When actor Chadwick Boseman (of Black Panther fame) died last year, there were tons of tributes that took the form of remembrances by people who knew him and worked with him, and the usual tributes from others who didn’t. These were the ones that used photos of him that were readily found on the internet and were accompanied by the years of his life span and the obligatory expressions of sorrow (and in some cases, shock) at his death. However the more interesting tributes to me were the ones posted by visual artists. While most of them rendered Boseman as himself or as the most notable character he’s played – or both, I was drawn to one that was a reproduction of a particular scene in the Avengers movie. It gave me an idea for something I would have liked to see and I mentioned it to a young artist I know, who actually came up with an additional element to my vision which I absolutely loved. I was all set to receive attribution for my part in the composition when the piece went viral, but it wasn’t ever done – not to my knowledge anyway, and a perusal of images found online these many months later doesn’t show anything like it. However, I understand that most artists worth their salt prefer to create what they’re moved to do and not what they’re told to do.
And because of this, I didn’t feel as we say “a kind of way” about it. It reminded me of one occasion when, having already composed a piece, I sought to use it in a forum where it would be more widely read. Because it made reference to a particular group of professionals – but no one in particular, I was asked to remove it as it might have offended some in the audience. I have to tell you I felt a kind of way about that! Similarly, when my honest impressions of an unnamed social event that took the form of a mixer became a blog post, I was asked whether I was sure that I wanted to leave it up, because the hosts might not have been too appreciative of the review – should they happen to stumble across it. Again, I couldn’t help but feel “a kind of how” about the comment. But that paled in comparison to the disappointment I felt at being asked to censor what I wrote.
I seldom mention names – in order to protect the innocent – and am not in the habit of speaking negatively about specific persons in this blog. Having said that though, since the blog is mine I also don’t think it necessary to tiptoe around other’s feelings and second guess myself wondering whether someone might feel a little uncomfortable with what I had to say. Because who’s writing this blog anyway? Recently I had a conversation about this blog with a family friend and she remarked that her daughter frequently tells her that she should start one of her own. She said that she had given some thought to what subjects she might pursue but was not yet sold on the idea. I smiled to myself, because while some people have called me a plain speaker (in certain situations), this lady’s talents far surpass mine. And because of that, I look forward to the day when she decides to go for it.
By the way, the perceived objectionable article remains in place these several years later. I can’t say whether anyone involved ever saw it or even recognized it for what it was and felt that I had “mashed her corns” – a term used when we feel that someone has offended us. Had that been the case, I wouldn’t have minded a discussion about it, because it’s a given that we don’t all see things the very same way. And for me, the beauty lies in that very difference.