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SHE CHRONICLES: “Story #2,262,017” by Alice The Poet

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SHE CHRONICLES: “Story #2,122,017” by Alice The Poet

Story #2,122,017, Week 6 Reflection – So earlier this week I have a conversation with a man who tells me that I am “not like other African American women.” What does that even mean? I’m hardworking, focused, loving. I’m navigating this life, working at balance (keeping God first and joy close). We only share positive things in our conversation. Why does that make me different? I see it as just another form of disunity. Unfortunately for some, there is a distinction (with hierarchy) between “types” of Black women globally; the African American woman being lowest on the ladder. Malcolm X specifically pointed out the Black woman in America (the African American woman) as being the most “disrespected … unprotected [and] neglected.” It is demonstrated not just in our portrayal, but also in our treatment. With his back-handed compliment, this Black man from Liberia demonstrates the sad reality of one of colonialism’s greatest and far-reaching tools, the practice of divide and conquer. I am thinking of wise, powerful, beautiful, kind and caring women like my grandmother-ancestors, my mother, my aunts, my sisters, my cousins, my friends, my colleagues and co-workers, all of the African American women I am like and those I strive to be more like (Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Ida B. Wells, Mary McLeod Bethune, Lucille Times, Zora Neale Hurston, Clarice Brown, Coretta Scott-King, Oprah, Betty Shabazz, Michelle Obama, Sonia Sanchez, Assata Shakur, Angela Davis, and so many more) as I respond, “That’s not true! I’m just like African American women and proud of it!” 
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Alice The Poet (Alice Nicholas) is a PhD student in the Department of Africology and African American Studies at Temple University. Her research interests include Black Diasporic literature, Black literary theory, Black love and Black liberation. She has presented papers and research at national conferences and cultural festivals. Her articles, essays, poetry and other writings have been published in both scholarly and artistic publications including African American Review, Encyclopedia of African Cultural Heritage in North America, Imhotep and the Zora Neale Hurston Society.  In 1999, she created the10 Million Stories series (collections of poetry, short stories and essays) as a demonstration of self-discipline, self-definition and self-publication. She is currently completing volume 9.
Contact: AliceThePoet@yahoo.com or

some days i feel like a skyscraper (part II)

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Somebody had to do it. And somebody had to re-member. I was there. And it’s not that I want to be given some glory or plaque. I just want artists to know that it wasn’t 1961 when the Los Angeles poetry scene displayed this disproportionately approach to female poets. And now it is so natural for females to get features and travel but not too long ago we were blatantly denied this. And Jaha, Bridget, Rachel and I really changed the perception of when female poets should be allowed to eat.

Did we pave the way? Call it whatever feels good to you. But I know I was there when humiliation and doubt was given to us from our male peers. I was there when the men performers would get paid a different amount than us at the very same show. I was there when our male peers thought the best position for any of us would be next to them in a relationship and when he was denied he campaigned a “she’s gay” rally to save his reputation.

I saw Roni take poetry to the Hollywood comedy clubs.

I saw Sandra, Alice the Poet and MstMuze operate the longest running all female poetry venue in Los Angeles to date.

I saw Deana produce/host sold out poetry shows inside restaurants on Sunset Blvd.

And all I’m saying is, this happened after she/we shared stories and almost cried because we thought we were alone in feeling so indigent for expression. Some days I feel like a skyscraper in the Los Angeles poetry scene. Standing bold, cold and razor sharp with the moods of mother nature, not being erased from the series anytime soon. My love for Jaha, Rachel and Bridget is beyond an ordinary means of measurement. We were there, when it felt like 1961.

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