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Poet Mahogany L. Browne on ‘black girl magic’

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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