“She’s cute. For a dark skinned girl.”

That phrase

repeats in the back of my mind

echoes against my skull

my beauty’s placed in a bind

restricted and suppressed

limited by the limits of who’s best

and by their standards, i foolishly let me be defined.

“She aight. For a dark skinned girl.”

Aight? Aight as in, just okay right ?

as in

i can find better then this dark skinned African girl,

i prefer light

with the hair that curls and molds into a sight worth seeing,


you place me beneath the rest because of things i can’t control

evoke a sense of lacking out of spite

while still being polite enough to say

“She’s cute… For a dark skinned girl”

well you know what, it’s time for a rewrite.

i let your limitations of myself

undermine myself

constricted myself to a summary for far too long

when i`m a novel

no longer hiding behind myself

as i edit these withered pages of my book

removed from your shelf

dusted off with a hand of determination

i don’t need a fucking illustration

from your eyes

this is MY transformation

you will not whisper these ignorant ass incantations over what defines me

i define myself

SCREW  your validation & your confirmation

I’m undergoing a reformation

& sending your opinions into obliteration with my proclamation

& I proclaim






i`m a sensation worth seeing

took some realization but

i finally can say

with no hesitation

I’m Beautiful.

I wrote this poem last year for myself, and ultimately performed it at the black history assembly at my school as a featured artist. The theme was female empowerment and praise. Afterwards, so many chocolate girls came up to me and told me I inspired them to see themselves for who they really are. Beautiful. I hope it can inspire everyone else as well.

Tiffany Aliyah


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