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em começar de novo (an introduction)

MV Bill — a Brazilian activist, emcee, and UN “Messenger of Truth” — has this lyric that’s stuck with me hard from the moment I first heard it:

SE VACILAR, O BICHO VAI PEGAR.

In or out of context, what he’s basically saying is: don’t hesitate, or the boogeyman’s gonna get your ass. This site, and all of its intended or potential content, is something I’ve been sitting on for far too long, and I can’t stand any more blows. That said, a proper introduction is in order.

First, a note on the word “nowarian” – a term I initially encountered in The Swinging Bridge, a novel by Ramabai Espinet. The word is Trinidadian in origin, and Espinet applies it to her protagonist – a multicultural patchwork character, floating between a number of clashing identities and homes. It breaks down to mean someone who comes from nowhere – a nowhere-ian. (With the flip side to that coin being: a nowarian is also someone that comes from many places; he or she can be from nowhere and everywhere all at once.) In essence, the word strikes at the very heart of the multicultural phenomenon. There is an entire generation of nowarians in North America and the West Indies and beyond, all of us floating together, struggling with overlapping cultural identities in the face of so much deep-rooted structural or institutional racism. A new movement is taking shape, and quickly.

This website is a floating patchwork, and so am I. You can count me as Portuguese and Canadian, a writer and a fighter, a hip hop lover and an anti-racist struggler, browned skin and cold weather chillin, everything and no one, all at once. No one tells our stories – and if they do, they end up telling them wrong. Inequality in education and the mediocre “outsider looking in” media approach (upheld by hack journalists) are so so threatening to this still-developing generation of multicultured individuals. The most powerful tools at our disposal – music, media and political movement – are also the ones in the greatest trouble. I’m not letting my ass get kicked. This is not the time to hesitate.

One Comment

  1. Jason Krugman Jason Krugman March 20, 2006

    Is the picture on this form Barcelona? It looks a lot like it. I really like the idea of a “nowarian.” Its so romantic… but also very real… the idea of floating but also being anchored to everything through openness. Thats how i felt when i was in Barcelona – there is something about urban-ness that is very much a part of the definition as well. In the midst of everything, yet still isolated by your own person- completely connected and also distant- although you can arrive at the Zen-like state of floating above both….

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