Your black is Africa


my, do i say i saw an angel
when i met this clean
african girl?

angels are blondes in
sculptures – boy, she is
dark and darling;

angels are white in
paintings – goodness, she is
black, and beautiful!

hey, she says she’s from
egypt, her mother from niger
republic, she lives in nigeria…

girl, your black, your beautiful!

and her black hair’s just a natural mass
of saharan curls, her shinny skin
the typical dark of the tropics, and her
proud black blood’s like all other black
sisters’ from south africa to north america…

hey babe, your black is beautiful!

your black is the blacky bark
of the sturdy sahel woods:
ọmọge,* your black is
survival, is adaptive –

and, my, it is the hometown ebony of
grandmother’s storytelling night:
orekelẹwa,** your black is
orature, is performanceful –

and your black is africa.

hey babe, your black is the darky hue of ores,
of factory exhaust, of god’s bits of woods:
ah adumaadan,*** your black is
power, is labour-unionful –

and, gracious, it is the dark sheen
of the sculptor’s iroko-carved art:
eh gorgeous goddess, your black is
art, your black is beautiful –

hey babe, your black is …

Africa.

(Inspired by the Nigerian pop music artist Flavor’s music track ‘Black is Beautiful’.)

Kayode Taiwo Olla


Glossary of English translations
*ọmọge: (Yoruba language) babe
**orekelẹwa: (Yoruba) cute babe
***adumaadan: (Yoruba) dark-and-shine

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