Here are the three reasons why I love
Yet do keep in mind that this is not a poem
But a poem of love and pride
Because being pro-black does not mean
being anti-anything else.
Reason number one: the food
My fondest memories of growing up seem
to all deal with food
From my grandmother cooking me grits
To my mother making Thanksgiving dinner
with leftovers for days,
It’s the one thing that brings the family all
together time and time again,
On days where there is nothing better to do
than fight with cousins and then eat.
It reveals where our true loyalties lie, because
yes I do love you,
But I think I may love Auntie’s mac & cheese
And don’t forget that collard greens are
always better the second day.
Or to call a piece of pumpkin pie as soon as
it’s out of the oven, or you won’t get any.
I think there is magic in the food they make.
Magic somewhere in the cabinet of spices that
they know like the back of their hand,
It’s our history, yet does not require a textbook
because it is passed down
From generation to generation.
Reason number two: the music.
I was born with R&B in my blood
Circulating through my veins on repeat
R&B songs were my lullabies,
The songs I heard every day.
Because there is nothing better than hearing
On the days when life gets hard
Or the Jackson 5 on the days when I can’t
resist the urge to dance.
For there is not a genre that I connect with
As much as I do with this.
It seems to reflect our feelings in the world.
Says the things we are too afraid to say.
Because If you want to know how I feel
About my place in this world,
Play, “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye
and you’ll understand
And to all the artists who came before me
thank you for being our voice.
Reason number three: our resistance.
In our history one of our greatest
Must be rising again and again
After being knocked down over and over.
And yes Ms. Maya Angelou I will continue
Because of after years of hate and
Years of trying to forget who we are
and the roots we laid.
We have learned to wear our melanin proud,
In spite of those who hate.
For we are works of art,
Created by the Gods with stars in our eyes
And galaxies in our smiles.
The kings and queens of this world that lie
at our feet.
We are the dreams of our ancestors,
Imagine how proud they must be.
We have kept our heads up forever
And we will continue to do so
We are still here and
We are staying.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.