“Flags? In my early memories of the idea of the flag as a symbol outside a legit piece of fabric I always think of Carnival. The labor day parade in Brooklyn. I never understood the connection of 4th of July and why people make American flag cupcakes. I was like um “I’m sleep”, booooop. Mind you this is all way before I had a real idea of the darkness and history that is America and the American flag. The only “American” celebrations that seemed lit to me were the black/ brown folks functions and seldom do you or did i see black folk really out here lit to waive an American flag like that. African Americans often would rep The Boogie down bronx, H Town, Inglewood and when I saw black folk rock the American flag is was an act of defiance. Reclaiming.
All this to say once a year there is this bubbling up of public and visual defiance when 100s even 1000s of Caribbean folk and their kin descend on Eastern parkway to take pride in where they are from and its seldom America. We live here but our heart will always be somewhere else. The cultivation of all the different types of “us” makes this place what it is, not hot dogs. NOT a wall, or apple pie or some corny ass pop song- this display of OTHER places is America. This sea of fabric colors is some thing to be proud of but how does it happen? Why do we keep that Dominican flag in our link in bio? Why do we post up in front of the roti place after a long work week? It starts with admiration and love of home. That land we haven’t left behind. That grandma we need to call back. That cousin who is waiting on our Western Union transfer. That paradise where everyone does look like us. Let’s not forget that place. Let’s not demonize that place. Even with its flaws let’s remember why it make us beautiful. It makes u special. In the face of so much bullshit we experience on this land (America) that tries to tell us that this hot dog, pain and apple pie is “the best country in the world” let not drink the cool aid and remember fresh coconut water and grandma’s pasteles.” - Christopher Udemezue