all of the things, let’s take the message to the street. Visit our online store at Shop.BeTheBridge.com. And make sure we’re spreading the word about all the work that Be the Bridge is doing and will do. At Be the Bridge, we’re doing the work to empower people and culture toward racial healing, racial equity, and racial reconciliation. And this work is only possible because of the generosity of bridge builders like you. So thank you so much for those of you who are listening and sharing our podcast, sharing our posts, those of you who are giving to this work that’s helping us create resources and material that will transform hearts. So join us at BeTheBridge.com/Give. And let’s continue to build bridges together. Thank you so much.
Ekemini Uwan 37:00
If you witness somebody else that had it, or you’ve had your own experience, somebody has something to say about colorism.
Latasha Morrison 37:05
Yeah, yeah. And it looks different for men, for dark skinned men than dark skinned women. So that’s, this is so good. And you know, and I know like the vulnerability in your words, like when you put it out there before God and before everyone, there’s like a nakedness that you feel. You know?
Ekemini Uwan 37:26
Latasha Morrison 37:26
And you know, and sometimes you’ll forget, like, as the book goes on, you’ll forget some of the things that you talked about and wrote about. And then someone will bring it up. You’re gonna be like, “Oh, yeah, I didn’t say that. Oops.” (laughter) “Oh, yeah. Oh wait a minute.” But, you know what, it’s freeing. It is definitely liberating. And this is when we talk about liberation. Like, you know, this is a part of that. Now, you talked about decolonized discipleship. And I think it was like last, I think it was maybe it was like in 2020. It was a couple of years ago. You tweeted something and I’ll never forget it.
Ekemini Uwan 38:03
Oh, what was it?
Latasha Morrison 38:04
I’m gonna tell you what you tweeted girl, I’m gonna tell you. I was taking receipts.
Ekemini Uwan 38:09
That is so funny.
Latasha Morrison 38:12
You said, “Some of y’all out here talking about decolonizing your faith. Just make sure you don’t decolonize Jesus out of it.” Or something like that.
Ekemini Uwan 38:26
Oh yes. Some of y’all decolonizing your faith to the point that you decolonizing your way out the faith. Yeah, that’s right.
Latasha Morrison 38:32
That’s what you said. (laughter)
Ekemini Uwan 38:33
I was like what is happening y’all!
Latasha Morrison 38:34
Yeah, and so I just remember that. And I was like, yes. Because I think it’s something to really look and examine, but not losing sight of Jesus, who Jesus is. And I think, in the midst of the trauma and the pain, there are many that are losing sight of who, like, Jesus. You know what I’m saying? And so, but there’s so much pain and hurt that has been inflicted, you know, within I don’t want to just even say the white church, but also the brown church, too. It’s been so much. I’ve experienced pain in both, and probably more so in the brown church for me personally, in my story. But, yeah, talk a little bit about this part of life that you wrote. And we’re gonna make it to the other ones. We’re gonna make it. We’re gonna hit it, but we needed to cover that colorism. You know, because I have the dark Black girl privilege in hosting this because I’m a dark Black girl. I wanted to focus on that a little bit more. You know? (laughter)
Ekemini Uwan 39:44
It’s important. Of course, because it’s real Tasha.
Latasha Morrison 39:46
It’s real, it’s real.
Ekemini Uwan 39:47
I’m sure you have your stories. I’m sure you have your trauma. I’m sure you’ve got your pain behind it pain behind it. You know.
Latasha Morrison 39:51
Ekemini Uwan 39:52
Even even as a public figure, you know when opportunities are coming your way or you know when you’ve been passed up or discarded or dismissed or ignored because you’re dark skinned. You know it. There’s a knowing.
Latasha Morrison 40:07
Ekemini Uwan 40:08
And unless you are embodied as a dark skinned Black woman, you don’t know.
Latasha Morrison 40:14
Ekemini Uwan 40:14
Like, you know, but there’s a knowing. You know, so that was important. So I’m glad you did park there. With regard to decolonized discipleship, so that chapter, that chapter is an intervention, if you will, in some ways.
Latasha Morrison 40:34
Yes, I love that. I love that.
Ekemini Uwan 40:35
To me, it was important. I had to, I felt like, well, I wrote about, so there is a blog that I wrote, titled, “Decolonized Discipleship.” I wrote that back in February 2018, I want to say. And it was, so that was really the roots, if you will, of this chapter. And so that was many years before the deconstruction/decolonize movement within the faith. And so I was just talking about like, “Oh, let’s hold on to the purity of the faith, the true faith that’s been passed down to us by the apostles, our ancestors, our grandmamas. Let’s hold on to that faith, y’all.” Like you know what I mean?
