THE DEATH OF A LIE #99

THE DEATH OF A LIE #99

92% of teen girls would like to change something about the way they look, with body weight ranking the highest. (Dove campaign)

7 in 10 girls believe they are not good enough or do not measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school and relationships with family and friends. – Real Girls, Real Pressure: National Report on the State of Self-Esteem, Dove Self-Esteem Fund
From childhood to my professional career I used to try to explain myself all the time. I used to apologize for being how God made me. I wanted to be different but I just kept coming back to being me. As a child I wanted longer straight hair and slanted eyes, I wanted a smaller butt, & I wanted to not sound black. I hated my “soup coolers” and my unconventional height as I was constantly reminded of how unusually tall I was. Even as a National Award Winning Educator of 16 years, some people could only focus on how I didn’t look like a Principal. I didn’t love me or accept that I was “MADE ON PURPOSE as uniquely crafted, tailor built like the illuminating sumptuous North Star.” Sumptuous means “splendid and expensive-looking” As I learn to love me I understand that I can do it unapologetically. I challenge you to do the same.

I Refuse To Apologize For Being A Strong, Black Woman In The 21st Century
The Death of a Lie – Poetic Diary
Phillitia Charlton

I will not apologize because I am not
a public headscarf
downtrodden,
house shoe wearing,
oppressed,
stressed,
depressed black woman
I will not succumb to the stereotype,
I am not a money hungry
silicone injected
amorous black woman
growing up solely seeking
to become a dope boy trap house wife

I take pride in my appearance
my mere presence demands respect
My aurora commands it
My God said I am the salt of the earth,
why would you
expect me to be bland then

I will not explain why my hair is natural
nor will I question you
because your hair is straight or straightened
How does that even begin
to connect to our intelligence
the two are simply not related

I will not accept your label of militant
because I bring out the beauty
in my all of my black
I will not be defined by your futile attack
and lack of understanding
of how I got the dip
in the very small of my back.
In a board meeting,
in the pulpit
or just walking down the street
you are viewing the essence of what God made
from the top of my head
to the soles of my feet
question Him
if you wonder why
He chose to make me discrete

I refuse to apologize for being a strong black woman in the 21st century
to justify your intimidation of me

I was born this way,
so that’s good for some
but for me
that’s not okay

I will not apologize when I get excited
or for the resonance and inflection in my voice
not being docile does not make me ghetto
these are my expressions of choice

I will not apologize
because I get passionate when I speak
I will not apologize
because me being a strong black woman
should not make you feel weak

I will not apologize
for the way my red clay Georgia soil forms
and pours into a pair of 4 inch heels,
I frankly will not apologize at all
I will not remove my heels
from my statuesque figure
because you feel unequivocally short
while I stand peacock tall

I am comprised
from the dreams of the souls of my ancestors
who could not imagine
a day they’d be free,
I conscientiously,
boldly,
powerfully stand for them
and for me

I do apologize for some things
because for a while
I was misled
I got it wrong
I glamorized my features
and paraded them on display
not aware of the stereotype I represented ignorant and dismayed

Sarah Baartman did that for me
she paid the ultimate price
being publicly humiliated
sexually sold
A huge part of our African history
a story about the black women’s public perception seldom told
This woman was taken from our country
paraded around Europe
as some sort of circus freak
when she was a beautiful person
with a soul I pray my Lord to keep
being objectified
because the shape of her body
was something they had never seen
minimized by her original beauty
she was a true fallen African Queen

I certainly will not
Acknowledging the attempt to dismantle
yet constantly emulate
confusing young black women into
trying to become something they are
Made on purpose
as uniquely crafted, tailor built
like the illuminating sumptuous North Star

It’s a surprise to some
unfamiliar with the creator’s master plan
to architect a black being
so beautiful and unique
no man could understand
the fullness of hips,
the tightly coiled hair,
the plump lips embody a conduit
expelling shuddering breaths
often to defend, define
or explain the unexplainable
to irrational people who lack depth
We must preach and teach and scream and cry
we must let black and brown girls
and woman be assured
we are charged to never give up
and to always try

As our beautiful first lady Michelle Obama
our forever FLOTUS said,
“When they go, low we high.”
Remaining intact
demonstrating tact
being kinder to each other
not putting the knife
in another black woman’s back.

I refuse to apologize for being a strong black woman in the 21st century
I most certainly will not
I will celebrate other black women
Monolithic we are not
We are fabulous
We slay
We are so tough
they know by our look that says
we don’t play
We are record breaking
history making
risk taking
grandma put her foot in it dinner making
double take neck breaking
monumental contributions to society
merely earthshaking
with the understanding that this world
this world is better because of us…
your revelation if you’re not one of us… painstaking…
When we step into our calling
we don’t step we glide,
our resilience awakening
eradicating every single barrier
everything in our vision
is ours for the taking!

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