Black Men Smile Takes A Stand Against Muslim Ban

Photo by Carlton Mackey

Photo by Carlton Mackey

What are we fighting for? What are we truly afraid of? Is it our brothers and sisters who share a different physical hue and spiritual view than us, or is it indeed ourselves? Why does it appear that we’re more divided than ever within this nation?

In private, these thoughts, among many others have found their way into the forefront of my mental space.  I often wonder why some people thrive off of hatred and injustice and how someone can be so cruel and deliberately oppress another human spirit. I’m very sensitive when it comes to humanity because I tend to unconsciously internalize the joys and woes of the world. I guess that’s a natural trait that comes along with being an empath.  On countless occasions I’ve been completely enamored with our beauty as humans, and contrarily, during instances like the recent Immigration Ban in America, I feel completely appalled by the very same species. Consequently, like many other descent humans I’m left wondering, what can I or should I be doing during such a tumultuous period in our history?   

This past Sunday I got a chance to search for answers at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Ga. This trip was unique in that I wasn’t boarding a plane to leave the city but instead I was traveling towards my higher purpose. I was heading in the direction of my spirit, towards the leader, the activist, towards the outspoken artist who doesn’t stand by and watch shit happen without joining in on the fight for justice. On Sunday, January 29, 2017 I found me within the hearts and souls of thousands of other protesters.

Among the protesters was the Mackey Family! Carlton, Kari and Isaiah welcomed me to share in this experience with them and I was beyond grateful for the chance to do so. As we exited the Marta train at the airport I couldn’t help but wonder what was going through the minds of the Mackey family, in particular within Isaiah’s mind. What was he seeing and how was he making sense of this unique environment? Just like him, this was my first public protest as well. Was he nervous? Was he excited? Did he have a genuine understanding as to the magnitude of this moment within our society and how might this occurrence impact his life’s path? Looking back, I think these questions may have been some of my own.

Within seconds of entering the protest area, it became evident that we belonged there. The energy was magnetic! People were shouting resistance chants and sharing gestures of reassurance and encouragement with each other. It was like meeting your tribe and aligning with your being. It was more than I could have ever imagined. It was like coming alive and listening to your soul vibrate on its highest frequency. On January 29th my life truly changed. I had never marched or protested for a cause, nor had I ever felt inclined to do so but on that day my life changed. On that day I realized that not only am I an artist and the Co-Director of Black Men Smile but I am by design an activist who vows to fight for his people.


Video by Carlton Mackey