Latasha Morrison 41:20
Because it’s very different. Yeah. (laughter)
Ekemini Uwan 41:22
It’s very different. Okay. So I was making those distinctions and showing, you know, like, “Nah this ain’t it. But this is true faith, you know, and this is how we know because the word says XYZ. And this is what the gospel is.” So very much that was what that was. Then, you know, fast forward, many, many years later, we are in the midst of the deconstruction and decolonization movement, which I argue in this chapter, what preceded that or what precipitated that was the election of Donald Trump. And that is when people have very significant racial trauma, because they realize, “Wait a minute. The people I worship with, the people that are my neighbors, the people that are my brothers and sisters and siblings in Christ voted against my interests and voted against my livelihood. And they still claim like that we ought to work and worship together?” People had a hard time with that. Right?
Latasha Morrison 41:22
Yeah, yeah. And still having a hard time.
Ekemini Uwan 41:31
Oh, yeah, people are still reeling. Still reeling to this day. Right?
Latasha Morrison 42:30
I don’t think the church will realize the damage that has happened over the last few years. And if they’re really taking account. I mean, because I was just interviewing some Black people the other day just about…I had a friend group, and mostly all of them were in predominantly white churches at the time. And now only one of those friends, and I’m talking about 15 friends on a text stream, and probably one of them remain in a church because that church is really doing something. You know, they’re really trying. But all of those people, you know, and most of those people had been in those churches for eight – now, these are not people that were just there a year, they were involved, they have been there for eight years to 10 years.
Ekemini Uwan 43:22
Latasha Morrison 43:23
Everyone that I spoke with, and when they left, most of them left officially during the pandemic when everything was shut down. They just made their exit during that time. I mean six people, that’s when they made their exit. So I don’t think we’re, I think there’s going to still be stories to be told about this. But I think this is important when you say an intervention. And just, you know, people need space.
Ekemini Uwan 43:53
Latasha Morrison 43:54
We have to deal with trauma, sometimes we don’t have the resources to deal with trauma. So we kind of latch on to some things.
Ekemini Uwan 44:03
Latasha Morrison 44:03
You know? And so what are you…in here, you’re talking about, like, a lot of the damage when people leave. And now what? Now what?
Ekemini Uwan 44:19
Yeah, so for me in this in this chapter, it was really, really important. Because there has been this pendulum swing, or this reactionary response to the movement of deconstruction or decolonization.
Latasha Morrison 44:33
Ekemini Uwan 44:33
I don’t see them as the exact same project, which I talked about in the book, too. But where people are not taking serious people’s valid issues and valid hurts and valid pain and the valid hypocrisy that they see. And so I really do try to legitimize that and validate like, “No, you’re seeing this right. No, you’re right. Sexual abuse is evil. It is wicked. NDAs should not be among the body of Christ. All of these things are wrong. Racism is wrong. That is spiritual abuse.” Like yeah, I’m like naming like, “No, all these things are wrong. You’re right, that they are wrong.”
Latasha Morrison 45:17
Ekemini Uwan 45:17
But my argument in that chapter is that it is not the Christian faith that needs construction or decolonization. That is not colonized. You know what I’m saying? It is the sinful additives. It is our version of Christianity in this land. Depending on what your congregation, what your denomination is, things like that. But that’s my argument. I was like, it ain’t the actual faith, the Eastern Christian faith, that’s not the issue. Right?
Latasha Morrison 45:49
And describe the difference so that people, because I’m telling you, like, in America it’s hard to know the difference. I mean, there are people falling for the okey doke that have been to seminary, that got doctorates, and they have adopted a Jesus that I know not who he is. I don’t recognize that.
Ekemini Uwan 46:16
Come on now. Come on.
Latasha Morrison 46:17
But as you familiarize yourself with the words of Jesus, like you say, and understand Eastern culture, understand what was written. I mean, really looking, it’s like we almost need new exegesis on just on scripture to really help us.
Ekemini Uwan 46:41
Oh girl, we do.
Latasha Morrison 46:43
Yeah, because those bad hermeneutics and exegesis that has been done over centuries, it flows into also, the Black church, the Asian Church, the Latine church, all of all of these spaces. And it’s like you almost have to go back and restudy.
Ekemini Uwan 47:14
Latasha Morrison 47:15
And if you don’t have that skill set, you don’t know. You don’t know. You know? Because sometimes when you look at it…but I always tell people, “Read the red letters. Just start. Just spend a year in the red letters. And God will open up your eyes.”
Ekemini Uwan 47:36
But you know what, and that’s the thing, I think because we’re so westernized and because we are, sadly, influenced and products of the Enlightenment, aka the en-white-tenment, we have a very individualistic approach to the faith. You know, in the Ancient Near East and in biblical times, if you will, Jesus’s day, people didn’t have no Bibles. They didn’t have their own Bible, personal Bibles. I believe the Bible is the Word of God. Step one. Let me make that very clear. I’m just saying it had to be read in community.
