Black on campus: Triple consciousness

i am a Black woman.

my mantra is



i have hair

growing from my scalp

like flora,

or a flower,

a coiled and textured


growing towards the sky.

i buy different products:


my hair’s so strong

it breaks combs.

my hair and i

are of the Earth

and that rich shade of brown

that is Mother Nature.

a melanated mixture

of cocoa butter

and coconut oil

and i’ll sit in the sun

as long as I please.


i am an African

and this is my home

only it is not.

i am not just Black

to the dark-skinned

folks whose ancestors

were taken from our

continent. I am


the language of my

mother-tongue is a

harsh cacophony

of consonants, too African.

two anthems wage war

on my spirit

and a war wages

in that horned country

once beautiful

now broken.

trust me

i’d go back to where i came from

if i could.


i am Muslim

and you see it

when you look at me.

i announce this

with only a glance

in my direction.

i don’t even

need to speak.

but to some,

(a select few)

in the sisterhood

of Black Queens,

my headscarf says

i’m not quite

Black enough.

as if they’d have to


this 4C hair

to believe it.

the crown is still

there, Queens,

it is only covered.

and to some others,

(a select few)

who resemble me

in the cloth wrapped

around their faces,

my dark skin says

i’m not quite

Muslim enough.

no, I am not Arab

but to some this

comes as amusing,

or confusing.

oh, my hair?

well, you see

i am a Black woman…


here are

three boxes

each of which

i do not fully


but I do not think

of this as unfortunate.

i am almost

as unique

as my name.