I was in my son's room, trying to make the space presentable for the artist who would be passing through later that week. DuBois had been back from the Telluride program in Indianapolis for two weeks, and I felt a little bad taking over his room for the museum. His junior year in high school would begin two days before the Museum opened. I was already disrupting his life with the event itself; and after all he wasn't even a Colored Girl.
When we did “Eviction Proof Peepshow Home,” we left his room off the tour. What role could a Colored Boys room have in the Colored Girls Museum? I had a few male friends I thought to ask, but no one picked up the phone. My 28-year-old son was editing some work for the website downstairs, so I asked him.
“Hey Eric, I was wondering if I should leave Du Bois’s room off the tour. What role does a Colored Boy's room have in a Colored Girls Museum, anyway?”
“What role? Are you serious?” he asked. “Mom, the only other room that might be more important in the Colored Girls Museum than the Colored Boys Room is the Master Bedroom, which represents your adult relationship (husband and wife/partner) — but the Boy's room is possibly even more important than that, because it is as a boy and a young man that all the ideas we have about Colored Girls get formed, and ultimately shape that adult relationship.
“Good, bad, whatever, it’s happening right now — all the stuff you are thinking and believing that you get from other people, from the media, the music (most of it not so great), it happens when you are a Colored Boy.
“You have an opportunity, in this Museum, for a Colored Girl to go into a Colored Boy's room and curate a conversation she could never have had with a boy, or maybe even a man. In the Colored Boy's room, on his walls, she can say what she has to say about how he has affected who she is, and what she has become. How she sees him seeing her, in her own way... she does it in his room, where he can see it. If the only person who gets transformed by that is DuBois, that would be worth it... but he won’t be the only one.”
I was so unprepared for that answer from my eldest child that I almost burst into tears.
I love my children so, so much, but this young man, this Eric... wherever his Dad is, he is just beaming, because you are everything he always knew you would be.
Fabulous, brilliant, and a young man of integrity.
Blessed to call you my son, today and everyday.
And that is how there came to be A Colored Boys Room.