Two words thrown around in popular culture with little regard for substantive reasoning: Divas and Heroes. Merely reaching a high note doesn’t make one a diva nor does reaching supersonic speed or altering time and space make one a hero. Just as we should understand there is so much more to diva-osity, there is a social complexity to what makes and who is deemed…a hero. Layered nuances of heroism are explored in this literary collection; layers of heroic definitions, heroic apprehensions, and consequences of heroic proportions. Complementing and complicating the layers is the infusion of soul; the clash of heroic sensibilities interwoven with perspectives from the oft-overlooked lens of the Black diaspora.
An inquiry of the word Hero in online search engines produces the typical representations promoted by mass media. To find an image that remotely resembled the heroic dreams and values of a people who, throughout their history, could have used someone to swoop down, puff a barreled chest, and allay fears of injustice and oppression. The image of that hero was sparse, if not absent altogether.
Our heroes were real. They shed blood, stood alone, and in most cases, suffered the ultimate sacrifice for the right and the righteous. We were fortunate to have them because the heroes of our creation, the ones whose lives, philosophies, actions, and interactions from the surreal to the outlandish, rarely saw the light of day; not in print, on shelves, and definitely not in the collective cultural consciousness.
Today is a different day! Today is a better day. A day of greater access, control, production, and distribution. We bring to a world stage the heroes who are the hopeful manifestations of our values and beliefs. Heroes defined by our perspectives and experiences. A heroic amalgamation of strengths, foibles, sinisterness, and folly without apologies, explanation, or need for outer-cultural approval. To date, many of the heroes given to us have existed as orphans in the world. Nomads who appeared to serve as extensions or add-on features in an alien world that looks like ours…but today is a different day.
As you experience this anthology, page by page, you will enter spaces of the creative, inventive, and intellectual. Within the words, the cool, hip, and ‘round the way elements adds flavor to the familiar bam, pow, and whap. In your mind’s eye, you will hear dialects that conjure images…images without the need to be darkened by colored pencils just to make them palatable. Whether the action takes place on a different plane of existence, on one square city block, or in the infinite of space, you will know that you are there because the heroes we create…be us.
Guy A. Sims, Ed.D.