Continued from part 1
Omowale had told Mawuli to be at an address at a certain time, Mawuli was twenty minutes early. It was cold outside, but he didn’t want to wait in the store for twenty minutes. Instead he surveyed the area. It was your typical Black neighborhood: a bodega, a chinese shop, a Trinidadian roti spot, a dominican hair salon, three small churches, a pawn shop, a liquor store, a fried chicken spot, a check cashing place, several police lamps and cameras, and, to Mawuli’s delight, a vegan shop–the vegan shop was where Mawuli needed to be. Of note was the uniformed overseers standing in front of the chinese shop, and the melanated men and women frequenting everywhere we didn’t own. Mawuli thought of Malcolm X’s explanation of Black Nationalism and how we disempower ourselves by empowering others; but tried not to get lost in his thoughts.
When five minutes were left, he headed into the Vegan shop. There were two people ahead of him; five people seated; two cameras in the store. The store owner was a medium-brown Black man with grey locs and a rastafarian hat. The cashier was a cute dark Black woman with unnatural reddish hair. Mawuli looked at her curiously; she was very pretty and thoughts of flirting came to mind–though he didn’t care for her straightened hair.
When it was only one person ahead of him, he reached for the card in his pocket. He thought to himself, he’d be in trouble if Omowale was messing with him. He looked again at the card. It was blue like a regular ‘massa’ card; but it had no black strip to swipe with and no logo to suggest it was a credit card. It was a poor forgery and it would reflect poorly on him to this pretty Sister if she figured he was playing a joke.
“How may I help you?” she politely asked.
“I’d like a green smoothie with extra ice.”
“Extra ice? We don’t put ice in our green smoothies sir.”
Oh no, thought Mawuli. The manager looked over to the counter. “Well, I’d like a green smoothie with extra ice.” Mawuli put the blue card on the table and the woman raised her eyebrow. She held up the card to the light and looked at Mawuli like he was an idiot. As she called the store owner over, Mawuli said, “Nevermind, my mistake,” and started to walk to the door. The store owner insisted that Mawuli sit down and Mawuli’s curiosity got the better of him. He sat and waited to see what was going on.
The store owner and the pretty Sister spoke at length on the forgery, then told Mawuli to wait there at a wooden table. The next guest was served, then finally another beautiful dark Sister approached Mawuli. “Mawuli?” she asked. “Omowale sent me to interview you.” Initially angry, Mawuli calmed down in the presence of this ebony Queen. Her head was wrapped in a purple and gold pattern, and her lips were dark, plump and enticing. “My name is Rehema and I understand you are interested in transforming our Nation.” She had a very positive introduction; but Mawuli was so mesmerized, it wouldn’t matter how she introduced herself–she was stunning. Black and Beautiful.
The store owner and Rehema led Mawuli into a backroom. The owner patted Mawuli’s back and smiled, letting him know that the cashier and he were joking with him. Then Rehema, Mawuli and two large men sat in the quiet room and talked revolution. Mawuli was asked about his education, formal and informal. Mawuli shared an extensive reading list: Chancellor Williams, Drusilla Dunjee Houston, Amos Wilson and, to the author’s surprise (and delight), Onitaset Kumat, to name a few. He then shared his ideas concerning an African Utopia and listened intently to Rehema’s vision. Finally, he suggested that his activism had been slowed since he had broken it up with his ex-. To the men in the room it was obvious he wanted Rehema to explain her relationship status–perhaps it was obvious to Rehema as well–but Rehema only put her hand on his shoulder and this made the other men hide a laugh with one another.
With the completion of the conversation, Rehema explained to Mawuli that he could attend the actual meeting. She gave him the time and address and told him how to leave the shop. Mawuli thanked her for her time, acknowledged the two Brothers, and returned to the front of the store.
“Still want your smoothie?” asked the cute cashier. She then smiled and winked at Mawuli. Couldn’t no one be mad at her face. Mawuli made a mental note to return to the store. Then he went off clicking his heels. By serendipity he fell upon some legit revolutionaries.