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You Owe Me: Serena Williams Humanizes Black Womanhood at US Open

Serena Williams defends her integrity and legacy at US Open 2018.

I knew it was coming. #usatoday started the berating and dehumanizing of Serena Williams and I’m sure others will follow. But, we must SPEAK and tell our own stories. We must constantly remind the world that we are human and that we have every human right to defend ourselves, our integrity, our legacy, our bodies, our names, our children, our honor. Stop trying to silence and police women!

You Owe Me 

Be invisible.
Be nice.
Be sweet.
Laugh, speak, walk softly.
Grin and bear it.
Wear the mask.
Spread wide, bend low, take it, but keep your head up.
Don’t look so mad,
So angry,
So full of yourself.
Don’t wear your feelings.
Spare them.
Spare us.
Save the drama.
Shake something.
Don’t be so sensitive, angry, aggressive.
Laugh more.
Cry less.
Be softer, kinder, sweeter.
Suffocate in suppression.
Drown in dejection.
Come here.
Stand here.
Sit here.
Lay here.
Drink this.
Let me penetrate your space, your spaces, your safe places have no place here.
Face your consequences.
That’s too short, too tight, too low, too much.
Too much sass.
Too much ass.
You’re asking for it.
Cover yourself.
Hide who you are.
Don’t be so fast.
Trail behind.
Walk straight.
Be straight,
but not direct.
Skirt around the issues.
Mind your business.
Quiet, simmer, hunker down.
Don’t be so loud, so mannish, so rude,
Blend in the crowd.
Stand outside the room.
Wait for my call, my lead, my direction.
Don’t be so vain.
Don’t fight.
Girls don’t fight.
Be seen, not heard.
Know your place.
It’s shoeless with swollen bellies.
Get out of your head.
Get out of your feelings.
Think of mine.
You’re too beautiful not to smile,
But, fuck your feelings! I’m a woman dammit. And, it has more to do with than what’s in between my legs, but what’s in here, and here. I cry motherfucker! And, when I do, that means run for your fucking life because the dam has been broken and the tsunami is coming. You can’t restrain, refrain, restrict a tidal bore. Your daddy’s a whore.
Don’t grab me.
Don’t clutch me.
Don’t touch me without my permission or assistance. Access is not granted, cannot be mandated.
Get your hands off my body.
Get your laws off my body.
Get your cuffs off my body.
Get your bondage off my body.
Get your death off my body.
Get your words off my body.
Keep my name out your mouth.
You owe me an apology.
You don’t own me.
You cannot possess a deity.
Bow down bitch.
Know your place.
Beneath my straddle. Covered by my reach. Enveloped by my grace. Healed by my touch. Embraced with my warmth. Be in awe of such power.
I am the reaper, the giver and guider of life.
I am the gift you don’t deserve.
You could never earn me.
Simply serve me.
You can’t hide me or put me on display.
I stand centerstage of my own coliseum,
destroying all shelves and corners.
Don’t hush my commands.
You can’t silence me.
Mama Zora told us to SPEAK of our pain
or else you’ll think we enjoyed it.
I hate that shit.
You aren’t nearly as good as you think you are, without me. Without me.
Without me, you cease.
My shape shapes everything around you.
So smile.
You smile, and know that I am here.
Visibly your present.
For Serena,
And Naomi,
And Ariana,
And Aretha,
And Korryn,
And Sandra,
And Rekiya,
And Rachel,
And Breaion,
And Maxine,
And Sojourner,
And Iyanna,
And Geri,
And Lynette,
And Andrea,
And Amina,
And Alyce,
And Terryn,
And Michaela,
And Neah,
And Bree,
And Stacey,
And Blue,
And Rumi,
And Michelle,
And Orpah,
And Cicely,
And Julia,
And Meryl,
And Elizabeth,
And me.

Talitha Anyabwelé

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