Auntie: Looks like you’re gaining weight.
You: Looks like you’re pretending all your kids have the same father.
For many Black folk, getting through Thanksgiving without whooping someone’s ass can be as hard as getting through Rupi Kaur’s book of “poetry” without wondering what happened to the real poets. Seriously, Derek Walcott dies and suddenly left aligning an iPhone note down the center of a blank page becomes poetry?
History of dinner in the Black household has shown us no one holds a grudge longer than bitter siblings who got nothing when granddad died and pissed off grandmas who opened their home, so they’d have all her children in one place, but were never paid for their years of babysitting ungrateful grandchildren. Because this is true, once we sit down and grace is said, those 56 seconds of silence that falls on the table because everyone’s mouth is full of macaroni and cheese and yams gives those grudges more than enough time to float up to the tongue. Before anyone is able to bite into that fluffy ass roll, the fight has begun.
Think of every Black film that ever existed with a scene of Black folks eating together, with the exception of Antwone Fisher’s pancake eating ass, then think about how each of them could have easily ended identical to every Lifetime Movie your recently divorced aunt will reference for the next seven months. How are we so ill-prepared to deal with our families at supper when film, television, and #ThanksgivingClapback on twitter have been clearly showing us what to expect from Aunt Ann, Grandma Lucille, and that one gay cousin who knows where all the bodies are buried. In fact, it’s a miracle we still eat together at all.
Here I am with reminders on why we should head to the kitchen, pillage every pot, pan, bowl, and jar, then head directly to a secluded corner in a dark closet, avoiding any family member who’s not yet living with dementia.
Soul Food: Remember when the Family fucked her husband?! Yep, Cousin Faith fucked Teri’s husband and it all came out at dinner. Lowkey, that’s probably what sent Big Mama’s diabetes into overdrive, knowing her family wasn’t really worth a damn.
Dear Aunties, Thanksgiving Eve and Christmas Eve are great times to sit and reflect on your lives and remind yourself that you may or may not have stones and shade to throw. Throw responsibly.
Almost Christmas: That time the mistress was invited to the family Christmas dinner and Grandma Cheryl had to make an appearance. I’ve seen many guns drawn at the family table, but rarely is it because someone decided to stick it to the grocery store cart-getter while cruising for smoked oysters.
Children, respect your elders. Well, until they get all the way out-of-pocket and come for your belt notches! We are all a little sensitive about our weight. 2016 didn’t end well, and now with Della and Earle gone, food has comforted us.
Why Did I Get Married: Oh. Oh Sheila! Remember when all the family secrets spilled into the good tablecloth immediately after Sheila found out her husband was sleeping with her friend? Then remember how that same husband’s brains almost spilled right next to those secrets. Then, as dry snitching goes, everyone was forced to confront their bullshit.
These children today are savages! Act accordingly and you will survive. In fact, it may be best to bring them a little gift if you know you have some dirt under your nails that they may discover
The Color Purple: Not one explanation is needed here! Not one!
Jungle Fever: When you try to bring that new girl over, but your parents are still rooting for the old girl! Things don’t always work out as planned, even if your parents are holy. But look who wasn’t invited...the one crackhead relative who “smoked the goddamn tv!”
What’s Love Got To Do With It: This is the reason I stopped eating cake and pie from diners. Not only did the Turner household get flipped on its head yet again, but the band also lost one of its best singers. I always wondered how she got home.
House Party 3: That tragic moment when old lives and nicknames start flying, and you find out your mama used to be called “Jawbone” because she could suck the meat off a…something! Ah man, damnit Bernie, why did you have to leave us so soon!
Something tells me that with this new vegan fad amongst the Black elite that began because they used their ex’s Netflix account to watch What the Health, there will be more hunger induced bad-mouthing because a cherry tomato and vegan cheese ain’t enough to make a roach happy.
So this turkey day, at the table, when your grandmother tells you to stay out of grown folks’ business, bite your tongue to keep from telling her to stay out of grown men’s houses, and I promise we’ll get through this food together and love each other a little more in the end.
Darnell Lamont Walker, the man in the ugly suit with the sunny disposition, resides mostly in Johannesburg, South Africa after successfully escaping American tyranny. After a few degrees, years of Hollywood, a few awards, and too many cups of tequila, he’s focused on collecting and telling those stories around the world that would otherwise be carried into graves and urns. His in-laws never had children and his son is also a genius.
Need some help avoiding a clapback session with a family member that's pushing it? Seclude yourself and listen to our Extraordinary Thanksgiving Dinner Draft!