We've been in formation. Before Beyoncé's ode of unapologetically standing firm, unapologetically being proud, hot sauce in her bag, and more importantly not being controlled by long centuries of negative portrayals and ideologies that have been systematically pushed concerning Black people, there was Lish. Of course we must pay homage to Queen Bey, because what she has done is more than honorable. She set a precedent, a precedent that will open the door for all those who have been standing in formation waiting for their exit. Standing at 5'3 Brooklyn bred MC Lish walks right through that door giving us more than an unapologetic stance, she creates expectancy. Discontent with the overwhelming negative portrayal and lack of representation of positive lyricists within the rap/hip-hop community, Lish gives us a candid, yet inspirational view towards many of the issues that lie within the Black community. Lish is a lyrical beast, an enthusiast who isn't compelled to defend why she and we (the Melanated ones) should feel great; rather she gives us a host of reasons why we are great...and if you forgot she'll remind you.
Her EP is titled Melanated. Interesting. At the BET Music Matters showcase I said to her, "You do know that a lot of people in this great American expansive land will NEVER know or even come close to having the slightest clue to what the term melanated means, right?" I mean, the last time that most Americans heard or even thought about anything remotely related to melanin or being melanated was most likely in a science class. And since we know the state of education in our country and where we are ranked, we know what that means. In one ear and out the other (but we'll save that conversation for another day).
At this point I had already watched her perform tracks "Bigger", "Black Superhero Music (BSHM)", "40 Acres and a Jeweler", and "Feelin'". These tracks are clear chants of empowerment, especially for Black youth. I don't know why I felt compelled to tell her that my statistics and powerful quick calculations would show that Melanated would throw people into some type of deep thought, something that is unfortunately hard for many people to do even with prodding. I'm positively sure that she thought these things through. Anyway, it's not like my statement would have provided her with some type of sound enlightenment or grand revelation towards changing the title of her EP. But her response was simple enough, "They know what it means, they just forgot."
After speaking with Lish, I began to think about my science class analogy and how what is learned sometimes doesn't stick. It's called the in one ear and out the other syndrome (yes, I made it up but it's true). This is exactly what Lish aspires to reverse. This is why she chants, and chants, and chants some more. It's called memorization. Simple study tools. We need Lish because they don't want it to stick. That is, whoever "they" are. They can be anyone. It's not Black supremacy, it's pride (although making our people consciously aware is sometimes viewed that way). This is what Melanated is about. It's about making us aware of who we've ALWAYS been. This is what she means when she says on her "Black Superhero Music" track that she has the "key to reverse the psychology" and has "supernatural blood" in her veins. Why shouldn't she already know that she's a Black Superhero? Why shouldn't we know that we're superheroes in our right whatever the cause? Lish is a teacher, simply reminding us to celebrate what we already know is deep rooted within us. Her smile said it all. It said, "We got this, we always did...didn't you know?" Lish is telling us what we've already known, we just forgot.