I Love Me Some Maya


So I was watching Beauty Shop the other day starring Queen Latifah and Alfre Woodard. Mostly for the part where Djimon Hounsou takes off his shirt- and also because of my inexplicable deep-seated love for Alicia Silverstone from Clueless. Queen, Djimon, Alicia- random bouts of dancing, 90s hip hop and theorizing about the state of Black femininity and manhood, I was in guileless pop culture heaven. And to top it all off there was a lil’ bit of a Maya recitation of one of my all time favourite poems. No not Phenomenal women but the somewhat less known Still I Rise.Womyn… enjoy!!!!!!

Still I Rise
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.
Maya Angelou


One response »

  1. Fabulous poem. An interesting choice to highlight sassiness, haughtiness, and sexiness as the qualities that provoke a white culture that doesn’t want to see Black women rise.

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