Black Girl Rise

By Sara Haile-Mariam

Illustration by the author

I will never speak ill of another Black Woman

Because I know to do so would be to acquiesce

To the whims and wishes of white supremacy

Intent on hiding my idols from me

Dead set on robbing this bigness from me

Do you know how I wept

When I found that my instincts had legacy?

Rock and roll – ROCK AND STOLE.

How dare they take them from me

History revised is its own weaponry

For if you don’t see yourself

Than you reach helplessly

With no line to the sky, and no roots at your feet

You stare blankly when they tell you, you’re acting “recklessly”

But the music is in me, the music is me

So you clutch at your heart and proceed cautiously

And you doubt and you dig for the courage to see

These dreams through

But the truth is, I found me, when I found you.

The melanin at the beginning

Of this “white boy genre” manipulated into being

A source of trauma

Because as I find you I need to know

WHO THE FUCK STOLE ROCK N ROLL

Why do we not speak their names?

Why do we not give them claim

For what their efforts made grow?

I’ve heard white artists do it

Unapologetically with no constraints

So why’s the culture screwed it

Hyper tragically without restraint

They conclude “black girls don’t rock n’ roll”?

I’m confused, here’s what I will not let go:

They used to call it “Negro Music”

Now only to say that we don’t use it?

But we do! And we did!  It was us. We did this.

It was us.

We did this.

It was us.

We did this.

It’s for us,

To to be big.

To know with utmost clarity;

If this space is home to you, then this place is home for me.

I will never speak ill of another Black Woman

I refuse to try and knock you down

If you fall I will extend a hand

There’s enough love here to go around

Your rise does not threaten me.

Your light is a friend to me.

I see myself in you.  I see the sky in you.

Bigness.  Boldness.  Blackness. Shine.

The stars embrace the moon

As you rise.

As we rise

The mothers whisper soon

And they cry out with pride

For we heal their sweet souls too

Black girl rise

Epic highs

Piercing through a millions lies

To decide,

And apprise

We are worthy of the skies.

We are worthy,

So We Rise

We are worthy,

So We Rise

Piercing through a million lies

To take our place

In the skies

We are Worthy

So

We

RISE.


Sara Haile-Mariam (she/her) is a writer, storyteller, and musician. She is the front-woman and drummer of Makeda!, a band on a mission to reclaim rock and roll. Listen to their debut EP “I’ll Say It How I Want To” and find more of her work at www.makedaband.com.


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