And I know that when I wrote “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe” that I wrote it with a feeling of hopelessness. I was very emotional when I wrote it. I was on the verge of crying about what I was writing about. And I was trying to explain what seemed to me impossible to explain. Gloria T. Hull, Bell Scott, and Barbara Smith had come out with the collection All the Blacks Are Men, All the Women Are White, but Some of Us Are Brave, and that was the situation that I was trying to describe. Conceptually and theoretically. What was that like? I had an urge to find a category that respected history. I wrote it with a sense of urgency, with a need to tell something that had been told over and over again—I knew that none of it was new. But what was new was that I was trying to bring the language of a postmodern academy to a very old problem, a problem that historians had been writing about for at least fifty years at the time that I was writing this piece. And so I was trying to ask the question again, ask it anew, as if it had not been asked before, because the language of the historian was not telling me what I needed to know. Which is, what is it like in the interstitial spaces where you fall between everyone who has a name, a category, a sponsor, an agenda, spokespersons, people looking out for them—but you don’t have anybody. That’s your situation. But I am like the white elephant in the room. Though you can’t talk about the era of sound in the U.S. without talking about blues and black women. You can’t talk about the eras of slavery in the Americas without talking about black women, or black men without black women and how that changes the community—there is not a subject that you can speak about in the modern world where you will not have to talk about African women and new world African women. But no one wants to address them. I felt that in 1986 and 1987 no one wanted to put a theoretical spin on this, I mean we really are invisible people. And I just kind of went nuts. And I am saying, I am here now, and I am doing it now, and you are not going to ignore me. And so all of those essays are saying—I am here now, “Whatcha gonna do?
And when you say justice, it doesn’t have to be war. Justice could just be clearing a path for people to dream properly.