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#LEMONADE Inspired Pain

#LEMONADE Inspired Pain

So for some reason I have never been a big Beyonce fan. Now let me clarify, before the Beyhive comes to shutdown my instagram and twitter. The last Beyonce album I bought was the Deluxe 4. Artistically, I thought it was a great album. So, usually when I say I am not a huge Beyonce fan, (after their heart starts working again) people ask me why and and how in as many ways as they can muster. When I honestly sat down and thought about it, I had summed it up as feeling that she wasn´t as vulnerable or as raw of an artist, as I wanted her to be. The interesting thing is, I had forgotten (being an artist myself) exactly how difficult that task was. After watching the Lemonade Visual Album, I was completely inspired not only by the innovative artistry we have all come to expect from Beyonce, but by the transparency about her hardships. The interludes including the poetry of Warsan Shire (shout out to the album dropping during National Poetry Month) that spoke volumes not only about her personal pain, but a pain that all black women silently recognize in each other. So in the spirit of transparency, National Poetry Month, passion, and pain. I decided to share a poem that I had previously written and  used for healing, but put away. But if, Beyonce (one of the most notoriously secretive celebs) can leave it all on the visual album, then I can leave it all on the page. So here is:

Black Girl Tears

The things that black girls cry about

The heartbreak stories our pillows absorb

Why are we unbreakable

Forged and forced to empirically prove it everyday

Holding press conferences among insecurities

We got battalions at the bottom of our red bottoms

Battle cries in our chest

Resting, yet ready to defend it from all enemies foreign and domestic

We remember the last time someone was close enough to our borders

Made allies with an enemy

Thinking some alliance must be better than none at all

This black womanhood has left me with PTSD

In a warzone for my own sanity

My own right to copyright my pain

They act like we should have none at all

Do you know what it’s like to have the weight of the world on your back

Then put the literal world on your back

Carried it to safety just to watch the world turn its back on you

How dare you just leave a black woman like that

Then tell her, her pain ain’t valid

The secrets she put into the back of forgetfulness for you

The insecurities she imagined were gone

To nurse your trust issues

I at least owe all of you a thank you

To the cousin that molested me, thank you for your service

Thank you for teaching me from a young age

My body would never be my own

Just something seen to be conquered and claimed

And I´ve waterboarded that secret in my subconscious

Swallowed my own sorrow

So I could go could stomach you at Christmas dinner every year

Pretend I lost my virginity in high school…the normal way

Convinced myself so well

I sometimes ask did it really happen

Naw, you know nothing of black girl tears

Of black girl fears,

The parts of our humanity we have given away for love

Treated self worth like a bargaining chip in a treaty

Trying to bring an end to the war on ourselves

To the boyfriend that choked me until I peed on myself

Thank you for your service

Thank you for showing me that the power of life and death is truly in the tongue

I guess I just had too much mouth for you

Too much black girl attitude

Lacking air to breathe, no words escaping just my dignity

Because no one understands black girl pain

I had been holding this classified information

They told me my trauma must remain untold

It isn’t worth primetime news

It won´t generate those reality show views

They might as well keep it to themselves

I fold my skeletons neatly on the shelf

In the top drawer next to the other unmentionables

To the guy at my high school who told me I couldn’t be his girlfriend

Because his dad wouldn’t want him to bring a nigger home

Thank you for your service

Thank you for making sure my skin was bullet proof enough

To protect me from the ammunition of ignorance this world had for me

For the first time ever,

I desired shedding my shade

I have never been so ashamed of my own skin

I just wanted to be beautiful in a different hue

One that was light enough for you

To the lover who stole my money

Thank you for your service

Thank you for rewriting my definition of trust

You made me mistrust my own intuition

I call you sergeant slick

Made me feel as though my common sense was no place for me to be

To the German client who canceled his English lessons

Because he didn’t think a black woman could teach him proper English

Thank you for your service

Thank you for giving me the intel that my 2 degrees only make for a fancier noose

If only you knew

But you could never know the struggle of a black girl

If a black man is 3\5 human

Then what does that make us

If a black girl was hurt

You would never know it

Because she would never show it

She rub misery in like coconut oil

And blend anguish in like foundation

The foundation of her existence is trial and tribulation

Black girls love like the flaps of phoenix wings

Engulfed in agony

But coming back even stronger

It could never die

We have swallowed pride and plan b pills for you

Before even showing

Having nothing to show for our barren land

Catapulted with weapons of destruction

Cervix invaded like foreign occupation

Our self esteem is a casualty of war

Putting bunny eared suffering into a top hat

And pulling out a bouquet of silence

The true definition of black girl magic.

 

44 Comments
  • mOody bLaCk
    April 30, 2016

    I was never a fan of Be. However, you make me want to check out Lemonade. And the poem was absolutely wonderful. Love your grind. Much love and respect for all you do for our poetry community. Thanks for sharing.

    • Shetina England
      May 2, 2016

      I concur. I haven’t watched the video either but Sunni’s outlook and relevance has me intrigued. Blessing.

