#bhm poem: What is Black History?

October 13, 2022

Olivia Opara performs her spoken word poetry at The Dragon Café, London, as part of an event focusing on Black History Month

Olivia Opara explores Black History and contemplates identity and independence

What is Black History?

More than the replayed tune
Of 400 years of Slavery
When England and her sisters
Unleashed their slavery

What is Black History?

More than the relics they ravished
Or the ones they have stored
In chambers they call museums

What is Black History?

More than the repetitive four
Who had a dream
Whilst in prison
Who refused to be at the back
Causing many to vex
Or five if you remember X

What is Black History?

It spans millenniums with roots
In every Land where her offspring
Are told that they are no
More than a certain chokehold

What is Black History?

Passed down orally
Through songs of allegory
Or tales of proverbs
Featuring great empires and kingdoms
Societies now deemed impoverished
Whitewashed and sanitised

What is Black History?

It is the lives of our ancestors
Who translated the stars
Had conversations with nature
And venerated our Gods
Whose stories are painted
On our faces

What is Black History?

It is older than
The first country to gain independence

But are we really independent?

When we demonise our culture
Just to pick the mantle of another

Are we really independent?

When their emblem embellishes our clothing
And their language erodes our song

Are we really independent?

When Mothers isolate their sons
Daughters can’t dance to her tongue

Are we really independent?

With bodies of Fathers scattered as seeds
Blood of which the ground breathes

Are we really independent?

When lap dogs lick up
Remixed lyrics of the same album

Are we really independent?

When we look to their house
As inspiration of how to rebuild our home

Are we really independent?

When we breed generations of trauma
Torment and pain

Are we really independent?

When our children don’t know their name
Or bear those of foreign men

Are we really independent?

When our sovereignty
Is in the hands of foreign principalities.

Check out more from Olivia performing a series of spoken word poetry ⇊

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