Black women who overcome draw a line in the sand,
for the next generation to step over, over, over,
till we get to the Promised Land…
Here I stand before you
Anchored, docked and bed-rocked by warrior women,
Lifted by lives of phenomenal women, fearless women,
Their voices stretching across time and speaking to my spirit, strengthening my soul,
Saying ‘Courage Daughter. This land is still yours. The land remembers us. The earth beneath your feet is yours.’
So I will speak their names. Dissolve the darkness that shrouds our missing memories of them.
I will speak of Moremi Ajasoro, speak of Emotan, fearless forest warriors.
I will speak of Amina, Queen of Zaria; speak of Yaa Asantewaa, Queen mother of Ashanti,
Speak of Queen Nzinga of Ndongo and Matamba,
Speak of Queen Nanny of the Maroons,
Of my grandmother.
Of my mother.
Dissolve the darkness, slay the silence.
I will speak your names.
I will say ‘Courage Daughter. This land is still ours. The land will remember us. The earth beneath our feet belongs to us.’
Belongs to African Queens.
And Africa is a black woman and a black woman is Africa
Africa is a black woman like Efunsetan Aniwura,
Born in 1790, the richest, most powerful Yoruba woman that ever lived.
One day standing over an open yawning abyss,
Watching her daughter and never born granddaughter, lowered lifeless into the cold, callous embrace of the grave,
The next day, leading Latoosa’s army, eyes full of fire, heart full of pain.
There is death in her eyes.
Mother and soldier, matriarch, survivor, awesome always.
Africa is a black woman.
Africa is a black woman like Winnie Mandela.
Winnie Mandela was a rock. They struck her and complained she was too hard.
Winnie Madikizela was a vuvuzela. They played her and complained she was too loud.
Mama Winnie was a black woman. They saw her fire and said she was too much.
Africa is a black woman.
A black woman like our mothers.
Waking up hours and hours before the sun,
Heads hitting their pillows, long after the day is done.
Lips moving in their dreams, mouthing prayers, petitions, supplications for their daughters.
Pleading that they may survive this world designed to destroy them.
We are black women…
We are Black women.
And we are more
We are more than our skin,
More than this melanin that defies the sun,
More than this pigment that speaks of torment, magic, and mayhem,
That sings a song of a people lost in the waters,
A lyrical lament of those lost in the fields.
We are more.
We are our grandmother’s wrinkles.
We are our grandmother’s wishes.
We are the fulfilment of prayers spoken in whispers in the dark night.
We are the manifestations of impossible visions dreamt in a hopeless hell-hole.
But they believed us possible.
Morountodun joyin lo 2x
(I have found something sweeter than honey.)
I have found something sweeter than honey in these stories.
Tales of women who swallowed pain and gave birth to fire.
Tales of women whose very existence turns the meaning of impossible on its head!
Tales that tell us we are miracles, survivors of world designed to destroy us.
I found myself in these stories.
Not me as I am now.
But me as they believed me to be.
These women of myth and legend,
They believed me possible.
We as they dreamed we would be.
An impossible possibility.
But here now.
And here to stay….
We are black as night.
Sweeter than honey.
Stronger than mountains.
Bright as the sun.
Heads bloodied but unbowed.
We are the lightning and the rain,
The flood and the forests,
We are the midnight whisper and the noonday wail.
We are darkness and magic, we are silence and thunder.
We are the storm.
We are African Queens