• US BY US COLLECTIVE

The Identity Game

Bel esprit means beautiful spirit or clever person.

I looked for love in different places – my home was empty

With a Bible in hand I ventured out hoping the Devil wouldn’t tempt me

I thought love only belonged to white rich girls on tv

Or the girls on BET who my mom told me lacked bel esprit

They looked more like me so I guess I lacked it too

How was a girl like me supposed to make it through?

Being Black is a part of me I’ve become proud of

Being Black in this generation has taught me a lot about self-love.

Black love is radical for this nation’s generation

& Even for my kin, “my proud Black family of Haitians”

When I cut my permed hair off, it was a decision to love myself

My mom said I put my crown away & stowed my beauty away on a shelf.

It was so far out of reach that no man would ever love me

I didn’t care though - no man charged with this task ever took it very seriously

I realized I had to find the answers on my own

When I stumbled upon them, I was shaken to the bone

I fell for a girl and she unlocked my heart

I finally understood what it meant to be set apart

I was different and the world isn’t built for people who don’t fit the status quo

It’s a battle between which identity to put on or to forego

Written by Valencia Clement