To The Ones With Skin As Dark And Beautiful As Night
By Emmanuella Agyemang
“To The Ones With Skin As Dark And Beautiful As Night” comes from a time when I didn’t feel so confident. Lupita Nyong’o is a huge part of me realizing that I am beautiful as she took her place in history, and I soon took my own place in history.
Look into our dark brown eyes, Do you see the tears we cried? Or the way we looked at ourselves in the mirror Agonized by our sorrowful reflection. Do you see the tear-stained pillows? The long nights where we scrubbed our skin, Wishing we were lighter. Do you see the faces of our so-called friends? When we tell them we are African. When we tell them we are Ghanaian. When we tell them we are Kenyan. When we tell them we are Nigerian. Do you hear the shatter of our hearts, followed by silence? Never again daring to mention that we belong to Africa. I see a girl who looks like me I am mesmerized by her beauty. Lupita. Her name means valley of the wolf She embodies the strength of little black girls. The colors of an African sunset adorn her flowy dress, As she walks effortlessly, gracefully, To collect the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress The first African. The first Kenyan. She will not be the last. I see myself I am mesmerized by my power. Emmanuella My name means God is with us I will not fail I see my cocoa-colored skin My delicate dark brown eyes The first to go to college in my family. The first published writer. I am taking my place in history Like women who have done it before me Like all the girls like me Whose skin is as dark and beautiful as night.
Completing this project made me realize how much creativity could come from me when my art was fueled by something or someone. The idea for my digital collage, “To The Ones With Skin As Dark And Beautiful As Night,” came from the inspiration of my poem “To The Ones With Skin As Dark And Beautiful As Night.” I wanted this digital piece to be a visual representation of the poem I had created. Using Adobe Photoshop, I got my images together and went to work. After completing my project, I felt content. I had completed something that I was so proud of because of the story behind it.
Meet the Pair
MENTEE EMMANUELLA AGYEMANG & MENTOR GRACE ANEIZA ALI
Emmanuella Anecdote: I remember applying to Girls Write Now, and in my essay I mentioned that having a mentor meant having a guardian angel. My mentor, Grace, is all that I have hoped for in a mentor. She has a warm and welcoming energy that constantly surrounds her. Our pair sharings are something that I will forever carry with me because I was able to grow as a writer and as a person through her words to me. When I get all old and wrinkled, I will remember our pair sharings as my humble beginnings and a part of me growing.
Grace Anecdote: Emmanuella and I share many firsts. We are first-generation immigrants. We are the first in our family to go to college. We are the first in our families to be published writers. As I watch her soar, I also witness her come to know that to take her place in history is not an individual journey, but a journey of community, friendship, and service to others. As she writes in her poem, “I am taking my place in history / Like women who have done it before me.”
Emmanuella Agyemang is a high school junior and a Girls Write Now mentee. She is most passionate about writing and journalism. Agyemang has been featured in a few news articles and is currently on the Scholastic Magazine Teen Advisory Board. She hopes that by pursuing a career in journalism, she paves a way for other minorities to pursue journalism as well.