POEM: Beautiful, for a black girl

Straight narrow nose
Small pouty pink lips
High cheekbones
Wavy locks
You are beautiful
For a black girl they say

My heart aches.
Racial prejudice
Still lives on in the 21st century western world
They have an obvious preference
for the mocha covered Scandinavian girl

To not have
Broad, flared nose
Wide full lips
Round cheeks
Nappy coarse hair
Is my good fortune?!
I shall shun your Euro-centric standard
Your world of black is not beauty

To tell me
I am beautiful
You may
But don’t you dare tell me
I am beautiful, for a black girl

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  1. Shelly-Ann
    May 22, 2013

    Good day folks. I wrote this poem because of an incident that took place one day. On that day, I was casually speaking to some acquaintances and the discussion went into how we looked well put together that day. A little girl, about 6 years old, was in the room and said quite sweetly, as little girls will do, that she is beautiful too (and quite frankly, she is a very pretty little girl). One middle aged adult female immediately turned to her and stated that she isn’t as “you don’t have straight nose like the rest of us”. I was quite taken aback as I failed to see how not having a straight nose took away from how pretty she really was. And I recalled sometime before that hearing someone refer, with distaste, how short and kinky the little girl’s hair was. I rebuked them for saying such things and I thought on how people would compliment me on my unprocessed hair(it’s now processed) and tell me how lucky I am to have the texture hair I did – more curly than kinky and also, I would be complimented on all the features I had that were deemed not to be the stereotypical black features. I saw all that as foolishness. And I began thinking how people would say you are fortunate to have this and that feature…for a black girl. They are conveying this hidden message that black girls can only be beautiful if their features are not the stereotypical West African black features. I disagree, that little girl was really pretty and I am not saying this from an everyone is beautiful perspective.

    Also, I am not the person in the picture attached to this poem – the picture was selected by the DNO staff.

    • Shelly-Ann
      June 11, 2013

      Additionally, I would like to say that it is important that we choose our words carefully when speaking to children. They are naive and very impressionable, and what we might have said absentmindedly might end up having great impact on that child’s life in a negative way.
      While we have come along way from the days of official racial segregation etc., racial and ethnic prejudice/discrimination is still very present, to varying degrees, in different parts of the world. It would be wonderful if we would examine even our choice of words at time and choose to stop telling people they are *insert positive description*…for a *insert whichever race, nationality or ethnic group*.

  2. DNICE
    October 4, 2012

    Wow Shelly! You are absolutely gorgeous! And certainly more beautiful than any white girl I’ve ever seen.

  3. DNICE
    October 4, 2012

    To me black women, dark indian women, and dark spanish women are much more attractive, but that’s just my preference, sure I think many white women are also attractive as well, I at times have said “she’s pretty for a white girl” meaning simply I don’t usually find the majority of white women attractive but this one is not bad. So it’s a matter of preference, everyone has thier own tastes. Great poem though, and yes to the author, you are beautiful!

  4. Anon
    July 23, 2012

    Hmph, I feel like a lot of people are misunderstanding the point of this poem, or at least, I feel like there are. Maybe I’m the one who is. I feel like the whole racist condescending comment is just a part of it, but it’s about other’s narrow views on “what is beautiful” too. It’s like if someone says “you’re beautiful, for a black girl.” they are missing the diverse beauty of an entire race because they compare your unique beauty to a glob of good and bad features common in there own. Meh, it made sense when I said it in my head anyways…

  5. europe
    June 10, 2012

    Only primitive people judge people by the color of the skin.All people are beautiful no matter of skin color.And for the end yes you are very beautiful girl.

  6. Fairplay
    May 6, 2012

    You are indeed beautiful for a Black Girl.( your features are not Negroid) :?:

    • DA4LYFE
      May 7, 2012

      What you mean by that statement?Please clarify? (Your features are not negroid? **Blank Stare** :/ ..HMM you know that black people are NOT a monolithic race right?!?! We have different facial features some all black people..

