"Lotus Bloom and the Afro Revolution" by Sherri Winston, Chapters 5–10

November 2, 2022
Lotus Bloom, a seventh-grade girl who loves the vintage style of the 1970s, learns to speak up and fight for the freedom of expression after facing a dress code violation at school.

Here are links to our lists for the novel: Prologue–Chapter 4, Chapters 5–10, Chapters 11–16, Chapters 17–22
Monday, I’m happy to wake up feeling sassy and classy.
I do some yoga, and it gets a little funky; old-school Motown is just what I need.
Rebel has always been formidable, despite being the height and size of a Smurf.
Granny walks in with her casserole of doom. A butter-based, noodle-heavy concoction guaranteed to sabotage any dieting goals Mom might have had.
When I listen to it, I feel the strains of it pulsing inside me, moving like a thief—at first stealthy and measured, then a cacophony, loud and foreboding.
When I listen to it, I feel the strains of it pulsing inside me, moving like a thief—at first stealthy and measured, then a cacophony, loud and foreboding.
It’s a HIGHLY derogatory term for a small Black child carried over from slave times.
It takes all my special powers from the ancient gods, me wielding my virtual protective shield—BING! BANG! POW!—to repel Mom’s and Granny’s spears of gloom.
Eunice raised them girls—Teresa and Rebel’s mama, Janae—to be as belligerent and stubborn as she was.
Usually, it doesn’t faze me when Granny’s and Mom’s doomsday attitudes are in sync.
Some homes are spruced up, while others are crumbling and look jacked up.
Maestro remains relentless, coming at me hard. He says, “If you’re not mature enough to handle this responsibility, I can send you back to Mrs. Nan.”
He swaggers up to the front of the room for our challenge.
I get really hyped when I spot a good sale. Like playing “Summer Madness” by Kool & the Gang, this really old funk band from way back in the ’70s. That actor Will Smith sampled it way back when he was a teen rapper, long before I was born. So it’s a double vintage vibe. Anyway, it’s a super cool tune.
My bartering skills are on point, and getting the price down to thirty-two dollars makes me feel triumphant. Think Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture, which is playing in my head.
Ordinance 457,” she goes on. “It required that Black seasonal workers for the resorts, restaurants, and so on had to report to the police to be fingerprinted and receive special IDs to be able to walk around. And don’t get me started on the schools.”
“Our neighborhood in MacArthur Park only came into being in the mid-’70s. It’s where the city ‘allowed’ Black folks to live. And from the outset, they did little to update the schools beyond the bare minimum. That’s why MacArthur Middle is the way it is. We have an obligation to make this right, Lo.”
YaYa, who is Puerto Rican, takes offense. Which is fair. It’s awkward because I know Mercedes just likes riling her up!
“So full of artless jealousy is guilt,
It spills itself in fearing to be spilt!”
I take out my violin and, soft as I can, play Bach’s BWV 1001: II. Fugue—its melody is lovely and soothing, and it moves gently through me, wrapping my spirit in warm hugs.
My competition looks right at me. So far, I’ve only caught his minions in the act; this is the first time he’s been so obvious about it.
“No need to make a big deal out of it.” I say it nonchalantly, like I’m not dragon-fire mad.
She and YaYa and Taj are often part of my lunchtime posse.
All the cliques around the sun-filled room are super amped today. I see how hard Mercedes fights for a starring role—Cafeteria Diva, and all that.
When she says, “woolly mammoth,” it whooshes between her lips with the exultant lift of a saxophone note.
Like, I don’t want to be negative, but sometimes her compliments don’t feel sincere. Is middle school making me jaded?
One girl in our class—some of us call her “four-point-oh Franny”—is quick to stand up and give her latest soliloquy on literature.
“You will pair Angelou’s seminal literary work with the factual history of the Great Migration between 1915 and 1960 when over three million African Americans moved north in search of a better life,” she says.
status quo
Mr. Burke says, “Rebellions happen when people get fed up with the status quo. Can any of you name an example of a time when you got fed up with the status quo and decided it was time to do something about it?”
The timeline must include facts of interest from government as it pertains to laws governing African Americans at that time.
You can’t dull my shine. I put him in my hater file and sit back, playing my violin with loose abandon until we arrive.
“Let’s get hot dogs!” Anabel says as we make our way off the field and into the concessions area.
When we finish and heartily applaud ourselves (with all the humility of a group of performing arts students), I spot that girl again.
She opens her phone and shows me a screenshot of a post.
It’s a meme, a black-and-white image, old fashioned, of a Black boy with wild hair.
That image feels so... degrading.

Create a new Word List