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Poet Mahogany L. Browne on ‘Black Girl Magic’

February 25, 2016 at 8:02 PM EDT
Mahogany L. Browne is a poet and author coordinating the Women of the World Poetry Slam at New York’s Pratt Institute. She gives her Brief But Spectacular take on “Black Girl Magic” and the struggles facing African-American women in modern society.
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HARI SREENIVASAN: Finally, another installment in our Brief But Spectacular series.

Today, we hear from poet Mahogany L. Browne, who is coordinating a Women of the World Poetry Slam running March 9 through the 12th in Brooklyn, New York.

This piece is entitled “Black Girl Magic.”

READ MORE from the poet: How to write a poem about Ferguson

MAHOGANY L. BROWNE, Poet:

They say you ain’t posed to be here
You ain’t posed to wear red lipstick
You ain’t posed to wear high heels
You ain’t posed to smile in public
You ain’t posed to smile nowhere, girl

You ain’t posed to be more than a girlfriend
You ain’t posed to get married
You ain’t posed to want no dream that big
You ain’t posed to dream at all
You ain’t posed to to do nothing but carry babies
And carry weaves
And carry felons
And carry families
And carry confusion
And carry silence
And carry a nation — but never an opinion
You ain’t posed to have nothing to say unless it’s a joke

Cause
You ain’t posed to love yourself Black Girl
You ain’t posed to find nothing worth saying in all that brown
You ain’t posed to know that Nina Beyonce Tina Cecily Shonda Rhimes shine shine shine

Black Girl,
You ain’t posed to love your mind
You ain’t posed to love
You ain’t posed to be loved up on

You only posed to pose voodoo chile’ vixen style
You posed to pop out babies and hide the stretch marks
You posed to be still
So still they think you statue
So still they think you a chalked outline
So still they keep thinking you stone
Until you look more medusa than Viola Davis
Until you sound more Shenaynay than Kerry Washington
Until you more side eye than Michelle Obama on a Tuesday

But You tell them you are more than a hot comb and a wash and set
You are Kunta Kinte’s kin
You are a Black Girl worth remembering

And you are a threat knowing yourself
You are a threat loving yourself
You are a threat loving your kin
You are a threat loving your children
You black girl magic
You black girl flyy
You black girl brilliance
You black girl wonder
You black girl shine
You black girl bloom
You black girl black girl

And you turning into a beautiful black woman right before OUR eyes.

My name is Mahogany L. Browne, and this is my Brief But Spectacular take on black girl magic.

HARI SREENIVASAN: You can watch other episodes of our Brief But Spectacular series on our Facebook page, Facebook.com/”NewsHour.”

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