Woke


The original meaning of the word woke deserves a resurrection. The seeds for it are in our activism, our art, and ourselves: in Colin Kaepernick’s public protest, in the work of Black Lives Matter and other black- and person-of-color-led organizations, in the art and music of Kara Walker, Kehinde Wiley, Kendrick Lamar, and Solange. But wokeness has always begun with the self. I had lunch with a friend last week, and after we traded stories about jobs and marriages and the news, we switched, as is our custom, to the topic of police brutality. “Stay woke,” he told me at the end of our conversation. It was the first time in a while that I’d heard those words, but they still held their old power. An electric hit went up my spine.

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Kashana Cauley — Believer