An Open Letter To 2017 From Black People

Dear 2017,

I know you’re home, chilling, probably sipping on some champagne, eating unseasoned meat loaf with your outfit laid across the bed, thinking how dope you are going to look when the world counts down the last moments of this year. (We can both agree 2016 is a fuckboy, right?  I know he’s your cousin, and I don’t want to talk shit about your family but I’m willing to bet that he was a pain-in-the-anus when you were growing up. He probably did asshole shit like take a bite of the last Krispy Kreme and decide he didn’t want it. I bet sometimes he didn’t even flush after he dookied and thought it was funny when you walked into the bathroom and saw that 14-inch turd curled around the inside of the toilet bowl poking halfway out of the water. We all have an older cousin like that, and I know 2016 was no different.)

I just wanted to holla at you before you came over to let you know that we have high expectations for you. I don’t know what your cousin told you about us, but because he’s a little bit racist, I hope you don’t believe everything he said. If you give us a chance, I bet by the end of the year we can even be friends. There are just a few requests that we have for you.

First of all, can you stop with all of the violence? I know it’s part of your job to kill off a few people every year. All we ask is that you aren’t as callous and insensitive as the motherfucker you’re following. I mean, damn man! He killed Phife Dawg, Prince and Muhammad Ali within 3 months of each other without even giving us a heads up! I’m not saying that you shouldn’t let anyone die, but at least space them out throughout the year!

Or how about this: How about takings some people we don’t care about? How the fuck can y’all justify George Zimmerman still being alive but let Prince die? That’s just mean, bruh. I’m not even asking you for something cosmic, like having Zimmerman choke on a pack of Skittles or to let his car run off the road and crash into a neighborhood watch sign. We’re cool with him just falling down a flight of stairs or shooting himself in the dick while cleaning the gun he murdered Trayvon with and tried to sell on Ebay.

As a matter of fact, it doesn’t even have to be George Zimmerman. It can be someone like Darren Wilson, or the cop who choked Eric Garner to death. I think his name is Daniel Pantaleo, and he is still working on the police force. How about having him stabbed in the throat while responding to a domestic violence call? That seems fair.

I’m not calling for anyone’s death, but I’m just saying–if you have to choose between someone beloved like the Greatest of All Time and everyone else on earth, we’d like to nominate Timothy Loehmann, the cop who shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice. No body wants him around. Well, maybe his mother and family want him around, but I’m sure someone can counsel them through the grief of losing a son too soon. Maybe Tamir’s mom can help.

Speaking of death, by the way, how about chilling with the police shootings this year? We get it–they are in charge. But is there anything we can do to at least slow the numbers down? 1096 people have died this year at the hands of the police, and 215 of them have been Black. What the fuck, bruh? We are only 13 percent of the population but 1 out of every 4 people shot and killed by police! Is there anything we can do? Terence Crutcher had his hands in the air and his back turned. Philando Castile was only doing what the cop told him to do. I know it’s not all up to you, but talk to your people and see what you can find out.

I know you can’t do anything about Donald Trump, and trust me 2017 (can I call you semm’teen?) we don’t blame you for that. Again, I’m putting that on your cousin, 2016. We know you’re like Obama cleaning up Bush’s mess, so we are gonna give you a chance to prove yourself. I’m just wondering if you don’t let him fuck America up as much as everyone seems to think he will. Maybe you can fuck up his twitter account or give him a rare but incurable disease that only affects hist typing fingers.

Black people are going to need your help fighting the newly emboldened White Supremacist Alt-Right. I know you don’t want a national race incident happening during your tenure, but I swear–if I’m in line at the grocery store and some redneck White woman with a booty shaped like a social studies textbook starts taunting me about how she voted for Trump, she just might have to catch these hands. And I don’t even hit women–but I will put a racist in a half-nelson and squeeze until she starts slobbing and make her go night-night if I am provoked. You make the choice.

And another thing, If they don’t convict Michael Slager for shooting Walter Scott, you know we gon’ burn that motherfucker down, right? That’s not a threat and it will be entirely justifiable. If a jury can’t convict a police officer with video evidence of him shooting a man as he is running away, then America is officially telling Black people the judicial system doesn’t give a fuck about us (as if we didn’t know), so we might as well take the law into our own hands. I don’t know how much pull you have in these matters, but I just want you to know, this is gonna be on your watch.

Also there are a few other things we’d like you to help us out with this year:

  • Can you stop people from asking Black celebrities questions as if they’re speaking for all of us? None of us are taking cues from Lil Wayne on the socioeconomic impact of Black Lives Matter on the perception of urban youth.
  • Can you give Stacey Dash throat cancer? Not the life-threatening kind. Just a benign tumor on her vocal chords that renders her speechless for the rest of her life. If she has more ignorant bile to spew, let her do it in sign language.
  • Can we get an official diagnosis for Kanye? Black America is split on whether he’s battling mental illness or if he’s just a supremely gifted fuckboy. I’m leaning towards fuckboy, but I’ll wait for the paperwork.
  • We’d like to fight. We don’t want to fight all Wypipo, but I’d like the Alt-right trolls who attacked Leslie Jones have their car break down in East St. Louis while they’re wearing Nazi Propaganda. Or maybe the next white woman who sends an email calling Mrs. Obama an orangutan could run into Sharkeisha. Or how about this: A steel cage match between Jon “Bones” Jones and the next motherfucker who wears blackface to a Halloween party?

That’s about it, 2017. Again, I wish you well and pray your upcoming gig is successful. By the way, please don’t take this letter as a sign of weakness. It’s not. We have never wanted pity, just equality.  We don’t fear you. Your previous 400 relatives have all been intent on fucking us over, but they were never able to destroy us. Neither will you. On December 31, 2017, you will exit stage left and we will still be here. Still strong. Still surviving. Your time only lasts 365 days…

Black people are forever.



P.S. Tell your cousin 2016 we’re still gonna kick his ass if we catch him in the streets.


About the author

Michael Harriot is a renowned spoken word poet, the host of The Black One podcast and the editor-in-chief of NegusWhoRead. He is perpetually just getting warmed up because he has no chill. He is on Instagram and twitter as @michaelharriot

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