Tag Archives: poetry

Sweet Vaseline

Sweet Vaseline

Sweet Vaseline

We were
Cocoa Butter babies
with Afro-Sheen dreams
petrolleum Jelly
Sweet Vaseline

Butter caramel complexions
or hazy black blue
deep chestnut amber
opaque onyx hue

No matter the color
It’s all good for you
put some on your acne
She’s good for that too

Or, moisture depraven
split cracking lips
desperate elbows
skin dry as chips

We went from nasty and ashy
rusty to bronze
and all that it took
was to slather her on

Unruly, malicious
beautiful brown
curly delicious
natural crown

For wear anywhere
for skin or for hair
Sweet Vaseline
was our vanity fair

Rub a little bit on
Rub a little bit in
surely took care of
our beautiful skin

Silkingly glowing
shine head to toe
soft and luxorious
beautiful fro

Now yes, we use Keri
and Noxema is fine
Especially when used with the
Venus Divine

We up and moved on
to Intensive Care
and found other products
to lovely our hair

New Cocoa Butter Babies
smell of powery dew
but what was once good for us
is good for them too

Black universal
cultural esteem
we all can remember
Sweet Vaseline

~Rachelle M. Turple


Filed under Poetry

Inspiring The Black Learner.

[in-spuh-rey-shuh n]
1. An inspiring or animating action or influence: I cannot write poetry without inspiration.
2. Something inspired, as an idea.
3. A result of inspired activity.
4. A thing or person that inspires.

What inspires? What calls the young mind into action and sets alight the flame of creativity, original thought, focus or the intention to send something meaningful into the universe?

I believe that for black students, inspiration is as essential to learning as emotion to love. Without inspiration, young minds are not called to action and set to work.
Inspiring black youth can be as easy as introducing them to the notables of old…

Richard Wright was a controversial author, poet and overall personality. In the 20th century his literary contribution to the African American diaspora helped to ignite the spark of change for race relations, or lack thereof, in the United States. By today’s standards, Wright would be considered “gansta” on many levels; He wrote contentious poems and short stories about his thoughts on being black. When he wrote Native Son, he was accused of making the character Bigger Thomas, a statement of white society’s stereotypes and confirming their worst fear of black men. In an already tumultuous, racially charged and conflictual society; Wright was a Black man unafraid of his voice, his power, his masculinity or his Blackness. He was even a registered red card carrying communist.
Richard Wright was a rebel because had the courage, the intellect and the communication skills to vent his frustration of the status quo and subsequently, influence the change he wanted to see to it.
He is a hero because he used words as weapons. Almost a hundred years later, we are still inspired by the historical and sociological impact he made on the literary world. By using his mind, his time and his pen effectively, he was the change that he wanted to see in his world.
Wright was one bad mutha-shut-yo-mouth then and still is today.

I guess my point is that Canadian Black youth are inspired through various contemporary outputs and arguably, much rap and hiphop music are just as lyrical, poetic and socially relevant as anything that Wright ever gave us; He was one of the greats who paved the way but if you think that JayZ, Kanye or Talib Kweli do not understand the significance of Richard Wright or that they have not been lyrically inspired and called to action through the remnants of his social commentary, you must be smoking and not even the good stuff.

Richard Wright is one author of many and to our black learners, we must unmask our literary trailblazers one by one so that their light in the world ignites and inspires the potential in each one of our children.

Light reflected is enlightenment infinite…

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Filed under Black Youth, Education, Literacy