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I Want Answers! (from Danez Smith)

I Want Answers! (from Danez Smith)

Back in the 90s, every network television show had to do a PSA episode. I’m definitely no Jonathan Taylor Thomas or anything, but sometimes things happen and l just have to get really real.


So right to the point–two weeks ago, I was absolutely floored by the Po’Fo’s Poem Of The Day, which appears in 7,321,250* inboxes every morning (*this number is a rough estimate). It was by Danez Smith, and it’s called “Dinosaurs in the Hood,” and this is how is starts:

Let’s make a movie called Dinosaurs in the Hood.
Jurassic Park meets Friday meets The Pursuit of Happyness.
There should be a scene where a little black boy is playing
with a toy dinosaur on the bus, then looks out the window
& sees the T. Rex, because there has to be a T. Rex.

Don’t let Tarantino direct this. In his version, the boy plays
with a gun, the metaphor: black boys toy with their own lives,
the foreshadow to his end, the spitting image of his father.
Fuck that, the kid has a plastic Brontosaurus or Triceratops
& this is his proof of magic or God or Santa.

And the rest of the poem is just incredible, and it just goes on and on and on and eviscerates the way certain American movies (and certain Americas) portray black people & black narratives, and it just makes me feel all the feelings–and really, Danez has been doing this to me (and changing me) since I first saw “Dear White America”, and then again when he wrote this after the Ferguson verdict, and god, I’m just so thankful for him because he is speaking more clearly and more beautifully about race and race politics than just about anyone–but I also just need you to see the way this ends:

No chicken jokes in this movie.
No bullets in the heroes. & no one kills the black boy. & no one kills
the black boy. & no one kills the black boy. Besides, the only reason
I want to make this is for that first scene anyway: the little black boy
on the bus with a toy dinosaur, his eyes wide & endless
his dreams possible, pulsing, & right there.

So Danez, if you’re listening, two things:

1) Fuck, I love you.

2) When the last scene fades and the credits are done rolling and all of the dinosaur bones have rotted away, what does this little boy do in the sequel?

Mark Cugini
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About The Author

Mark Cugini

Mark Cugini is managing editor of Big Lucks, a strategist for Real Pants, and the author of I'M JUST HAPPY TO BE HERE (Ink Press, 2014). Find him at

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