Where do I begin, no, when will it end?
When will you not fear me for the color of my skin
When will you appreciate all the beautiful qualities I have within
When will you let our Black boys grow to be men
When will these police officers start "To Protect & To Serve"
When will the words "I Can't Breathe" finally be heard
When will they realize we're singing the song of a caged bird
When will we be more than a hashtag or a face on a shirt
When will injustice face the same scrutiny as the chaos it brings
When will you acknowledge his death, when mentioning the peaceful Dr. King
When will you do what he said long ago, & let freedom ring
When will you notice its a call we been waiting for, & we haven't heard a thing
When will it become obvious, we are extremely exhausted
When will they say "Let them be, & let's change what caused it"
When will being Black not be seen as yellow tape, reading "Be Cautious"
When, oh when, is never coming, unless we, CAUSE IT!
—Jay D'One Davis
Published author, dedicated father, full time activists, & overall hustler . https://www.facebook.com/jd.d.davis.1?mibextid=ZbWKwL
I’m am not an artist
I’m not an artist
when my hands weave through my hair
tying it down in braids and knots
remembering the path with inner sight
through my blood of old.
I’m not an artist
when my hands wipe your tears
and my words soothe your fears
while humming those lullabies of old.
I am not an artist
when I scrape and scrap
to create food that heals the body,
brightens the mind and brings us back
to a Time of Our Ancestors old.
I’m not an artist
when my hips Sway and my body flows
becoming one with the Rhythm and beat
feeling it all the way down to the soles of my feet
drumming and stumping that old ancestor beat.
I am not an artist
when my body is oppressed
but my words and my voice
feel free to dance to the highest Heights
reaching that sacred place of old.
I am not an artist
when my hips spread wide to birth New Life
and my hands dig deep within the Earth
to shape its growth hoping and praying
to remember that peace of old.
I am not an artist
I am art
— Angela Harper
AND THAT’S IT
It’s said that black is a racialized classification of people, and that’s it.
In a history class lesson, we are slaves, and that’s it.
And the beautifully amusing stereotypes given to us from birth: he’s a criminal, she’s for the streets, they are gang bangers, those Africans have no intellect, etc., etc...
AND THAT’S IT
Despite being very successful, they only notice the smallest mistake and use it to their advantage... to break us, divide us, and belittle us.
The goal is really quite simple...The more we fall, the more they rise.
All they need to do is make us forget US... who we are, were, and are meant to be.
AND THAT’S IT
But according to our author, that’s not just it.
We have been blessed to have beautiful doses of melanin that variate like our personalities, history, and potential.
Before anybody… We were
Even from the womb, we were anointed by the most high and given his favor.
The world, as we know it originated from our motherland.
Everything the world knows from food to music, style to art, natural resources to culture, etc. all traces back to Alkebulan, our garden of Eden.
No matter what, the ever so PURE blood of Africa that courses through our veins will forever be what holds us together, making us a stronger people.
A STRONGER PEOPLE like the Royal Personages we were, and still can be, as we heal as a whole, and finally see our worth because we are
POWERFUL BEYOND MEASURE.
It’s our blood, sweat, and tears that irrigate the earth, causing the ground to harmonize its gratitude beneath our feet, making our land livable.
Bless the African soul, so divinely made with an energy and light that radiates in every surrounding space.
Bless the African souls who had once lost themselves, but are now being found.
Bless the African souls who paved the way for a future as bright as our melanin when it’s kissed by the sun.
We are perfectly handcrafted in an image that holds such high virtue.
WE ARE EXCELLENCE
AND THAT’S IT
— Lily French
I’m Lily French, a current high school student, poet, artist, and mediator. https://linktr.ee/Vibenwithlily
SCREAMING AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS …
anger and rage personified,
400 years of watching Black babies become Black girls become Black women that are invisible to every eye but our own.
still reeling from the absence of parts of myself, lost on ship rides over, stripped of my identity and my dignity, tired from holding an entire country and their spoiled, entitled, anti-masking colonizer children on my back
the reason for my oppressors’ existence.
I gave air to the anglo-saxon men who consider our existence less desirable and I watch from a distance as they disrespect the very breath they’ve been gifted to breathe.
It’s the oddest thing…being crucified on a daily basis.
