US BY US MAGAZINE

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 pu

Closing Remarks

For he who does not concern himself with how deeply you pollute my thoughts When I’m bleeding out and on my last breath, I’ll remember to carve your name indented 3 inches to the left of my draining body so you’ll know I was thinking of you. Maybe this poem will carry the message beyond the places my wingspan couldn’t Maybe my love can still overwhelm you in this posthumous delivery Maybe you’ll take me seriously when you can’t have me or maybe this is what you wanted. I thought you knew our secrets were safe with me, but securing them 6 feet deep probably helped you sleep better. I know the Liars taught us that two can only keep a secret if one of them is dead I know sometimes a love like m

Glitch in the system

“It’s puff-puff-pass, bro. Come on.” A siren went off in JP’s head. His hearing was loud and clear – which it never was, when he was high. Did it wear off, already? From the slits of his eyes, he scoped out Tara’s living room. Everyone was here – Eli on one half of the couch, Aminata on the other, Tara sprawled in the armchair, Chris on the floor next to him, and Pablo– Pablo? He strained to turn his head. Bright blue sneakers stuck out of Tara’s bathroom. Definitely Pablo. Realizing what was going on, JP looked at his lap. He wasn’t supposed to see any of this – or else, he would remember it, and what was the point of this if he remembered? It felt wrong to see his friends like this. He shr

The Sound of the Future: All About AlCol

We know the work, we know the name, but we want to know the man – so can you tell us a little bit about yourself? AC: First of all, my real name is not AlCol; my full name is Alim Bénédict Aubry Colin, and I’m a 25 year-old DJ / producer – also a rapper. Since I was a kid, I was passionate about art. I started drawing first, and I enjoyed reading books a lot. In high school, my friends said, “You know how to write, why don’t you do it over beats? Why don’t you sing your texts?” I said, “Well, I’m not a singer, but I can definitely give it a try.” I love percussions, so I was in school, using my pens to drum on my desk to make beats. So, I started writing, but it was poetry and books, or text

GLiDing, navigating self and art : A conversation with LilBirdLeii

Leila Lherisson is a twenty something Haitian songstress based in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. A vessel for the unconventional, Leila, also known as LilBirdLeii, breaks the rules, and sings her through the repercussions. With all the lessons she's learned and is still learning from life, she concocts projects raw in emotions, and as real as her experiences. On September 13th, she released her very first EP, entitled GLiDE, which we've sat with her to discuss, in addition to her art, process and inspirations. You released GLiDE on your birthday, and it’s your first EP, so it must have special meaning to you. Before we speak about the project itself, I did want to ask, above this project, - we know

Maladi Mantal Nan Sosyete Ayisyen

Yon moun ki an sante pou OMS (Òganizasyon Mondyal Sante) se yon moun ki genyen bonjan byennèt fizik, mantal ak sosyal, se pa sèlman yon moun ki pa malad oswa ki pa andikape. Men anpil fwa, jan nou ranje lavi n selon sa ki pi itil pou n siviv nan mond sila a, sèl yon branch fizik nan sante a, nou rive bay enpòtans. Nan peyi mwen devlope ki chita sou system kapitalis la, kote pi fò bagay parèt yon liks, sante fizik la se li ki tout bagay, pou n ka travay, pou n chache moso lavi. Menm moun ki gen plis mwayen yo, konsantre yo sou li. Anplis, istwa, kilti, ak koutim nan kominote nwa a fè nou abitye reziyen n ak kenbe anndan n tout kalite pwoblèm ki pa fizik ase. Nou kiltive metòd sa yo tankou se

Outside the closet

Whenever we don’t understand something we look it up, we ask around or find a way to understand better. However, when it comes to certain subjects some people refuse to get informed. My question to these people will always remain the same: Why don’t you try to learn something instead of spreading hatred all around you? “Phobia” is being afraid, most of the time it’s something you don’t understand. I’ve been learning about “types of phobias” in High School and there’s still aspects I’m not fully aware of yet. Being accepting is one but, it’s all about being conscious of what you do and say. I keep learning everyday, because I make mistakes around one of my friends and she corrects me. Growing

“Calm down, Molly the maid”

If you’re an avid twitter user like myself, I’m sure you have come across some outrageous tweets where some outrageous “standards” are being set - from women with tweets to basically get men to tell them how good of a woman they are. It’s called the pick me phenomenon; otherwise known as molly the maid enthusiasts. Recently, a mother found it adequate to upload a picture of her young baby girl - no older than 5 years old- telling Twitter how she’s prepping her to be a wife “someday”. Tweets like this rarely find their way on my moisturized timeline - because the women I choose to follow, are not normally in agreement with this bafoonery. To make my point, so much is demanded for women - fr

