Allow This Poet To Brilliantly Explain Why Fetishizing Black Women Is Never O.K.

"I am not your experiment."

Many black women can remember a time when they've been made to feel less like a human being and more like a sexual object, and a Minnesota-based slam poet has just perfectly summed that feeling up.

Finally, someone broke it down so we don't have to: the fetishization of black women is the worst. In a video posted by Button Poetry last week, poet Alessandria Rhines begins her piece with a definition. "Fetish. An inanimate object worshipped for its supposed magical powers or because it is thought to be inhabited by a spirit."

"Growing up I've always wanted to have super powers but none like these," Rhines continues. "And spirit, as long as it's the holy ghost but I doubt that's what he sees. Magical? Inanimate? Object? Worshipped? Little girls don't beg for that, and to let you in on a little secret, neither do women."

The poem goes on to call out the way certain men "try a new shade of woman for the week like a fur coat you can't afford, and eventually return," but it's the poem's last lines that powerfully bring the point home:

"Don't pat my hair. Don't touch my skin and call it chocolate or caramel or mocha or 'body bangin' like butta'... I am not your experiment. Your diversity quota. Your cultural trophy... Sometimes this skin aches for more. Reassurance that it's worth something, that every inch is worth more than the spread of these hips or how it lays in a body bag. Fetishes are for the fools who can't tell the original from the copy. I am neither, for I am, the truth."


Before You Go

Shirley Chisholm (1924–2005)

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