The vessel for a gene only we can call our own
All hips and dips and curves like the mothers that came before me, I am the prototype.
A gift not built on a doctor’s table but one that is emulated at every turn.
Not commissioned, but listen, not even the Kardashians can duplicate something that God put her hand on and made in her image.
one of 3 million other Black women on this earth that you should bow down to when we walk by,
I AM TIRED. OF BEING. HUMBLE.
Gentle, sweet, nice, kind, pretty, and silent. I am not here to make you comfortable.
I will not water down flames inside me to make sure that you don’t get burned and I will not “lighten up” so that you don’t have to endure your own darkness.
If only there were a lightning cream for a colonizer’s dark-ass soul.
I am indeed your angry Black woman, I will not play nice for you and your screens, I am more than sunflowers and roses and I will kill Miss Daisy before I drive for her.
I am not the happy-go-lucky mammy that these history books tell your kids that we were, I am disgusted by the thought of feeding someone else’s children, I am homicidal at the docile memories coursing through my veins of the Brown and Black women before me being bent over tables, I don’t care about your white tears thinking back to ours as our husbands and sons were ripped from our arms never to be seen again. Y’all watch horror movies for fun. We live in one, and have to swallow our pain every single day in hopes to not become Freddy Kruger ourselves.
I am a fire burning that you will not ever put out.
But I am also water…
I am healing cascades.
I flow freely, weening and waning through the channels of never ending turmoil, peacefully
Strong enough to take out an entire village and gentle enough to cleanse the waste of past traumas from your psyche.
And even though it’s not my position, as it’s not the sun’s job to give light to the night
Like the sun, if the love of my life asked me to, I would temporarily abandon the day and do it anyways.
As Black women often do, saving entire worlds, spending far more currency in emotional boundaries than anyone ever asked us to,
We are also water.
Sometimes drowning in our own abundance.
Like a daughter to a mother, maybe it’s in our DNA.
Still acting out, trying all that we can to be like our Mother Earth and never knowing when to stop giving birth, healing, holding, nurturing, loving the world around us.
All at the expense of ourselves.
We are also water,
Clenching the thirst of a world becoming more and more absent of life.
Like the oceans have their beaches, I am the heart of every place,
I am Erykah invading your ear drums at a bonfire on a warm summer night
I am the love of your life, and “boy you know you rock my world and…”
I am love,
In spite of
Like rivers, I am never-ending,
I am Oshun in all of her glory, strong enough to end It all. Strong enough to love again.
Over and over and over,
I am perpetual creation, a sea polluted in, under-appreciated, uncared for, soiled with scraps and debris from years worth of neglect,
But never ceasing to provide shelter to all of those that find solace,
Never ceasing to be a universe of my own, undiscovered, indomitable, un-moved. And unbroken,
I am. The wave.
I am also your air.
Yes, a cool breeze, softly caressing your face, an ethereal beauty, the wind beneath your wings, yea yea allathat.
But I’m talking like, the air that shouts down to the Atlantic Ocean causing it to contract from the inside, telling it to rise up!
Letting the African coast know that the American coast is still KILLING, KIDNAPPING, AND TORTURING HER KIDS here!
Like the air that meets the ocean and avenges us every year.
I mean like, the air that my mother breathed into me that came from thousands of surviving souls before her that came from God that reminds me on the daily that it shouldn’t be so hard to breathe.
Stop letting them suffocate you, Dai.
I am gravity defying air,
like me and my daughters’ hair.
Like my spirit, when even existing Is an act of resistance.
Like the allergy I’ve developed for colonization,
Like how I realized that assimilation to whiteness is way too common, way too required and much too dismissive.
Like my diction.
Like how I’m done code switching for y’all, cuz this negro spiritual on my tongue is my soul’s act of persistence.
And you can’t make me feel small anymore, for speaking the language of the earth, the moon and the stars,
No man here is my rule maker.
Consistently picking up and moving the need to laugh more quietly, take up less space, speak white, breathe white, eat and see white just to feel like I’m worthy of walking on the earth that MY mother made?!
I’ve had to slap myself a few times…
Look through my own eyes in the mirror, and like the wind to the ocean I remind myself to rise. up.
A tornado is not moved or intimidated at the sight of a rain cloud so Black girl why in the world are you?
