this defining of beauty in a euro-centric light has pillaged,
robbed, massacred any sense of esteem. any form of light in the eye of many a black girl.
she watches the al jazeera programme where the woman inside the television says, now that i am lighter all the men look at me. empty room. she sniggers. externalises dissatisfaction of how her own human anatomy parallels.
the mango seller on the side of road tells her, toka hapa, nyeusi siyo rangi nzuri, mchawi wewe (get out of here. black isn't a good colour, you witch) after she refuses to purchase his masala-dipped fruit. stiff bottom lip. she does not want him (and the universe) to realise that these words are already her mantra. detest for her exterior. late night tears for a riddance of her dark-chocolate infested vessel. her frustration at god.
aunty halima gives birth to the skin lightening cream on the living room floor. remnants of blood, water, life. here is poison masquerading as a new lease of life. as convention. her mind does not jolt at the thought of this metamorphosis. a butterfly regressing into a caterpillar. unnatural noise. over the weeks, she begins not to resemble her lineage. her indian ocean blackness becomes lost in this shift. now, remains only a shelter riddled with holes and a lack of recognition.
she does not understand that her existence in itself is an act of non-conformism. a fateful rejection of the narrative. a revolution. she did not see the moon align itself to her essence when her blackness graced 18 years ago. she deserves to replace the dead white men clinging onto the walls of every gallery. their prayers for her subservience and their cheer-leading of her self-hatred erode the edges of the portraits in which they now reside. a colonised space. the minds they have detonated.
she is art personified,
by Leyla Ahmed