I remember watching Jessica perform this poem for the first time on Live at The Apollo. Powerful piece.
Black Statue of Liberty by Jessica Care Moore
I stand still above an island, fist straight in the air
Scar on my face, thick braids in my hair
Battle boots tied, red blood in the tears I’ve cried.
Tourists fly from all over just to swim near my tide
Or climb up my long flight of stairs
But they trip on their shoe string lies.
Piece by piece they shipped my body to this country
Now that I’m here, your people don’t want me.
I’m a symbol of freedom, but I’m still not free
I suffer from class, race, and gender inequality.
I wear a crown of knowledge, ’cause I’m a conscious queen
My mask is one of happiness, though my history here is full of misery.
I am America’s true statue of liberty.
You placed a bible under my arm, after you ripped me of my faith
And made me pray to a fictional imposter
So, if you were trying to maintain liberty
Too late, you just lost her
‘Cause her torch is about to serve as the night light for truth
In the slums and the ghettos that you find so uncouth.
Education will be delivered not from the tree, but the root.
So, little black girls and boys will check their pockets
For spirituality rather than loot
‘Cause liberty is just old mother nature
And although you don’t lover her, she’ll never hate ya.
She’s earth, wind and fire, don’t tempt her to show her power.
Turning all weeds to flowers.
Looking into her wise eyes will make a blind man see
How can you dare name a eurocentric girl after me?
Assata Shakur Barbara Jordan Nikki Giovanni and Angela Davis.
These are the real symbols of liberty
‘Cause that stone faced French woman ain’t gonna save us.
The same folks who enslaved us.
I’m sitting at the back of the bus, ’cause I feel like it.
And I play ball
Not ’cause you pay me to dunk it, dribble it or hike it.
I’m taking all my people back home, and breaking them mentally free.
I am the walking, talking, breathing, beautiful statue of liberty.
I sweep crack pipes out of school yards
I nurture my man when times are hard.
So, where the hell’s my statue?
What’s the liberated woman gotta do?
Place my name in wet cement
Every month I pay the rent.
Put my silhouette on a stamp
I’m not a ho, slut or tramp.
My children aren’t on crack, and neither am I.
I want to see the words, “Go, strong Black woman,”
When the Goodyear blimp flies by.
I can bake cookies, bear babies, preside over revolutions
Get rings out of tubs, wear a suit, sport baggy jeans, slick my hair back
Or tie it up in braids.
My aura is unafraid.
So, no statue in the big apple can mess with me.
I am the walking, talking, surviving, breathing, beautiful
Black Statue of Liberty.