'and sometimes I don't want to be pretty, i want to be fucking powerful' - Reyna Biddy
I was in attendance of an event, Inspiring the uninspired woman. Wanita Christine Network, Hosted by a lady called Keisha. I sat amongst other business owners, entrepreneurs and writers. Powerful black woman coming together, and i thought to myself why am i here? I am not powerful. I felt caged within myself, I couldn't break free from the reins that i had chained and locked myself, My mind battled with my voice to speak. I couldn't physically bring myself to open my mouth to converse with anyone. I sat gritting my teeth, and clenching my fists, in frustration that i couldn't speak. Although nothing was stopping me but my inhibitions, Until someone spoke to me. I felt anchored in my seat, in my mind, pressure built up within me ,making my hands swell, the only outlet i felt was my eyes well. I am no stranger to events like this, i have been to many poetry readings, and many social events and get togethers, to share ideas and talk about creativity. But this one i just couldn't speak, i didn't feel as though i was worthy. I got up finally to introduce the little i had to say, and the reception i received made me feel worthy, i wasn't alone, and that was the message i relayed to others, that they are not alone, i asked them all to use their voice to speak!
I was invited to the London Metropolitan Black police associations annual AGM, where the Commissioner of London Met was in attendance. I was asked to speak on my beginnings with the Young Black police association, and the movement i have made since then. I planned out my speech this time, my Dad proof read, then added some jokes, that i refused to say.
I was nervous, and prepared a whole speech that i needed to change last minute. The girl that went before me, i watched in awe of her confidence to stand up and speak, to express her passions so passionately. To address a room full of people like it was a daily routine. She spoke about her wonderful works that she does amongst her community in south London, From project to project to empowering young females, she kept going, and i became overwhelmed with the sense of not being established, not following my dreams. Not having achieved half as much as what she had, my time came nearer, she passed me the microphone, and i wondered, how will i do this. I almost froze, again! When i started, i felt a burning in my temples, and i said " I am not as powerful as she is..."
Before i finished, one of the members of the audience shouted out ''YOU ARE POWERFUL, YOU ARE WONDERFUL'' That one sentence gave me all the boost i needed to continue, to power on, and i did. The feeback i received at the end of the speech let me know how loud my voice echoed, over my timid soft speaking stuttering.
I set up a dating profile, there were a number of reason i did this, And i felt ashamed and embarrassed that i had done so. Then i got over it, and realised this is a new age, a new way of communicating and meeting people from different parts of where you are from that you may never cross paths with in your daily life. I spoke to many guys, who had not much conversation to offer me. I was mostly being liked, matched with or messaged by White Eastern European, Italian, Spanish, Greek, Turkish, Moroccan men, all dark haired and beautiful. The general consensus, was their sexual obsession with Black women. Which seemed like a fetish more than anything. A few sentences or openings stood out to me, i received countless amounts of messages that began with "Hello chocolate" At first i ignored the chocolate part, then i started responding with something along the lines of i am not edible, i am a human being, and would love to be addressed like one. Most men respond with ''but i'd love to taste you'' ''i have never tried a black girl, you want to be my first'' ''black girls taste better'' To my disappointment, that was not all I was faced with. I saw profiles from Black males, who stated. ''NO black or Dark skin girls please'' To my dismay, i felt like i had been winded in the stomach. I start to question myself, and how ugly I, or we as black females must be the the open world, to be cast aside and not be desirable, to anyone, not even our own. To only be desired for a quick shag, or an experiment, used like an animal or eaten like a forbidden fruit only to be cast away and not a single message returned after that.
I recently done my hair in braids, and my friend who was doing it, told me her daughter said '' She wants to have long straight hair, like her white friends'' I watch young black girls on youtube videos given the option of playing with a black Doll with coily hair, or a white doll with blonde locks, and she choose the rosey cheek, wide blue eyed doll, over the one who looks like her. She says to camera " the black doll is bad"
Something is conditioning the minds of Black girls, black females, to not appreciate the skin that we are in, the attitude that we possess, the s shaped curls that sit on our crown. The full lips and wider set nose that rests upon our faces. We are forced to feel like we need to change to fit in, but then still cast aside when we do. Made to feel like the ugliest duckling in the pond, the bounty chocolate left at the bottom of the celebrations chocolate box, the yellow starburst. I am often criticised for not being black enough, Although i am not sure what that means, but i don't wear my natural hair, but it's the way i feel comfortable, not a way of me trying to look or feel white, i don't speak another language, i eat foods i am used to eating which isn't african food. I just like to be me, me who has dark skin, is not defined just by that, and to be cast away by own sisters for not being "black enough" cannot be something i pay to much attention to anymore. I date people, not races, i accept the heart of that one whose heart brings love to mine, who my spirit feels can entwine, so whether they are black, white or blue, i will accept whoever is true. My friends are convinced i dont like black boys, but in actual fact the majority don't like dark skin girls, so what can i do?
I use instagram, and i watch outrage of black female look and culture being ridiculed on black females, but being made trendy by white females and all of a sudden those same disgusting traits are okay. I listen to the black students in the college, express the hate they hold for themselves. Making sure they display themselves with contour at any given moment, to make natural fuller face african features smaller, to fit into a more european chiseled look. Me, Kerrie and Kellisha jumped a girl outside my house when we were much younger, because she walked past and called us Black Monkeys. When i was in Greece, some children were shouting Monkey noises at me. This is the image that is held of Black women, Animals in the wild. Those that cannot be tamed, and loud. What i ask is that, these young black queens is to be proud! No one is more powerful than you! When you step into the room, let them know it's you, who came into the room! Life will bring many moments that will make you feel ashamed to be who you are, when you have no choice but to be that. I now understand how Powerful I am. My Mother is a powerful woman, So if i was ever ashamed to be who i am, i look up at Mother and realise i am MORE powerful beyond measure.
Young African child
hair untamed natural and wild
Pepper grains above my neck
masses of tight curls branch out from my scalp
slowly raising upwards into an afro
Dark kinky locks grow
Horse hair weaved into my roots
Blonde red, blue
single plaits untie from the root until they become loose
patches of broken hair stares back at me through the combs tooth
then follows the tears of my youth
I didn’t ask for this type of hair
an old tale my mum told me before I went to sleep
we have this texture hair because we stole wool from the sheep
something I’ve always believed
cornrows or cainrows, rows of crisscrosses and straight lines,
followed my finger through each parting line,
while I closed my eyes, it took me on a different path each time.
Young african child
wear that crown, proud!
(poem written by me!)