I wrote this poem as an entry for a competition at the library of the University of Birmingham. Out of the hundreds of entries, I won. And they sent me £20 in Amazon gift vouchers. That was cool.

This poem was inspired by Ava DuVernay’s “must watch” documentary 13TH, a truly a remarkable piece of cinema and an eyeopening look at the injustice in US society and their justice / prison system.

I’m told that racism is a thing of the past.
Not to me and members of my caste.
It’s a long and dreary continuous strife like
a pain in the gut from a bloodstained knife.

The hot topic of debate is Black Lives Matter.
It’s over the internet and frequencies of chatter.
You see protests in the States and the UK
despite the weather here being cold and grey.

From Africa, people were kidnapped and taken,
stored on ships and ridiculed and shaken.
Those who rebelled and didn’t survive the trip
were thrown overboard or wickedly whipped.

Here, with slavery, began this concept of segregation
as masters watched their slaves on sugar plantations.
A society started by an ideology of hate and bigotry.
– it stems this far back in our world’s history.

Black oppression goes back through the centuries,
way even before we were filling penitentiaries.
When Rosa Parkes started the Montgomery Bus Boycott
or was it when protesters in Selma were beaten and shot?

During the 60s we fought to vote and be counted
whilst riot police oppressed us and dismounted.
Doctor King instilled many an honest teaching
amidst his civil rights, rallies and preaching.

Malcolm was the honest, pragmatic nationalist.
while Martin was the pure and moral rationalist.
X was passionate about his black rights and Islam
willing to fight for his rights with his fists and palms.

King Viv fought for black rights through his cricket
but wouldn’t go to South Africa to take a wicket –
where during the 70s apartheid was growing strong.
A way of life that was inhumane, ghastly and wrong.

Into the 80s, NWA preached truths through rap
and because of which, received a federal slap.
Dre, Cube and Eazy, effed the police on the west coast
where law enforcement abused their power and post.

Now into the modern day with a new breed of youths.
Many of whom are still in denial about hard truths.
We catch wind of these daily acts of violence and brutality
but it’s our own people who are at the brunt of this reality.

Black lives matter has a lot to do with history and current affairs
amidst news anchors, media tycoons and annoying cyber glares.
White lives matter, Asian lives matter and Black Lives Matter,
but at this time, I’m inclined most to favour the latter.

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