We are air,
Like healing, like forgiveness, like new breath,
Like a thousand years of “you’re welcomes” for us not just getting up and deciding to blow all this shit down,
And yet, we choose to be oxygen instead…
The most solid foundation,
We are the earth itself.
Like the bronx in the 80s making bass and poetry be the voice of an uprising,
Like that uprising giving us MC Lyte and Latifah, Kim and Da Brat, Lauryn and TLC, Minaj and Rhapsody,
I would stop here but if I quit then where will everyone else get their inspiration for…existing
Voices that make music for women that look like you and me,
Small white girls re-naming our hair and stealing our zeal, tryna “HEhn” like meg the stallion,
But baby you can’t “Hehnnn” like me,
I am the earth,
Like your chakras aligned,
Like your third eye wide open,
Like how trees have those rings to let you know they’ve been here before,
I am, too,
And if you look closely and pay attention, you’ll find that like nature we have rings of our own,
I am wild and free like a tropical rain forest, uninhibited and unexpected,
And if tested, I can be your desert, hot, stubborn, and unless respected, sure to make you feel the absence of life itself,
the root and the soul.
your Ellie, and your Billie, and your Nina…
Sound ingrained into the quiet places inside of you.
I am timeless and irreplaceable,
the history, and the future, of light itself.
I am you, and you are me,
I am the deafening silence of moments before creation.
Black girl you are
the hem of his garment.
A healing force so powerful and so natural that the ground exhales every morning at the sensation of your feet.
So cleansing, that the frequency of your voice if heard, if heard, if heard, can erase the very demons of misogyny.
I am, we are, the light…and the darkness.
God’s love packaged up in beautiful brown life forces of earth, wind, water, fire.
Baby you ARE the answer.
I am wounds and traumas of warriors that came before me.
Scars cascading over the body that is this life,
Housing the unbreakable spirit that we are,
Without us this world can’t get far
And I’m still learning that under no circumstances do I have to submit to the thought that we can only be one thing.
the definition of chains broken,
—Daishaundra Loving Hearne
Above: Felicia Follum ponders her 2020 exhibition “Make it Plain” which examines Black history and the process of lament from a Biblical perspective. The large work in the background is titled 1892 and is composed of 230 nooses representing the lynchings in that year.
Below: A brief history of the KKK in the U.S. and a flip doll responding to her own family history. Her biological father owned a chain of 5 BBQ restaurants including one on the main street in Athens, GA. He made the wrong people angry and was assassinated in 1996 when closing his restaurant. The Flip doll turns over into a man with a BBQ apron.
You are not forgotten
You are not forgotten.
You will not be forgotten.
It seems like buried treasure
has been found
Your stories have now
hit the ground
other than your families,
Fully acknowledging all
you’ve gone through
and your contributions
to this community.
that still resembled places
you had left
No lack of disrespect
Just about making you reflect
was this worth the trek?
But of course
any journey is worth
taking the chance
if there can be an advance
within your circumstance.
Through it all,
Helping build the buildings
to produce a bomb to land on
another country for a country
with no real regard for you,
Covenants preventing you from
living in Richland
Essentially being a credit risk,
Having to live on the other side
of the Pasco tracks
bridge too for that matter
lets not hold back,
Kennewick being dubbed the
Birmingham of Washington
what an honor to hold
such a description,
Being humiliated and harassed
like a tongue licking a lollipop,
To being the last
to have sewer service,
Talk about risk of disease
being able to surface,
You. Still. Prevailed.
Marches were marched
Protests were held
Schools named after you
Leader of a National Laboratory
William R Wiley
And Pasco is among those
cities with a rich long history of
Indeed more obstacles
But many of you stood up
to tackle the disgrace,
No matter how it looked
Or how long it would take.
The plaques that honor you
The buildings that bear
The children who have
And your spirit that pervades
Your voices continue to speak
And people are really
hearing you now,
To the point that your
accomplishments are avowed,
with people walking in your
footsteps to continue to bring
about a change
in this here plateau
Will. Not. Be. Forgotten.
— Corey Jenkins Jr
Corey Jenkins Jr is a software engineer and storyteller who likes to use whatever medium feels best to do so.
Main image: Fire Next Time by William Hanley