#TeamMeSkin: A Poem

by Te Hilla Maloney

Dear world: My excessive melanin is not a curse,
So I refuse to treat it like one.
I refuse to cringe, at the word black, or worse,
To become inertly undone.

I refuse to remove my crown
For another identity to own
Surveying as they steal, spelldown,
Whilst they 'discover' and sit on my throne

I refuse to simply be a sexual interest or object
To my male counterpart.
No, my self-esteem isn't victim to neglect,
My skin isn't a blemish, it is art.

I will not hesitate to tell a man no!
No matter how rough and brash 'my people' are.
I will wear my neon top and white eyeshadow.
I will not be restricted by my shade or color

I will not classify myself like a 16th century field worker,
Putting myself on the lowest level of race.
I am a woman of strength, the face of Africa,
I refuse to see my Black gold as a disgrace.

I will not submit to New Age idolatry!
The bleaching creams, the hashtag skin team,
Will not define me or my personality
Black is only skin, red is still my bloodstream.

I will no longer be apologetic of who I am
Based on a culture's corrupted classification.
I will walk hold my head high, cause an alarm
I am an Individual, not a denomination.

I can be quiet, loud, fat, thin, tall, short,
A gem, a jewel, a paragon, a pearl,
My confidence will become my passport,
Sincerely, a Dark-skinned Caribbean girl.

Photo: Shutterstock

Te Hilla Maloney is a 17-year-old Trini actress and poet at Holy Faith Convent Penal in Trinidad. She hopes to further her studies in Sociology and Performing Arts to eventually make a profound difference in the lives of many people around the world. You can follow her on twitter @TehillaIsHere.