Arts·Poetic License

'I pray for every Black girl's life': Keosha Love's poetic dedication to Black women

The poet performs "A Prayer for Black Women" as part of a new season of Poetic License.

The poet performs 'A Prayer for Black Women' as part of a new season of Poetic License

'I pray for every Black girl's life': Keosha Love's poetic dedication to Black women

2 years ago
Duration 1:02
The poet performs "A Prayer for Black Women" as part of a new season of Poetic License.

As the world around us grows more and more uncertain, four Black poets speak their truth in the fourth season of the CBC Arts series Poetic License. Watch previous performances now and read Keosha Love's poem below.

A few weeks ago, at the Justice for Regis Korchinski-Paquet protest in Toronto, Keosha Love stood in front of a crowd of thousands, mask pulled down just below her lips to share her fiery words around anti-Black racism, privilege, and protest. But it was another devastating death just a few days later, of Black Lives Matter activist Oluwatoyin Salau, that inspired her to write this piece.

She writes:

"I mourned Toyin's death not only because she was yet another innocent life taken, but because I saw myself in her. She looked like me; she could have been me. Another Black woman unseen and unprotected. It hurts me in such an unfathomable way that the consequence for Black women speaking up about their injustices is death. Self-advocacy comes with a death sentence."

"I think about Toyin and the countless other Black women who speak up about their abuse and choose to live in their truth, and get killed for it. I wondered if this was also my fate. Toyin was only 19 years old. I wrote this poem for her — for all the Black women who are NOT being protected the same way we protect other women or the same way we protect Black men. Black women deserve so much better, so I made this prayer. Not just a prayer for love, protection and safety, but a prayer demanding JUSTICE for all Black women."

Take a moment to watch her piece titled "A Prayer for Black Women" in the video above and send it to every woman you know who needs to feel seen, protected, held and safe right now.

A Prayer for Black Women

Today I give thanks to Black women
Black women are the fires that disrupt injustice
The magic that turns nothing into something
I love Black women. I pray for Black women
I pray for Black women to be heard
I pray for a Black woman's worth to no longer be measured by how much pain she can endure
I pray for Black women to be more than objects
More than targets and more than entertainment

I pray for safe havens for Black women
I pray for blankets and anchors of love for Black Women
I pray for more than justice
I pray for destruction, systems to be destroyed, institutions to burn,
cities to crumble, until Black women are seen, until we are protected, until we are held, until we are safe.
I pray for a new world, a new home that includes Black women and their existence
Today I give thanks to Black women and pray

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lucius Dechausay is a video producer at CBC Arts, as well as a freelance illustrator and filmmaker. His short films and animations have been screened at a number of festivals including The Toronto International Film Festival and Hot Docs. Most recently he directed KETTLE, which is currently streaming at CBC Short Docs.

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