Chapter Excerpt

1

Word to Life

I am not who you think I am. If you love me, you love me for the wrong reasons.

Females tell me they love me because I'm tall. They love when I stand over them and look down. They love when I lay them down and my height and body weight dominates them.

Females tell me they love me because I'm pure black. They say they never seen a black man so masculine, so pretty, so beautiful before.

Females say they love my eyes. They're jet black too. Women claim they find a passion in them so forceful that they'll do anything I say.

Females tell me they love my body. They beg me for a hug even when there's nothing between me and them. They want to be captured in my embrace, and press their breasts against my chest.

Some females ask if they can just touch me. Some tremble when my hands touch them. They say they love the muscles in my arms. They surrender when I lift them up. They whine and moan in rapture. Some cry their pleasure. Some shake. Some pee.

Some of 'em even say they love the way my teeth look in my mouth and how my feet look in my kicks.

Females tell me they love the way I walk, like I'm soon to own the world.

Most females say they love that I'm quiet. Then shiver when I finally talk.

All of the women show me that they love my guns, the fact that I walk with two of them at times. Even the ones who get scared fall in love with their fear of me. Then they come at me even harder.

Some females say I'm too serious, then shield their eyes to hide their feelings from the shine when I finally smile.

I can't lie, I enjoy the good times that some of these women offer me. But I don't take them to heart. I know that they don't really even know me. All the shit that they are in love with is just my style and my looks, all window dressing.

I know that a man is his own beliefs, his own ideas and actions. If you knew me, you would know what I believe. If you knew what I believe, then you would understand how I think. You would understand my ideas and actions. Only then should you decide. Either you believe what I believe, or you admire what I believe and want to get with those beliefs. If not, in the long run, we got nothing in common. I can't take you seriously. I gotta go. You got nothing that makes me want to stay.

I don't come from where you come from. I don't think like you do. My whole situation is different. I come from a country of real men who take real life, real serious.

I wouldn't trade places with an American-born man for any amount of cash.

Where I'm from, a son has a first name and three last names. The three last names are the names of his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. Any male who cannot identify his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather is already lost.

These three names are what makes a boy who he is. There is no talk of role models and celebrities. A son is raised under his father's wing, with a grandfather to guide and a great-grandfather as a blueprint, plus an army of uncles nearby.

Where I'm from, a man does not bow to any other man. A man bows down only to Allah. Only Allah created the heavens, the galaxies, the universe, and all of the millions of creatures within.

My father had three wives. Not one wife, one wifey, and a bunch of random bitches on the side.

Where I am from, a man wants to marry a woman and establish a strong family. A man can have more than one wife as long as he can treat them all fairly and provide them with love, separate homes, food, guidance, and presence.

There is no such thing as domestic drama. A woman feels fortunate to be selected by a quality husband, a family man, who will be by her side for her entire lifetime. Families are permanent.

When a man is ready to build his family, he selects a woman who he likes, who is from a family who raised her right, a woman who knows how to love and live. She has to be good for him, his beliefs, and plans for life. Someone who brings him peace, progress, and pleasure. Then he is down for her for real.

She is down for him too because she feels his strength, craves his love and attention, feels safe tucked at his side, and is confident that every day he is making the right moves for her, his family, and himself.

Our women don't argue with their man. A man knows what he is supposed to do and not do. It is the same thing he watched his own father do and not do. So he does it. Even if a man selects the wrong path, his punishment is between himself and Allah. His woman cannot punish him, judge him, or nag him to death.

In my country, a wife is not a whore or ex-whore. Every move a woman makes matters. She can bring dishonor to her man and family even with a simple glance at another man, if it is held for too long.

Even where I am from, there are whores. They know their place too. They stay within the walls of the illegal whorehouse, never to be glorified, honored, claimed, or married. A whore, where I am from, is the opposite of arrogant. She is used but never celebrated by decent men or women. She knows that she can never enjoy the lifestyle and contentment of a respected sister, daughter, mother, or wife.

The punishment for a good woman who comes from a good family and suddenly behaves whorish is severe. She will be isolated by her parents, family, and friends. Her father and mother may lock her away and confine her to one room in the house. In some cases, she is even murdered by her own husband, father, or brother for bringing shame and dishonor to her family and the people who raised, guided, loved, and provided for her.

The family member who commits the murder is not arrested. The whole country acknowledges that a woman is sacred. Every move she makes is either building her family up or breaking it down. Every thought she has is felt and considered by her children. Every word she speaks either teaches or misleads. She must remain honorable, pure, and righteous, otherwise there will be no happiness, no family, and no reason to exist.

Mouthing off; fucking her man's friends, brothers, and cousins; running away with the children; aborting the babies; lying about who is the father of her children; not knowing who the father is; yelling and disrespecting; doing drugs; drinking; parading around mostly naked; acting crazy; our men don't stand for that. We have not experienced that. We never will.

