Black — Karen Campbell, UK

If the night sky wasn’t inky
Could the stars shine so bright?
And if there wasn’t darkness,
Tell me, how could light be light?
No dark depths of earth –
How would the flora grow?
Black is essential, don’t you know.

You tell me black is no good –
The shade of evil, shade of sin;
How do I then make sense
Of the blackness of my skin?
The skin I didn’t choose
No more than you could choose your own;
The skin that I was gifted –
Only skin I’ve ever known.

Black is what I am; it’s who I am;
It is my pride.
It’s the strength on which I stand –
Where I refuse to be denied.
Black speaks of where I’m going –
How the world relates to me;
Black speaks of where I’ve come from –
Heritage and history.

But it’s hard not to internalise
The message all around –
Before a word is spoken
That in Black offence is found;
Explicit or implied.
Yet from your view you cannot see
The shackles to be broken
Until Black lives full and free.