Generations of Creativity

Creativity runs in my genes, but is expressed within different ways among each of us.  My mother is a fashionista, my brother is a designer, I’m transitioning to being a writer, and my aunt’s 10 year old daughter is a multi-faceted talent.  Most recently she received the Charlotte Miller Simon award for a poem she wrote for a classroom exercise.  It was then submitted to a local competition with hundreds of other submissions.  She came in first for her age group.  The poem is below, and tackles her experience of race in a personal way.

Roots by Jordyn Colbert

Shake, shake, shake the hairspray

Trying buns, bob cuts, and even bangs

Nothing’s working my hair’s too thick,

I don’t think YouTube tutorials will do the trick

Shake, shake, shake the hairspray once more,

Maybe the bob cut isn’t the look I’m going for

I browse and browse through the magazines,

None of these girls look like me

Shake, shake, shake the hairspray again,

Ugh! I’ll never get it right!  this will never end!

The ladies in the magazines are all white girls,

And nothing’s working for these crazy curls 

Shake, shake, shake the hairspray one more time,

If this doesn’t work it’ll be the end of the line

I straighten and style and all done let’s see,

Anything it takes to look like the girls on the magazine

Shake, shake, shake the hairspray but this time I won’t,

I put down the empty spray can and I feel a tightness in my throat

I look into the mirror then take another glance at the magazine,

Watching other light-skinned girls live out my dream

Mama walks in and comforts me,

“You are beautiful and you’re the best you’ll ever be” 

I hug my mama tight as I look into the mirror and smile,

I’m different, I’m dark, and I love my profile

Growing up in small town Ohio twenty years ago, race was minimally discussed.  Since the area was primarily Caucasian, few understood the dynamics of diversity.  They viewed racism as solely a black white issue, and didn’t think others could possibly be discriminatory towards me.  Others were ignorant of how acts of discrimination could arise.  A blind spot seemed to exist on how the world and community saw variations of the browns and other hues in between at that time. 

Jordyn expressed her struggle of being Filipina and Black, of not fitting into what America’s ideal of beauty is at the moment.  Although the media has allowed more variability of what constitutes beauty, many still feel they do not fit into the mold. I appreciate the boldness and authenticity Jordyn offered in her poem, and being able to be the voice for others to note and finally see her (and others’ experience). 

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