T, a film that largely centers Black grief and ultimately transcendence, was also very much inspired by the environmental crises we face—the alignment between these two spheres, both traceable to the casual whims of white supremacy, greed, and violence. In revisiting the script, something I haven’t done in years, I found myself once again in acute mourning and vindication, an experience that ended in tears. A testament to the power of writing. Not only as a means to an end of creative output, but also as a personal exercise. For oneself. I had the opportunity to sit across from 2017 me, to face myself and reflect. To extend a bit of gratitude to myself for not slumping under the weight of the temptation to give up.
There were some basic questions I found myself faced with: what is it to be Black in 21st century Miami? The country at large? Why does grief take form for us, down here, through the rest-in-peace T-shirt? Is it simply remembrance or is it plumage? Is it a cape or perhaps a skin—a shroud of our loved ones’ DNA that might travel with us, warm and protect us? What is it to carry the broad preservation of imploding American society in one hand and in the other, the microcosmic preservation of the self? One’s own heart. Which do we release when we’re tired? When there’s dirt in our eye?
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
What is it to be Black in 21st century Miami? The country at large?