ME a poem by Janai Bryant

When times get though, I cry.

When life gets better, life gives you wings to fly.

It’s a black hole full of lies.

When I look in the mirror I see smiling and pain,

Who am I to be ashamed?

Young women with mixed motions

torn between love and hates,

Who am I even to even date?

Have a heart that no one can match

is like being in the dark cold and alone

with no one to hold. It seems to me,

that love could be labeled poison

and we’d still drink it.

It’s sad knowing that I love others

more then I love myself. I always try

to make other people happy because I know

how terrible it is to feel worthless & unwanted.

I think about all that I’ve done and

gone through that no one even knows about

and I get sad thinking that no one will ever know

about all these things that makes me, me,

because no one will ever understand Me but Me…..

Another Stereotype a poem by Glen Davis

Another stereotype is something I can't be,

nowadays school ain't interesting

so most of us dedicated to the streets,

tears running down yo face cause you found out

yo homie deceased, man ... that's how it is in them cold streets.

We should be in school everyday where they educate

but the district neglect us so most youngins out here

tryna get cake. Money first, school last

that's the mindset that we got

but at the end education is everything but a young black man got.

You think you flexing cause you trappin on the block

but a college man with a degree really be having that knot.

You at the top, you got it all keep yo circle tight

cause the ones you call "bro" be the ones that be waiting on you to fall.

Success is the key so don't give nobody a spare,

for this generation I am truly scared.

Today's Rap Music short essay by Zahia Ismail

Today's rap music is influencing people to do the wrong things…

The rap music being played today has a lot to do with drugs, sex, money, violence, and guns. People today, mostly black people/ teens should not be influenced by the things rappers are saying in their lyrics during the songs. It isn't fair to most black communities because some people are really afraid because people are influenced by the things that are being said in rap lyrics.

People may think it is okay to be like these rappers, they drop out of schools, get into drugs, and do a lot of dangerous things. N.W.A's album "Straight Outta Compton" was a creation of violence, but when it came out, Eazy- E was the only member in the group with a criminal record.

Rap music is one of the most controversial music genres in our culture and around the world, which is surprising because it is a fairly new genre, only about 25-years-old. There has been a lot of talk about regulating the lyrics in rap music because of the violent and explicit themes of the songs. A part of the controversy comes from the behavior of rap musicians outside of their music. Many rap artist have been accused of such things as assault, drug dealing, illegal weapon possession, money laundering, and murder.

In my opinion, rappers should really be cautious of what they are saying in rap lyrics because people really get affected and influenced by what their saying. It's very dangerous and can harm themselves and/ or other people. It's really impactful to most black communities!

Culture...Not a Costume a thought piece by Dynasty Moorer

Everybody wanna be a nigga, but don't nobody want to be a nigga. Black people have been sitting trends for centuries. People of different race have fallen in love with our features from our full lips, thighs and butts to our cornrows, dreadlocks and afros. Even our soul music and soul food have become very popular. People go to extremes to try and compare to our features and styles. From surgeries to injections and even putting brown makeup on their skin. People love everything about us except for when it's us.

Cultural appropriation is the adoption or use of elements of one culture by members of another culture. People love to mimic us in every way except for when it comes to oppression. We endure police brutality and discrimination daily. Whether it's a hairstyler or clothing there is a difference between honoring a culture and just stealing from it. Recently there has been a lot of controversy about the boxer braid hairstyle. For starters, the style is not called boxer braids the style is called cornrows, but they are the same style. Cornrows have been around since the time of slavery so it's not something new.

Clothing, music and hairstyles are one thing, but to blatantly put brown makeup on your face for a costume is just plain ignorance. Many white people have participated in the actions of black face. Black face is the makeup used by a non-black person playing a black role, but when people do black face they usually do it to be comedic. Black face is extremely oppressive and ignorant to black people. Black people are the most imitated, envied and admired people on the Earth, honestly we are winning as a race.

Where I'm From a poem by Dairue Martin

I’m from a place where you have to come in

Before the night

A place where if you walking alone you have

To hold your pockets tight

A place you will only earn respect

If you know how to fight

Living check-to-check

Never having your dreams in sight

11-year-old boys asking you for a light


The might of the pen

Our words will never

Take flight

I’m from a place where the liquor store was better

Attendance than the schoolhouse

A place where snitching is shunned and you have

To watch your mouth

A place where no one cares about getting good grades

They only care about getting paid and girls

Wanting their hair slayed