“Slaves sing most when they are most unhappy. The songs of the slave represent the sorrows of his heart; and he is relieved by them, only as an aching heart is relieved by its tears.”
“Positive sexual images and what they manifest saves lives because they affirm those lives and make it possible for people to attempt to live as self-loving instead of self-loathing.”
“Comedians don’t start out to change the world, but in the end, that’s what they do.”
“I need a break from activism at the moment. It just stresses me out,” many an activist has told me.
The moment you start to become socially aware, you realize how oppressive the world is and how these oppressive systems surround you. They are perpetuated not only by religious and political leaders, but in everything we do, say, listen to, and watch. Sometimes, it feels overwhelming to try to fix it all.
I understand if you feel like you need a break.
But what if activism doesn’t always have to be so stressful?
If you belong to an oppressed group of people, sometimes you show the strength of your community by standing up and shouting.
But other times, you show your strength by laughing. Your “break” from activism has the potential of being part of your activism.
Because there are two things that those who hate us don’t want. They don’t want us to stand up for ourselves, and they don’t want us to be happy.
Can we do both to spite them?
It may be important to note how many of the best performers, musicians, comics, and artists come from communities that have experienced serious forms of violence, their celebration, music, and laughter born out of cultural pain.
Within the queer community, we have our share of artists and poets throughout history. And of course, we have the invention of the drag performers, the sacred clowns of queerness.
Maybe laughter and having fun despite the pain plays an important part in empowering the oppressed.
There is a time for protests and vigils and discussion groups and deeply thinking about problems and solutions. Those are so very important.
But then there’s also a time for celebration and artistic creation and connecting with others and parades.
And all of those might be just as important for the revolution.
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose
under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time
to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a
time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a
time to dance…”