Monday, January 30, 2006

VIP(Victory in Progress) (2005)

A spoken word poem dedicated to black women, and women everywhere…

I keep on telling you, I have a name.
And it ain’t ‘ay girl.

Wait a minute, wasn’t it Maya Angelou who said it was because she was one, phenomenally?
And didn’t Soujourner already ask you wasn’t she?
And didn’t Chaka say it’s all in me
And yet you’re still saying that you’re the reason I’m in VIP?

It seems to me in the proverbial quest for love I have many suitors at my doorstep
But no real bounty
And although your mama was the queen even when she was a crack fiend
I’m still seen a latent sapphire on the silver screen
A bigger role, in a smaller scene
Even got tap dance numbers with cuter outfits and locks
Y’all seen the way Aunt Jemima went from nappy to weaved on the pancake box

But we still buy it

Baby faced bountiful Beyonce
a reincarnation of Billie Holiday
and Halle Berry who is Dorothy D in disguise
so ain’t nothing new about “can I get a milkshake with them fries?”
And although Kelis says she brings boys to the yard
My mama said I’m more than what I’m packing in my pockets
And I shouldn’t get in to the habit of lining the ones of those
That get paid at my expense
Like way down yonder in the “real” big yard
When we birthed babies to pay rent

Wonder why if the world loves black women so much we hate on them so bad?

You say you love me, hips and lips
But it seems that you love my hips and lips more than me
I’ve been reduced from a fully fledged, functional, phenomenal “everywoman”
to a booty
And now because Fifty said that treating a woman well means buying her a drink before Taking her to a rodeo
Used-to-be nice guys have become wannabe thugs pretending that life is a video and you’re a-- you know..
It’s like blackwomen have been bootlegged
and cheated of our royalties

went from babygirls in sweet tees
like Charlene from Different Strokes
Back in the day when Janet had hips
To too much MAC counter make up and “dip, baby, dips”
We’re so shamed of ourselves we don’t even dance facing our partner
Cause nobody treats a date like they’re somebody’s daughter
and offering to pay means that she’s “required” to offer.

Wonder why if the world loves black women so much we hate on them so bad?

And although the world pays to get my hips and lips
Y’all still got
Got googobs of dip to make my “hur” lay slick
free of its natural awesomeness
as matter of professional business

I know enough to know that
Telling me you love me
Cause I’m so exotic
Really means
I’m the new flavor of the week
Cauze the most accomplished, fantastic, intellectual woman
Can walk into a room runnin’ the place

And yet her greatest achievement is the size of her waist, the symmetry of her face….

Wonder why if the world loves black women so much we hate on them so bad?

And tho’ Common was rollin' around, in his mind it occurredWhat if God was a her?Would he treat her the same? Would he still be runnin' game?
We Pop, Pop, Popcorn love black girls in a meat and potatoes type of world
Blow up their dreams instead of planting them
And every one of us has gone into a room and cried because
Like the promise of a chicken in every pot
They put a star on your door only for your one and only act
And didn’t even pay you for it!
Told you he was the reason you were in VIPCause like Luda he was the CEO, don't have to see ID
then showed you a little southern illhospitality?
Everyone of us has struggled to be who God intended for us to be
Only to be told we’re too black, fat, skinny, tall, opinionated, nappy, straight, light, pretty, ugly, stupid, smart for anyone to ever love, period.
Cause no matter who we are we’ll never be enough

Wonder why if the world loves black women so much we hate on them so bad?
Hate them so much that we miss magnanimous beauty
Over look wisdom and wit
Trade true spirit in
For a soulless soundbyte

But ladies even though the world just might
Gobble down your gorgeousness
And leave you with an empty plate
And the check
Don’t you let them make
you forget who you really are

Like I keep on telling you, I have a name.
And a story
That is part of the miraculous story
Free of high paid haters
unimaginative image consultants
and blackwoman bootleggers
And I learned that nobody can define my image
Because it is already defined
By the one who created me in His
And that’s why
no matter how much
you tell me I’m not enough
I confidently, constantly
keep on telling you,
I have a name.
Call me by my name.
Call me by my name.
Call me by my name.

Michelle Milam

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