Reign, Queen of African Descent

The darker her skin,
the darker her days,
the harder she works,
the harder she prays,
the deeper she loves,
the shorter he stays,
the faster she tries,
the slower it pays

Your royal highness,
constantly oppressed queen,
though your days may be dark
like the colour of your skin,
you are bright enough to be
whatever and wherever you want to be;
you deserve to stride in.

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I’m Not Your Little Negro Girl

He wants to be my knight.
I have noticed his random displays of might.
He gazes at me seductively whenever I’m in sight,
but all I can predict is a sorry plight.
How can you be the one that I’d keep warm at night
if you don’t think everyone should be treated right?

Push Through

This is the legend of Gbàdà,
the favourite of his former owner.

One day, his chains were removed,
and he was declared a free man.
In excitement, he began to dance,
on the broad road by the plantation,
all day, and all night,
and he hasn’t stopped since then.
He doesn’t know where home is;
he doesn’t know what home was.

He’s been released, but he’s not free yet;
he’ll be free when he stops dancing.
The blindfold’s off but he can’t see yet;
he’ll see when he stops laughing,
when he stops crying,
when he starts moving,
when he starts trying.

Maybe one day, he’ll get home,
if he doesn’t dance himself to death.
The name “Freeman” is as bad as “Ransome”;
he needs very thorough rebirth.

The Free Wear the Chains Now.

It’s one thing to be Black and proud.
It’s another, to be an African,
or with African roots, and proud.

How can it be, that children of the same parents don’t regard one another as siblings, as brothers and sisters?

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“Faces”: Abstract African Art by Nigerian Artist, Ezekiel Udubrae.


Romanticized Queen Africa Has the Strength of a Thousand Men. She Has Large, Perky Breasts and Big, Round Buttocks:
Many of the Black people of America are so proud of their “Ancient-Egypt roots”. Their ancestors spoke Yoruba, and Igbo, and Twi, and Hausa, and Tiv, and Qanawuri, and Etuno, before heavy chains were tied around their hands and feet. The sad truth is these ancestors were not all titled king and queens, but Móremí’s sons and Idia’s daughters would prefer to claim that they were directly breastfed by Nefertiti.

An Egyptian lady told me she’s from the Middle East, not from Africa. You’d expect that if anyone was to be proud of Africa, it’d be her.

The Chained were set ‘free’ [whether or not they are truly free]. The Free wear the chains now.

Love Yourself

Feeling unloved is one thing,
feeling unlovable is another.
The latter is the very first
step to self-destruction.

When you begin to feel unlovable,
you stop loving yourself.

You can survive if other
people don’t love you,
but you can’t, if you don’t love yourself.

The Earth’s Struggles

We have the colour of the earth,
but we are treated like aliens here.
Those who don’t have the colour of heaven
need to struggle harder than others
to get ‘heaven on earth’.

Everyone lives on earth,
on what it creates, what it supports,
what it gives, the harvest it brings,
but it gets trampled on anyway,
and so do we.

We’ll Get “Bark” to You

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We’re very qualified,
but we’re not.

“Acceptable resumes should be printed on white A4s”,
but we are black ones.

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Our experiences and skills are printed in white,
just like everyone else’s,
but that’s never enough.

They’ll get back to us,
but why wait for the “barks”?
Their backs are already turned at us;
they don’t hire the “darks”.

New York

Paintings by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye (born 1977, UK)