Woman Shares Harrowing Story About ‘Flying While Black’

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Imani Cezanne via Twitter
Imani Cezanne via Twitter

Poet and activist Imani Cezanne tweeted about the run-in she had with American Airlines flight attendants over the weekend which resulted in her being forced of of the plane and banned from the airline.

Cezanne has become a popular poet for  enthralling and captivating poems like “Heels,” which focuses on the gender politics of height in men and women.

On Friday, she boarded a plane to fly from Charlotte to Atlanta over the Easter weekend when flight attendants reportedly harassed her over seating.

According to her tweets, Cezanne sat across from a couple that did not speak English. The flight attendant explained that exit row seats were only for English speakers.

Cezanne understood and was prepared to move to a new seat. She began speaking to a passenger nearby about the situation when she was interrupted by the same flight attendant. Cezanne was then asked if “she would be a problem.”

After the two exchanged words, the flight attendant’s manager got involved because the flight attendant reportedly felt “threatened.” Cezanne was forced off the plane. According to the poet’s tweet, she did not raise her voice or become belligerent.

Further tweets say that Cezanne was banned from the airline and stranded in Charlotte as of Friday, March 25.

Her story trended on Twitter with the hashtag #FlyingWhileBlack. Others shared their previous run-ins with the airline:

American Airlines has a history of racial incidents. This year a Muslim woman was profiled based on her religion. A flight attendant harassed Tahera Ahmad after she requested an unopened soda. According to Carbonated TV, the flight attendant refused to give the Muslim woman an unopened can of Coke because it might be used as a weapon.

The airline responded to the poet via Twitter. In a tweet, American Airlines asked Cezanne to follow them so they could direct message each other about the incident.

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