Return to the talk Return to talk

Transcript

Select language

0:11 Today, a baffled lady observed the shell where my soul dwells

0:17 And announced that I'm "articulate"

0:22 Which means that when it comes to enunciation and diction

0:26 I don't even think of it

0:27 ‘Cause I’m "articulate"

0:30 So when my professor asks a question

0:32 And my answer is tainted with a connotation of urbanized suggestion

0:36 There’s no misdirected intention

0:38 Pay attention

0:39 ‘Cause I’m “articulate”

0:42 So when my father asks, “Wha’ kinda ting is dis?”

0:45 My “articulate” answer never goes amiss

0:48 I say “father, this is the impending problem at hand”

0:52 And when I’m on the block I switch it up just because I can

0:55 So when my boy says, “What’s good with you son?”

0:58 I just say, “I jus’ fall out wit dem people but I done!”

1:03 And sometimes in class

1:05 I might pause the intellectual sounding flow to ask

1:08 “Yo! Why dese books neva be about my peoples”

1:11 Yes, I have decided to treat all three of my languages as equals

1:15 Because I’m “articulate”

1:19 But who controls articulation?

1:22 Because the English language is a multifaceted oration

1:25 Subject to indefinite transformation

1:27 Now you may think that it is ignorant to speak broken English

1:30 But I’m here to tell you that even “articulate” Americans sound foolish to the British

1:36 So when my Professor comes on the block and says, “Hello”

1:39 I stop him and say “Noooo …

1:42 You’re being inarticulate … the proper way is to say ‘what’s good’”

1:46 Now you may think that’s too hood, that’s not cool

1:49 But I’m here to tell you that even our language has rules

1:52 So when Mommy mocks me and says “ya’ll-be-madd-going-to-the-store”

1:57 I say “Mommy, no, that sentence is not following the law

2:02 Never does the word "madd" go before a present participle

2:06 That’s simply the principle of this English”

2:08 If I had the vocal capacity I would sing this from every mountaintop,

2:12 From every suburbia, and every hood

2:14 ‘Cause the only God of language is the one recorded in the Genesis

2:18 Of this world saying “it is good"

2:20 So I may not always come before you with excellency of speech

2:24 But do not judge me by my language and assume

2:26 That I’m too ignorant to teach

2:28 ‘Cause I speak three tongues

2:29 One for each:

2:30 Home, school and friends

2:32 I’m a tri-lingual orator

2:34 Sometimes I’m consistent with my language now

2:36 Then switch it up so I don’t bore later

2:38 Sometimes I fight back two tongues

2:40 While I use the other one in the classroom

2:42 And when I mistakenly mix them up

2:44 I feel crazy like … I’m cooking in the bathroom

2:48 I know that I had to borrow your language because mines was stolen

2:55 But you can’t expect me to speak your history wholly while mines is broken

3:00 These words are spoken

3:02 By someone who is simply fed up with the Eurocentric ideals of this season

3:07 And the reason I speak a composite version of your language

3:10 Is because mines was raped away along with my history

3:14 I speak broken English so the profusing gashes can remind us

3:18 That our current state is not a mystery

3:21 I’m so tired of the negative images that are driving my people mad

3:26 So unless you’ve seen it rob a bank stop calling my hair bad

3:30 I’m so sick of this nonsensical racial disparity

3:34 So don’t call it good unless your hair is known for donating to charity

3:38 As much as has been raped away from our people

3:43 How can you expect me to treat their imprint on your language

3:47 As anything less than equal

3:49 Let there be no confusion

3:51 Let there be no hesitation

3:53 This is not a promotion of ignorance

3:55 This is a linguistic celebration

3:58 That’s why I put "tri-lingual" on my last job application

4:04 I can help to diversify your consumer market is all I wanted them to know

4:08 And when they call me for the interview I’ll be more than happy to show that

4:11 I can say:

4:12 “What’s good”

4:13 “Whatagwan”

4:14 And of course …“Hello”

4:17 Because I’m “articulate”

4:20 Thank you.

4:21 (Applause)