Growing up I never liked how I looked
I never met the world’s definition of attractive
I was never “handsome” unless I wore a suit
And I was never “necessary” unless I got better grades than my counter parts
So because I couldn’t wear a suit all the time I chose to succumb to the
teachers pet domain

Be smart,
be present,
just don’t expect to be noticed

Those with fairer skin took all the glory, it was automatic. For once a black
man faced a problem related to skin tone and it didn’t have to do with race. From
film to music, role models had one thing in common, they were lighter than me.

I saw them on the cover of magazines, on television screens and overnight
things changed and slowly yet in an instant they were replaced with people who
looked more like me. Our bodies and builds were different but I could see myself
in someone else and it felt good until the voices in my head reminded me that
trends come and go.

Now my “beautiful” is a statement. Instead of handsome I’m “chocolate”. I
moved from being the invisible man to being the flavor of the day and waiting
for the next trend to roll in. Dark skin is beautiful today, so maybe I should just
celebrate that we even get a turn.

— Still Learning

For More Pieces From #RatedBLVCK, you can visit the following link:

Rated BLVCK Download

Last year I released “The BLVCK Book” with Maira Wolfe, a self-published anthology filled with poems and pieces on black awareness. It was an eye opening experience not only writing the pieces but sharing stories with other people of colour.

In the spirit of Freedom Day, I present to you this years addition to the BLVCK Series. #RatedBLVCK.

Are we free to speak our truths or just learnt how to talk louder among ourselves?



She said I now owe someone an inheritance

Those words sounded like death’s knock had come to my door

I could no longer live the life I had become accustomed to

and I had to bury the decisions of the past below a tombstone marked “youthful exuberance”

I was going to be a father

I needed to disassociate myself from my childlike ways

Spend less time on chasing dreams and more on building a legacy

You were months away from birth yet you had given me new life

and the closest you got to a “hello”

was the sound made by a blob in a water sack on a black and white screen

at a rate of 155 beats per minute

I didn’t know where to start but I knew I needed to protect you

I had hoped for a girl but you had other plans

and I suppose that was the first time father and son didn’t agree

Your mother and I had nothing but love to give

Little did we know you had plans to leave

and that was the second time we didn’t see eye to eye

because you broke the heart of the one I called love of my life,

because of you she forgot how to smile

and I moved away from God for a while

You tasted air while I was not around

and the first time our eyes met,

yours were closed

and then I lay you in the ground

because you no longer belonged to the land of the living

That was the only day we were ever in the same room

You, your mother and a man who used to know how to be happy.