Mentally Enslaved

by Antoleia Davis

We as a people are no further ahead than the days of
Harriet leading people through the Underground Railroad
At least in those days we felt good in our souls about who we were 
And despite the lack of everything else
Mamas and daddies instilled self love and self pride
Even as daddies were swept away without a peep
Mamas and babies thanked God everyday, every week
Every time they opened their eyes
Thank God weíve survived another night
Now we in the twenty first century 
We have so many amenities available
We canít decide whether to spend our payroll on
Jordan, Tommy, J- LO, or Polo
Or maybe that nigga that we keep on the down low
Since formal slavery is dead we have had ingrained in our head 
By those whose ancestors were the slave owners 
Our great grandparents so dreaded back in the day
That we need their labels, their tags, to wear on our ass
To prove to our own people that we are about something
Never mind the fact that our kids are flunking 
Out of the second grade at least their gear is fly
Weíve got babies wearing hundred dollar clothes
Learning to play dominoes
But stumbling over their LMNOPís
Could it be that they canít focus in class
Because they are distracted by the interaction  
Of you and your nigga smoking weed on a school night
Or maybe itís that fight the two of you had
That baby canít go to sleep because she has nightmares of 
Daddy lighting into mamaís ass
Not to come down on the fellas cause if we flip the script
It could be that baby canít sleep cause mamaís a slave to the glass pipe
Or the powder and she comes in late at night screaming and hollering 
ďDaddy keep baby just a little while longer 
Cause I just need one more hit for the nightĒ
ItĎs a lot of what ifs and whys but the bottom line is 
We spend sixty dollars a week to get our hair done
And fifteen dollars a week to get our nails done
And fifty dollars a week to get our Friday going out gear
If we shop at the discount chains that is
And a bill if designer names are the way we live
And by Monday, weíve spent a bill or two all on something to
Impress our own people 
Those who should have love for us anyway
Because they are just that - our own people
We are MENTALLY ENSLAVED to believe that our self worth
Has the nothing to do with who we are on the inside
We try to gain our self pride through other folk while
Society has us dangling by a rope just like the olden days 
And we donít even know it
They have us choked up and they donít even show it
And meanwhile we look down on those who have not
But God bless the child whoís got his own
We should be proud, loving ourselves, without the material things
When we havenít a penny to our names 
Those are the times we should look back feeling superior
If we can make it with nothing we have nothing to fear
We have been given new possibilities in this century
So-our lives should be much greater than our current situation
And a lot of the things weíre facing weíve brought on ourselves
And itís just gonna get worse until we 
Teach our youth something different
Life ainít all about cash money and cars
Everyone canít live like a movie star 
And canít we just raise the bar for our own expectations
What are we teaching our babies when 
We go get our hair done and itís a bill for them and a bill for you
And whatís up with all these damn tennis shoes
We need to be investing in our future our lives
Nike and Hilfiger donít belong in k-5
They grow out of it in a month thatís no surprise
So can we start spending those same dimes 
To support the local black businesses 
Stop tripping on their prices
Cause theyíre a dollar or two higher than the next place
And dressing those babies like jr. drug dealers ainít cute
Youíll get what youíre asking for knowing or not
They day they call saying they been caught up or shot
And yeah itís all good with the natural hair doís
Itís cool- but letís see how long it lasts
When it ainít a fad anymore
Will you be racing to the Chinese store to get some
Doo grow cause your nappy fro wonít grow no more
Or will you say forget it this is who I be 
So love it or leave it 

Mentally Enslaved by Antoleia Davis

© Copyright 2004. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

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