Do You Hear Me?

The writer in me loves words. As such, I enjoy the employ of dialect, colloquial expression, figurative language, literary technique, and vernacular, just to name a few. I especially appreciate the cultural artifacts sewn into the lining of language. So when black women (some not all) punctuate their sentences with ‘DO 👏🏾YOU 👏🏾HEAR 👏🏾ME👏🏾?’ (Monosyllabicly-synchronized handclaps may or may not be sold separately) as they lean in and speak their truth and want to ensure that your state of our awareness is, at a minimum, woke-adjacent because something is about to happen, I pay attention.

To the unlettered, allow me to clue you in on something: ‘DO YOU HEAR ME?’ is really a rhetorical question because they know good and damn well that you hear them as you have two ears and you were just listening to mumble rap in your AirPods. They are simply giving you the benefit of the doubt.

Specifically, ‘DO YOU HEAR ME?’ is a warning; a courteous heads-up, if you will; a real-life read receipt; a not-so-subtle review before a pop quiz of ass whuppings; a yellow triangle conspicuously placed before a puddle of your future tears.

I’ve heard enough Do You Hear Me’s in my life that, even now as I write this, I shudder at phonetic memories of the enunciation of those ominous words.

So, yes, I hear you black woman. And you still have my undivided attention.