You know the song “I Don’t Get Tired” by Kevin Gates, featuring August Alsina? “I got six jobs…I don’t get tired.” I was thinking about how I literally have 6 jobs. I am working on a project right now where I am my own administrative assistant, photographer, designer, writer, editor and publisher. Literally. Literally got 6 jobs. And the work would’ve been done long ago if I had people I could actually trust and count on, plus skilled in the areas, to divvy the work. But I’m a loner—by choice (safety) and by fate (exploited yet rejected)—in every sense of the word, so alas, I instead will take the time needed to complete what I am working on for several months now. Even when I did pro photography, I wore many hats. It was not just jumping on planes to take photos. Even when I worked corporate, I was always paid half (yes half, not even 69¢ to the $1.00 stat) of what White men made and did 2-3x the work.
Everything I do now is mostly on my own in terms of labor. It’s not glamorous at all (and I’ve had a varied path all of adulthood), especially since most people try to exploit that labor with all their might and strength on literally an hourly basis every single day. I mentioned this on Twitter the other day when I was pretty upset and triggered, about how Black women like me are a target if people cannot deny us status that we do not seek from institutions that we do not want to be a part of with fame that we do not desire, and they cannot threaten that status (if we do not have it) to control us, thereby we’re severely personally targeted and harmed, with people hoping that they can silence us altogether since they cannot control us. A lot of unaffiliated Black, Indigenous and AfroIndigenous women that I know crowd fund (I have a blog donation button myself) to help survive since our knowledge and labor are deemed valuable as a product for others to consume and use for their own status and careers, but not valuable insofar that we ourselves should be acknowledged, respected and paid for it, even as we remain among the poorest people.
I like this song and video a lot. And of course I get tired physically, emotionally, intellectually; I’ve said that my Black does in fact crack…inside. But I feel like this song is suggesting a reinvention in terms of thinking about poverty and the come up to success. Like…not tired of trying because what’s important is at stake, caring for himself and his family. I do get tired of trying, but I feel this song so hard because people think poverty is sheerly the absence of money. It’s not. It’s the absence of choices in the face of continued interpersonal, social and structural disrespect, violence and oppression, and one nuanced by experiences with race, gender and more.
I don’t have the luxury of flatly telling people that money doesn’t buy happiness when perhaps housing, food, healthcare and such, things that cost money, makes people kinda happy to have. I mean, I’m 35 and I’ve only had health insurance 8 of my years of being alive, and I have complicated expensive health issues right now. My father never had health insurance until Medicare when he reached 65 some years ago. He was self-employed his whole life, an immigrant and experiences generational poverty. Health insurance would’ve saved my mother’s life, to be honest, versus her death at only 48 years old, over a decade ago. Stuff some people take for granted are luxuries to other people.
Anyway, as I work on the things that I am doing, mostly offline now, I need really good songs to keep me pumped when I need to be. I listen to some chill music as well when working, but sometimes I want something like this also. Shoutout to the people who wear many hats and whose labor is regularly exploited and devalued.