  • Arsimmer McCoy-Early
    April 30, 2016

    Very moving and honest! A dope read indeed. Thank you!

  • Tamika J.
    April 30, 2016

    Your transparency makes me want to be transparent as well.

    Thank you to the man who I was with for 5 years… Broke up with me and got married and told her that he was only with me for the sex. You are one of the reasons why I stand tall and reasons why I am so selective. I understand my worth and my reason for being here. Thank you for your service

  • - e n i g m a
    April 30, 2016

    Poet,
    I pushed hard against the Universe for this… Wanted you to put this out – for your sake, for the sake of others who I knew needed it, hell even for me. This is so difficult to get through every time I read it… It’s how I know it’s one of my favorites by you. The strain of pressing beyond each line is so attractive. The world needs art like this. It needs you.

  • jasmine
    April 30, 2016

    I am a snotty nose mess driving down the 10. I’m already over thinking about my life and the events that shaped it. Long Car rides make me think. This poem completely helps express the circulating thoughts. Remember that dream I had about you….. I love you and you’ll always be more of an inspiration to me than you’ll ever know.

  • nadia
    April 30, 2016

    Transparency is strength to care less of what others think & more of how to heal yourself.

    Power.

    Your writing is majestic.

  • Sheri McFarland
    May 1, 2016

    Sista,
    I am going on 60,and YOU made Me write a poem in My head about all of the folks I could say,”Thank you for your Service”,to.
    I was a long ago poet (small scale),however I just stopped,somewhere in my teens,so it’s been a while.
    I ‘m Honored to read your work,Traumatized ,by how Deep it made me think,yet Grateful for the Truth you were open enough to release to the Universe.
    I haven’t been a Bey fanatic,however I have learned to appreciate her Work ethic,and how she grinds,despite whatEVER is put in front of her,and how folks think about it.
    NEVER abandon the call of your GIFTS,and continue to Inspire.

    BLESSINGS !!

  • Sirena
    May 1, 2016

    Yes, Yes, and YESSSSS!!!!
    This was EVERYTHING…

    We make it look easy, but it isnt .

  • B. Strong
    May 1, 2016

    “Putting bunny eared suffering into a top hat

    And pulling out a bouquet of silence

    The true definition of black girl magic.”

    Wow. I used to pride myself on being what I thought was a transparent artist, I just wanna thank you for showing me how it’s really done. The pure, raw, unabashed display is awe inspiring. And the imagery with which you did it is immaculate. Very very proud of you my friend. Beautiful.

  • TaQoyia
    May 2, 2016

    Just beautiful. Loved the poem, emotion pouring out of every word evoking my own black girl tears. Thanks for telling the world…one day they will listen…hopefully

  • Mariohn
    May 2, 2016

    This is so beautiful. I’ve found it so hard to put into words so many of these feelings, and I’m glad that #lemonade was able to inspire your to share this. Thanks!

  • Josh Johnson
    May 2, 2016

    This is it, this is what writing should be. Sunni this is powerful, so much of your poetry is raw,hard, gritty even, but this piece is naked. I felt vulnerable reading it, I cant even imagine writing it let alone living it. Thank you for letting your pen borrow your gift of expression. This is brave, this is real, this is writing

  • Shetina England
    May 2, 2016

    You are so transparent and I appreciate you so much. One could only wish to be as talented as you.

  • Khaliah
    May 2, 2016

    Poetically Beautiful!

  • Calvin madeS.O.N. Early
    May 3, 2016

    Family that was a major share. I struggle with being that vulnerable and transparent. This is beautifully written and just plain real. I appreciate you sharing. Someone REALLY needed this.

  • Vee
    May 4, 2016

    As one of your closest friends I read wiping tears from my eyes from the truth of your pain. But I stand proud of your courage as you decided to be transparent with us. This poem is a amazing.


    This black womanhood has left me with PTSD (I think you captured EVERY BLACK WOMAN with this)

    Trying to balance being a warrior, builder, and healer has to be magic, because black have to all three all the time.

    Dope work!

  • Jauquese
    May 4, 2016

    The strength of black girl magic. We always overcome. Blessings and love!

  • Leatrice Gachette
    May 4, 2016

    With every word I felt stripped bare, reading things I thought I suffered alone. Silly me. With the pain and the freedom this poem invoked in me, I can’t even imagine what it did to you bringing it to life. Thank you for bleeding for us. Because Black Girl Magic is the persevering lovechild of Black Girl Tragic.

  • Patty B
    May 4, 2016

    We share so much more in common than I knew. I had flashbacks of my past and the secrets that I have held for years…they don’t know our tears but they also don’t know that those tears are sometimes fuel for our strength. Great blog sis!

  • Jas
    May 6, 2016

    I love you so much Sunni! This was beautiful even more so because it was honest and completely you. Thank you for liberating all of us to know our truth. ❤️❤️

  • Monea Jones
    August 16, 2016

    I’m literally in tears right now. As tough as things have been for you look at how great you have become and are STILL becoming. Thank you so much for sharing this, as you see here, the ones that are the most difficult to share are the ones that move the most.

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