The Magic of Melanin by Rez Blackman
When you hear the word magic, what comes to your mind? One would probably say a trick or illusion of some sort; something your eyes tell you is real, but in the end, proven to be completely fiction. A dictionary defines magic as “the art of producing illusions as entertainment by the use of sleight of hand, deceptive devices, etc.” The second definition however, states it as “the art of producing a desired effect or result through the use of incantation or various other techniques that presumably assure human control of supernatural agencies or the forces of nature.” So, one definition alludes to deception, the other refers to nature. How can that be? What does that mean? Well, for a long time, imaginary or deceptive stereotypes were created about black people. In certain periods of history, we were characterized as uncivilized, possessing mental capabilities slightly above a beast. We were believed not to have created anything in history, and had no impact on the world whatsoever…until time, archeology and science proved that to be untrue, a well-planned trick of some sorts. On the other hand, the other definition alludes to the supernatural forces of nature. Technology has given men the ability to attempt to manipulate nature with advancing studies in genetics, biology and the weather. Nature and the forces of it are powerful, able to alter and shift the conditions of the planet in various ways. However, how does that connect to melanin and what makes melanin so “magical”?
From a basic level, melanin is something within all living things. Our bodies produce it in different forms and levels according to our historical genetics and what area of the body the melanin is specifically designed for. Animals have it. Plants have it (chlorophyll). All ethnicities of people have it, some born with higher levels of it than others, for very specific reasons I might add. But, I’ll expand on that later. Our bodies produce various forms of melanin. The most obvious is eumelanin, which regulates the skin color, eye pupil color, hair color. However, eumelanin, as well as neuro-melanin are found in the deep parts of the inner ear, adrenal gland, as well as the brain itself. Some doctors even assert that if this neuro-melanin is lost from within the brain, it could lead to serious neurological disorders. Our creativity is linked to our melanin. Our inner genius is linked to our melanin. Our strength and resilience is linked our melanin. Furthermore, we are linked to nature by our melanin. Those with the least amount of melanin in their bodies may view this information as divisive, judgmental or even prejudiced in some way because it highlights benefits of something that they weren’t blessed with in abundance like others were. However, feelings don’t change the genetic truth; melanin is supremely important! You may say, yes I know melanin is important to life on the planet but that doesn’t necessarily mean magical. And how is this knowledge supposed to help me in real life?
We live in a world where we are constantly categorized and judged by our color, ethnicity, religion, gender, and so forth. Variety is the spice of life, but that doesn’t mean we should be attacked for our differences, and it definitely should have nothing to do with our treatment in society within our own country. We have been denied liberty, justice, freedom, equality, economic prosperity, etc., all because of the color of our skin. The time has now come for melanated people to provide for themselves what others deny us unfairly. The magical black substance coursing through our veins tells us this to be true and our day-to-day conditions confirm this very fact. Black people are the most underemployed in this society, receive the most vicious psychological and physical attacks, and still manage to make some type of progress within a system never designed for them to. Many demographics have faced enslavement throughout world history. Historians will tell you though, that the Trans-Atlantic slave trade was the most heinous, deadly and dehumanizing event in world history. The impact is still felt to this day. This is the exact reason we need to know the blessings given to us by our Creator in the form of melanin! Does melanin stop the evil practices carried out by one group over another? No, but it does provide you with what is necessary to overcome any obstacles placed in front of us. Regardless of how we’re stereotyped, categorized or marginalized, our genetics allow us to continue forward in our attempts to rebuild this world. We must understand ourselves before we can return to our past greatness. In fact, the study of melanin, no matter how rudimentary, is necessary for our future, and the future of the planet.
If you want to know how valuable melanin is, do a quick google search on the price of melanin per gram compared to all other precious materials on the planet. You’ll find that melanin is more valuable than gold, silver, titanium, hell, even plutonium! Knowing this information, maybe it wouldn’t be surprising as to why there is such a large demand for black people’s organs on the black market. In Washington D.C. alone, over 30 young black girls have gone missing over the past few weeks! I’m pretty sure the number has risen since then. There has been numerous reports detailing the shocking number of children of caught up in human trafficking and sex slave black markets. But that is only half of the problem. There is also a demand for melanated body organs on the black market as well. Medicinal and genetic science have conducted multiple studies on melanin itself, and because of its importance, have experimented on how to infuse it into the genetics of those born with deficient levels of it. If you’re familiar with cases like the Tuskegee experiment, and many others like it highlighted in the book “Medical Apartheid” written by Harriet Washington, it would not be hard to connect the dots as to why this is such a huge epidemic facing us and our children. Some of the scary problems facing us are about more than hatred and racism. They sometimes delve into the realms of science and biology, even survival. That however, is a more extensive conversation to be had in a different forum. Moreover, melanin is a high commodity and our creator has us provided us, some more than others, a substance in our bodies to counteract every obstacle put in front of us. We just have to develop our knowledge about it. A little information about it may lead to the question, do you believe in magic?
