4 Jan 2012

Thoughtful Wednesday: I Am Nobody's Nigger by Dean Atta

Rappers when you use the word "nigger" remember that's one of the last words Stephen Lawrence heard, so don't tell me it's a reclaimed word.image

I am nobody's nigger
So please, let my ancestors rest in peace
Not turn in their graves in Jamaica plantations
Or the watery graves of the slave trade
Thrown overboard into middle passage
Just for insurance claims
They were chained up on a boat
As many as they could manage and stay afloat
Stripped of dignity and all hope
Awaiting their masters and European names
But the sick and the injured were dead weight to toss
And Lloyds of London would cover that cost.

I am nobody's nigger
So you can tell Weezy and Drake
That they made a mistake
I am nobody's nigger now
So you can tell Kanye and Jigga
I am not a nigger... in Paris
I'm not a nigger in London
I'm not a nigger in New York
I'm not a nigger in Kingston
I'm not a nigger in Accra
Or a nigger with attitude in Compton
Cos "I don't wanna be called yo nigga"

How were you raised on Public Enemy
And still became your own worst enemy?
You killed Hip Hop and resurrected headless zombies
That can't think for themselves or see where they're going
Or quench the blood lust because there's no blood flowing
In their hearts, just in the streets
They don't give a damn as long as they eating
Their hearts ain't beating, they're cold as ice (bling)
Because they would put money over everything
Money over self respect or self esteem
Or empowering the youth to follow their dreams
Stacking paper cos it's great than love it's seems
Call me "nigger" cos you're scared of what "brother" means

To know that we share something unspeakable
To know that as high as we rise we are not seen as equal
To know that racism is institutional thinking
And that "nigger" is the last word you heard before a lynching.

________________________

Powerful words which inspire me to write better and i had to share on my blog.

Dean Atta is a poet/writer, you can find more of his works here.

8 comments:

  1. Great poem! I have always struggled with the use of that word. I (weirdly) think both sides have a good argument. There are plenty of homonym's so why can't this be one of them- but then there is something that is just not right about the use of it...

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  2. Wow this powerful. Dang, especially the last verse. I got chills reading it.

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  3. My husband and I just read this aloud and were both struck by the powerful words. Thank you for sharing! :)

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  4. this should be required reading for all young black men. thanks for sharing!

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  5. Powerful poem...thanks so much for sharing. So many young men to read this!

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