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Illustration by Zayla Bryant/VOX ATL

VOX Teen Poetry: Branded

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Now ain’t that funny?
You don’t buy black cuz it’s “too expensive,”
But let Calvin, Gucci, or Prada do it you go running to it with open arms.
Standing in line like cattle ignorant to the painstaking branding that awaits you
Now don’t get me wrong, I know it’s the exclusivity you’re chasing after.
After lifetimes of destitution it’s become our solution for restitution.
A reminder that we’re worth something after all these batters and bruises.
But if I told you you’re falling into the same shackles we were “emancipated” from,
How likely would it be you’d continue to do it?
Put your money where your mouth is and let your actions be your down payment.
Don’t be so stubborn and stuck up to your own people:
The ones that need you,
The ones that be you,
The ones that work tirelessly to financially free you,
That you can’t see past the pigment to make an investment.
Y’know, in a paradoxically funny way
y’all had me fooled.
Had me believing I wasn’t achieving ‘cuz
My name don’t walk runways in New York,
Or take trips to Peru.
Had me dwelling in doubt because of rules y’all came up with.
I beg your pardon?
How dare you diminish the prowess of my melanin?
You ought to be ashamed.

You can’t do away with it.
There is no individual, we are only elements of the larger blueprint.

We were blessed in God’s wholly image.
We ought to be the epitome of luxury.
The crown is ours for the taking,
And you’re shaking cuz you thought I’d never call out my own people.
If it’s accountability we’re after,
We gotta look at the common factor.
We can’t say we’re breaking cycles and building legacies without doing the groundwork.
Black is my Brand,
And one I’m deeply proud of.
The question now is will YOU “rep your pigment,” or will you wait for the cattle roundup?

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About Zayla Bryant

/VOX ATL Staff Writer

Zayla, 17, attends Arabia Mountain High School. Zayla's appreciation for the beauty and power in words allows her to captivate hearts and sway minds. Her goals in life are to ...

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