More Than About Black Hair

Your hair is your glory,

But fake hair is another story.

Many people praise your extensions,

But they fail to mention

The roots and edges

Which look like hedges

Whose roots are receding

From the ground for lack of water.

For chemicals have placed things out of order.

These man-made concoctions

Cause unnatural stresses

Upon the natural perfection

That God abundantly blesses,

Notwithstanding man’s reckless behavior.

But the Lord continues to be our savior;

He will even save black women

From their own rejection

Of the wonderful perfection

That he so carefully created

As their growing crown of splendor.

No matter how hard they continue to hinder

God’s divine and beautiful creation

By seemingly harmless manipulation,

God uses their own sisters,

With their afros, braids, twists, and locks,

To unlock black minds lost within a white box—

A box that contains a history of oppression.

These enlightened black women have begun the lesson

That the “big chop” is more than about

Just cutting of the hair, or the style you wear,

It is about baptism of the spirit and mind.

It helps blacks to loosen the ties that bind

Their unique and God-given ethnic traits

From the clutches of their own unique self-hate.

 

by Phillip McCullough Jr.

Read the essay that inspired this poem

 

The World: Face of Oppression

We stood on the monument
In the middle of the square.
A peaceful protest was our intent,
Which would be ended with a prayer.

Atop the tower of democracy,
We heard the bells of freedom ringing.
We had visions of equality.
Hand in hand, were singing.

Then came the silence
At the sound of soldiers marching.
Moreover, foreshadowing violence
Were the sounds of dogs barking.

There was tension in the air,
And the crowd began to grumble.
We asked, “How could they dare?”
As we heard the tanks rumble.

“They are just trying to scare us!”
Yelled someone in the crowd.
“This protest is a must!
We cannot afford to back down!”

“Before things get worse,”
Rang out a voice over the horn,
“This mob must disperse.
All of you have been warned.”

“We shall not be oppressed
By a few men in power,”
One woman stressed,
“For this is freedom’s hour!”

And with that statement
The soldiers began to advance.
And after that moment,
The citizens didn’t have a chance.

At first, powerful streams of water
Were directed into the mass.
We later heard the blast of mortars,
And felt the sting of tear gas.

The army indiscriminately fired
Upon hundreds of men and women.
The officials conversely conspired
To do harm to unarmed children.

The slaughter was finally ceased
After hundreds of people had died.
Many of our leaders were seized,
And many were forced to hide.

The government would attempt to deny
The events that had taken place.
To the world, they would lie
And reveal another face.

But freedom will forever endure,
And people will continue to fight.
Hence, the world can be sure
That the truth will come to light.

 

by Phillip McCullough Jr.

This poem was first inspired by the images that I viewed of the Chinese people fighting for freedom at Tiananmen Square, but resistance to tyranny and oppression is universal.