Layers of Complex Things (Jay-Z and Fanon)

I stumbled onto this interview with Jay-Z and thought it was an extremely important reminder and touchstone for my own theological work, especially as I have been laboring to understand Fanon and his insistence on the “open dimension” of human freedom which provides an inexhaustible and indomitable power of love. The “layers of complex things” do not allow any simple “determinism” but instead open up an infinite number of possibilities to inflect, alter, embrace, change, shut down, repeat, and vary what has been given. Fanon says, “the density of history determines none of my acts,” and “in the world I am heading for, I am endlessly creating myself.” As Jay-Z puts it: “don’t just judge us as ignorant kids, or drug dealers…it’s much more than that…it’s layers of complex things…going on in our house, our homes, in our hallways…” Writing comes from this complexity and strives to attend to it, which means, to quote Fanon again, that it’s an opportunity to “discover each other.” The endless “self-creation” is the unbounded and inexhaustible density of our lives discovered in and through our love.

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