“I Am a Black Girl” by April Chukwueke

April Chukwueke (age 15)


I am a black girl.
Yes it’s true.
Don’t let the looks fool you.
I am a black girl who is articulate.

I use words like perfunctory because I can handle it.
I am a black girl who is a geek
And also rather meek.
I’m terrible at saying no and I say four and not “fo.”

I am a black girl but society tells me I am not.
With great absurdity, the American mentality
Enforces the reality of acting “white” equating to acting “right.”

But I am a black girl because I’ve survived those nights.
Yeah, those sleepless nights, and the internal fights,
Scrutinizing my nappy fro and my African nose.

I am a black girl because I’ve survived those times;
When the hateful words came from black brothers of mine.
Who were born from the womb of a black woman.
Who were torn apart by social injustice.
But a black woman’s love is sweet, so sacred.
Yet they have the audacity to profess their hatred.

I am a black girl because I’ve been told I’m too tough,
Too rough, too dark,
To ever be enough.
I am a black girl because I’ve been blessed with a curse,
To be a color acknowledged at its worst.
I am white when it comes to mannerisms.
I am black when I am a victim of racism.

I am white when I am celebrated
And black when I am infuriated.
I have every right to be infuriated,
Because of the lack of integration
And the education of the nation
Is not improving the situation.
Our only salvation is communication,
But you must pay attention.

“I don’t date black girls.”
“Black girls are only good for the bedroom,
Not the take home to momma type.”
“You cute for a black girl.”
“Black girls are better mixed.”
“My parents would kill me if I brought home a black girl.”

I am a black girl because I was raised in a society that hates me.
They hate my color and my confidence,
Yet preach diversity.

I am a black girl because I was taught to hate myself;
Because the boys didn’t date black girls,
So they chose everybody else.

I am a black girl because I am courageous,
And the colored women before me changed nations.
I am a masterpiece of creation, the quintessence of liberation
And the beautiful reality of my ancestors’ imagination.

Harriet, Ruby, Coretta, Rosa, Oprah, Michelle
Say their names, these women changed the game
And fought for freedom, and not the fame.

from 2019 Rattle Young Poets Anthology


Why do you like to write poetry?

April Chukwueke: “I love to write poetry because it allows me to express myself in a unique way that I can’t normally do in an everyday situation. Poetry is raw, beautiful, and real. These are real people telling real stories, sometimes their own. I believe that’s what’s so powerful about poetry.”

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