Wakanda Forever

This poem is in response to a challenge by fellow Northampton poet Justin Thyme and it’s inspired by the land of Wakanda in Africa.

Wakanda is a fictional country in the MCU and the setting of Black Panther, a superhero film that has lots to say about postcolonialism.

This is a long one, so buckle up…


If you turn on any western news programme today, you’ll see stories of a poor Africa. A continent of poverty, disease and famine but it isn’t so. There’s rich Black folk there, living it large and I’m not talking about the men in Nigeria in their big houses.

Let’s go to the land of Wakanda where there were no terrible big boats, there were no white men taking slaves and telling Blacks how to behave.

But there were tribes tripping on each other, fighting one another for the crown of the greatest kingdom on earth, the land of Wakanda.

At the same time, the Black folks in the Americas who were free were mating with local tribes like the Amerindians and the Cherokee.

But Wakanda is true Africa, free from the whip, colonial quips, also the legacy of European slave ships. Do you understand?

And as a result, Wakanda is a land of every shade. From light skin to dark skin, no room for colourism to carry on with its colour chart sin bin.

Not like in Europe and America, in this day and age who put light skin on a pedestal and treat dark-skinned women like the cargo that came through Liverpool.

Wakanda got no time for diaspora rules; British, American, Dutch, French. It doesn’t matter. Black is black, Killmonger is on the right track.

This was such a great scene #WakandaForever
(Black Panther, Marvel Studios)

He knew that the African was the first on the scene and him being from across the water did not mean he was any worse or better than his brethren.

Through the migration of his father, his culture started to change and rearrange like the slaves who had to adapt to the West Indies and England.

So really, if we’re going to go all the way back, and I mean it. Then Adam and Eve may well have been black which kind of means that everyone on Earth is an African. Everybody is Wakandan. Even Mr Coloniser and the Christian slavers.  Imagine that!

So if everyone is an African something, even the Indians and their caste system. They’re African Indians and so on. And the origin of humanity is with the African.

And if one drop of Black blood makes you Black like people say, than everyone’s Wakandan anyway.

Yet, I’m not colour-blind. I’ve got White friends. I’ve got Asian friends but I bet if they gander through their family tree far enough. Perhaps they might find an ancestor that looks like King T’Challa in handcuffs.

However, I’m not trying to change your identity. You all already been born and raised in different nations, some thanks to the devastation of diaspora and colonisation.

Danai Gurira gaves such a great performance as Okoye (hyped for Infinity War)
(Black Panther, Marvel Studios)

I was born British but I tick Other. I’m Black. Born in England. West Indian grandparents on both sides, look wider and I’d have been an African. Dare I say Wakandan, had Africa been allowed to realise itself?

And not been made to sit on the colonisers’ shelf. At ten years old, I was called nigger. In America they say that too. They say Negro as well but those slurs for slurs’ sake have vanished (kind of) and Negro is just how you say black in Spanish.

I’m not a nigger, I’m a man. And it seems we’re back in a time when even Black people can’t get along because we’ve been brainwashed into thinking that our skin colour is wrong.

And then Black Panther came showing us to be good. Where we fought each other but there was democracy among the peoples of Wakanda where we walked with purpose and Black was beautiful.

And I’ve even been criticised for celebrating my colour. How about 800 years of White history? That Euro-centric UK curriculum. #JustSaying.

Who even comes up with this stuff anyway?

Was it just a few guys feeling insecure so they decided to create all this racial rhetoric? So they thought African-American and Black Briton sounded a bit more exotic.

Colourism wasn’t a problem and the women of Wakanda were a bunch of badasses!
(Black Panther, Marvel Studios)

Labels make people feel euphoric. Kind of like how Lenny Henry was the only Black man allowed on British television in the 80s. There can only be one! And there’s BAFTA! (Black Britons eff off to America).

And as a result, a lot of Black British artists ended up broke. And that is why we needed Black Panther, as Wakanda represented us all, not just America as is the norm for the mainstream.

People who look like me doing things that are often attributed to Mr Coloniser. Sounds about white and I know there are some people here who recently moved from Grenada and Ghana and Gambia – and Ireland and Holland and America – and Brazil and Benin and India.

But not the peoples whose family lived in the country for generations (I’m only the second of mine) but the people who are from various locations. We’re from everywhere. If you follow the epic wingspan of genealogy, you’ll find your very own Cheddar Man.

Your heritage and history is in the country you’re in, not just your melanin. But it’s also out there in the world. And I’m ready to leave England, but it’s also my home. It’s a leader in oppression and suffering and grieving.