Latasha Morrison 48:10
Yup. They had letters. They had letters.
Ekemini Uwan 48:13
These are actual, these are letters, y’all. They had to be inspired by the Holy Spirit written right through through the apostles. But they had to be read aloud in community.
Latasha Morrison 48:23
Ekemini Uwan 48:24
And so that’s something that I also argue about, like these things should not be, it can’t just be, “It’s just me and Jesus over here deconstructing and reconstructing.” Because you do things by your own image. Right? And because we are sinful, we have proclivities to making people and things in our own image, we will do that. If we don’t have oversight out of oversight and accountability, and communal insight, you know what I mean. When we talk about, even when I talk about political education, the importance of political education, that has to be done in community.
Latasha Morrison 48:57
Ekemini Uwan 48:58
So we can sharpen one another. So we can grow from one another. Right? So you got, “Okay, okay, you read that? Good. Okay, take this book now. Go read that and come back. And then we’re gonna have a discussion about this.” And so I talked about how we got, we got to link arms with elders who have been in the faith much longer than us, who have seen more grievous iterations of white supremacy than us. Although things are getting real thick these days. I just don’t even know. It’s just.
Latasha Morrison 49:24
Ekemini Uwan 49:25
But you know, but really, like, they have been through so much. These are people that survived Jim Crow. And how did they overcome? And how are they still holding on to the faith? So that to me was really important to be like, nah, let’s try to get back, you know what I’m saying, to to the fundamentals of the faith, and remember that Jesus right now is embodied as a brown skinned Palestinian Jewish man. He’s interceding for us right now. That matters. That matters a great deal. That’s not a game. And I’m coming for iconography, I’m coming for misogyny, too.
Latasha Morrison 50:02
Ekemini Uwan 50:02
Because everything ain’t white supremacy. I’m coming for white supremacy for sure. You know what I’m talking about how colonized discipleship also shows up, not only just in white spaces, that’s low hanging fruit. I talked about how it shows up in white evangelical spaces, white progressive spaces, but also in Black churches. But how does it show up? You know, and what do we do about that? That was important to me.
Latasha Morrison 50:23
Cause it’s showing up in all those spaces. It’s not showing up just on the conservative side, it’s on the liberal side. It’s in all of it. And people not knowing how to recognize it.
Ekemini Uwan 50:35
Latasha Morrison 50:36
Yeah, because you break down what is colonization, and then you break down colonized discipleship within this. And this is so needed. And I understand where people are, but understanding the process of decolonization, too. And you talk about that.
Ekemini Uwan 51:01
It’s a lifelong process. (laughter)
Latasha Morrison 51:01
It is, it is. Because it’s stuff that I catch myself, like, “Where did that thought come from? Why am I thinking that? Why am I reading this like this?” You know, and so those things have helped. But I think one of the things we can’t be afraid to read. You know, we can’t be afraid to read. So I think this is a good start, you know, so those of you who are listening to this and you’re going through this or you’re leaving a space and you feel lost, I think this is a good start, before you start doing some of that work. So we make sure that we’re on the right track and making sure we’re not decolonizing too far.
Ekemini Uwan 51:43
Yes, and let me say this, you know, I think, and for those maybe who can’t read or have a hard time with reading, you can also get the Audible.
Latasha Morrison 51:53
Ekemini Uwan 51:53
You can hear myself, Christina, and Michelle reading this book.
Latasha Morrison 51:58
Ekemini Uwan 51:58
So you will feel like you’re actually at the table, you will feel like you’re on the show. Because you do get to hear us read our chapters.
Latasha Morrison 52:05
I love audiobooks!
Ekemini Uwan 52:07
Yeah, you get to hear our banter, you hear us laughing and talking. And, you know, you’ll get the jokes. You know what I’m saying, there’s some jokes in there. Or, you might not get the jokes, if you’re an outsider you might not get the joke, but that’s alright. You ain’t gotta get everything.
Latasha Morrison 52:07
Right, right, right. (laughter)
Ekemini Uwan 52:16
But I would say that. But then also, I would say, you know, I think what’s so painful to me about the movement toward decolonization, deconstruction, or what what precipitated it really, is that the racism and the white supremacy that led to it is…you know, I’m an evangelist at heart. I’m like, y’all, we gotta wave the blood stained banner of Jesus the Christ. Okay? But with that said, I do believe that it’s a stumbling block, it’s a hypocrisy. And it hurts my heart to see that the stumbling blocks that have been put up with the gospel. I was just reading a passage just earlier today, actually on Get in the Word with Truth’s Table, where we read the Bible on a daily basis and pray, myself and Christina. And Jesus talks about, “Woe to those by which offense comes, woe to those who put stumbling blocks for little children. It’s better for them to have a millstone hung around their neck and be thrown into the heart of the sea, than to cause any one of these little children, to put a barrier between any one of these children and me.” And we are the little children. You know what I’m saying?
