You know, you talk and preach and talk some more, and you hope that what you say to your children, how you build them up and fill their minds with power and light, just, like, sticks. And then when they say or do something that shows they were actually listening, you want to hug them and kiss them and fall to your knees in exaltation because, good God, it means you done did… your… job. This is exactly how I felt when Totally Lila got together with three of her besties—Dagem, Taylor and Nyjah—and created a slam poem for class that is all kinds of Black Girl Magic. Each piece speaks to the girls’ unique perspective as: a biracial girl; the daughter of a single mom; a transracial adoptee; and a chocolate Black girl standing tall against pop cultural stereotypes that devalue her skin color. What emerges from the piece, entitled “We The People,” is an incredible, intelligent mediation on what it means to be a Black teen while navigating interpersonal relationships, race, perception, beauty and growing into full womanhood. I couldn’t resist grabbing their poem (it has their stage direction in it) and sharing it with the MyBrownBaby audience. I’m so proud of these young ladies. They get it.

We the People
Dagem Buckley, Lila Chiles, Taylor Clay and Nyjah Lee

We the People, (T: the white people?)
in Order to form a more perfect Union, (D: a more controlled Union.)
establish Justice, (N: yeah right)
insure domestic Tranquility, (T: when?)
provide for the common defence, (N: who?)
promote the general Welfare, (D: sure)
And secure the Blessings of Liberty
to ourselves and our Posterity,
do ordain and establish this constitution
for the United States of America pause ( All: BULL SHIT.)

3 seconds

D: WE the people stand here, the lowest on the food chain
the minorities that are given no respect (cross arms over chest)
N: WE the people are black, but we are not angry,
although, society gives us a reason to be,
T: WE the people stand with our backs straight, ready to fight the world
L: WE the people are connected by the curls of our own strong heads
and our dark midnight skin
and our hearts made of gold
D:WE the people know where we came from (X’s down)
and we will stick together
T: Through the slurs we’ve been called(X’s down)
And the struggles we must face
N:the sexism and racism that will test our limits(X’s down)
Our strengths and weakness’(X’s down)

Our weakness (heads down)
Nyjah: My weakness,
standing here
trying to hold my tongue
after you make some stupid comment
about me being mixed
like I’m some sort of berry smoothie, or something
my dad is NOT a blackberry
my mom is NOT a white cherry
they’re not berries
I am not a drink
I’m just biracial

OUR weakness (head down)
Dagem: my weakness,
my patience is running out
how many more explanations am I going to have to make
that’s my family, their white but they still care about me
they gave me their last name and from that moment on
I became a buckley
Our weakness (head down)
Taylor: my weakness
my family is not weak
we are strong
we hold our heads high with our fists raised (raise fists)
ready to fight off any one who thinks other wise
me and my mother
us two together
no man
just two black women

OUR strength (head up)
Lila: the words, “all black girls are ugly”
ring in our heads weeks after weeks until we think,
what does he know,
he’s not black, nor a girl,
OUR skin is kissed by the sun
OUR hair defies gravity
OUR voices scream until they’re heard
OUR black is beautiful
and here’s a little tip,
don’t tell her she’s pretty for a dark skin girl,
cause you’ll get your feelings hurt

WE the people know where we came from
and we will stick together
Through the slurs we’ve been called
And the struggles we must face
the sexism and racism that will test our limits
Our strength
Their weakness
They don’t run us and they don’t make us who we are
L: We
T: are
N: who
we are
We’re all different shades of brown
We’re light and we’re dark
(hold hands)
We four black girls, trying to find our way in our white world

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.

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