“If you were a soon-to-be journalism graduate in 2014, what would you do?”
I sat in quiet expectation with my legs crossed and a sheet of questions on my lap. It was my last day interning at 1 Times Square and graduation was one quarter away. I accepted the meeting request for my performance review anticipating a prescription to cure my upcoming post-graduate career woes (and a few cozy job leads). My supervisor, who was hired directly out of college and had been at the publication for two decades, glanced at the door to make sure that it was tightly shut. She stopped what she was doing, looked at me more directly than she ever had before and replied,
When I think of summer, I think of sunshine and white nail polish that gives a tempting shock of contrast to the fresh tint that the sun grants me every summer season. I think of the golden glaze that overlays everything I touch – ice cream cones, sand, BBQ ribs, breezy nights, afternoon embraces filled with warmth, and too many one-piece outfits to ever want to wear a proper outfit again.
When I think back to my black girlhood, it exists far beyond the childhood montage that you see in movies. It’s sealed in a Vaseline-slick sheen, announced with the clink of barrettes, and punctured by the kind of sting you get from scraped knees and broken promises. There’s an overwhelming overlay of goodness. It’s sepia-toned, bubblegum pink and Nickelodeon slime green. It smells like strawberry Lip Smackers and tastes like cones from the Mr. Frostee truck. I’m well aware that all of this is probably just to keep me sane and promise my present self that an equally colorful future awaits.
Detroit is a creative city. As Detroiters, our mouths can recite today’s lunch special to patrons as breezily as midnight lyrics to captivated audiences. Our patient hands reach for the hands of students as naturally as we reach for precious brushes to paint full, glowing faces on canvas or skin upon request. Our vision may blur at the sight of afternoon paperwork, but we can zoom in on a moment that deserves to be captured, whether on film or on phone, from a mile away. Whether working with our hands or our minds, most Detroiters know how to do a lot of things.