Inspired by Toni Morisson’s book Song of Solomon, these words are to be performed in song. This piece explores ideas of Black identities from the lens of Black women framed within body politics, patriarchy, the Eurocentric viewpoint, and shamanism. It seeks to uncover the effect these systems have on Black women. I was inspired by Hagar, a woman in Toni Morrison’s book who was in love with a Black man named Milkman. However, Milkman’s idea of beauty was that of the European ideal, so Hagar reduced her natural self in an attempt to make herself more desirable. Through this piece, I am speaking to her. I’m speaking to her spirit. I am speaking to her soul. These words become song because it is the medicine and herbs I have dried to heal not only Hagar but the many Black women who feel they are not something more than someone else’s opinion.
The stylistic choice of my word placement is in an image of a tree, alluding to freedom being rooted. To be truly free is to be connected to the Earth and to know the power the Earth holds. Through the interconnectedness of Black woman and Earth, I weave in aspects of shamanism and the innate knowing and healing powers that the Earth and woman have. Like a tree planted on unfertile ground, my words elicit the image of women rooted in false ideas of beauty, love, and self-worth. This piece is a call to Black women to know of their uniqueness and their magic. I implore them to claim and honor their strengths, love themselves, and not root themselves in superficial, capitalistic, Eurocentric, patriarchal notions of freedom. Whose fruits only seek to exploit, control, and manipulate Black women's perceptions of themselves.
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