Black Girls Learn Love Hard by Ras Baraka

blacklove

I went to this incredible conference called Queen Geniuses founded by Regine Roy at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn on March 18. The whole day was filled with enthusiasm, spirit, passion and an overflowing feeling of inspiration through speeches, workshops and performances. I was truly happy to be there. One of the components of the day included a workshop called “It Really Takes A Village” hosted by black feminist Dequi Kioni-Sadiki. I learned a lot including how the Black Panthers are the reason our kids receive free breakfast in their schools. Towards the end, Kioni-Sadiki shared an empowering poem called “Black Girls Learn Love Hard” by Ras Baraka (Dope poet and the current mayor of Newark, NJ) I fell in love with the difficult truth it portrayed about the struggles of being a black girl. Check out this engaging tale of how hard a black girl loves:

“Black Girls Learn Love Hard”

Black girls learn to love hard, A concrete love

An in spite of love, Even though love

An in between crying love, They learn love hard.

They rush to grade school dodging whistles.

And lewd stares from passing cars of men on their way to work.

They learn vulgarities as compliments

They pretend to get used to being touched when they don’t want to be

And get attention because they are pretty

Everyone wants to feel them, Press up on them

Rub against them, throw them down

Cuss them, Smack them

Penetrate them, Out of love

A be strong love, A hard love to swallow

Young girls sit on stoops and porches, In beauty parlor conversations

Watching their older sisters, With black eyes and bruised self-worth

Learning to be second, And how to hate men and love them.

All in the same sentence…..

Some girls watch their mothers get beat before, Breakfast

And get a ride to school quietly, In their boyfriend’s car

……They carry his drugs, Hold his weapons in their purses

Do time in jail, Fight other girls over our indiscretions

They love hard

Some girls learn to be alone, Some fall in love with crack or wine

And strain their withered brown bodies across the hood, Like a forgotten dream

Some girls met love in the dark while they were still

Vulnerable and small, From a familiar hand in a place they knew

Before they were even virgins, Shaking with terror and confusion

They know love as fear, Something they did to themselves

Love can’t be trusted/it’s ugly and happens to you when

Your back is turned, Love is too hard 

No one remembers that they used to be beautiful, Or smart

Or someone’s daughter, Someone’s sister/friend/a human being

They don’t get to be sweet or gentle, Or cared for

They have to do it alone, No help

……No time for pain or tears……..Black girls learn love hard

They learn sex as dialogue

They reason/their worth/best thing they have to offer

And some start talking at a very young age

They got a “ill na na”

Black girls learn to love hard, A concrete love

An in spite of love, An even though love

An in between crying love

They learn love hard.

Evolving (Poetic Tiffy)

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Here’s a little something I dreamed up while on the train. Hope you enjoy:

It’s a feeling in my spirit.
A strong force pushing it’s way forward
Out, but not in; spreading in a flow
Ready to take over my everything

Like the metamorphosis of a butterfly,
These moldings run through me
They highlight an integral step in this journey called life

This force keeps me up at night, keeps me going, keeps me growing.
A lackadaisical Tiffy is not the Queen professed in her ever changing prophesy

For this power is allowing me to evolve, to shed off old ways,
and become the woman God has destined me to be

Tell me, are you ready to take this journey with me? For this
is only a path for growing and becoming

Say I have no need for those who stray in old skin.
This strength emboldens my spirit in keeping me shining
like I was always meant to.

I am

The urge to write sometimes comes to you at the most random times. Seriously, I was driving earlier and wanted to write. It sucked cause I don’t think it’s legal to write and drive. Luckily, the urge came back while listening to some inspiring music from Kendrick Lamar. I’ve been feeling these words for some time now, but today I finally got the push I needed to get it out. Conversations with some pretty dope friends was also part of the product for this piece. Check it out and I hope it gets you to do what you do best – being the awesome person that you are.

I am
Undefinable,
an entity that cannot be boxed in
keep me free and I will be
the truest form of ecstasy

I am
Beauty
a sensation that only
some can see
the delights of warmth, charisma and grace
created as human with no haste

I am
Power
An energy of light beaming through
life at a speed that’s best for me
unstoppable and malleable in space

I am
Imperfect
an organism sifting through life
trying to understand it’s complexities
but blossoming from my eloquent pirouettes and ghastly deformities

I am
Tiffany
a woman meandering in a spiral of comic energy
embracing the intricate elements changing each day
and growing to make a path of peace and joy along the way