I know. You saw the title and got offended. Don't be offended.
Or maybe, yes, be offended.
Either way, you're here now. This title is actually a line from the beginning of the poem below performed by Crystal Valentine and Aaliyah Jihad. This poem, called "Hide Your Shea Butter". This poignant, funny, and brutally honest poem initially shared by Huff Post discusses the sting of cultural appropriation felt by black women daily.
It's a feeling I personally get as I create the Readables and see another post or tutorial of a traditional black hair style being butchered and then renamed or the 'newest; craze over coconut oil, or seeing the slicked "baby hair" edges connected to white faces, and then there is no mention of the culture who gifted you this look (also known as appropriation).
This is not personal shade on Kylie Jenner or any one of the Kardashian/Jenner brood. But it does make you think about a lot. Like, big booties, cornrows (not boxer braids), and bantu knots (not mini buns), elements appreciated only by black culture for centuries and formerly denigrated by white culture for just as long didn't become mainstream until a Kardashian or a Jenner attached themselves to it.
It's more than just seeing the beautiful and unique elements of your own culture being stolen before you day in and day out. It's the cultural memory imbedded within the ethnic conscious of Black people the pattern that still persists today of the theft of intellectual and creative property by a White culture that then butchers it and pretends that it is its own.
All while we are still trying to seek justice for our own often unarmed or law abiding brothers and sisters murdered before our eyes by White people who, more often than not, get away with the crime by a judicial system that has failed the Black populous (that it was never meant to protect). Theft and murder. And we are the ones called thugs...
Back to the poem, there were many great quotes from this 3 minute gem of hilarious truth. Here are some of the best quotes from this poem:
“It is not that we do not trust white women. It’s that Rachel Dolezal stole 14 black years and we have yet to retrieve them.”
"It's not that you just take what we create, it's that it always gets lost in translation."
“I say bantu knots, you give me mini buns. I say cornrows, you give me boxer braids. I say hip-hop, you give me Macklemore.”
"This has never been a conversation, its been a shitty game of telephone. It's been your ear pressed to the keyhole of the front door of the function. It's been you cutting my mic and singing the song that I wrote."
“It’s not that we don’t trust white people. It’s that you’ve called me a racist more times than you’ve called Darren Wilson a murderer.”
"Stop hyping up mediocre attempts at blackness."
"They will not Black Trivia their way into our dinner table"
"It's that you really think my Black looks better on you."
"We are leaving white folk to be creative on their God- damn own."
But don't take my word for it, take a listen to it yourselves.
Warning: This poem has some graphic language, but more important than that, it has some language that will make you laugh, but also get uncomfortable. That's what the truth will often do.
What are your thoughts on the poem? Let's talk! Comment below.