Latasha Morrison 53:35
Ekemini Uwan 53:36
We ain’t grown in God’s Kingdom. We are not grown. We are children. And what does it mean for us, you know, with our hypocrisy, with our abuses, to be putting millstones around the necks of God’s children? What does that mean? What are the consequences? They’re grave.
Latasha Morrison 53:52
Whew, I tell you. I was just doing some writing on white nationalism a little bit. And just when you say, “Woe,” like, going back to even the slave Bible. And I’m reading this, and these were so called missionaries that created this. Like, this was a global thing that started in Britain. And I was like, “Oh, my God. Like, oh, my God. Woe to you. I mean, you edited the Word.” I was like, oh my gosh. And you think it’s like, and the seeds of this is still here. Like, you know, the curse of Ham, you see this in the commentaries and all that. And it’s just like, “Lord, forgive, you know, almost forgive us.” But I can’t say, “We know not what we do,” because they know exactly what they doing.
Ekemini Uwan 53:55
They know exactly what they doing. My grandma still has the wallet sized photo of white Jesus that was given to her by the missionaries.
Latasha Morrison 55:04
Ekemini Uwan 55:05
Yeah. So you want to talk about Christian imperialism? That’s also in that chapter. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah, you got to deal with all this.
Latasha Morrison 55:13
Ok, you gotta read this chapter. Read this. We got to jump on, we got to jump on because we gonna be on here forever. (laughter) But you also wrote “Hidden in Plain Sight.” You know, just give us a little bit on why…not just, I don’t think this chapter is not just for single Black women. So if you’re a married woman, please do not skip over this. The same way that we as a single female should not skip over the sections where Christina talks about marriage and everything. Just give us just a little taste of why everyone should read this chapter.
Ekemini Uwan 56:04
Yeah, so, “Hidden in Plain Sight: a Single Black Woman’s Manifesto.” You know, that one is a deeply personal chapter. It’s a chapter where I’d say that there’s a deep soul wound. You know, just the other day, actually, me and Christina we’re recording our episode about her marriage chapter…actually today’s her 21st wedding anniversary. (laughter)
Latasha Morrison 56:27
Happy anniversary, Christina!
Ekemini Uwan 56:29
So, we were talking about that, and she was just talking about how obviously, you know, chattel slavery, since our people were torn from the shores of West Africa and Nigeria and Ghana, you know, the Black family has been torn apart in a thunder. From that moment. Not even just starting here.
Latasha Morrison 56:50
It’s never been whole. Yeah, yeah.
Ekemini Uwan 56:51
From there. Right? Torn asunder, mother, father, kids, you know, little baby suckling at the breast of their mom, ripped away, torn away, and carried off and carted off. And so, and she was like, and we were just in conversation and just talking about how even till this day, and after emancipation, the first thing that enslaved or I’m sorry, free, you know, free Black people did was to put out ads in the paper to find their spouses, find their loved ones. And that even now in 2022, it’s like, I guess you can say, in this manifesto, it’s like, where is my husband? You know? And vice versa, where is my wife? You know, whew sorry, I’m getting emotional. But, it was important to write this chapter because there is a serious, serious evil afoot, there is a grave injustice afoot. This is a systemic issue. This is not pathological. It’s not that Black people don’t value marriage. It’s not that Black women don’t value marriage or even desire marriage. It is that there have been mechanisms of oppression that have been at work for hundreds and hundreds of years. And now we’re seeing the full manifestation of that. And that’s showing up with such statistics as 62 to about 70% of Black women that have never been married. And many of these women, not all, but many of these women desire to be married. I am in the number. I desire to be married to a Black man. And those options are very limited. They’re just not available. And why is that? And that is because of mass incarceration which is an out working of U.S. chattel slavery. Which is why I cite in this book, or in this chapter, I cite Dianne M. Stewart, her work, Black Women, Black Love, the war on African American marriage. And she says that this is a civil rights issue. This is a fundamental civil rights issue that people should be organizing and galvanizing around and have not. And so it was important for me to write this book, and I’m sorry, this chapter and talk about not only the historic systemic analysis, all of that is in the sociological analysis, that’s all gonna be in there.
