Baltimore Is Flipping The Script

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There are moments in life that move you to your feet. You feel the chill of goosebumps down your arms and your heart is full because real recognize real.

Oh, Hi! I’m Dionne.

A lot has changed since I started Mommy’s Open Diary seven years ago. Look at me, I have two additional dependents, we’ve moved five times, I’ve had two promotions, Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, I started three new medications to cope with Donald Trump being the President of the United States and my husband died and came back to life (yeah, that’s a whole other story).

My MOD Crew Reppin #MyBmore at a Southwest Magazine Unveiling Event.

But, through it all, three things remain the same.

1) I love my family.
2) I love my city.
3) I love storytelling.

And last week, let’s just say, “I was inspired to dust off the old diary!”

Baltimore is the cradle to the dopest minds on the planet. And, I’m not one of those people who just throws the word “dope” around like an idiot who’s trying way too hard.

Based on the Oxford English Dictionary “Dope has lived a diverse life over the span of two centuries, only coming to its hip-hop adjectival sense of ‘good or excellent’ in the last 35 years.”

@Mowgliart is a Baltimore street artist who’s a beast with hand cut stencils and spray paint.

That means I grew up with the word “dope”. When I use the word it’s familiar, we went to the same high school, it knows both of my parents…and my grandmother.

In the 80’s, Reaganomics and the “War on Drugs” were the backdrop to a generation, but it wasn’t our final scene. I’m from an era where, once again, black people prove that we are magic. We flipped it! Black Culture took a word that represented a death eater…a devourer of souls, and we made it the counter narrative of the counter culture. The word “dope” is now a symbol of admiration for someone or something that defies conventions and stirs your soul.

That is what I felt Wednesday morning as I was scrolling through Instagram and I came across a familiar burst of colors in an alley I know all to well in Baltimore. It was there that Megan Lewis (an artistic phenom and muralist maven) posted a photo of the racist defacement of her beautiful art.
I was pissed, like in a “big sister/wanna find out who did it/slap the taste out of their mouth”, kinda way.

Baltimore native, Megan Lewis, is young, gifted and unapologetically black.

I love Baltimore! But, I also know that my city is real, raw and honest. We are the mirror of middle-America’s fears. I believe the concerns we have in Baltimore reflect similar challenges waged within urban cities across America. If change is going to happen in our country, the answers will be found right here. Ask, David Brooks from the New York Times, he agrees with me. It’s my opinion that the reason some choose to only focus on our city’s flaws is because Baltimore has the audacity to be “dope as sh*t” despite the storm.

So, of course, seeing that Neo-Nazi sign branded onto the forehead of a black woman disturbed the hell out of me. But, in the midst of the storm, Baltimore is still “Dope As Sh*t”!

“When dey go low we go high!”, response from Baltimore native and fellow resident artist, Ernest Shaw.

It has been said, “Life is 10% what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it”, which makes me love #MyBmore even more. The message that was delivered by Shaw’s response demonstrates the best of Baltimore…our resilience, our faith, our dopeness.

I had to experience it for myself, see it with my own two-eyes. And, in true #MyBmore fashion, I randomly met four of the coolest kids in Baltimore. I told them the story behind the murals, we took selfies, I asked them about themselves and they shared that each of them will be heading to Baltimore City Community College in the Fall, with the goal of transferring to historically black colleges. Say word?!?!?!

In #MyBmore you make friends everywhere you go!

Isn’t ironic? A news reporter is likely to find the story of the defacement of a muralist’s art in Baltimore sexier than a story on the Baltimore arts community’s response. And, you don’t need to be a marketing genius to know that an article would get far more interest, clicks and shares if the caption read, “Horrific Ending After An Encounter With Four Baltimore Teens” compared to “Youth in Baltimore Are Encouraged About Their Futures”.

My Diary Entry is, “No one can tell Baltimore’s story better than us, and I have some things to say.”

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