Shakespeare For black girls in the ghetto

My poem is a note within a larger body of work that critically engages with the male gaze and exploration of the development of interdependent relations between black women and men.

 While I do not speak for all black women this body of work signifies an array of widely held beliefs that are not new but have only spread within today’s discourse. This is due to the preservation of stereotypes of black women that induce the labels of whore, slut, jezebel, angry, mad, strong (in the reductionist sense) that still are popularized within our own community as well as popular culture, and white society.

 I use the term “Shakespeare” as a popular canonical reference that signals rich moralistic themes conveyed in Old English language which I thoroughly enjoy and have used for this work.

 I use the term “Ghetto” for it’s consistent attachment to Black women as a negative connotation.

 It is my hopes that my work as a poet, academic, developing scholar, and Black Woman continues to spark conversation and an intricate restructuring of the lens we use to view the black female body, black female sexuality, and autonomy.

 But let me be clear this poem and my work will always be first and foremost for myself and for Black Women. In the words of my mother “Nuh let nobody tek yuh fi eediat gal.” And in the words of my poet family “I’m sensitive bout my shit.”

Thank you to all the black women poets that have inspired me especially Sherrika Mitchell @legsalmighty and her poem Call Her/Collar

 Thanks bell hooks for writing, “Ain’t I A Woman?” which dually pushed me to write this.

 Thanks to my WeSpoke Slam Team/Family in Tampa that welcomed me with open arms and allowed my art to flourish while balancing my studies.

 Thank you to all the black women period that continue to speak their truth. I will never stop speaking mine.

 Oh and for real for real thanks to the homie Jabari Payne for making my vision and first of many visual projects come to fruition. You’re an awesome director!