This Skin I'm In: A Poem About My Black

by Jennifer Asiedu

My black is flawless
I've never been this proud before
My skin never felt so good
Was I not used to it?
I can't remember when I loved this shade so much
My color is dark and lovely.
It sings with a rhythmic melody of beauty.

My black is loud
It yelled at this pale-faced lady the other day
She tried to demean my black
And just as quickly as she did
My black screamed back.
My skin roared with elegance
Reminding you it is not afraid anymore

My black is loved
I rubbed it down tenderly today
Making sure to touch every inch.
Ever so gently it glistened and radiated
My black shimmers and still catches attention.
It's been kissed and hugged
Yet still selfishly wants more

My black is hopeful
I've had a freedom that was honestly free
I've lived in a time when my black was OK
My black lives today safely from oppression
Though still hated on
My black believes in a better tomorrow
Still lives in dreams of liberation and equality
My black has a great future

My black is an artist
Thoughtfully chosen to be just this
Not chocolate, not sweet or bitter
My black creatively exists where no other black lives
My deep and rich black is still unmatched
Nothing as dark
It masterfully advances my own natural look

My black is resilient
Offended and hurt in the past
The complexities of this complexion cannot be understood
I took my black out for a day
And was terribly made fun of growing up
People hold no discretion or reservation against my black
As though a fugitive my black has been ostracized, 
attacked and found guilty
Yet still fought back
Rising against the contempt of others
My black isn't weak and advocates for me.

My black isn't always easy
But I am my black and my black is me.

Photo: Shutterstock

Jennifer Asiedu is an elementary school teacher who dabbles in art and writing.