A clip of me performing “ugly” – one of my first performance pieces from my first book Mules Fight Back.

#artpolitics #thefutureisblackandfemale

There are times when it feels like white supremacy is on the rise but art and activism will change the world. #blackisbeautiful #blackisbeautifulateveryshade

Story and poem text in full:

Story:

One day riding the subway I saw a woman putting lotion on a little girl sitting next to her. The little girl looked like the woman so I assume they were mother and daughter. The girl was about 5, very petite, dark skinned, and waring a red and black dress. The mother looked about 35 and started off lotioning the little girls legs which dangled off the side of the subway seat (they did not reach the floor). The mother then did her daughters arms and lastly her face ending with a dab of lotion on the little girls lips. I might have thought the whole thing innocent enough, perhaps even sweet, if not for the forceful strokes with which this mother applied the lotion to her daughter. The way she muttered at a scar on the child’s knee. And…the fact that she called this beautiful little girl “ugly”. She ended by palming the little girls hair and mumbling something about it being “too nappy”.

Poem:

This poem is my response…

Ugly

by Kristin Richardson Jordan

Ugly comes in bulk so all buyers beware

you can buy it on the corner

you can spray it in your hair

you can dress it up real fancy

but in the end it will be shit

for this “beauty” is real ugly

and for truth

we’ll have to flip it

For ugly is not your daughter’s lips

or “ashy” face

not nappy hairs, lived in skin and scrapes from play

ugly is everything from this society that has to be erased

ugly are these boxes and these hurtful things we say

For far from 5 year old black girls with slightly light knees

ugly is the epitome of beauty wrapped up in white supremacy’s needs

for ugly is that air brushed beauty queen

that flawless skin that hot comb

ugly is our comfort with simulated simularity

over letting difference roam

ugly is our love of certain looks

and our love of looks over care

and ugly is looking at your child

and seeing only ugliness there

(c) Kristin Richardson Jordan]