When Vanessa approached me and said she wanted to do a photo shoot celebrating being African and the black skin, i wondered what motivated her because she seemed a little enthused and made particular reference to her skin.
It was my first time meeting her, but she communicated with me as if we were friends forever. She wasn’t timid but confident, bold and sounded intelligent, unknown to me was the discrimination and persecution she went through because of the color of her skin she spoke so proud of.
I have noticed that people from the diaspora are more patriotic and also appreciate Ghana more than those of us living in the country and i asked Vanessa why was it so….she said maybe because we have not gone through the hell they go through.
“…in primary school I loved to sit right in front of the class just opposite the teacher’s table as to have a clearer view of the board .One day my Life Orientation teacher walked in and switched off the light and asked the class to try to find me”._Vanessa
That is definitely a hell for a child to go through…to be discriminated against because of the color of her skin, something she played no role in choosing. The discrimination that black people go through around the world has created an inferiority complex among some of them, this makes them feel lucky and very appreciative for a little brightness in their skin tone, because that gives them a sense of belonging.
“I was walking through the mall one day with my mom and a group of boys just came to scream in my face “Yo! You are black!” Causing everyone to stop and stare. I felt so embarrassed .mom wanted to fight back but it was too late damage had already been done…and this were black dudes.”_Vanessa
Vanessa told me things were so bad that she even attempted taking her life and that would have happened if not for the timely intervention by her mother. In an attempt to cheer her up, her father will remember her of a song that said “i am black and proud” and that kept strong.
No one should be regarded less human because of the color of their skin and no race should be regarded of less importance to another. We cannot talk about world peace until the basic human rights are accorded to all equally without regards to race.
Vanessa Antwi is a victor…she is an intelligent, bold and beautiful black woman and she is proud of it as she depict in her poem “Black and Proud”.
Looking in the mirror I used to hate myself because what I saw was oppression, depression , Stereotype and neglection. Oppression because I was black. Depression because I looked like I lacked.Stereotype because every black man is an alleged their, murderer or liar.
So how can u even believe that what I’m telling you is true?
Is my skin to loud a noise that you refuse to hear the words that I bear out or is my hair too hard and coarse that you give me wigs I don’t even know if they are made from horse or cow or split ends a white man cut off and gave a new name.. Brazilian weave. They say that I’m not beautiful if I keep to me.. They told me to relax yeah relax. . I mean isn’t that what they refer to as beautiful and sleek? Am I wrong?
We are often lied to by society that being black is not beautiful and so they give me bleach. Ask me to cream myself with carol light, skin light and everything that is skin bright just to erase away the melanin from my skin, indoctrinate me with the curse from within that being black is a curse from him.
Then they told me that Adam and Eve were no longer our ancestors but great apes that evolved over time. Is it true? Is that me ? I’m a Christian so I don’t believe that and I’m sorry if you do.
But then I paused to take out my mirror again but this time with no insecurities because I realized that true beauty comes from within.
Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X , Kwame Nkrumah, Nelson Mandela were all black and I’m black too so what makes them different ?I’m black too.. is that they stood for what they believed in and I’ve decided to do that too.
So I live, I write, I explore, I discover, I uncover. I am my own limit. . I tell myself this because I AM BLACK AND PROUD.
Black and Proud by Vanessa Antwi.
The Black and Proud gallery below…and please, remember to share.