But also my own personal experience as a Black woman who is a life long single, who has never been in a relationship. What does that mean? What does that look like? You know, you check the boxes, right? Marriage is not an accomplishment. It’s just a gracious gift from God. But it’s not a blood bought promise either. Everybody ain’t gonna get married. You know, and so what does that mean? To be a Black woman who desires to be married to a Black man. But even if you’re open to interracial dating, Black women are on the bottom of that totem pole within the dating pool. You know, so, even if you’re open, I have girlfriends that are open to interracial dating, and they are still very, very much single, because we are not the ones chosen. Which, obviously, because of white supremacist, stereotypical tropes about Black women, right, that are pervasive through the media, through history, through print, through Hollywood, so many different ways, you know, that we are objectified, if you will. We are still long standing singles. And what does that mean? And how does that impact the Black community on the whole, when we don’t have, when we’ve lost a generation to mass incarceration? You know, what does it mean for the aunties, you know what I mean, that do not have children. And I don’t consider myself child free, I consider myself child less. Because I think child free there’s agency implicit in that. Well, no, my agency was stripped from me. I did not choose this. If I had the choice, I’d have been married and have about two kids at this point. Can God still do that? Yeah. God can. I don’t know if God will, but God can do that. But that was important for me to write about this. Very important.
Latasha Morrison 1:01:40
I can’t even. I’m gonna keep my comments to myself. Because we’ll be here for another hour just on that right alone.
Ekemini Uwan 1:01:48
It’s a heavy one. It’s a heavy one.
Latasha Morrison 1:01:49
That’s a heavy one. But I think it’s something powerful about saying, because there’s a fear sometimes as a Black woman, you know, educated Black woman, you know, successful Black women to say, this is the desire that I have. A friend of mine, you know how you have some of those friends where they make you say the things that you don’t ever want to verbalize out loud? You know, I have one of those friends, you know, that does that to me. And I’m just like, “I don’t want to feel all these feelings!”
Ekemini Uwan 1:02:24
Latasha Morrison 1:02:25
So, because I am, I’m a very, like, I am an outgoing person, but I’m a very private person also.
Ekemini Uwan 1:02:33
Of course, yeah.
Latasha Morrison 1:02:33
And, she made me say that I was worthy. That I am worthy to be happy, to have desires, to be desired, like, all of those things. And I was like, “Girl!” (laughter) But it was good for me to verbalize that. So I think this chapter can do that, because you see the struggle of so many Black women out there. But we, you know, even in the midst of that we are here killing it. We’re not sitting on standby. (laughter)
Ekemini Uwan 1:03:16
Oh no! Listen.
Latasha Morrison 1:03:16
We’re gonna make it do what it do. (laughter) We gonna make it do what it do. But I tell you, you know, and then in your final portion of this, “The Diaspora of Dreams.” I’ve heard you talk about that, you know, Blackness as the image of God.
Ekemini Uwan 1:03:17
Latasha Morrison 1:03:25
And as you close, I mean, and this is stuff that as people, if you’re a listener to Truth’s Table it’s basically Truth’s Table come alive in print.
Ekemini Uwan 1:03:51
The podcast on paper. yeah.
Latasha Morrison 1:03:52
And so, yeah, because you only could do so much on a 45, hour podcast. But you’re able to give more content, research, and all of that in the book. And I think this is just going to be the beginning of other things that are to come. Because it’s so needed, the conversations are so needed. So how, like in this chapter that you had, what are some of the takeaways that you want Black women to get from that? And just because, now this is the thing. In this Christian space, just because this book is written by Black women, it doesn’t mean…do you know how many books that I read that I know that I’m not the intended audience? But there’s something that I can gain from it. Men, and I know I have even a lot of white men that listen to my podcast – get this book. Get this book. I mean, I’m surprised, like young white men that actually listen to this podcast. So I’m challenging you to get this book, to read it, and then buy a copy for somebody else.
Ekemini Uwan 1:05:12
Thank you, Tasha.
Latasha Morrison 1:05:13
And so, you know, because there’s something that you can learn. It will make you a better person. You know? The more we know, the more diverse our understandings of the world that we live in, it makes us better. It makes us better Christians.
Ekemini Uwan 1:05:29
Latasha Morrison 1:05:29
Because if we’re talking about we’re connected. And this is the kingdom of God, this is the family of God, we too are part of the Kingdom of God and the family of God. And so it’s important that we understand who’s in our family.
Ekemini Uwan 1:05:43
Latasha Morrison 1:05:43
So. So anyway, what are some takeaways that you would want people to get from this?
Ekemini Uwan 1:05:50
Yeah, so you know, I think, well, first and foremost, first of all, thank you for that. And you’re right. Yeah. How many books? How many shows do we watch that we are not the intended audience?
Latasha Morrison 1:05:59
Ekemini Uwan 1:06:00
They are not talking to us. Okay? So that’s what it means to be Black in America for goodness sake.
