Of course, I am a sucker for trends, a few friends cry-emoji posts and large #Mamba posts where enough to have me freakishly typing in Kobe Memorial in my search bar. Oh great, a live feed, it’s still happening, I figured how lucky was I to be part of this, as opposed to seeing snippets. I was lucky indeed cos what I was about to witness thousands of miles away in a place I would never get to see was truly unforgettable.
The first hurdle, to watch or not to watch? I knew myself, Kobe Bryant was a rabbit hole, you begin with tributes and end up whiling through hundreds of US soldier-homecoming videos. One sleepless night later you have to explain your puffed eyes and your mellow mood.
The Friend: Girl, Like what happened, who died?
Me: Kobeeeee 😦
The Friend: What? Kobee who?
Me: One guy from the US, the basketball one that died in a helicopter crash
The Friend: What? Girl Bye, Wena, You don’t know him so why do you cry for Kobe?
I took my chances and decided to watch. I saw a celebration of a man who loved his wife and hand- made Valentine gifts for her. An amazing father who loved his daughters more than anything and was present for them.
I saw a friend who motivated his peers, a teammate, a coach. A man dedicated to raising girls to be champions and supporting female basketball. A charitable man that helped others. I saw a black man who had a dream.
So why do we cry for Kobe?
We cry for Kobe because we are Kobe, the black child ripe with dreams and aspirations waiting to blossom, the black child pregnant with greatness looking ahead at others like us, who look like us, who speak like us, people with our story.
We cry because Kobe is ours, our subconscious reassurance in a world that carries a past deducted. Deducted soo much that it’s now merely a story in an old man’s mind. That story, ‘our story’ still serves as a prologue for us, footnotes that set limitations in our steps,
But once in a while, a young man with a dream, one with momentum, crosses a threshold. He reaches heights and breaks boundaries not only for himself but for an entire race that navigates in a world supposedly not made for them. Once in a while a black child sets his eyes on a hill from whereth cometh his help. He gazes upon an unknown path, and in his eyes; Possibility.
We cry for Kobe Bryant, the same way we cried for Aretha Franklin, Luther Vandross, Myles Munroe, Nipsey, Whitney, and even Micheal Jackson.
We cry for Kobe Bryant the same way our mothers and fathers cried for Martin Luther, Steve Biko, Thomas Sankara, Peter Nanyemba and Mandume Ndemufayo.
We cry because a voice, our voice, that screamed louder than the deafening beat of colonial residue, louder than the clicks of chains of an oppressed past, a voice that rose above dysfunctional hegemonic systems, that voice, from a pied piper that only the black child could hear, that voice, Kobe’s voice- silenced forever.
Yes, we cry.
Go well Black child, we heard you and in your own words:
“It’s the one thing you can control. You are responsible for how people remember you—or don’t. So don’t take it lightly.”— Kobe Bryant