The month designated to packaging thousands of years of Black history and culture into a palatable melting pot of ‘facts’ supposedly beginning with colonialism and ending with Harriet Tubman freeing slaves.
And yet, despite being a month that should encourage honest conversations about how far we’ve come and how far we still are from truly embracing Equality and Diversity, Trump-mania is on the rise, #IAmMogadishu is not a thing and last week a stranger matter of factly stated that being Pro-Black is the same as being anti-White.
No. It is not.
Because when my little sister held her arm up to compare her gorgeous mahogany skin aside my lighter complexion and questioned her afro puffs, the familiar gnaw of watching a young Black girl grow up in a society that places limitations on her beauty and Blackness resurfaced.
And so in response her current and future self… an ode to the Skin I’m In.
The Skin I’m in.
Yes ma’am, I’ve got that Melanin
that means my cells swim
in a pool of iridescent pigment that colours me, Brown.
Ochre, tan, caramel, mahogany, high-yellow, black-blue ink.
I am the earth and I am the single drop of a coffee bean in palest milk.
I cannot begin to describe
the feelings stirred to the surface
when some question the purpose
Of the Skin I’m in.
My Skin has Functionality.
My Skin is Multi-Dimensional.
My Skin is Beauty.
My Skin is Power.
Take heed those who proceed to mock
and degrade and belitte. Take stock
of the Cradle of Mankind
In Africa’s plains.
I am the First of our Kind.
Scars and bruises,
Hard knocks and life’s bruises
They all hide in the warm tones of my limbs. The warming sun is filtered and my skin pulses… unaltered
by UV rays.
It’s in my DNA.
So yes ma’am, I embrace my Melanin.
I jump and dance with unbridled joy of all that is out and is within.
Because I LOVE the Skin I’m in.
© Dr Noreen Nguru
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