Latasha Morrison 1:06:05
Ekemini Uwan 1:06:06
Come and walk down our street for a bit and learn from us. So yeah, thank you for that. You know, I would say, with this chapter in particular, but even with the book overall, I think one aspect of the book that’s really great is that because we said, these are our musings, at the back of the book we have blank pages that say, “My Musings” where our audience, our readers can muse along with us. Because we know the subjects that we’re talking about from colorism to protest as spiritual practice, decolonized discipleship, forgiveness, marriage, divorce, oh my goodness liberation in multi ethnic worship, diaspora dreams, people are going to have a lot to muse about. It’s going to spark some thoughts. And so we want to invite you to, of course, write your musings on there. And so the book will be very personal for you. And so you will actually have to buy another copy for somebody else unless you want them to read your musings. (laugher)
Latasha Morrison 1:06:11
You got to get another copy, you gotta buy two.
Ekemini Uwan 1:06:22
You will need to get another copy because you want to keep your musings to yourself, I would imagine. And then you could give something away. And I think because of the topics that we’re talking about in the book, because we hit on life, love, and liberation. There’s something in there for everybody. And so you’ll read something, you’ll be like, “Oh my gosh, so and so needs to read this book. Because we were just talking to her about her divorce. And this is like something that she could relate to.”
Latasha Morrison 1:07:29
Ekemini Uwan 1:07:29
You know, with regard to “Diaspora Dreams,” I thought it was important to talk about blackness as the image of God in light of white supremacist Christianity, in light of white nationalism, in light of the ways that our people have been maligned globally. Because white supremacy is a global project and has been thoroughly effective, and we know that one of the primary vectors of white supremacy was the corrupted, corrupted Christianity in the hands of imperialist colonizers and missionaries. Right? And so, we are called to evangelism. So don’t you hear me not saying that, but I’m just saying, the ways that the faith has been corrupted, Christianity has been proliferated. It was important for me. You mentioned earlier, Tasha, about the curse of Ham. And so I go into that in this chapter, I talk about what it means to be a Black person in the image of God, and how we are in the image of God in both body and soul and how that connects to Jesus right now, who is presently in body. Jesus did not raise as a ghost. If you believe that, you’re a Gnostic. You need to believe that this is a bodily resurrection. That’s a fundamental of the Christian faith, y’all. Right up there with the Trinity. We got to believe these things. So I’m really just going back to the fundamentals of the faith, like “uh, these are the faith,” and then I connect it. And so in some ways I make some connections to just, and talk about, you know, that myth about what it means to be, “Well I’m Black before I’m Christian.” And why do we say that? Where do we get that from? And so I kind of go into that. And then of course, I make a connection between the foremost CRT scholar, Derrick Bell, his work in Faces at the Bottom of the Well, talking about Afro Atlantica. This Black utopian paradise, you know, that he talks about that so many of us yearn for. Right? Especially on the heels of the Buffalo massacre, white supremacist massacre, that killed 10 Black people. And just all of the anti Black racism and police brutality. It’s always like, “Where can we go? Where can we go to where we can just be and breathe and have joy and be free to be who we are without worries or concerns for our livelihood and for the livelihood of our other kin and kinsmen according to the flesh?” And so I talk about that and wrestle with that, and that longing that I feel like every Black person has to like, “Where can we be?” You know, that’s why we have Wakandas and Zamundas, right? Because we’re like. And that’s why Black Panther was so huge for us, because it was like, “Oh my goodness.” It was our little Black bubble for just two seconds, two hours, or however long that movie was. We got dressed up and was like, “Oh my gosh.” You know, that comradery, that unity, that beauty. You know, it’s so rare that we get to have that experience, but we’re always longing for these fictional places, right? It’s like, because we can’t even name an African country, right? Because we know the ways that colonialism and imperialism has also wreaked havoc in our own homelands. So we can’t even…we got to make up fictional places. That’s why Zamunda and Wakanda exists. It’s like, “Well, why didn’t they pick Ghana? Why didn’t they pick Nigeria?” Like, you know what I’m saying? Do you want to go, do you know the history there? So it’s like, you think about those things. And so I kind of bring all that together to bear in this chapter. And that’s the concluding chapter. So I start the book, and I conclude the book. No pressure. No. (laughter)
Latasha Morrison 1:11:36
Wow, wow, wow. I mean, just all of what you said, you know, in light of what’s happening in Buffalo, like, where can we be?
Ekemini Uwan 1:11:48
Where can we be?
Latasha Morrison 1:11:50
I mean the power of that. When you said that, it was just, that’s how I felt Saturday, and I still haven’t fully even had an opportunity to process because of deadlines, and because of everything.
Ekemini Uwan 1:12:08
Latasha Morrison 1:12:08
But it’s like, I think we’re, I feel like I’m still processing 2012. You know, what I’m saying?
Ekemini Uwan 1:12:14
Listen, listen. Yeah.
