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Untitled by Valentine

i’m listening to Noname for the first time.

i had heard a song of hers before, but not the full discography.

this is a feat for me—

in middle school i hated rap.

if only middle school me could see me now.

would she be pleased?

i go to a white school

i’ve dated white people

i still live in a white country

white city.




when i was younger my parents made sure my dolls were Black.

they showed me Black television.

they showed me that even in a mostly white private elementary school

i was still Black.

that won’t change.

Black television—

Black dolls—

Black Me.


i find myself ashamed.

i hit middle school

surrounded in Black culture—

charter school

the only white people were the teachers—

and i rejected my Blackness

i was ashamed

now i’m ashamed of my shame.

i find myself ashamed, too

that i’ve only dated white people—

they’re the only ones who’ve asked

and i was desperate

for love

and then i let white people break me.

a white man once called me a mosaic—

broken but beautiful.


if i still spoke to him,

i’d tell him no

i’m not a mosaic because i’m broken

i’m a mosaic because i put myself back together.

i’m decolonizing myself little by little

repairing the tears white people gave me

repairing the ways i tore myself down

to fit a white mould.

i’m starting with music.

music is healing,

and Noname is good.

she looks like me, too.


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