When I think of home, I think of a place where there’s tenacity overflowing… Memphis. It’s the heartbeat of the civil rights movement. It’s the center of today’s music. It’s where the first Black built neighborhood in the United States exists. Memphis, the place where we ain’t scared to take a risk. Memphis. A place where we stamp the phrase “WHOOP THAT TRICK!” But we mean it out of love. We’re just oftentimes misunderstood, but you got to know that IT’S ALL GOOD. We’re no lemons off the lot though. BIG MEMPHIS, BIG MEMPHIS!! Shout out to all our cousins in Chicago, Atlanta and every part of Mississippi. Those places are nice, but they ain’t quite like Memphis, Memphis, Memphis!!!
Here’s my love letter to you. This is for all the times you got me through. The tough love you gave me, and the wisdom of how you raised me. Yeah-Yeah, I’m from Memphis, no Tennessee, baby. For those who didn’t get that last line, I’ll explain it one time. See we’re a blue city in a red state. Therefore, the outrageous decisions co-signed by Bill Lee, I can’t relate. BIG MEMPHIS, BIG MEMPHIS!!! That’s the wave.
But make no mistake, we are here to stay. BIG MEMPHIS, BIG MEMPHIS!!!! You can tell by the weather we stay ready for whatever. That’s sun, rain, snow, or sleet…all in one week. You can tell it’s Memphis, mane, by the way we speak. Aye, Mane. Say, Mane. Ain’t it, mane? Mane…Mane. BIG MEMPHIS, BIG MEMPHIS!!!!!
There’s no mistaking us when we’re out of town. When we slide out to a Grizzlies game, you know it’s going down. “WHOOP THAT TRICK!!!” Yeah, you hear the chant. You Ain’t Mad Iz Ya? Shout out to La Chat, Three 6 and Mr. Don’t Play Project Pat! Because we’re gorilla pimpin’ and it’s a gangsta party. BIG MEMPHIS, BIG MEMPHIS!!!!! That’s what’s up, YoGotti! For signing the biggest new artist of this year, GloRilla. She’s a go-getta. BIG MEMPHIS, BIG MEMPHIS!!!!!!
That speaks to the hustle, grind and mindset of the people that come from Grind City. Where the pride is infectious and will run through you faster than a paper-tagged Infinity. Yeah, it’s Bluff City, but we dodgin’ all the flodgin’ To keep it PAPER ROUTE FRANK (It’s DOLPH!!!) People around the world put respect on us, regardless. BIG MEMPHIS, BIG MEMPHIS!!!!!!!
I’m talking about more than the Memphis you see on Beale Street. Don’t let the marketing fool you. It’s deeper than Elvis. It’s more than barbecue. Memphis is the definition of bold, Black and beautiful. It’s the soul of the people that keeps my city rich. We always find a way to stay up while keeping ten toes down. Not easily broken is the spirit of M-Town. BIG MEMPHIS, BIG MEMPHIS!!!!!!! This is an ode to us. BIG POWER. BIG RESPECT. And most of all…BIG LOVE.
T’Arrah Mathis writes under the name T’Arrah Marjé. She is a Memphis native who enjoys writing from the heart and capturing an authentic experience through her words. A University of Memphis graduate, Mathis has published two children’s books, “Still a Rose” and “Big Mad!” under her publishing company, Bay Roses Publishing.
This story is brought to you by MLK50: Justice Through Journalism, a nonprofit newsroom focused on poverty, power and policy in Memphis. Support independent journalism by making a tax-deductible donation today. MLK50 is also supported by these generous donors.