Let’s just go ahead and set the ninjanet on fire. I think Langston Hughes’ poem “A Dream Deferred” is a terrible poem. Like seriously. I’ve read this joint out loud to myself numerous times. I did an interpretive dance to it once. I read it with a British accent while wearing some leopard print boxer briefs that said “Mufasa”Â on the front.
Nada. It didn’t get any better.
In fact, during inauguration weekend, while hanging out with Liz and a gang of her friends, I not only said the poem was terrible, I said that 2 CHAAAAAAINNNNNNZ “Birthday Song” was a better “poem” than “A Dream Deferred.”
Here’s the actual poem by the way:
What happens to a dream deferred?Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.Or does it explode?Officially, that was a step too far. You remember the scene at the end of Barbershop where folks start talking about Dr. Martin Luther Tha King and the old guys get mad? Yeah….say something bad about something that some educated ninja did 70+ years ago and you’re liable to start a race riot.
Ignorance aside – though I’m not joking – while I think the poem itself is seriously wacksauce, the concept of “a dream deferred” is beyond amazing. For the vast many of us, we are the sum totals of many dreams deferred. Michael Jordan kept that in perspective for me during his birthday weekend which I’m just now realizing isn’t a national holiday despite the insane media coverage of him turning the big 5-0. MJ? Very few of his dreams seem deferred. He is a person who managed to make the absolute most of his dreams and then realize them. Many of us are limited by various factors that perhaps cause us to think that our dreams are out of reach.
Or perhaps some of us came up in circumstances that maybe didn’t prohibit our dreams but placed John Coffey sized obstacles in our way at every twist and turn. The point is, I have spent a lot of time just thinking about the words “a dream deferred” and how abstract but poignant they are. So while the poem may be non-sense (to me), I do believe that the very idea is one of the deepest ideals that many of us can internalize. Kind of like how the idea of “The Sum of All Fears” was a much better title than the movie.
So here are a few other things that I think are better in concept and theory than they are in actuality:
Oprah – her heyday is longgone. But somehow, sitting on Oprah’s couch still somehow counts for something even though it really doesn’t.
HBCU’s outside of the ones folks actually respect – Young, sad and blue. But it’s true. The idea of HBCUs is probably centered around the Morehouse/Spelman/Howards of the lot, yet the vast majority aren’t quit…cutting the mustard.
Range Rovers – Every since Jay ethered the now defunct 4.0, the Range has been a hip-hop staple. Yet, just get you a Tahoe and save some dough.
Washington, DC – it’s like a Black resthaven until you realize its small as hell and you will have done everything possible within a year of living here. It seems like what you envision within the lights of Manhattan for ninjas. Then you realize we’ve got a big wang in the middle of our city. And it’s white. Just a confusing city. Viva DC. It’s my hometown now. So I can say this. I pay property taxes.
Kat Williams (conversely, Steve Harvey is worse in theory than he actually is) – Katt isn’t funny. Yet somehow he became, ya know, before he lost his everloving mind, some sort of Black comedian bar. And he sucks. But the idea of him was a fun one. Real ni**a talkin.
“You Don’t Live On My Street” (though I have to admit my bias here because well, I have heard this poem so many times from Spelman women who clearly didn’t live on any street mentioned in the poem. Tweedledee) – see “A Dream Deferred”
Love Jones (though we can argue that what this is and what it represents are one and the same) – just saying but the legacy of Love Jones has completely trumped the actual movie.
Stringer Bell – Idris, while he may look like he does, is nowhere near as cool as the reason we know his name. Stringer, the coolest and closest to some ideal many Black men would love to live was one of the most evil and f*cked up characters on the show.
Well, that’s enough from me for now. What else is better in theory or concept than in actuality? And by the way, please direct all hate mail about my “A Dream Deferred” comment to this email address.
-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka DON’T DEFER MY DREAMS BRO aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL HE A 3