We’ve had countless examples in our history of melanin at work. I think back to the 1700’s of a man named Thomas Fuller. He was born in 1710 and was captured into slavery in 1724 at the age of 14. He received no formal education other than the education he had in his homeland before his capture. He could not read or write but had the mathematical genius to be able to calculate and solve incredible math problems, all in his head mind you. Mathematicians travelled across the country to witness his abilities with their own eyes. Doubters, obviously because of their ridiculous belief that Africans could not be this intelligent, even went out of their way to try and prove that his genius was a type of trick. They were disappointed each time. A well-known story even describes the time when mathematicians gave him some ridiculous problem to solve involving calculating the seconds of a man’s life that lived to be 80 years of age, adding in variables to increase the difficulty. The mathematicians jotted down their answers, prepared to prove The Virginia Calculator wrong, as Thomas was known in the day. When Fuller gave his answer they chuckled amongst themselves thinking he was incorrect. He reaffirmed his answer and informed them they did not account for the leap year. When they reworked the problem, they found him to be correct to the decimal. Magic!
Every February during Black History month, we all celebrate the brilliance of one of our great scientists and heroes, George Washington Carver. He made incredible advancements using the peanut in an astonishing 250 different ways. However, many don’t know that Henry Ford also consulted Carver because of his genius, and subsequently Carver designed the automobile PLANT for Ford. He used his knowledge of nature, especially plant life, and completely revolutionized the way automobiles were produced in this country, making Ford a billionaire in the process. He helped Ford build his empire with transformative ideas, despite being savagely castrated by the white family he lived with as a boy because of an inaccurate, archaic, and stereotypical fear that the father had regarding the safety of his daughter. Many don’t realize this is the reason he had such a high pitched, some would say “squeaky”, voice. Not only did Carver revolutionize the study of the peanut, but also was an unseen catalyst of the industrial revolution of the United States with his contributions to the mass production of the automobile. Magic!
More recently, a young melanated brother born in April of 1974 in London, England to parents originally from Barbados, Stephen Wiltshire, amazed the internet world when a video was uploaded of him displaying his magical talents in the art world. He was labeled autistic when he was born. This fraudulent label could not stop his brilliance from shining. One day, Stephen took a 20 minute helicopter ride over Manhattan and the financial district of New York City. From memory, he sketched an extraordinary 18 foot mural of what he saw as he flew over the city. The mural was drawn with such precision and detail that it could be mistaken for a photograph! Magic! With a little digging, you’ll find the internet is filled with examples of sheer genius across the country and the globe. On the continent of Africa, you have adolescent children living in small villages building generators that are capable of giving their village electricity, powered by just a few quarts of urine! These are not experienced engineers with years of training accomplishing these feats; this is being done by kids trying to change their world! There are also examples of children from some of the roughest and poorest cities of the country displaying their genius, scoring so high on tests it opened opportunities for them to attend the most prestigious colleges and universities in the country, while battling poverty, family problems, and racism all the while. The genius radiating from children born with so little is magical!
Believe it or not, nature and biology is fueling this magic. Throughout the ebb and flow of history, people of all colors and ethnicities have made amazing discoveries and no type of extraordinary modern advancement is patented by any one group of people. But, there is something linking the examples I mentioned. It is the fact that these, what some would consider supernatural feats, were successful in the face of struggle, oppression, and exclusion. This is something black people know full well, especially living in this country. These examples are a testament to the magic residing within our bodies. No other group has faced this type of continuous attack, more recently highlighted by the open assault by the police on members of our communities and the judicial injustice that normally follows.
These exact circumstances however, are directly fueling our awakening as a people. The magic of our melanin is being activated by our environment, natural and artificial. These instances of melanin coming alive within our people will continue to happen and should hint to us of how special we really are! Although this time period we are currently living in is sometimes painful and somewhat chaotic, it is at the same time magical. There is hidden genius in our children and all it may take to bring it to the fore is a little poking and prodding. We witness a fraction of it now. It is vitally necessary to change the perception of how we view ourselves and the world in which we live. If we re-shift our focus and allow our magic to manifest, we could immediately begin to exponentially reshape and rebuild the world and facilitate the process of healing. Remember, the second definition of magic mentioned at the outset, referred to control of supernatural forces within the sphere of nature. Are we not an integral part of nature? Then it should be clear to us that magic rests within us too. KNOW THYSELF! As we continue to teach our children about our nature and our history, the magic of our melanin will enlighten the world once again, and give us the opportunity to bring true freedom to the human family.