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  • Monthly Spotlight

November Spotlight: Kiki Brown

Updated: Jul 4, 2022

This month we are spotlighting 'Black Girl Heart' by Kiki Brown.

When we first started discussing doing monthly spotlights, the theatre company Gutter Street told us about Kiki right away. They were incredibly excited about her powerful and emotive pieces of writing, and now we are too!

Head below to read 'Black Girl Heart' and find out more about Kiki and her work.

A Note from Kiki

Since I was a child I have felt quite alone. I've never quite fit anywhere and I have always been acutely aware of the space I take up and where my energy sits in a room. This heightened awareness can be uncomfortable, and so I turned to reading for an escape. During my childhood, I loved to read. I'd read multiple books at a time and I would sit alone in the playground and read for as long as I could. I was inside myself constantly, which was the catalyst for a lot of introspection that turned into the beginning of my journey as a writer. I have been writing poetry since the age of eleven but I never shared it publicly until my twenties. Black Girl Heart is a very exposing piece because no matter how much time passes, it will always apply to me. There are Black women all over the world with a shared experience; a shared trauma to varying degrees that we often don't speak about. We hold that in our bodies, our behaviours, our opinions, our chosen lovers. We hold that trauma somewhere. I call that place my Black Girl Heart. This is a poem for me, really. But I hope it makes you feel something. I hope there's something in here, something other than trauma, for us to share.





Black Girl Heart

You don’t know what it’s like to have a Black Girl Heart.

That place where we keep the trauma,

The hurt,

The lies they tell us to keep us beat.

Right next to the Sunday treats,

Hair piece,

Knees greased,

Ready to face the world,

Close our eyes and listen to the priest when he says,

All God’s children are beautiful,

And think –

What about me?

Let me tell you about you babygirl.

One day someone is going to put their hand in your hair

And you’ll feel it in your chest.

You won’t understand why it makes your stomach turn

And your eyes burn because

Surely they want what’s best for you I mean,

They said your crown is beautiful and they wish it was theirs.

And oh, how they wish it was theirs.

And then they take it,

And you share it.

And they step with your crown

And you walk with your cares.

And you feel that

In your Black Girl Heart.

Let me tell you about the stares.

The men that ask your age

Just to check if your thickness has existed

Long enough for them to taste your magic

With taste buds too unsophisticated for them to bear.

And when I say men that want your magic on their tongues,

I’m not talking about dudes you don’t know yet.

I’m referring to the man you call uncle out of respect,

Because that’s what your mama taught you.

He kisses your neck so slightly

You barely know if he did it,

But you know he did it,

Because you feel it

In your Black Girl Heart.

He says you’re dark as hell.

Puppy fat, pot belly swell

With hips like a grown woman

And your lightskin cousin with the soft hair giggles

Because she doesn’t have to care.

That’s what you think.

You don’t know she’s feeling for you because she’s too young to know it yet

But she has a Black Girl Heart too.

Let me warn you

About the first time someone less melanated

Parts with their money

To adopt those parts of you they said they hated

Like your full lips,

Your wide hips

And all of your ‘best bits’.

They called you ugly when you had it,

And it breaks your Black Girl Heart.

And then you might find someone

Who makes you feel seen

In wonderful, colourful, sexy ways

But you don’t think they’ll really stay

Because how could they

When they don’t know what it’s like

To have a Black Girl Heart?

And you might be shocked that their melody plays perfectly in your symphony

And they say they’ve heard stories about a place

Where you keep the trauma,

The hurt,

The lies they tell you to keep you beat,

Right next to the Sunday treats,

Hair piece

And greased knees

And she tells you you’re beautiful

And you believe

Because she asked to touch

Your Black Girl Heart without touching your hair,

And you know she really cares because she caresses your thickness

And tastes your magic

With a tongue more delicate than theirs.

She stands beside you.

Not in front, or behind,

And she gently whispers the words you were struggling to find,

And she doesn’t silence your history,

She gifts you poetry with your Black Girl Heart in mind.

So you must hold her close

Because she can be the difference between

A Black Girl Heart

And a black heart with no hope for change.

But there’s more of her.

Did you know, there’s more of her?

Sons and daughters of suns and moons and stars

With purple hearts

That will dance to your tune

In gratitude because you make them want to?

Oh, what a beautiful thing it is,

To hold a Black Girl Heart like this.

- Kiki Brown


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