Piece by Maryam Dan-Habu
Dear Black Man,
Dear Black Woman,
Dear Black Human,
Who lied to you?
Who lied to you that your kinky hair;
Big, black, afro, with a puffy flair
Was rough, unkept, untidy or unattractive?
Who lied to you that hair is only lovely
When it’s long, straight, flat not curly
When its pretty much relaxed, then only is it pretty.
Who lied to you that your skin colour evades beauty; Black, brown, bronze and it’s nitty gritty.
Who lied to you that if your skin was Caramel or Chocolate in colour,
You would not be as sweet or with flavour?
Who lied to you that when your skin is only as bright as the light, as fair as the skies, as white as a lie, only then would you be exalted as ‘fine’?
Who lied to you that beauty, in fact, cannot be black?
Dear Black African human,
Who lied to you that your accent is disgraceful;
Uncultured, uncivilised, unrefined,
in fact, distasteful.
Like soup without seasoning
Like sauce without spices,
Like the white people’s chicken… oops!
Who lied to you?
Who lied to you that a foreigner’s accent,
Is a proof of exposure, brilliance and composure?
Who lied to you that a speech through your nose is as elegant as a rose?
Who lied to you that the clicks and turns, the rolls and runs from your native mother’s tongue is anything but pleasing to the ears or melodious to be said?
For the umpteenth time, dear Black African Human, who lied to you?
See, I could go on and on
Of the lies we’ve been fed,
Of the truth we have heard…
But, everything in life is a choice,
Your hair, your skin and even your voice.
But never let this choice be a because of a lie someone told you.
And hope you find the person that lied to you. I hope you tell them “I’ve heard the truth now and I’m enough”
Contributor: Maryam Dan-Habu is a law graduate and currently a student at the Nigerian Law School.