Poetry Slam Winner

My Black Isn't Beautiful

by Latashiana Destiny Garrett

My skin was supposed to be beautiful
My skin was supposed to be my pride, my joy
My black skin was supposed to be beautiful
but how,

how is my skin beautiful, prideful, joyful
when I feel it is my obstacle, my boundary, my limit.
My ONLY obstacle, boundary, limitation.
I overcame my speech impediment, my disability
I overcame my true feelings, my insecurity
I overcame so much, only for it to be so little
I overcame all this just to be infinitely limited to
I can never overcome.

I can’t overcome my skin tone
I can’t overcome being black, a minority, when my
population is actually a majority.
How does that work?
How my only way to acceptance is to be just another
Just another basketball
playing black girl from the 
hood (swish).

Just another statistic
just another black girl reaching for a handful
just a handful of stars
just to have them fall, drop, crash &
slip through the spaces
as I slip through the cracked concrete sidewalks of
a society I don’t want to be a part of
so much, so little
I strive, reach, grab, only to be categorized,
categorized into

I'll be that (swish)
I'll be your little negro, basketball
playing hood girl
I'll let you categorize me
Point guard freshman, starting varsity 5
I play to be accepted
I play to overcome
I play to be something I'm not
I play so that I can one day look in the mirror
and admire my skin
but how can I admire, adore, something I don't 
believe in
something that limits me to a window pane, when I
want, need, crave
to be on the other side?
How can I find beauty in something that symbolizes
foodstamps, poverty, ganges
jail, police, brutality (swish)
crime, early pregnacy, rape (swish)
regret, sorrow, disappointment
drugs, death,slavery (swish)

My own black skin
my jail, holding me back, pushing me, shoving me
into a corner
A corner the government and a society of white people
made for me and all the other little black
girls with dreams.
How is black beautiful when black is so negative, so 

Pull back, arms up, flick my writs, let the ball flow
from my black little hands
I play to overcome (swish)
I play to overcome a government and a society that
took away my chance
of a better life before I knew the choice ever existed
I play to free myself from that lonely corner of
projects, liquor bottles,
and BD drama (swish)

I play to overcome my own black skin
I play, no, I push.
Push for something that I just can't believe in
I push to believe that my black is beautiful.