Yes

Cherrelle Skeete Poetry 0 Comments

Oh freedom,

Oh freedom,

Oh freedom over me,

And before I’ll be a slave,

I’ll be buried in my grave ,

and go home to my lord and be Free.

I gagged myself, I choked myself with shame

Fear and embarrassment knotted tightly with their expectations.

Behold, the shame neck tie,

I still made it look good.

I am here to learn, get my degree, get an agent and land on my feet.

Like everyone else right?

Just… be polite.

I became invisible.

Customised my invisibility cloak to protect me from the bad weather and bad vibes,

They wouldn’t know the real me, I’d remain a mystery,

You can’t get at what you can’t see and maybe I can convince them to not believe in me

Like Atheists to deity’s.

Yes. I can camouflage into the walls of their buildings.

Yes. I can fit into their rules and policies.

Yes. I can learn about eurocentric ideas.

Yes. I’d prefer if you thought I wasn’t beautiful, because then I can glide by unoticed in my cloak and neck tie

I dotted my I’s and crossed my t’s, avoided race debates because I knew they didn’t want the real me,

but was there to affirm their ideas of post racial society.Sigh.Artists.

School trip, theatre festival weekend Poland and my Nigerian friend spat at.

“Cherrelle it doesn’t affect you”

“Cherrelle it could have happened in London”

“It affects all the students not just the black ones”

“If my brother was here and wore his kippah he would get the same treatment”

“I don’t want this to spoil our holiday”

“I’ve had racism towards me and I’m white”

Enough!!!Cloak and neck tie off.

The straw that broke the camel’s back fists got drawn and smashed through glass.

You motherfuckers ain’t walked a mile in my shoes and all you are telling me is that my pain is not valid here, that because you refuse to talk about skin colour you so called liberals deny how I experience the world taking away my rights, our rights to have the space to be vocal. The pure act of me speaking back is

too black, because as I say these words, I am hard not soft, monster not victim and now you’re scared of what I might say…

So yes. be scared when you utter slavery jokes around me,

Yes. I will not shrink to make you feel at ease

Yes. I am proud of my herstory,

Yes. I am here, with the scars to show,

I am here.


About the author: Cherrelle Skeete

0G1C9175-EditBorn and raised in Birmingham, Cherrelle is an actress, deviser, poet, community facilitator and advocate for community arts with her foundations in grassroots projects from a young age. She graduated from The Royal Central School Of Speech and Drama in 2011. Her theatre credits include And I and silence, The Lion King, Amen Corner, Three days In The Country and television credits include Call The Midwife, Ordinary Lies, The Five. She has just finished filming Lenny Henry’s Danny and The Human Zoo for BBC One due to be broadcast in August 2015. Some of Cherrelle’s devising work has included The Fury Project, which was an exploration of women’s anger with spoken word artist Zena Edwards, at the Red Gallery in Shoreditch and the Canada Water arts centre. She has recently been working with the Lighthouse youth project in Birmingham, raising awareness about child sexual exploitation around the city. She has recently been nominated for a Contribution to the Arts award at the West Midlands Woman of the Year awards 2015.

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