Maurisa Li-A-Ping

words of affirmation

 

okay.
i see you.
so this how you gone step out hm.
you know you looking like a snack right, like a whole meal.
i see your chicken noodle soup and soda on the side.

 
you ain’t have to shine like that Black Girl.
got your glow lighting this whole room,
but we knew this,
been hip to the light.
sun and moon all jealous and shit ‘cause you done walked in.

 
okay, so now you know you just being extra!
slaying all your haters,
melanin poppin, lashes flourishing, waves on swim, curls jumping, brows laid, spirit aligned.
zamnn girl, you ain’t have to kill them like that.
you knew damn well they wasn’t ready, but i see you, i see you Black Girl
looking like a cup sweat tea.

wow! so you just gone keep slaying huh.
copy. cool. say no more, okay.
i see you over there looking like a bag of money,
you just gone keep robbing these banks with this look huh
this soul, this joy, this strength, this smile,
okay Black Girl.

 
you better fuck it up!
yas bitch, queen, trap gawd, person of the earth, scholar and student, all thee above
you better!
Black Girl Black Girl. Black Girl!
you so bomb, even metaphors fail you.
what is there, to compare a Black Girl to?
Black Girl! i done wrote this poem for you.
so busy slaying the game,
ain’t even look at yourself today.
here Black Girl here Black Girl

 
i wrote you a mirror.


in this universe, Blk Women are the moon

 

some folk wonder

what it might be like                     to be the moon

us Blk Women know

what it mean to be the light

shine so bright people be afraid of you

they misplace your pain for anger

Blk Woman sway

slow and steady into the sky

reminding herself of her gentleness

 

the first person that came to the moon was some white man

them always chasing Blk Women

go outta space for us

some folk come to visit just to say they was on the moon

 

but don’t nobody ask the moon how its doin’

folk don’t even ask if the moon wanna day off

they figure the moon so strong

it don’t ever get tired of lighting the entire earth

moons don’t cry, where they do that at

 

moon be like,

aint i

a woman?

 

 

some folk, don’t believe me and continue to wonder
what it might be like                     to be the moon
so i repeat the poem again

i know

what it mean to be the light

to shine so bright people be afraid of you

they misplace your pain for anger

i sway left and right

slow and steady, into the sky

reminding myself of my gentleness

the first person that came in me was some white men

them always chasing me

go outta space for me

some folk come to visit just to say they was in me

but don’t nobody ask me how I’m doin’

folk don’t even ask if i wanna a day off

they figure, Blk Women so strong

she don’t ever get tired of lighting the entire world

blk women don’t cry, where they do that at

 

i be like,

aint i

a woman!


Maurisa Li-A-Ping is a Black Queer poet, and educator raised by a village of Black women in Brooklyn, New York. Maurisa utilizes spoken word poetry as a site for social justice and inclusion to promote student learning and development on college campuses. Her dedication to her craft has led her to receive The Ernst Pawel Award for literary excellence, national and regional honors from The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Her performances have allowed her to touch stages at the World Famous Apollo Theater, United Nations, Poetic License Festival, Barclay Center and more. Maurisa is currently continuing her education as a masters student at Indiana University Bloomington and has forthcoming publication in Black Diasporas: Essays on being Black and Bicultural and the Coalition Zine.

Wus Good At This Table?

“Don’t feel bad if you can’t sing along/ Just be glad you’ve got the whole world” – F.U.B.U.

 

Let me be clear, I wouldn’t even be writing about Solange if it wasn’t for Beyoncé. I say this with no shade intended, as I am not an actual member of the Beyhive nor am I one of those ignants that hinge Solange’s success on her sister’s coat tails. It is simply that I don’t particularly care for soprano voices. It takes a special tone to keep me diggin the voice once it stays hitting an A above middle C (or in Alicia Key’s case, attempting to hit that A #ShadeIntended). When A Seat At the Table dropped, I was more hyped for you than with you, nahmean? I’m thrilled when them Knowles women succeed. So I’ma be real and say I first heard Solange sing when she was on SNL. And I only checked that joint out cause that sweet Insta video of Tina and Beyoncé picking her up afterward.

Reminded me of my own sisters.

Then I saw a video about the history of that hair crown Solange rocked the fuck outta. And then I watched the performance. Real.

 

So when Heffa-in-Charge Siaara Freeman said bitch you a music editor why don’t you review an album the rest of the world has heard or like do your job in any kinda way really,* I was like, oh word? What about that Rihanna joint and she was like that was a year ago sis and then Interview Magazine had Beyoncé interview her own sister and I remembered I hadn’t actually checked out the album as a whole, so here’s my review of A Seat At The Table.

 

First thing’s first, Solange is an Artist.

She would have been an artist no matter the family, no matter what her big sis got up to; she’d be in the basement mixing tracks or a Garage Band prodigy or in the underground clubs sitting in on jam sessions. In fact, I am almost 100!!! that she’s done those things exactly. A Seat At the Table plays and dances with so many genres and gives not one nary a single fuck about making a banger. There are no bangers on this album.

This shit was for us, but most importantly, this shit was for her.

She is exactly Black girl fly about the privilege to work as an artist and create what the fuck she felt she wanted to create. Overall, the album is reminiscent of Badu’s Worldwide Underground or Jill Scott’s first volume because you can put it on and enjoy from beginning to end without actively listening. You find yourself wandering your house, washing your draws or whatnot humming “don’t touch…mah…haaaaiiiiirrrr…” without really thinking about it. Maybe it’s just me.

 

What Solange is not, is a polished craftswoman. Beyonce has got perfectly executed, highly produced and polished everything. She reigns, at a remove from the common mortal. Solange welcomes, beckoning you join in as a full part. She is allowed to play and experiment, to show an inexact creator, as you see in the rough a cappella interlude with Kelly Rowland and Nia Andrews, “I Got So Much Magic, You Can Have It.” Feeling triumphs over precision always in what feels like a brilliant move to further distance herself from any easy comparison with her sister.

It seems clear that they love and respect each other for what they themselves are not.

In a society endlessly fascinated with celebrity life and perceived beef and patriarchal “catfight” bullshit, what we know is that these sisters got each other’s back. First. Huh, Jay?

 

This is the joint to drop when you put out the bottles and the house party is kicking off. As people come in, it’s easy to talk about and over, to enjoy while eyeing prospects; it’s mellow. Then the drum gets a little funkier, the bass drops harder and you look across the Solo cups and see someone you don’t know mouthing the same words and y’all smile. E’erbody ignores the interludes since that first listen-through (though they actively serve as the connecting through-line that enriches the simple lyrics). By the time “Scales” comes on, enough people have arrived that its time to switch it out to something a little more turnt. But thank you, Sol-Angel, for laying the good vibe.

 

*Siaara will claim it didn’t go like this and that she gently suggested Solange’s album and that may be true but also we speak Slytherin so you never know.


Amber Flame is a honey-beige black unicorn. Does all the things. Queer, here, still ain’t used to it but stays breathing. Works as The Hand‬ of This Week in Blackness and other hustles. Regular dandyfemme/prettyboi except when incognegro.

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