The following is a narrative originally created on October 8, 2009. It was written by me - Mahoganie Jade Browne – for the “Act Like You Know” creative writing workshop lead by poet Tony Medina. The workshop is part of the humanities curriculum at Howard University. I took the course as an elective in the midst of my journalism/African-American Studies coursework. Armed with my passion for creative writing and remembering the inspiring good time I had in my previous class with Medina (poetry) I went ready and open to sharpen my craft..my talent..my gift.
After the submission of the narrative Medina did reward me with an “A” while writing on a baby blue Post-It;
“Very creative, innovative and well written and photography.”
Hope you enjoy.
By: Mahoganie Jade Browne
Photos by: Mahoganie Jade Browne
Dusk has fallen upon the nation’s capital. A match striking and lighting cuts through the symphony of engines and horns of early Saturday evening. The light has hit its destination as small clouds of smoke are expelled and seem to whisper as they float high above the street line trees and beyond the historic Victorian row houses. It’s only background music, the melody to what really matters this night. The young, powerful and restless ooze onto the city streets. They own the night as they work hard and play hard; sometimes simultaneously.
More smoke is expelled from the same place of origin as before. Behind the thinning smoke a male figure is meshed in with the shadow of the trees. The distinct broad shoulders are the give away as they are the forefront to a soft glow coming from the gray stoned row house standing proud behind him. His eyes are affixed, surveying all that come toward him and the house.
Stiletto heels click against the concrete, causing their owners’ hips to seductively switch. Stacy Adams and Kenneth Coles barely make a sound as their soles touch the ground. The figure behind the smoke becomes visible, showing off his sand color suit-sans a tie-leaving crisp white shirt unbutton from the first…second…third top buttons. Daps for the familiar faces. Hugs and kisses for the familiar luscious eye candies decked out in black licorice, red peppermint, cotton candy pink and plush purple.
Welcome to tonight’s opening at the Studio Gallery.
Boys in tails and refined girls in pearls we are not. Cultured we are, but some of us bare our tribal markings loud and boastfully. Our pearls strung and adorned acutely. Our own brand of button down shirts and tailored pencil skirt sophistication fused with narrow lapels and corsets on display. We are a new breed of socialites. Breaking rules to make our own as we go along. We are innovators and creators; perfecting a model and inventing new ones. We seek to change the perception of the world. Our mantra; “Who Needs Forever” – of Astrud Gilberto fame – is our inner eternal conflict. We live for the moment, while deep down we want our imprint to be timeless and to know our moment wasn’t in vain.
“Me/I’m a creator/thrill is to make it up/The rules I break got me a place/Up on the radar”
- Santogold “Creator”
We laugh at you who only see this city in the polarizing black and white shades of politics. There is an underground world that thrives. It’s vibrant. It’s the subliminal lyrics to the melody of the city that is beyond the monotonous congo sound of GoGo.
Tonight we gather here at the gallery to honor one of our own; an ingénue with a milk chocolate flow. A misfit that hashes gold, purples, blues and greens mash ups.
A fashion designer, a publicist, a literary agent, a journalist, a photographer, a critic, a novelist, a producer and recruiter. Which one are you?
Maybe you are like Ms. Milk Chocolate Flow, growing up wearing mother’s pearls and clothes and subscribing to all things fashion and falling in love with silks, tweed, cotton and jersey. Maybe you daydreamed like Ms. Milk Chocolate Flow of seeing your name stitched inside a garment only to fulfill that dream by attending the Fashion Institute and Technology after already achieving your Bachelors in your 9 to 5 craft, communications. Maybe you just can’t rest until your work begins furcating from your dreams and you take a hustle job creating costumes for plays along the chitterling circuit.
If you don’t see yourself in Ms. Milk Chocolate Flow, she’s sure to ignite something in you and cause your inner being to stir. For there is passion in her work.
We, the new breed of socialites live a fast paced life. Our passions and convictions drive us. Some may eventually find themselves ill equipped and will break. Others are built to withstand.
Looking from the outside, the view of Ms. Milk Chocolate Flow’s life seems a blur. But from where she stands, time is like a slug and at times becoming stagnant. Yet she knows there is a time for everything; an order of life. While we see her in a blur and will charge it to her tardiness or the swiftness of her early arrival, she will say she is right on schedule.
Tonight, armed with her ruby Blackberry and business cards, the time has come to introduce her brand…her craft…her art to the world. As she zooms about leaving a trail of purple rays for her observers to savor, Ms. Milk Chocolate Flow is into her stride, keeping in time to the divine tick and tock. No such thing as colored people’s time here.
In our world we owe allegiance to the DJ. It is he that aids us in washing away the everyday dirt from our souls. He is our unspoken therapist as we are allowed to reflect and dance away the woes. He is our pulse, our heartbeat. He is our rhythm.
Tonight is no different, except he is her dad. His hypnotic mixes are his praises for his daughter, Ms. Milk Chocolate Flow.
Our taste senses are titillated with a blush of a wine, a mint leaf of a mojito or straight cranberry juice. Perfect elixirs playing purposefully with our thoughts. Causing walls to temporarily fail and allowing our bodies to exude confidence unknown.
As we await the debut of Ms. Milk Chocolate Flow, let us take in a few laughs….
Let us engage in conversation about the tasty crab puffs and compare them to the pre-cooked frozen kind from Billy Bob’s Bargain Basement Bulk discount store.
Let us take in the art work that surrounds us and wonder how we can do a spinoff from what we saw.
Maybe we can take a moment to quietly reflect in our own corners of the earth. Perhaps, without even looking, we will have stumbled across something that causes us to stop and ponder the what, when, where, why and how.
Though we of the new breed often want to be seen, the click and flick of a shutter and flash is nothing. Paparazzi can’t figure us out. We’re too noticeable to be ignored and too underrated and under scored to be adored more.
As the debut draws near, there are last minute jitters amongst those who will be living presentations of Ms. Milk Chocolate Flow’s work. An “opps!” A silent prayer. A hush is in the air.
All gather in the upper room for the debut.
Strike a pose!