But they must be doing something right, because there’s so many coming and so few leaving. And if you go to Africa in search of your essence, you’ll find breadcrumbs, traces and no pure races.

I love being Black but I’ve never been to Africa. I know Britain better than the country of my ancestors. I’ve never seen Bunce Island or Elmina or Freetown.

Angela Bassett as anything is worth watching, especially her as Queen Ramonda
(Black Panther, Marvel Studios)

What if colonisation didn’t happen? What if there was no slavery? That’s my Africa. Untainted and pure, able to realise itself. Wakanda Forever.

We’ve all just changed so much; many thanks to diaspora and migration it’s no mystery, because we all share a little Black History.

Air Too Pure For Slaves (After Mossman)

I wrote ” Air Too Pure For Slaves” in response to a poem called “Make a Desert” by Milton Keynes poet Mossman. You’ll find it below.


Make a desert and call it peace.
Wipe out the people and call it an empty land.

Making; by your empires, a bigger better world.

Explore with your weapons and your diseases.
Justifying actions through an empty God.

Photographer: Foad Manghouly

Making; by your empires, a richer poorer world.

Seeking a free, but not a fairer trade.
Shipping home the spoils from lands despoiled.
Oppressing the foes you made.

Then in your decline,
In your victorious inaction and withdrawal,

Let the others sort the mess of their own making.
Whilst you bank the cash of sugar, slaves, munitions and oil.

Photographer: Clem Onojeghuo

Put up the statues to the glorious heroes
And their guilty municipal munificence.

Pull up the drawbridges now against free movement of those others,
Fleeing your manmade deserts
Across cruel seas, hoping only for safe haven.

The lucky finding only the torment of camps and barbs,
Freedom and life the only losers.

#mossman2016


I wrote “Air Too Pure For Slaves” inspired from Mossman’s poem. The title for mine comes from a chapter from a book called Black and British: A Forgotten History by British-Nigerian historian David Olusoga.

“Air Too Pure Slaves” is a poem in which I draw reference from Europe’s colonial past and show how the immigrants of the past helped make the continent into what it is today.

Immigration is not a new thing, it’s naive to pretend otherwise. Despite being a mass importation of illegal workers, The Transatlantic Slave Trade is a good example. People have been moving from place to place as long as people have been alive.


Build a country and exclude the labourers.
Chain the workers and bask in the profits.

Put them in a box, and send them to Sierra Leone.

Explore with your guns and man-made diseases,
justifying your actions through law and order,

making a nation of millionaires, a poorer richer land.

Photographer: NeONBRAND

Mother seeking the help of unfair trade,
the grains of Demerara, the threads of Virginia –
Cotton is king; there’s mercy in a massacre.

In Berlin, you agree to raid the The Savage Lands,
or so you named them. We are a Coloured Empire,
children slaving with bloody hands.

Then in your decline,
when you couldn’t maintain your greed,

you left the natives in a swamp of your making.
Whilst you mined money –
the spoils of sugar, munitions and oil.

Erect the statues to colonial knaves,
like Winston and Victoria.

Photographer: Trisha Downing

London streets, air too pure for slaves,
dwelling in your man-made deserts.
Now closing the door on their descendants –

leaving the vast expanse between
The Bulldog, the Dark Continent and Jim Crow.

The lucky find peace, abandoning
ship. Chains cackling with the
notion that death is better than bondage.

The People v. Michigan State

I wrote this poem after after watching Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroita film about the Detroit Riots and what occurred at the Algiers Hotel in July 1967.

The poem’s style is based on Testimony by Seamus Heaney, an Irish poet who gained influence during the second half of the twentieth century, winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995.


The building was silent before the
police arrived.
A Tuesday evening, darkness,
and gutter blood dancing
inside the hotel.
From the next street,
you’d have heard the screaming
and heard it stop and had view of the
military with their guns and tanks
coming down the road.

Lines of them, firearms loosed from their holsters,
ready to pounce on their prey like the big cats
of the African plains.
A line of dominoes facing the wall, petrified
young people, kids, playing the police’s
mind games.
Three dead black men, seven more beaten,
and two white women.

Unarmed, innocent. 25th July 1967.
Not that they knew then how history
would record that day as the victims
took the stand: in a sweat,
skittish, nervous. Families bereft.
Killer cops, not guilty (typically).
They always protect their own, and
Krauss free to roam the streets again
with his eyebrows of Satan.