Blk Coffy Posts
She had hair the color of strawberries swirled in milk and honey. Her skin was as white as cotton with eye’s that reflected the ocean. I and the whole 5th grade student body was fascinated by her beauty. She sat in the front of the classroom every morning religiously. Her hair would be tucked behind her ears draping passed her shoulders to meet the middle of her back. I would watch her from the back of the classroom, unzip her book-bag to pull out her Lisa Frank notebook then take a small bite out of her half-eaten egg mcmuffin. Once the bell rung, we sat in our seats watching her in all her glory. Black and white boys scribbled her name in hearts, while every girl wanted to be her friend. Even the teachers gave a warm smile whenever she would raise her hand.
In my eyes, she was a quintessential white girl. And I wanted to be her.
I watched the same girl allure the world with narrow features, blushed-cheeks and porcelain skin. She covered every magazine, casted every role, as well as featured every story. And there I was, hair as thick as sheep’s wool and skin the color of mud. I had thick eyebrows to match my black quilted- hair along with black tight-curled eyelashes, which would clump together like glue. I had seen my lips being wider than the sky amongst my dark eyes that seemed blacker than blue.
On an evening after school, I remember watching a commercial promoting shampoo for white girls with silky hair. The model was in a convertible letting her blonde-reddish hair chase the wind, while men would stop abruptly to gape at her beauty. It reminded me of the white girl at school. I asked my mother, “what color is my hair?” twirling my fingers around one of my ponytails. She responded with her back facing me, “brown”. I then asked my mother, “could it be strawberry-blonde like the pretty white girl at school?” My mother shifted her body to face me confused by the question. I could see the exhaustion in her eyes as she sighed deeply. My mother replied, “no, because you’re not white, baby.” She gave a gentle rub to my shoulder, then turned away. At the time, I didn’t know exactly what that meant. However, I knew it was a privilege that did not belong to me. I returned to school taking my seat in the back of the classroom waiting for her to appear. Although, this time would be different. I had to be black and she had the luxury to be white.
Baltimore summer brought aggravation through steep temperatures, while breezing in arid afternoons. Yet, at the same time it gave us stoop parties, corner store meet-ups and a reason to celebrate the piece of life found in-between the cracks of deprivation.
That summer, I watched the brown people of Baltimore sing a sadness beneath shady oaks. I watched the brown children run with their expose toes up and down the streets of dilapidated buildings as well as listened to the old heads shout, “y’all stop all that damn running before one of y’all get hurt”. All of this gave Baltimore a rhythm. The city was alive despite its temperament. And I had found myself a part of it all. Baltimore your summer made me feel, Baltimore your summer made me BLACK.