It Makes Me Wanna Holler!

My heart is heavy. This past week has been gut wrenching—the murder of George Floyd by police, a woman in Central Park calling the police on a bird watcher because he asked her to leash her dog? It’s all too much. In the words of the late singer-songwriter Marvin Gaye, “It Makes Me Wanna Holler.”

In my household we are in a period of mourning. It feels as if race relations will not improve in this country. Whenever my husband, Alex, or I leave our home, we wonder if we’ll come back. We wonder if we’ll be harassed by some random person, stopped by the police, physically brutalized, or worse. My husband loves chocolate candy bars. Sometimes late in the evening he has a craving for one and wants to go to the variety store a few blocks from our home. He’s driven to the main intersection, seen a police car go by and turned back, deciding it wasn’t worth the risk of being put in the crosshairs of some police activity that he had no involvement with.

We are both sick and tired of being under suspicion simply because of our skin color. I purchased the condo unit where we live 10 years ago. Yet, people still lock their car doors when I walk through the parking lot. Alex waits in his car when he comes home if he sees a white woman in the parking lot because he knows that if she sees him at some distance behind her, she’ll break into a sprint to get away from him. Black men and black women have our own brand of “social distancing” that we have to maintain.

What sustains us through all of this? Our faith in God. Our church family. A community of friends who understand or are sensitive enough to reach out and listen.

Next week is my book launch. I will mark the publication of The Talking Drum with book parties through Zoom, sponsored by a local bookstore that is dear to my heart and another by my publisher, Inanna Publications. I will also celebrate with my book club, The Myrtle Baptist Church Book Club. The ladies of the book club were instrumental in helping me to get my book where it is today. They gave me a brutally honest critique that helped me make The Talking Drum publishable.

The book club ladies are also who I turn to in times like these, when it seems that race relations have not gotten better in this country and have possibly gotten worse. We vent. We discuss. We have honest conversations.

It will be a bittersweet book launch in this season when our country is in the midst of so many layers of crisis, but through all of the avenues we have, whether through the books we write, the speeches we make, the tweets we retweet or the protests we participate in, we must make our voices heard.

Author: Lisa Braxton

Lisa Braxton is an Emmy-nominated former television journalist, an essayist, short story writer, and novelist. Her debut novel, The Talking Drum, is forthcoming from Inanna Publications in spring 2020. She is a fellow of the Kimbilio Fiction Writers Program and a book reviewer for 2040 Review. Her stories and essays have appeared in literary magazines and journals. She received Honorable Mention in Writer’s Digest magazine’s 84th and 86th annual writing contests in the inspirational essay category. Her website:

3 Replies to “It Makes Me Wanna Holler!”

  1. Lisa, this is so real and so sad. I’m only happy that you have the writing skills to express the sadness/anger/fear of so many. Thinking of and praying for you during these hard times, Barbara.

  2. I always know that if I, a white woman, feel the pinch of problems in our country, that African Americans are going to feel it exponentially worse. How I wish I could fix that. Your eloquent post makes me despair. Like Barbara, I’m glad you can express this in a way that I hope reaches many people.

  3. Thank you for your vulnerable honesty. I celebrate your hard work, your book launch, and the support you receive from your group and church. This is a turning point. United we rise.

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