This is for you, Miss Hattie - - finally for you.
This is for all the babies you birthed,
the diapers you changed,
and the noses you wiped - - well, for the camera anyway.
It's for the scrutiny you underwent
and the disrespect you endured.
It's for all the times you held your head high in the midst of being shamed - -
those times when you knew you were being snickered at more so than with, but kept mum.
This song is for the moments you smiled wide, stiff smiles in order to hold back the tears - -
laughed hearty, sonorous laughs to disguise deep, mournful moans.
This song is for you - - this song of deliverance,
of release and of truth.
This song, not sung in fractured English - - not performed in blackface - -
not crooned through lips painted in hyperbolized shades of pink - - it's for you, all of you.
This emancipation song is for the unnamed mammies on Luzianne Coffee, Lux Soap
and countless citrus crates that gave way to Aunt Sally on the cans of baking soda,
Aunt Dinah on molasses bottles and Aunt Jemima
on the pancake box.
This song is for you - - all of you.
This is for you, Hattie McDaniel.
It's for you, Butterfly McQueen, Louise Beavers,
and Juanita Moore - - Ethel Waters, Esther Rolle,
Teresa Merritt and Nell Carter - -
for you, Shirley Hemphill and Mabel King.
It's for all of you who are yet unknown.
So remove the kerchiefs from your heads,
and the aprons from around your waists.
Take a seat and let your souls rest.
You've done your job, you've paid your dues,
and because you cleared the terrain, laid the foundation,
and leveled the field, our all-star team was ready to play.
Diahann Carroll stepped up to the plate
at the top of the inning as Julia.
Nichelle Nichols made it to first by way of the Enterprise.
Phylicia Rashad loaded the bases with "Cos" cheering her on,
when out of nowhere, Kerry Washington stepped up
and knocked it right out of the park with the new shot heard 'round the world - -
keeping the capital together with a sharp mind and a quick tongue - -
all the while donning pants suits that would make Bogart appear a pauper.
Now, can you smell what mammy was in there cooking?
This is for you, Miss Hattie - - finally, for you.