Can’t Turn Around: Rana Zoe Mungin
“Everybody can’t sing the solo,” my choir director shouts
and that was just fine with me. There was something about
the song that sounded just right when I was alone, but when
I sang it in front of others, all the words sounded staccato.
I never really wanted to be in the spotlight anyway. Who wants
all that bright fright when Sister was really the star? She died
of asthma fifteen years ago, and I still hear her singing “We’ve Come
this Far by Faith” in the mornings before I get out of bed. Cardinals
fly by my window, and Spirit tells me it’s her, ruby red, light and free.
“Every black person can’t sing,” I tell my choir director. “Yeah. Just
not you!” he replies, and I wonder am I really made “black and bid to sing.”
What good is a love of words, writing and music and teaching others when
it’s all filtered through the expectations of my skin? To be beautiful is not the
best thing in the world. Being smart is better, to be able to sing is wonderful
but breathing is best.