My story in the new anthology For Colored Boys Who Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Still Not Enough (http:/www.4coloredboys.com) is about a moment of recognizing the pitfalls of love and facing the reality of ending a relationship when you truly love someone—albeit filled with pretty words and poetic prose. It’s quaint. It’s quick and to the point.
It isn’t, however, about fiery heartache or busting windows out of someone’s car (a la Jazmine Sullivan). Nor is my story about something as essential as my “coming out,” which deservers a tale within itself.
Unlike the story that was actually published, My Night with the Sun, I “came out” to my family in my early teens because, for the first time ever, I finally found the language to describe how I felt inside. It wasn’t about sex. It wasn’t even about love. It was about validating my inner being that was not allowed to give another little boy a heart for Valentine’s Day in elementary school or because I couldn’t openly say my middle school crush was not Rebecca it was, in fact, Tony. That’s why I came out at such a young age.
That wasn’t my story in the book, but contributing writers like Antonio Brown, Strange Fruit, and Shaun Lockhart, Bathtubs and Hot Water, dared to share their stories filled with heartfelt declarations and shameful backlashes by society. Their experiences were during time when we didn’t have an Anderson Cooper or Frank Ocean to nudge us to move forward and challenge our country to do better.
Although For Colored Boys… is a call-and-response for men of color to listen up, learn from our successes and mistakes, it’s also a decry to the hetero-normative majority to not just tolerate our existence—in it’s many hues, shapes, and expressions—but to integrate us back into the family and places of worship. We want to be asked about our lives, our dreams and we want responsibility to be taken for hate placated as love.
We can all pull something from this timely collection of audacious men whether it’s a laugh, empathy or—as I champion—a case for love. Most of all, we can use the stories to reflect about our own journeys and draw strength from the power of someone else’s. As a contributor and co-editor, I’m proud to say the book is filled with dynamic pieces of writing that will affirm, challenge and leave much needed marks on our world, for the better.
The rainbow may not be enough, but solidarity and allyship is more than enough. Now let’s press on.
Mark Corece is an interdisciplinary artist, writer and cultural critic based in Brooklyn, New York. You can follow him on twitter @markcorece. Listen to Mark on Clay Cane Live, Thursday nights at 11 on WWRL 1600.