I have two favorite pieces in Élan’s Spring book.
My first favorite is “The Barbie” by Myka Davis-Westbrook. Myka recalls their interactions with different barbie dolls as a child. I love the way Myka described the barbie dolls skin tone, “had skin like a Peach” vs. “brown like dirt.” It captured my childhood, choosing to play with the peach colored dolls with perfect long hair vs. playing with the dirt colored dolls with “hair sticking every which way.” This poem is so relatable to me as a little colored girl who grew up playing with dolls. I know exactly how the character in the poem felt in the moment. As a child you chose to play with the pretty dolls’ vs. the rougher looking dolls, you don’t really consider the race of the dolls. That’s not important until later in life once you experience life and learn. I think both points come across in the final moments of the poem, “My miniature hand thumbed a dent into the plastic toy’s face until it looked less human dunking it head first in my sandbox. I play house with the other two.” I liked the imagery and power in the line. It might be a stretch, but I think it’s also symbolic for how black girls are viewed now in society. “The Barbie” is made up of four powerful stanzas filled with imagery. The title alone stood out to me and made me want to read the poem.
My second favorite piece is “Ghetto Fabulous” by Miracle Singleton. I’ve seen her preform this piece numerous times and it never gets old. I like the positive images of the African American girl in this poem. I like how she turns the negative around, “they call my ghetto fabulous with my golden hoops dangling from my chocolate ears that hear “she ghetto” as that statement exits their sore lips,” and sounds so careless. Confidence radiates throughout this piece. After reading “Ghetto Fabulous” I felt confident, empowered, proud to be an African American female. I like image of this carefree, confident, chocolate girl walking around just being her while the rest of the world watches her. I like the way the piece reads like a spoken word piece.
“Ghetto Fabulous” and “The Barbie” are the black girl duet in the Spring book. They approach race and show the story of the black community differently, while adding some variety and spice to the Spring Edition.
– La’Mirakle Price, Junior Managing Editor