The Monsters We Made

I think we’ve all become numb to it.

Local news anchors and reporters droning on dramatically about the latest robbery, stand off, or car crash at 10pm. The grim tone of their voices syncing with flashes of wreckage, the red and blue strobe of police lights, and tearful families serve as a backdrop to our late dinners and pre-bed routines. We punctuate our concerns with “That’s terrible!”, “Oh my God — who would do that?”, or maybe “That is so sad — I can’t imagine!”, half-heartedly empathizing with strangers on tragedies and loss while waiting on tomorrow’s forecast. We have a friend that used to live in that area…or maybe a cousin that stayed in those apartments. We yearn to be close enough to tragedy to feel lucky, but distant enough to sleep comfortably.

It’s never supposed to be someone you know.

Yesterday it was though. Yesterday I lost one of the best human beings I’ve ever known. Kristi was intelligent enough to be the CEO of a company, tall and pretty enough to be a runway model, kind and compassionate enough to be your therapist, and humble enough to not be aware of how special she truly was. We both had watched every episode ever of Seinfeld and would text each other “Happy Festivus”, we argued sports for the last 11 years because we were passionate fans, and we shared an uncanny love for the exact same hiphop, R&B, and soul.

Kristi rarely talked about herself — she was always gushing over her hopes and dreams for her friends. Her hopes and dreams for me. She would send me quotes of songs of mine she’d memorized… my own words that I’d forgotten. She was one of my biggest supporters. Front row at my shows. In my videos. First to congratulate. She had a way of making you feel like whatever little thing you accomplished was the most important thing in the universe and worthy of accolades. In the moment she was talking to you, you were the center of her universe. She didn’t really stress over her life; things flowed, and she was determined to step into the best version of herself while raising a beautiful vibrant boy. Ever graceful, never a raised voice. She didn’t know how to not be nice.

And now she’s gone. Taken from us.

I can’t stop crying because nobody protects Black women. Not even Black men. I’ve posted about it before, I’ve advocated for change, I speak up about it constantly, I’ve written about it, I’ve made songs, I’ve held events trying to uplift Black women and still… it feels like nothing changes; they’re killed at alarming rates by Black men. The 4th leading killer of Black women between the ages of 20–44 is not heart disease, diabetes, cancer, or car accidents. It’s men. It’s men with fragile egos, the manifestation of our ideas about masculinity and the problematic notions perpetuated by patriarchy that a woman is like property to be owned, and only released to the world with consent. It’s men who would rather take a life, than take responsibility for their own trauma and actions. It is men who continuously resort to violence. We have to do better and hold each other accountable. I’m sorry we failed you Kristi. I’m so sorry. You deserved better.

Till we meet again, God’s peace.

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