Happy Birthday First Lady Michelle Obama; Dear FLOTUS;
Jasmine Mans known for her Kanye West poem, and a slew of others is one of poetry’s most recognizable faces and voices. A scholar, she continues to make us think, unify, love, and remember a past time of entertainment, poetry.
Her latest visual is a beautiful thank you to first lady Michelle Obama on her birthday January 17th just one day after MLK Day. Jasmine Mans is a wordsmith, ill enough to ghost write for your favorite rapper, yet powerful enough to earn a nobel peace, here is her latest transcript;
FLOTUS (Michelle Obama Poem)
Dear First Lady
I watched as my 4-year old cousin
Sat in the mirror,
Placed my grandmother’s pearls around her neck and
“Jas, do I look like Michelle Obama?”
This little girl who does not know how to say
Or Macaroni and Cheese
Properly said your name
Like it belonged on her long list of heroes
In-between Snow White and Santa Claus.
My little cousin is not yet old enough
to know Jim Crow.
She has not lived long enough to interpret the
Or fight for human rights,
She does not know your view on the health care reform,
Your Princeton education
Nor can she point to Chicago on a map.
But she knows Black Barbie dolls and nap time.
How to identify your face in a land-field of
Who share our skin color like a sequenced revolution.
She knows your smile Michelle,
She knows the day her mother jumped up and down
November 4th black and red dresses,
How to say African American
Better than her own first name.
You proved that her identity belongs
Somewhere in this American dream.
She knows that if she can find your face
In the jumbled channels on television
It’s a possibility she can stay up past her bedtime
You are everything her mother never got the chance to be,
Cover Girl’s Beauty of the Week,
A love story sprinkled in an inaugural speech,
And a woman she can mistake for her mommy.
Do you know what that means?
She traded in her Dora the Explorer costume
For a brooch of the American Flag
And a tee shirt with your husband’s face on it.
And for the first time
I could identify the revolution
That would actually change the world
It’s not in how many Barack and Martin comparisons we can make,
But the idea of little boys jumping off their bunk beds with an American flag tied around their necks
actually believing that
they can fly.
It’s in little girls with dreams
and their grandmother’s pearls
My little cousin doesn’t know about the war in Iraq
She just wonders if Sasha and Malia like to hula-hoop
And if you force them to eat their Flintstone Vitamins too.
So I guess this poem is a thank you
Thank you for being a brown girl’s dream come true,
Something tangible to look up to.
Because I know that our skin color exists on timelines
Of women who had craters engraved in their backs.
Stretch marks similar to maps of underground railroads.
Grandmothers who couldn’t afford all the ingredients to the recipe of the American pie.
Women who laid down their lives,
Strutted with chips and cracks in their spines,
Dying to inject more estrogen in “Man’s kind”
Creating tradition under the idea
That if I can’t afford my daughter the world,
A college education,
or at-least a decent meal tonight,
When’s she old enough to measure
40 acres and a crashing dream
I’ll wrap my grandmother’s pearls
around her neck
Like a gravity stricken halo
And whisper in her ear
“Baby, if I Can’t, You Will……She Did.”
#SOULdiers, FAVORITE POEM?
– Thanks For Reading #SOULdiers
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