“Supreme” has been used to describe many
things. Most of them are divine. Oh, the divine
John Coltrane, whose A Love Supreme was
the ultimate example of gentle jazz syncopation.
Later, The Supremes: A perfect name for three
divine Black women who broke the sound
barrier for Motown, singing protest songs
with a smile. “Supreme” meant excellence.
Abundance in its highest form. But now, when
my daughter hears that word, it is a form of
fear and control. White supremacy and The
Supreme Court. How did the word lose its
integrity? Will other words, like “trust,” “love”
and “freedom” be overturned? I want her to
know that freedom of choice is not out of
context in the land of the “free.” I demand that
her life be a part of its history. I need her to
trust the definition of words like I trust Diana
Ross to sing the truth. I want my daughter to
know that she is supreme. And divine. I want
to protect her from things that feed on manipulation
and domination. I am a powerless parent in a
broken political system. But I still want my daughter
to know the word “revolution” before it, too, is
Marcus Amaker is the poet laureate of Charleston and a fellow with the Academy of American Poets.
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