How TV Presenter AJ Odudu Believes We Can Turn Pain Into Power

The TV star is remaining hopeful.

AJ Odudu

by AJ Odudu |
Updated on

Just a matter of weeks ago I was filled with despair. Angry at yet another case of police brutality, frustrated by those ‘shocked’ by what we were witnessing online and infuriated by the constant virtue signalling being plastered all over our screens. I lacked belief that anything would actually change, especially as black people have been sacrificing and repeating themselves for centuries. Not to mention personal upset caused by the immediate exposure of racial traumas that I was forced to suddenly begin to make peace with when frankly, I didn’t feel emotionally ready to.

Yet with every piece of sadness, anger and resentment I have felt in recent weeks, a new layer of radical resilience has been revealed. I have taken pride in my pain, knowing full well that I am stronger than those who have none and despite the many injustices that still exist in our world, the racial disparities that continue and the bigotry that pervades I still remain hopeful about the future. Here’s why.

For the first time, the whole world seems to be on the same page about the disgusting act of police brutality. We’re signing petitions, we’re hijacking the internet, we’re donating and we are protesting both locally and globally. We have four arrests for the murder of George Floyd and we’re witnessing people finally feel liberated enough to lift up their voices and speak of the racial injustices they have faced both socially and professionally. Many companies are now promising to educate their employees in a pursuit of a culture that better values and respects diversity and the incredible work of black authors, black owned businesses and grassroot foundations are finally being recognised. These are all small victories.

Of course there is still so much more work to do and none of us can rest on our laurels. Afterall, no political reform has been made, police are still abusing their power and our entire society needs to change yet I still believe even small triumphs are worthy of celebration. To me, they are clear indications that we are moving in the right direction. They give us a much needed boost which in turn generates motivation to not only fight for change, but to love even when we’ve experienced hate and to forgive, even when we’ve been let down.

Just as we have the right to be upset we also have the right to be happy. If you are filled with resentment, try letting that feeling come and then let that feeling go. This painful period is teaching us new ways to persevere and showing us that we can recuperate in our own way and on our own terms. Be it through (for me personally) writing, crying or listening to music, this time is ours for the healing.

The respect and gratitude that I have for our key workers has been limitless during this pandemic. I am allowing that gratitude to spill over to my ancestors and elders, paying homage to the generations before me that never had the chance to experience progress and though the past is ugly, the present is taxing and the future remains uncertain, the critical importance of sustaining the anti-racism movement that’s gathered global momentum is on. Let’s stick with this change, there is simply no ‘normal’ to go back to.

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