Poet Kush Thompson was a 17-year-old senior at Orr Academy High School when she competed in the Louder Than a Bomb Youth Poetry Festival in the Spring of 2012, representing her high school.
For Colored Girls Who Considered Yaky she says is "a declaration of black beauty in definance to any practice that asks us to be anything but what we are."
do you not notice your shackles?
they brought us here in chains for a reason
look no further than caged kings for truth
we're feral in nature, they fear us
afros look too much like lion's mane
so, they box us into boxes of relaxers
to relax themselves
as long as your edges are tamed, they can forget where you came from
that panthers are still prowling inside your palms
this is the sheering of our savanah
Each week, WBEZ features a poem from the Louder Than a Bomb collection that explores the issue of race. We offer the poems as part of Race: Out Loud, a collaborative production of WBEZ and vocalo, which aims to get us talking to each other about race. Louder Than A Bomb is Chicago’s teen poetry festival. It brings teens together across racial, gang, and socio-economic lines in a friendly competition that emphasizes self-expression and community via poetry, oral story-telling and hip-hop spoken word. Each year, Chicago Public Media invites festival finalists to record their work.
Click here to hear nearly 200 Louder Than a Bomb finalist pieces recorded over the past eight years.