Our women know their place. They stay in it and live and thrive there. They remain there happily. Our women give love and are loved even more. She is respected, protected, and provided for. She lives proud and at peace.

Where I am from, liquor is illegal and forbidden. We believe that it makes a man behave with ignorance. After drinking liquor, the next step, we believe, is to disgrace God, and destroy yourself and your family.

In my country, homosexuality is nonexistent. For the absolute majority it is unknown and undone. There have been one or two of those who have traveled out to other places in Europe or America and come back with this bizarre behavior. However, they could never remain with us. Their homosexuality resulted in suicides, or they just turned up missing.

There are no tears for the man who enters into the exit, and builds a life where there can be no balance, reproduction, or family.

Where I am from, adultery is a crime for a man or a woman. Even to fuck someone else's sister or daughter just because you feel like it or like the way she looks, without approaching her family for marriage, means that you have brought about a battle between dishonored families, yours and hers. The man who commits adultery will be punished by his family. The woman who commits adultery will be considered ruined.

Where I am from, men work. Whether he works his own land and is paid in the foods the Earth produces; whether he works someone else's land; whether he is paid in cash, cattle, or otherwise; he works. Hard work is a man's way of providing for and demonstrating that he loves his family.

Each man must have a business of products or services. His product might be fish, meats, vegetables, fruits, jewelry, clothing, crafts, furniture, vehicles, parts and supplies, or other items. Or he may provide services as a doctor, carpenter, construction worker, engineer, lawyer, driver, educator, or performer. But no man can sit doing nothing. His family, backed up by the entire community, would never allow it.

When I talk about where I am from, which is almost never, both males and females feel uneasy. Some look at me in disbelief, like I'm a fucking liar. Others stare off in complete boredom, like it is not a life they would ever want to live. But I feel fine. People where I am from are happy, while almost everybody I know in America feels fucked up, empty, and dissatisfied, especially the Black people.

At fourteen years young, I became a citizen of the United States. It was supposed to be a great day, to be remembered for a lifetime. There we were, becoming a part of what is known as the best country in the world, America, after having been born and living inside of what Americans consider the worse place in the world, the continent of Africa.

We got dressed up and took the A train to City Hall in New York City. We recited some things that we had already memorized. Then it became official.

I should say it became legal. I was an American on paper. I never became one in my heart or mind.

The year I became an American was the same year I got locked up. I went from the projects, to juvenile detention, to prison. Each year I became more and more familiar with the American Blacks. The ones who look just like me. They range from very light skin to my rich dark color, as it is back home. When I first arrived, they were Afro-Americans, then Blacks, then African Americans, and eventually niggas.

They talked like they were the most powerful, clever motherfuckers on the planet. They looked down on other Blacks arriving from any other country in the world. They hated every accent besides their own. They was quick to catch an attitude and say some shit that I could tell they really knew nothing about.

There was no real way for me to separate myself from them. We all looked the same, wore the same clothes, spoke the same slang. All united by our Air Jordan kicks.

I don't talk a lot. Where I'm from, the boys and men are trained to leave the blabbering to young girls.

It wasn't too long before I realized that if I said nothing for the rest of my life, shit would only get worse. I'm telling my story so Black people worldwide will know that we wasn't always fucked up. Also, that a good life takes great effort and sacrifice, but feels so much better than what we all got now. Besides, if the authentic men don't say shit, there will be no evidence that real men really do exist.

Living side by side with niggas, and watching them play themselvesevery second of every day, the broke ones all the way up to the rich ones, is killing me.

I'm not a preacher, politician, pimp, or celebrity. Most of them couldn't go to hell quick enough for me. A man who doesn't say what he means or do what he says, craves attention and misuses it when he gets it, doesn't share what he knows and earns, deserves death.

I am not who you think I am. My people are not who you think they are. Our culture and traditions are unknown to you. Sometimes it takes someone from the outside to show you how you look and do. If you're American born and raised, you're bound to get it twisted. You can't see yourselves or don't know yourselves. You're too accustomed to looking at life from only one fucked-up angle.

Everything you have ever seen or heard about Africa is wrong. My African grandfather taught me that the storyteller is the most powerful person in the world after God. My grandfather said be careful who you listen to and what they are saying. The storyteller is clever and masterful and has already decided exactly what he wants you to think and believe.

The storyteller has the power to make people feel good or bad about themselves. The storyteller has the power to make people feel strong or weak, ugly or beautiful, confident or defeated.

Unfortunately, all of the stories being told to Blacks in America, Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean have made Blacks worldwide feel low, weak, crazy, backward, and powerless. So low that the storyteller has set the conditions for Blacks to be robbed of all of their stuff and too stupid to recognize it.

So put your brews and blunts on pause. Rock with me for a few.Copyright © 2008 by Souljah Story, Inc.


Excerpted from Midnight: A Gangster Love Story by Sister Souljah
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