Latasha Morrison 1:12:16
You know? And this is gonna take time to process but to see this happen again in such a short period of time. And to see, you know, like, I think someone said, like the names Pearly and all these names are very familiar to us. And to heat this 86 year old woman that has lived through Jim Crow and survives.
Ekemini Uwan 1:12:46
It was Pearly that did it in for me. Yeah.
Latasha Morrison 1:12:48
And to have to look at the face of evil in her last…
Ekemini Uwan 1:12:55
Jesus, help me.
Latasha Morrison 1:12:57
…breath. That right there, I can’t shake it. So, you know, the world moves on. But it’s like, we don’t move on like that. Like it’ll be out the news cycle. It’ll move on. And then when you see the language that is still out there and platformed that is still promoting that ideology…
Ekemini Uwan 1:13:16
The idealogy. Yes!
Latasha Morrison 1:13:17
…that he’s caught up in in high places, in government places, people in Congress, people in Senate, people on TV.
Ekemini Uwan 1:13:25
Famous theologians, famous theologians.
Latasha Morrison 1:13:27
Famous theologians spewing this same mess.
Ekemini Uwan 1:13:30
Normalizing slavery on Twitter.
Latasha Morrison 1:13:33
Yes. It’s just like you say, “Oh Jesus.” I used to, when people used to say, and I almost feel like weepy too. It’s like, when people used to say, “Come Lord Jesus.” You know, I used to like, “Why do you want to die?” But when you do, when you say, where can we be? Like, it’s not safe. And then you have your brothers and sisters in Christ that are not concerned about your safety. Like they’re more concerned about the bottom lines.
Ekemini Uwan 1:14:09
Latasha Morrison 1:14:09
And it’s like, I mean, was the early church, was it concerned about the bottom line? Or was it concerned about the people that represented communities?
Ekemini Uwan 1:14:22
That’s right. That’s right.
And, I was just like, we have ingested something. I do not understand what we have become. And it’s like, where can we be? Where can we?
Where can we be? That’s right.
Latasha Morrison 1:14:38
And yeah, and I’m so grateful for you. I’m grateful for this book. I think this book comes as like a healing balm in the midst of a lot of turmoil where we just need a place to be. And I think this book, these words are a place to be because it gives us hope. Yes. Not so much in the hope in ourselves, but hope in the the God that we serve. And so I’m so grateful. What are the things that, I know there’s a lot that we’re lamenting right now. What are some things that are bringing you joy in this moment?
Ekemini Uwan 1:15:25
Well. (laughter) That’s a great question. Oh boy.
Latasha Morrison 1:15:31
I know, right?
Ekemini Uwan 1:15:32
It feels like a hard question now.
Latasha Morrison 1:15:35
I know, I know. It’s a hard week to ask that question.
Ekemini Uwan 1:15:38
It is. You know, I have, yeah, I don’t know. Well, you know, I am grateful that the season’s changing. We are on the cusp of summer. Summer is my favorite season.
Latasha Morrison 1:15:54
Ekemini Uwan 1:15:54
I’m really, really excited about that. I know that every season is changing now because of climate change. I am aware, but summer is still my favorite season. I’m grateful for that. So I’m looking forward to kind of, you know, soaking in the sun. You know, taking a little bit more of that. I am looking forward to a vacation. I’m looking forward to that!
Latasha Morrison 1:16:15
Say it again! (clapping)
Ekemini Uwan 1:16:16
I’m taking a vacation. I’m looking forward to that.
Latasha Morrison 1:16:19
Ekemini Uwan 1:16:20
You know, and of course, what’s giving me joy, my nieces. Of course.
Latasha Morrison 1:16:24
Ekemini Uwan 1:16:24
My niecey-poos. They give me a lot, a lot of joy in this tumultuous time that we are living in, this chaotic time that we are living in. I would say those at least at the moment. And I’m grateful to be on the cusp of my birthday, 40th birthday. I can’t believe it. I was like, “Wait what?!”
Latasha Morrison 1:16:24
When is the date?
Ekemini Uwan 1:16:33
Well I don’t want to get in with the government’s, but it is coming up this month. So I’ll tell you offline. (laugher)
Latasha Morrison 1:16:51
Okay, okay. Okay, cool. Okay. (laughter)
Ekemini Uwan 1:16:58
So I have a lot, yeah, I’m grateful. I’m grateful.
Latasha Morrison 1:17:00
Mine is coming. Mine is coming, too. That’s why, mine is next month.
Ekemini Uwan 1:17:03
Oh, yours is next month?! Ok!
