Poem: A Black Woman, Nothing Else

February 10, 2011 § 2 Comments

A lot of sister’s may not have been through her situation to this extent, but many hate the skin they are in…for whatever reason. Maybe it’s our fault for putting light-skinned above dark-skinned? In magazines, music videos, TV shows, etc. This is an old issue anyways.

Malcolm X said it best, “Who taught you to hate the texture of your hair? Who taught you to hate the color of your skin, to such extent that you bleach, to get like the White man? Who taught you to hate the shape of your nose and the shape of your lips? Who taught you to hate yourself from the top of your head to the soles of your feet? Who taught you to hate your own kind? Who taught you to hate the race that you belong to so much so that you don’t want to be around each other?”

If you enjoy the poem and would love to see Ruth’s other works, click here. Also, please tell us and comment about any complex you may have been through, or witnessed, relating to skin color and, or tone.

Be proud and embrace your color.

Love the skin you’re in.

A Black Woman, Nothing Else by Annie Ruth

There used to be a time when
I was ashamed of my skin.
I received tormenting jokes
from all of my friends.

Of course it wasn’t done
to make me feel this way
But being black gave me much dismay.

“African, charcoal, Black Baby”,
I would hear
But no one even noticed or knew
That I had silent tears.

Those names became nicknames and
I’d hear them everyday at school
‘Cause when I was young and growing up
I’d play by my peers rules.

One day when I was still young
My father left us all
And married a white woman
Who beckoned his every call.

I was really ashamed of my skin then,
I thought it was very bad,
I thought the white woman had something
Which I could never have.

But one day when I was still young
I met a black lady darker than I was,
She cherished and boasted that her
Color was a gift from above.

She told me that I was beautiful –
Something no one had ever done.
She said, “your skin is
So black and smooth-
Which shows the perfecting of the sun”.

She said, “To match the pretty black skin
Your teeth are white as snow
And I’m sure that you will show them
Everywhere that you go”.

Everyday she would tell me this
And her words began to spread.
They came from other people
I never even met.

The words of my friends changed to,
“Let me feel your face
And let me see you grin”-
For sister, you are beautiful-
Be proud of the color of your skin.

Now, I’m not ashamed of my skin
Though obstacles it may bring.
I proclaim to the world that I am
A Black Woman, the element of spring.

I blossom with happiness
And pride within myself
For I am A Black Woman
And I wish to be nothing else.

I have witnessed firsthand the life-changing affects that this poem has had on countless women across the globe. It was one of my earlier pieces, which has become a signature poem for me. Those who recognize the true power of poetry will see that the poem is addressing more than the surface or “color of my skin”. It is about how we use the power of our tongues. Will we build up or will we tear down?


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