Its time for every black person, young and old to set up a lemonade stand on every corner in North America.
For over 1000 years black people throughout history, from the ancient Egyptians to Beyoncé and around the world have been making lemonade.
As a reformist, I am all for the shakeup and the positive use of energy created in the chaos but I always look for real lasting change to occur and believe that to do that we need to put some active work that moves the needle forward instead of just talking or randomly complaining.
Well, the true origin of lemonade can be traced back to the Egyptians in 500 A.D., to a beverage known as Qatarmizat. (lemon juice was mixed with sugar)
The original version of the phrase, “ If life gives you lemons, then make lemonade” was penned by writer Elbert Hubbard and was written for an obituary for his friend Marshall Pinckney Wilder and read “He picked up the lemons that Fate had sent him and started a lemonade stand.”
But it was Beyoncé who wrote in a Vogue article referring to her Grammy-nominated Album titled “Lemonade”, about the “generational curses” in her family, explaining that she comes “from a lineage of broken male-female relationships, abuse of power, and mistrust”, including a slave owner who married a slave. She writes that “Only when I saw that clearly was I able to resolve those conflicts in my own relationship. Connecting to the past and knowing our history makes us both bruised and beautiful.”
The theme of our people’s trauma, grief, pain, and struggle can be easily connected to that of our ancestors. This does not make it any less real and it is still our responsibility to make sure that it is addressed.
My mother personally made sure that I was passed down the lemonade recipe that has been in our family for generations. She taught me how to modify the ingredients to suit the time that I lived in. I have understood that lemons can make my life bitter or I can choose to make my life sweeter. But I have been determined to go a step further and to create something from the wealth that was created with my lemonade stand. I have invested in myself and got a coconut, bought a pineapple, traded my services for some rum, made ice out of the water which is free, and found and fixed a broken-down blender to be the vehicle I would use to save myself, time, strength and money. My plan is to shift from making lemonade to Pina Coladas!
Yes, it is true this system has been created to keep a good man/ woman down, but we collectively can revamp this system, one street corner at a time, or even better -all together at the same time!
We have been dealt as a people the leftovers, the seemingly worthless but we have always created something beautiful out of sheer determination, inner strength, patience, and action.
Now is the time for systemic change in the policing of black people, the healthcare and prison system, Business forums, political arena, churches of North America, and overall leadership.
We can be the change.