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?
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.
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.