Depression is so treacherous - it can be so alluring as well as punishing. After all, it's yours and yours alone - no one else can interfere with it.
A Negro girl could never be purely innocent. The vengeful Race Fairy always lurked nearby; your parents' best hope was that the fairy would show up at someone else's feast and punish their child. Parents had to protect themselves, too, and protect you from knowing how much danger you all were in.
I was taught you don't tell your secrets to strangers - certainly not secrets that expose error, weakness, failure. My generation, like its predecessors, was taught that since our achievements received little notice or credit from white America, we were not to discuss our faults, lapses, or uncertainties in public.
I was born in 1947, and my generation, like its predecessors, was taught that since our achievements received little notice or credit from white America, we were not to discuss our faults, lapses, or uncertainties in public.
You're supported by everything in New York if you want to be a performing artist. You come here, you can change your name. You leave home, you come here, you're severed from family obligations - the old identity drops away as soon as you come to New York because you're coming to New York, if you're an artist, to be someone else.
Self-examination - when the whole world around you is pressuring that and challenging you - is very, very hard. Looking at a whole structure - in my case, let us say of snobbery, basking in certain privileges, marks of what appear to be superiority - that's ugly to look at.