Latasha Morrison 1:17:05
Yeah. We all need a vacation. Let me tell you, ladies, we all need a break. Even if it’s just a weekend break, we have some time to breathe. I’ve been looking forward to a vacation since my last vacation. (laugher)
Ekemini Uwan 1:17:22
Listen. Me too! (laughter)
Latasha Morrison 1:17:25
And I do need to, like normally we put in a little more space for me, but this year has just been very different. Because when you’re in a writing season, you don’t have those breaks. But because of what we write, the heaviness of what we write and what we carry, I know I have to become more creative in talking with those who are my agents and publishers like, this is different. We’re writing something different. So we gotta have some different rules.
Ekemini Uwan 1:17:56
Yeah, I agree. You’re right.
Latasha Morrison 1:17:57
Because if not, we’ll tap out. And I don’t think I’ve ever been as exhausted as I am in my life. You know, it’s just, and I think coming out of the pandemic and everything. So I’m so glad that your nieces are bringing you joy.
Ekemini Uwan 1:18:17
Latasha Morrison 1:18:17
I got a little dog, you know, and everything and that has been so helpful over the last year for me. Family, you know, all of that, the little little cousins, the god children, all those good things. But because there is so much to lament, but thank God for laments. Thank God that we have a place to direct our pain that gives us hope.
Ekemini Uwan 1:18:22
Latasha Morrison 1:18:47
And it’s a form of worship. So I know that this book is gonna just really help people. And I look for more to come. And so I know Christina and Michelle have their portions and I’m like at some point as the year goes, I need to get them on here to talk about their portions, too. (laughter) You know, get some special Black girl privilege here, you know. I’m so grateful for you.
Ekemini Uwan 1:19:17
Latasha Morrison 1:19:18
Keep up the beautiful work. Okay?
Ekemini Uwan 1:19:20
Okay, I pray to…thank you for having me. And I do pray that our book is a blessing to your community to your listeners. Of course, you can get the book, well, wherever books are sold.
Latasha Morrison 1:19:30
Yeah, we’ll have all of that in the show notes. But I would encourage you to get the Audible, too. But I like to get the book and the Audible. I know that’s like for some people’s budget, but I like to have the book. And then I like to listen to the Audible because I like to hear voices. But then I’d like to be able to go back to a chapter.
Ekemini Uwan 1:19:58
Okay, mark it up maybe?
Latasha Morrison 1:20:00
Mark it up. Yeah. And like that. So I do, so most people get, they get it from me twice. But the great thing is about being in this position with the podcast and everything, most of the time I get the book sent to me.
Ekemini Uwan 1:20:12
Yeah, you do. Exactly.
Latasha Morrison 1:20:14
And then I’d go by the Audible. So I have the Audibles just about to every book and I like to listen as I go and around the day. You know, and all that.
Ekemini Uwan 1:20:27
Thank you. I hope it blesses you. You’ll hear our cackles, you’ll hear our jokes. I think you’ll like the jokes.
Latasha Morrison 1:20:35
Okay, okay. I like a good joke now. I love a good joke.
Ekemini Uwan 1:20:38
The jokes are in there and the references. Girl, you will love it.
Latasha Morrison 1:20:41
I love it. Well, thank you guys for listening. And, you know, as Ekemini said, this book can be found where all books are sold. Download it, buy the ebook, the Book, the Audible, you know, all of that. And then also listen to their podcast. I think there’s a lot to learn there. And I’m so grateful for you and your voice and looking forward to all that’s to come. You know, this is the thing, I guess I will say this is bringing me joy. You know, this has brought me joy today.
Ekemini Uwan 1:21:14
I missed you. Especially after a hard week, I was looking forward to this conversation.
Latasha Morrison 1:21:19
I know. Listen, let me tell you guys. I have, we’re on this platform, and we had some issues. So we took the video feed off. And so we hadn’t put it back on. And then when I got on here with Ekemini, I was like, “Wait a minute, I need to see her face again. I need to see her face.” (laughter) And we had to hook it up where we can see each other’s face. So we’re right here in virtual presence.
Ekemini Uwan 1:21:45
Latasha Morrison 1:21:45
But so grateful for you. And so thank you guys for listening to the Be the Bridge podcast. And I hope this podcast is a blessing to you.
Tandria Potts 1:21:57
Go to the donors table if you’d like to hear the unedited version of this podcast.
Thanks for listening to the Be the Bridge podcast. To find out more about the Be the Bridge organization and or to become a bridge builder in your community, go to BeTheBridge.com. Again, that’s BeTheBridge.com. If you’ve enjoyed this podcast, remember to rate and review it on this platform and share it with as many people as you possibly can. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Today’s show was edited, recorded, and produced by Travon Potts at Integrated Entertainment Studios in Metro Atlanta, Georgia. The host and executive producer is Latasha Morrison. Lauren C. Brown is the Senior Producer. And transcribed by Sarah Connatser. Please join us next time. This has been a Be the Bridge production.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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