I like makeup. I also like to read. I decided to combine the two for a new segment of the blog called #BooksandBronzer. Here, I’ll discuss a book that I recently finished and then create a makeup look based off of the cover art or the storyline. Below are my reactions to Assata: An Autobiography
When we first moved into our apartment before senior year, my roommate Disa read Assata. After she was finished she ranted and raved about it and encouraged me to drop everything that I was doing to read it. Well, that didn’t happen. Time passed and I moved to New Jersey. On one of my many trips back to DC, I was at her new apartment, saw the book, and decided to borrow it. W
hen I got back to Jersey, I opened the book and began to devour it. Unfortunately, because of a bunch of life events I had to stop reading. But it was always in the back of my mind taunting me that I still haven’t finished the book. So, after I finished my first #BooksandBronzer, I picked it back up.
Assata documents Assata Shakur’s strength during her time in prison, the affects of COINTELPRO on her life and those surrounding her, and her journey into activism. It’s one of the most beautifully sad books that I have ever read. After finishing the book I was left in awe and I’ve somehow managed to write a few of my thoughts in three points below.
- Black Women Been Magical
One of my favorite hashtags is #BlackGirlMagic. I’ve always known black women were magic from looking at my mom, aunts, cousins, church moms, friends, and etc. Black women constantly make a way out of no way with a smile on their face and pep in their step. Reading about Assata’s strength in all that she was faced with only encouraged me to go a little harder and to fight a little longer with the battles that are in my life. The prison conditions, or the fact that she was there in the first place, that she survived have never occurred to me in my worst nightmares. Her story is one of resilience, strength, hope, and love in some of the darkest conditions known to man. You have to be truly magical to survive it and then pen an autobiography to encourage the next generation. Alongside Assata’s courage you’re also exposed to the magic of her Aunt Evelyn. I break down at the thought of my sister or friends being pulled over and to watch and expertly defend your niece through a series of unjust trials? Magic. Iconic magic.
The most heartbreaking thing about this book is that a lot of things haven’t changed. When she detailed how the media portrayed her in order to be convicted before she even step foot in court; I thought of how the media portrayed Michael Brown. She mentioned that the police physically attacked her and my mind went to Sandra Bland. Assata talked about perception of being black with a gun and I thought about Philando Castile. When she mentioned COINTELPRO, I said a quick prayer for all the activists in my life. Like Solange beautifully said in A Seat At the Table, there’s a lot to be mad about.
- I Know Nothing
I had to do a lot of Google queries to keep up with this book and now that I’m finished I have even more questions. One of the biggest moments for me was when she talked about legal slavery in the United States. The 13th Amendment reads “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” You can legally be enslaved in the United States if you’re convicted of a crime. But, what if you’re wrongly convicted? Or if you’re in a position that Assata found herself in because she spoke up for her people? What are they doing to the newly enslaved?Who is benefiting from their hard work?
I was able to Google some answers to my questions. The ones that are still unanswered, I’m sure I’ll have to discover in my next book or in Ava DuVernay’s upcoming documentary about the subject. There is still so much history that I have to learn about in order to understand the how some of these events have shaped my opportunities. I’ve learned that Twitter is a huge pool of knowledge but I have to read more books on some of these historical figures that I have questions about in order to fully comprehend.
Simply put, Assata is a book that you need to read and is extremely prevalent in today’s society.