Little Black Girl,

Little Black girl, you will be taught to hate your melanin convinced that if you skin isn’t ivory it isn’t beautiful. Emily will compare you to midnight and tell you only your teeth show in pictures. You will try to shed your skin like a snake using caro white to morph from expresso to honey.

Little Black gurrrl, you will be told to watch your tone. Mrs Noel will ask you to speak like the water that flows through a stream because the sound of waves crashing is unprofessional and ghetto. Mother will tell you the walls have ears—she means you must learn to code switch or spend eternity advocating to buildings with no walls.

Little Black girl, every six months you will set your curls on fire burning your individuality. The smoke of your uniqueness drifting away. Hoping that from the ashes a world will emerge where we all have the same starting line.

Little Black girl, you will be ridiculed and scrutinized, made to feel-sized to fit in their box. They will put a bow on the box and label it STRENGTH, because the goddess Nike doesn’t need help. Your cornrows will become boxer braids, your physical features up for sale. A mother to all but no mother to call your own, the world’s pincushion.

Little Black girl, shhhhhh… don’t cry. Let the spirit of your ancestors guide you. Let your mother’s sweet singing as she hides you in a wooden box and pushes it across the river teach you. Let the screams of your father as he is whipped for protecting your mother show you. To be Black is to be made in his image.

Mama Odie once told me the creation story. The sun, encircled by 8 planets, still felt lonely. In her darkest hour of anguish, she wept, and drops of gold struck the soil, giving birth to her children, the Nubian Goddesses. Melanin moisturized. Big hips. Thunder thighs. Shaped like an hourglass with rolls sweeter than Cinnabons. Their crowns defied gravity. Coco eyes. Silk skin. Plump lips stained with blood. Smelling of shea nuts and coconuts. They were magical entities. Witches that couldn’t be burned.

Little Black girl, you are the daughter of the sun.

Connect with Joy on Instagram (@joy.pius).


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