Black Like Me

by Anthony Grimes

I am Black
I was conceived in a fallopian tube of struggle
White men cut my home down to stubble
And used the best of my people to fuel their pursuit of happiness
The oil proceeding from my nappiness was the first natural resource
known to humankind
My mind built the pyramids
My feet plowed the soil of this democracy
My fingers are graceful enough to pick cotton-trees
While strong enough to form a fist of resistance
Resisted, hated and despised
For the potential that resides in the color of my skin
But still we loved them back

I am Black
My people turned the water meant to drown us into new wine of hope
They hewed sanctuaries from slave boats
And turned cries into songs, wrongs into beautiful poems
“We shall overcome/
We shall overcome/
We shall overcome some day”
But now my people smoke rocks
just to cope with the bars that leave us trapped behind cell blocks
of low self-esteem and forgotten dreams
I guess that means

I am Black
Just like the skin on Jesus’s back
Not merely the pigmentation but its representation
of his identification with my socio-economic orientation

My Jesus is Black
Because he died with the weight of empire on his back
While white men spit in his face
And judges gave him an unjust court case
Just to keep a “Nigga” in his place
At the bottom of the same incarceration complex that Tyrone
and JuJu face today

He inhaled the pain of Evil on the cross
and held his breath until he was breathless,
Let the aroma of death circulate deep within his chest
But never passed blunt trauma to his homies

My Jesus is Black
Because I recognize the bruises on his back, along his spine
They look very similar to the kind that come when I cannot find
A job that believes that unequal wages is a crime
One day he’s gonna put a whip to this office of mine
I say, one day he’s gonna put a whip to this office of mine
For exploiting the temple of my body
Everyday his dignity too was under attack by somebody
Trying to suppress his voice
Hearing the truth that he spoke as noise

My Jesus is Black
Because he carries the hope of his people on his back
And became whatever it was we lacked
Our future is sutured within his scars
One day he will melt the bars
Of every prison because we are forgiven
He is bringing an army with him
Equipped with books for ammunition
So that when black kids shoot each other it’s with equal education
He knows who we are and he is that with us
He is Black because he is with us.

Video and lyrics are copyright of Anthony Grimes 2012 and cannot be copied, shared or distributed without permission.

 Anthony Grimes is the CEO and founder of Urbanmuse Media, as well as the founder of the Park Hill Parish, a start-up organization focused on organizing collective impact and building beloved community in Denver, Colo. He lives with his wife and two kids in Park Hill, the neighborhood in Denver in which he was raised.

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