Poet Asha Ransby-Sporn was a 17-year-old senior at University of Chicago Laboratory High School when she competed in the Louder Than a Bomb Youth Poetry Festival in the Spring of 2012, representing her high school.
Brown Girl Grows Up Black poetically recants Asha's ancestry given her mother's adoption as a child, which presents another take on racial identity.
only upon entering adulthood
is mother told that for a moment
she was known as baby X
and refused to hear the word orphan
because by the time she could know any better
she was not one
and they told her
don't ever let anyone tell you
because you're light-skinned
and she tells me there is no such thing
as good hair
we are the family in mother-daughter things
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.