The Negro Woman by Sekai Edwards Portland Youth Poet Laureate

the negro woman looked at the mirror on the wall
she said
mirror mirror on the wall
  who’s the most beautiful of them all
The mirror responded
Snow white you Black bitch and don’t you forget it
-Unknown

when I was little
I wanted to be white
I wanted my hair to be long and blonde
my eyes to be blue
I didn’t want my mom
to buy that cream from the corner store
part my hair into braids
and tie it up
I wanted to wear it down like all the other kids
I didn’t want my ancestors to be beaten
and my story to be stolen from me
so i started to make excuses for being Black
like well I’m only like three fourths Black
but then again like not even that Black
like there’s got to be something else in me
like
I started to believe what my oppressors were trying to teach me
like if black was the lesser
then being less black was better
that the color of my skin was the determination of my destiny
black women get this the most
if we ain’t got five hundred dollars of something
running through your hair to make it straighter
you ain’t beautiful
so now were bleaching our skin to become beautiful
If we could be three shade lighter
we would be three shades more whiter
making us three shade more beautiful
we attribute white with beauty
a word misused so many times
I don’t even know the true meaning of it anymore
we’ve been taught since childhood
that black ain’t beautiful
snow whites the only one who could eat an apple
and find herself a prince
so now you got little Black girls
running around trying to find their prince
but you ain’t going to find it
because you’re just a black bitch
you just get a hustler or a pimp
so caught up in if we’re the house slave or the field slave
not realizing we’re only slaves
to this idealistic beauty will never be
striving for white perfection
yet not realizing there’s a black connection
to our cultural complexion
that we should all so long to be
so this one right here
is for the colored girls
the ones who wanted to be
disney princesses
but never fit the casting call
this one right here
is for the girls who wanted their hair to be long and blonde
this one right here
is for the women who worked in the field
with a child on their backs
who marched in the streets with their fist held high
this one right here is for all my colored girls
because there will never ever be a day
where black ain’t beautiful

Sofia Snow