‘Black Privilege’…Ha! Crystal Valentine Nails It at College Poetry Slam

Crystal Valentine performs her poem on 'Black Privilege' at College Poetry Slam
Crystal Valentine performs her poem on ‘Black Privilege’ at College Poetry Slam

*Why is it that, after hearing this soul-stirring poem about what Black Privilege truly looks like, the first thing that comes to mind is:

Rachel Dolezal, you sure you want some of this?”

As the nation still reels over the outing of the Spokane NAACP president who has allegedly been “passing for Black,” this young poet, Crystal Valentine recited her original piece on exactly what that entails as part of the 2015 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational in April. 

In the poem, she said Black privilege is a myth…a joke…a punchline. And talks about the time when a teacher asked a little boy what he wanted to be when he grew up.

And he responded: “Alive.”

Valentine does not merely recite the poem, she emotes it; becoming more and more emotional with each stanza. And it ain’t pretty.

Nor is it intended to be.

The poem is an in-your-face diatribe on the reality of living while Black in America. And the only surprise here may be, that it comes from the mind of someone so young.

Valentine, a student at NYU, and talented performer and activist, posted the video to YouTube last week.

In the poem, called “Black Privilege,” she states:

Black privilege is me having already memorized my nephew’s eulogy, my brother’s eulogy, my father’s eulogy, my unconceived child’s eulogy,” she recited. “Black privilege is me thinking my sister’s name is safe from that list.”

Valentine, and her team of five other poets who performed at the slam as representatives of NYU, ultimately won the competition.

Which I am sure, after watching her performance, will be no surprise to you.

Kudos Ms. Valentine, to a job well done!

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