Nou lèd, nou la: We are Ugly, We are Here - About Colorism

Nou lèd men nou la: We are Ugly but We are Here Colorism has been a topic that has recently become revitalized in both pop culture and academic discussions. That doesn’t mean that colorism is a new term or “made up” by twitter feminists as Hoteps and many others would like to claim, Alice Walker coined the term in 1982 and defined it as: “Prejudicial or preferential treatment of same-race people based solely on color” For context, when Walker used this term it was in regard to darker skinned black people dealing with double backhand of white supremacy of not only being black but being of a darker complexion as well and the repercussions of that fate from both inter and intra community oppres

On the margins of the margins : Transgender in Haiti - A conversation with Yaisah Val

There is a redundancy in what our Haitian society incorporates in their idea of liberation. Mostly, it encompasses this idea of equality that reeks of queer/transphobia. Where women are barely considered, queer folks are often not mentioned at all. Our “all” is still a rich cis-hetero man’s world. Purposely alienated, queer folks watch change be a weak variation of the status quo. In the midst of Haiti’s third world issues, most Haitians do not consider the oppression of a group thought so small - if not nonexistent - to be a pressing matter. While this violent disregard is happening, the transgender community suffers, kept out by bigotry's walls. If oppression has layers, and dimensions, th

Respite

I pray this world doesn’t turn to ash I pray that my loved ones remain in tact I pray you don’t get attached to parents people that can far too easily get wrapped in the clutches of tragedy I pray this war results in amnesty for those who deserve it. You are tired Warrior. Written by Devonne

Your problem with the word Feminism

Before I begin, I would just like everyone to note that I am not an expert on the topic, and still battle with taught misconceptions regarding it, therefore, this texts only purpose is to share thoughts, not facts, as I speak solely for myself. Two things should be done before anything: First, a textbook definition of the term should be presented, followed by my own point of view of the movement, then right after, it should be cleared as to where I stand regarding it, so lets dive right in. Feminism, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. Now, a few questions: Would you call yourself a sensible human being? Would you say you

Forbidden

…Beautiful sunny weather expected over the city today, clear blue skies and a soft breeze all day; perfect time for some fun in the sun… Nneka stared at the ceiling. She had been awake long before her radio. In the past, hearing it go off was like welcoming a cheerful friend into the room, but the sun was always shining on the radio, she learned. She blinked. Deep breath in, deep breath out. Quiet the voice. She pulled herself to a seat on the edge of the bed, and wiggled her toes, counting each one. These days, it was hard to even anchor herself to her physical envelope; every inch of it seemed to be turning against her, and into a reality she knew wasn’t hers. Behave, she reminded herself.

My Eating Disorder: A word by Stephanie Voyard

"Growing up, I never had a "normal" relationship with food or how I perceived my body. There were days where I’d starve myself and others where I would binge eat to the point that I was bloated and nauseous. Now, this all depended on how I saw my body that specific day. If I thought that my body looked amazing- I’d starve myself. But if I thought I looked fat, I’d binge eat to distract myself from those thoughts. I never thought it to be weird, it was just my "coping mechanism”, or at least that’s what I told myself. Fast forward to my freshman year of college, I wasn’t doing so great. I was dealing with severe depression and that lead to me developing binge eating disorder. You might ask, w

Exclusively mine

I stood there, admiring him from the bedroom entrance. I was squeezing my robe in excitement, concealing my black lingerie. Watching his bare muscles, I bit my bottom lip as I thought of the amount of time I'd spent dreaming of having my body against his. As I got closer, I realized that he was completely unaware of what it signified to be my lover. Oh, honey. I thought. After today, there was no forgetting me. Once he sensed me approach him, he stopped looking through his files and spun me around, sitting me on his lap. His dull eyes met my hungry eyes and they instantaneously averted to spellbinding — excited ones. I got up and slowly let go of the piece of clothing on the polished floor

Beauty. Magic. Royalty.

Say Black Boy, what do you like about Black Girls? He says he likes to see them walk, hear them talk, and be an all around BOSS. Black Beauty expands over every waistline, Hair type, every pair of eyes is reminiscent of a kaleidoscope dream Black Strength envelopes your heart on parts where those scars from whips and chains broke wind. Your skin is encased in fortified melanin As you stride and sashay to break boundaries and efface ways Of fanatics who say “You can’t dance ballet! For your African flat feet will not allow you to leap” Remind them their favorite ballerina’s name is Misty Copeland. Say Black Boy, what do you love about Black Women? The crowns they wear. Their heads are endowed