i smile in colour

I used to see life in black and white.

It took control of my eyes and forced me to see its harsh lines, the white wanting to wipe away the darkness and blank my eyes of all coloured spectrums.

I was brainwashed into thinking people were treated equally and I was filled with lies disguised as conundrums.

But now I see in colour.

So I smile. 

 

I smile for all the times my ancestors were strong when beaten and bruised like my Father 

Crushed under the hands of the whites like the colour of the cotton they picked 

The candy floss smothered by cracked and worn hands which screamed in thirst for freedom

Freedom dreamt of and spoken into existence by a King.

Martin and Malcom prayed for the x’ing of racism.

We fought without speaking 

Like Rosa Parks, seated quietly on that bus, unwavering 

Because sometimes silence through our actions is louder than the volume of any words we can speak.

 

I smile for our strength in numbers 

How our footprints marked the streets and spelled out Black Lives Matter 

The writings on placards were also reflective of the words in our hearts which they tried to brand as hate 

But if you were in our shoes would you not be driven to feel anger too?

 

I smile when I see melanin filled tv screens and magazine covers

The likes of Vogue and Forbes cannot escape the power that our skin exudes.

Black excellence plastered all over social media 

But why is it that a black person who excels is only seen through a tiny lense?

Give us the recognition we deserve

The encouragement so needed to be heard.

But let’s flip back to the fact that it warms my heart seeing black men and women climbing up the music charts 

Oh when there was a time that we fought to be listened to

To be heard

Or even struggled to find a voice to be heard

We became so accustomed to being mute 

Because of the fear of a shoot 

And the loss of another brother or sister.

I love how the likes of Kendrick and Cole can rap unafraid of a mainstream change 

Because it’s not just a mad city but it’s a mad world

How someone can hate me just because of my DNA 

Or the fact that my skin colour can be an element of a fuse that sparks hate within you

And having the ability to lust over the spilling of my blood?

Well, damn. 

 

I smile for our hair 

Coils and thick strands uncountable by human hands and eyes 

Braided, natural, woven, shaven, relaxed, gelled and slicked back

The fortitude of endless forms and styles that another could never 

But yet they still try 

Cultural appropriation stays rife 

By they don’t understand our struggle and strife 

The way that what they consider as trivial we consider as what makes us who we are 

Fearfully and wonderfully made

But let’s not forget that they sold us as trade 

And tried to make who we were into what they wanted us to be.

 

I smile for us never giving up 

How Nelson Mandela spoke against injustice, bringing an end to apartheid and his heart cried whilst watching our rights rust away like the prison bars that held him captive

But never gave up on the dream of freedom he had for our people 

And refused to let go of the hope that one day we would all be equal.

How Barack Obama showed us that a young black boy can grow up and become the first black president of the USA

Because no dream is too big for us to partake

And we don’t have to go back to reality but are able to create a reality for ourselves 

And inspire others in the midst of it all.

 

You see

I used to see life in black and white 

But now I smile in colour.

For my sun has chased after the rainbow and conquered the skies 

And there is nothing I’d have rather than confidence in my beautiful skin 

 

A blessing from heaven which is more than skin deep but dwells within. 

-Anneliese Amoah

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