In episode 80 of the COWS, Jan 19, 2010 (Solo # 2) Mr Renegade, aka, Victim, makes reference to John Henryism. Quoting an article, Gus explains that John Henryism refers to “a style of strong coping behaviours… to deal with psycho-social and environmental stressors… [the] classical traits are seen among …[those] extremely pre-occupied with success particularly in new environments in which they have little experience. Most commonly, people with John Henryism are extremely goal-orientated but often lack the resources they need for success, such as financial or emotional support… people with high levels of John Henryism and inadequate resources have a much higher prevalence of health disorders … because they drive themselves towards reaching specific goals at the expense o their health often without realising they are doing so.” [*Gus completed some 217 shows without a phone or a laptop.]
Over the past few years, engaging in capacity building and field research – in addition to personal, artist/brand development – I have been working with very limited resources. In fact, I’ve had to use laptops lent to me by a European for one, and a “same-sex practitioner” for another. At first, I was using the domestic desktop, until I “migrated”, and then came to use another laptop “appropriated” from another family member, before I was “evicted”, and had to turn to some odd choices for “sponsorship.” In short, having NO savings, and little disposable income, the eventual publication of Making Malone Volume 1 was incredible. Having done this, essentially sacrificing myself, I feel compelled to compensate with self-congratulations. I used to wonder why the “Rappers” did this ungracious boasting, and yet, having endured, with so little recognition, I finally realise why they do it.
About Carter Woodson, it has been said that he “kept to one great goal, worked at it stubbornly and with unwavering application and died knowing that he accomplished much if not all that he planned.” (Likewise, Auguste Comte devoted himself, monastically, to a similar fate, with a vision of results and outcomes.) I myself have given my time to these 3000 pages guided by the pretentious ideal of contributing something significant to the cause of non-whites, and yet, operating with the context of denial, deception and domination, I realise that this was vain. Maybe I should have traded in intellectual achievement for physical intimacy. Maybe I should have traded thinking for feeling. Maybe I should have traded PAGES for PAPERS… and yet, coming towards the final phases of this project, I concede that I’ve had to pay this cost, for as Baldwin divulged, this is truly, the price of the ticket.