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  • Writer's pictureJoel Brown

Baldwin was a prophet

James Baldwin showed me that the prophet to the Empire needed to be an outsider with an insider perspective. As a black American writer, only when he left America to come here to Europe, could he really forthtell the hypocrisy of White America towards her black siblings with clairsentience. Only after leaving the Church could he really be a strident witness to the way that the American Church undermined everything Jesus stood for by being in bed with the American Empire. Only as a proud gay man could he defy the presumption of normalcy and the monopoly that straight folks claimed to have on romantic love and call out the ways black queer folk are ostracized by both white gays and black straight folks. As I get older, I understand now more why I don't fit in anywhere; and that I feel a calling to reveal the anatomy of hypocrisy towards marginalised black folks. I'm grateful to Baldwin for the courage he had to be the prophet in exile and by God he did good work.

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