I’m a survivor of the Trans-Atlantic and Trans-America slave trade
I’m a product and survivor of rapes during slavery
No choice but to carry my babies into this horrible world
My babies being ripped from my womb and arms
My “husband” auctioned off or lynched for rebelling
I know that because of my skin complexion
I was working in the house
Saying, “Yes master” and acting like I was his loyal subject
Yes, his loyal subject.. subject to all kinds of abuse
While taking care of his family,
I’m learning how to read and write
Or listen to his conversations to warn the others
While I wash his clothes outside and pass by the other slaves
I sing “Wade In The Water”
To communicate to the others
That the water is the key to freedom
I’m a survivor of slaves learning how to read and write
At night, my work is never done
I teach others how to read and write
But teach them how to hide it
So we don’t lose the battle to freedom
Southern trees bore strange fruits
And even though they’re not growing in front of us
They’re growing in someone’s backyard
I’m a survivor of the Civil Rights Movement
and dogs attacking me just because I want to vote
I’m a product and survivor of the Black Power Movement
Black Panther Party, “Power to the People”
Police brutality and FBI instigations/ infiltrations
Our leaders dying for a cause
And two rappers on two coasts used to cause a war
Within our own community
They say the best way to hide something from us
Is by putting it in a book
After all the things I went through to teach us how to read and write in slavery
These two things, which are free, are becoming useless in our community
I’m proud to be from Oakland and Berkeley
Two cities that represent change and revolution
I’m Black, not African American
I don’t identify with Africans because
I don’t know what tribe or region I’m from
Because of the one drop rule,
I don’t know who I was at first
I refuse to call myself an American because
I don’t want to call myself something where the country doesn’t even want me
They keep finding ways to keep me oppressed or extinct
We fought to have a right to vote and the moment that we earned it
People aren’t registering or getting out there
Our rights to vote and freedom may be taken away
Because we’re complacent and we don’t know that
A war is going to break out in our own country
Just to put us back in slavery
We’ve been experiencing institutional slavery and racism
For the past 50 years
But it’s about to get real just because we have a Black President
And he’s not backing down
They’re afraid that he’s going to change America for the better
And they can’t have that
It’s getting tougher and tougher for us to vote
And express ourselves
There may be 99% of us but that 1% controls everything
I’m a fighter and I refuse to give up
I learned from all of these people that fought for us to be here today
Dead or alive; we have a right to live freely
I’m a survivor of all of these things because my ancestors
Made this country and we’re being erased out of its history
Pick up a book and learn about the struggles that people went through
Just for us to be here today
I refuse to let all the movements
And those that laid down their life, die in vain
And as the late Lady Tee, Teena Marie once said,
“I’m young and I’m old
I’m rich and I’m poor
I feel like I’ve been on this earth
Many times before
I used to be a queen you know
In a island by the sea
With rainbow colored people
Happy as can be.”