Self Determination & The Possibility of the Thing

Does anyone remember the 90s film, Love Jones?  It was written and directed by Theodore Whitaker. The film gives us an opportunity to watch Larenz Tate and Nia Long portray two Black artists in Chicago as they encounter life, love, Self, and the romantic “other”.


Early on in the film, Larenz Tate’s character, Darius Lovehall, sits around a table in a smoky nightclub with his friends and utters one of the film’s most memorable lines:

People who say love does not exist have actually exceeded the possibility. Romance is about the possibility of the thing.

From the time when you first meet some fine ass woman… To the time you make love to her. From the time you first propose to her. To the time you say i do.

When people who have been together for a long time say that the romance is dead, nuh uh…they just exhausted the possibilities.- Love Jones, 1997

Discussions about sovereignty, self determination, and freedom in the U.S. Virgin Islands always bring me back to the sound of Larenz Tate’s voice. “Romance is about the possibility of the thing.” While he was speaking on romantic love between two human beings, I think that questions of self determination and socio-political liberation always pivot around love.

bell hooks tells us that, “the transformative power of love is the foundation of all meaningful social change,” in her text, Salvation: Black People and Love.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “We have before us the glorious opportunity to inject a new dimension of love into the veins of our civilization. Our motto must be, ‘freedom and justice through love’.”

With that being said, we can’t really be free or self determined if we can’t even conceive of the possibility of the thing.

As a territory of the United States, we have many options before us. We can maintain the status quo, pursue independence, pursue statehood, or become a free associated state.

Yet, I am troubled by the fact that so many of our leaders seem absolutely convinced that we should not pursue independence. Perhaps, they are looking at the world’s prevailing power structures and determining that statehood or increased self determination as a territory are the best options for us. This may very well be true but what about the possibility of independence in a decolonized world? Independence might very well be a viable option for Virgin Islanders outside of the context imposed by predatory capitalism, imperialism, white supremacy, and American colonialism.

Therefore, I’m writing this blog post to say one thing-I’m not yet willing to say that we’ve exhausted all of the possibilities. I am not yet willing to foreclose on the possibility of independence. It’s too early to make that call. I believe in the power of a radical imaginary that sees those things that are not as though they are, or at the very least, as though they are possible. 

Arundhati Roy stated, “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quite day, I can hear her breathing.”

We have to know this so that we can find the strength to continuously push for decolonization.




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