By Konah Brownell
I want to start by saying
I love you
And I’m sorry that I haven’t loved you enough
I’m sorry it took a while for me to love
The skin that I’m in.
To love me…
But why did we choked on the word love
Afraid to look in the mirror
Afraid to meet the gaze of the pair of eyes that would stare back
Eyes that hold so much pain
Who taught you to hate yourself?
It has been a while since you reached out
Who taught me to hate myself you ask?
TV commercials… Advertised chemicals meant to tame my fro, lighten my skin.
Meant to make me pretty
but they only shattered my self-esteem.
They told me to be beautiful I had to change.
I couldn’t just be a black girl.
I wouldn’t make the cut. My dark chocolate just isn’t sweet
And I believed them. I believed that I was ugly
I believed my black was dirty. I believed… that I needed fixing
If I wanted the boys to like me. If I wanted to be pretty.
And so I scrubbed at my skin like my blackness was a sin.
You’re done repenting
You’re done apologizing for being black
You’re done allowing yourself to be disrespected and objectified
You’re done shutting up and standing back
Do not forget that you’re a black girl
And black girls are born warriors. Natural-born fighters!
Do not forget how far you’ve come.
Do not forget that you’re a queen
Do not forget that the sun
Bows down to your melanin
Do not forget Harriet Tubman, Coretta King
Do not forget the courage of Claudette Colvin
who refused to move to the back of the bus at just 15.
Do not forget your ancestors were Queens
Amina, Nzingha, Nefertiti
All-powerful leaders. All beautiful black women
You are a beautiful black woman
You are a powerful young woman
You are capable of doing anything you set your mind to
And if no one else does
Dear me, I love you