  7. May 6, 2012

    It is a Bloody shame in 2012 African Dominicans still talking about color and Race.As an African Dominican who Lives in America It saddens me that my People still have no clue of our Histry.but Believing in the other man telling you his story which is a Bloody Lie.my People we are the first People. Every one else came from us.Remember Africa is the Cradle of Civilization and Humanity so Black

    • May 6, 2012

      True that my Conscious Brother some of our People need to be Educated on African Histry.Because as we all know our schools and churches would never dare to tell us the truth about your Histry.

  8. DA Girls fine
    May 6, 2012

    Nice poem. I think that the Dominican girls are the most beautiful in the world (when they smile anyway). And I’m a white guy.

    “Pretty fly … for a white guy”. Same thing really. “White men can’t jump” same thing too.

    It works both ways.

  9. May 5, 2012

    Nic nic I lov it black empress wi stand tall

  10. R,R
    May 5, 2012

    I love the message!

  11. van
    May 5, 2012

    Well written. Simple yet covers all angles. The pride with which it is written shines through.

    Well done

  12. JB
    May 5, 2012

    Well said! A beautiful poem

  13. The Blackheart Man
    May 4, 2012

    always loved me black empress them

  14. Unbiased Successor.
    May 4, 2012

    Indeed very gifted. There is my Poem for you too.

    For you–Miss Positively Black.

    La’ Visage.
    We wear the mask that grins and lies,
    It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,
    This debt we pay to human guile;
    With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
    And mouth with myriad subtleties.

    Why should the world be overwise,
    In counting all our tears and sighs?
    Nay, let them only see us, while
    We wear the mask and yet we smile.

    • Sam Harris
      May 5, 2012

      Wow, what a way to steal Dunbar’s poem and pretend you wrote it, Unbiased Successor. You could at least have mentioned that the poem came from a source other than yourself. Tsk, tsk.

  15. Nessa
    May 4, 2012

    Amazing poem. I do love your sense of pride in your black beauty. It took me back to the day when I was told that I am not black, i’m brown, as in a brown like an Indian, compared to the other black girls at my job. Some people have twisted ideas on what is beautiful but ignorance is mainly the driving force behind these comments.

    You just have to learn to not take offense and keep your head up and embrace you “black beauty”

  16. DA4LYFE
    May 4, 2012

    Wonderful poem by a beautiful black girl.
    I notice there seem to be a color-ism issue within Dominican society that need to be address.Just my observation…
    Black & Proud say loud!!


  17. fly on the wall
    May 4, 2012

    yes if I had a dollar for everytime somebody told me…wow..you are really pretty…FOR a black girl, or a dark skin girl, I would be rich and wouldnt have to be working right now. That poem is the truth.

  18. ME
    May 4, 2012

    I like. Keep it up

  19. wow
    May 4, 2012

    the poem is also good but wow here is a proud beautiful black young woman like myself proud to be black

  20. Truth
    May 4, 2012

    Lovely Black lady. You all are beautiful

  21. Dominican in Toronto
    May 4, 2012


  22. Roger Burnett
    May 4, 2012

    A beautiful and profound poem Shelly-Ann.

    I have been trying to get the same message across through my paintings and sculpture for the last thirty years!

    Incidentally, tomorrow afternoon I’m doing a workshop for those interested in modelling for the arts. Those attending will have a chance to view my on-going series paintings and sculpture titled “Daughter of the Caribbean Sun”.

    The workshop is free and anyone interested can e-mail sculptor@cwdom.dm or telephone me at 449 2550 for further details.

    May 4, 2012


  24. May 4, 2012

    Excellent ! This is great art, I think you should start saving your poems to a book, these seems like a long lost art

    • iyetto alkebulan
      May 5, 2012

      butifull blackgold of the nile river.u r the beauty of the univers with all its spender and glory.

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