Black. Brown. Cinnamon.
These words I hear from kids as I walk the faded distant halls into confusion.
They utter the dictionary's tongue, and define what it means to be black.
As if they're the encyclopedia, they say the definition isn't me.
I bravely ask, then what does it mean?
Then they be bustin' them rhymes like a rappa all da time,
And they be sayin' how a gangsta a Gee from doin' crime.
And lockin' them up and sayin' hey, yo, what's up,
And they be tellin' the hood, how they ain't up to no good.
Like sticks and stones, a white man don't break they bones,
'cause they be chillin' it, winnin' it,' til the club closed, gettin' it.
A hatta finna flame til he say 'hey, see ya lata',
He be off to Decatur, his girl at, he wanna data' (date her),
And he tell her, I'm a 'Gata, and lata I'm a mata' (mate her).
She smile, lookin' back, she got dat money in da bank,
In her yacht I'm a tank, finna sank, now she got me to thank;
Her money I take, she yank, now I'm da bigga skank.
I got dat black swag, got da money in da bag;
Not that I'm a hag, bein' black for me's a golden name tag.
Being black for me is eating an Oreo and getting called one.
It's being insulted for speaking proper grammar,
and getting laughed at for doing the right thing.
I think back to my loved ones,
And the generational disease known as the Yellow Dog.
I utter words and expressions out loud,
But my pit bull relatives growl to my mother and me at Holiday dinners barking;
"Our family dog pound is black!"
It's throwing a ball in the hoop
because they say that's the only way you'll make it in this lifetime,
And if I think of a life without singing, rapping, or basketball,
my ticket to a life of toil will be a slam dunk.
My race plays me like a violin,
The more I resist,
The closer I get to a sold-out recital,
And if I take a bow for the crowd;
It's my race that gets me the standing ovation.