Poets Keith Warfield, Jeremy Johnson, Myara Robinson, and Melana Bass were all seniors at TEAM Englewood Community Academy High School when they competed in the Louder Than a Bomb Youth Poetry Festival in the Spring of 2012 representing their high school.
They wrote 'What Black People Say to Racist Republicans' as a response to then recent comments by several Republican candidates involved in the 2012 Presidential race.
"I understand that blacks aren't the best swimmers,
or may not even know how to swim." - Tramm Hudson
I can remember a time when my ancestors
would wade in the waters.
When flesh exposed to salty H2O
Oh, no you didn't think my kind couldn't swim!?
Jumpin' the Amistad ship,
Through the buoyancy of poverty.
Think that nigger can't swim?
His cousin Katrina taught him valuable lessons.
you are drowning in a pool of statistics
so we will be your lifeguards.
as we hold the patience to
prevent the fall of a nation
by preventing your suffocation.
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.