Unclaimed Treasures

A Poem from an African-American woman to the African-American man It was always me

I have always been here watching you full of admiration and dedication

It was always me with my dark brown eyes watching you hoping; praying that you would provide me affirmation It was me you came to when you needed help prepping for your SATs because you know “I got skills”

It was me that believed in you when others doubted you

It was me that bailed you out when they unjustly locked you up

It was always me that watched in painful silence when I saw that you were treated badly because your skin color is like mine. I saw in your eyes that you wished you could blend in; not realizing that a beauty like ours can never fold in

I saw you play by their rules but they still rejected you

So I ask you my male equal will you talk to me, will you date me, will you love me, and will you choose me?

You say that you do not care for me because you think I am not beautiful

You were raised in a place that says that the beauty of fair skin is indisputable You saw the images on TV as I did of the flowing haired blue eyed woman

You saw your Uncle Bill bring his new girlfriend to your home with blondish hair that did flow down You saw his girlfriend’s alabaster skin and your Uncle pound his chest with pride

Your eight-year-old self said to yourself” I will be like Uncle Bill; no my woman will not be black” I too see and can appreciate the fair-skinned woman whose appeal is without lack

I do not believe as some would say that they are all blue-eyed devils

I too have been friends with the fair-skinned person so I know that goodness is there

I wonder has it crossed your mind that beauty can come in many many forms? Why can’t you tell? If only you knew that they lied to you when they told you your dark skin has no attractiveness

If only you could see that the beauty that is in you, is in me

Can we stop using the European beauty standards as a template for the children of stolen Africans?

Once you stop hating the West African features that our dynamic ancestor’s left for us, you will finally be able to see me

My lips are thick and soft like the Aunt that put you to bed and kissed you softly on those nights when your Mom could not be with you

My skin is rich with melanin that shines under a bright sun

My beauty is the beauty of your Grandma whom you think is the greatest woman that ever lived My beauty is the original beauty because thru the African woman all mankind came about

My beauty existed at the beginning of time and will prevail long after the things you care about are no longer around My wide hips can give birth to a son that may resemble the Granddad you so admired

My eyes are so dark and deep that they can pierce your heart and then make you feel revived

Before you say again that you don’t want me you must know that it is me and only me that knows your pain others do not see I know that you deserve all of the validation the world has to offer yet the world gives you a paltry amount if any at all

I know that when you became a man, they talked to you as if you were a boy

I know that when you are dressed and lookin’ fine they can only see you as the wrongdoer I know that to some your color disqualifies you from the occupation you can master

I know the sustenance that came only from our grandma’s kitchens I know your worth is priceless but to them your value low

They see you as a prisoner who should labor for almost nothing but I see you as a King It is only I that can fully understand your unique pain because I hurt too

Just imagine how much you and I can pursue

so will you…..

Talk to me, love me and choose me?

You say that you do not like my demeanor when you come around You say it looks like I have a permanent frown

It is my smile that can light your way

If it appears I am discontent it is not because I dislike you but rather a dislike for evils I see during my day A person with our hue is told to be twice as good at the job or where ever we choose to endeavor

The pressure of proving myself may show on my face but not forever

If it appears that I do not need you because you see me as the capable one then take another look and no matter what it looks like, I need someone

Imagine if you and I were together our union could not be outdone

The confidence that you so admire in the fair skin woman may not always be visible when you see me I too sometimes hear the lies and internalize them and then mistakenly agree

So when you see me at your grocery store, your college library, your law office, or your drugstore please say a kind word and keep doing so because you are wanted more than you will ever know

So open your eyes just a little wider and you will see that the one you needed; was always me

Talk to me, date me, love me, and choose me

Affectionately Yours,

The African American Woman

By: Fannie B. Wells

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