There is nothing more important to me, as a book worm, than finding yourself between the pages of a good book. It’s one thing to read along and learn of someone else’s plight, but to see yourself in them while reading is like falling asleep while your mommy sings “Twinkle twinkle little star” and waking up in the cosmos with Neil DeGrasse Tyson as your guide. You no longer have a need to know what you are, because all of you is right there to behold and grasp and breathe in. All of you is to be accepted by you.
I’ve known you for years Hermione, since 1999 actually. Yet, it took until now to fully see you — rather, to see us. It took almost two decades for me to fully see myself in you and the you in me. Now, let me say this… I’m a Hufflepuff. I am loyal to a fault, sometimes too patient (which my mid-thirties is slowly taking away from me). I try my very best to be fair and honest. If I am nothing, I am true. I have never been popular, but I am known for working my ass off. You don’t know me, but you know my kind. I have 6 plants in my bay window, including a calamondin tree affectionately known as Callie. She produces the ripest little melons that I enjoy in a good tea or cocktail. All of my other plants have names too. I love them all. My girlfriend and I rescued our ferns from the discount-dried up-left to die section of a Lowe’s and have nursed them back to life. I am Hufflepuff, accepting of all.
You may be a Gryffindor, brave and courageous, but we’re the same. I was/am the goodie-two-shoes in school with her hand raised and the answers perched on the tip of her tongue. The know-it-all, the one with the best friend(s) constantly getting her into some shit, the one who knew the librarians by their first names and what their schedules were. Kudos to you! Getting Professor McGonagall to okay your use of the Time-Turner was clutch.
When I first began to read the Harry Potter series, when I first started to know you, I was beginning college at a predominately White institution-that-shall-not-be-named. I entered this unknown system as a child of two parents who had never attended college, being the only one in the family with ‘wild and unruly hair,’ poor, my parents had no idea that anyone else’s were sending care packages, let alone how to do it. Ha! When I think about it… in 1999, I was the only one in my immediate family with an email address. I was Muggle-born. I was Muggle-born and everyone knew it. It’s like they could smell it. I met my fair share of Malfoys. I had one as a roommate. Well, that’s not fair — she was no Draco but her father was most certainly Lucius. Wanna put yourself in my shoes for a second? Replace mudblood with nigger. Oh, wait…. it’s 2016. You’ve been called both.
On the page you are known as a buck-toothed, brown-eyed, brainiac with scraggly hair. There is no mention of your skin. J.K. Rowling even says so…. and the Mamma of Magic should know.
With the announcement that in the new play “Harry Potter and The Cursed Child” the woman to portray you is Black…. with her photograph strewn across the interwebs… those almond brown eyes, the bridge of her nose as wide as her grin, a vitae to match and that melanin! Yes LAWD, that melanin — white folks about jumped the Mayflower to back where they came from to protest and I was sitting here like, WORD. I already knew. This world we live in wasn’t ready, though, Hermione. They still aren’t. Few folks have ever been ready for Black Girl Magic in the flesh. Some of us, many of us, have been waiting. We had you tucked in the corner of our hearts, waiting for the world to awaken and see you the way we’ve always seen you, the way we’ve always seen our selves.
They called you mudblood. Called you nigger.
They tried to call you any and everything but “a child of Rowling.” They called me nigger. Called me poor. They tried to call me any and everything but “a child of God.” They don’t know that Black don’t crack, don’t break, don’t bend to the notion of unwanted but will bend to a side-eye of “no f*cks to give” and stay lit on and off the page. They don’t know, but they gone learn today, Hermione.
I write this letter to say “Sawubona, Hermione.” I see you, sis. I see you and I see me. I see my nieces and my future daughters. I see you from the page to the stage. I see how literature stay lit and how we rise. I see how Black girls everywhere rejoice! The world will see you! Mamma Magic and Emma Watson see you! I see you — beautiful, brave, BLACK! YES!!! Rejoice! Hermione Jean Granger: Black Girl Magic. Lumos!
Love you Queen,
Cover image courtesy of mariannewiththesteadyhands.tumblr.com