Why you gotta be so strong, huh?
What is it about your make up
Your make up
That makes you care so much
That makes you love so deep
Your black people?
Why you gotta go to war, huh?
Why you gotta wave the flag?
What is it about your swag
That speaks power in the midst of defeat?--
That undermines toxic masculinity,
Even when it’s your brother?
With your body
You turn a pew into a pulpit--
A kitchen into a bible study--
Because your call for justice was never selfish.
It was never exclusive.
There is no cognitive dissonance in your
proclamation of freedom.
What is it about the way you
stir that cake batter in the basement
that saves our souls
long before the Black preacher man ever could?
What is it about the way you lift your hands
and wave your white handkerchief
that makes us wanna
see Jesus face to face screaming:
“Into thy hands I commend my spirit.”
What is it about the way you stretch your arms
in a powerful stillness
that lets the world know that
ALL black lives matter--
not just the ones who are respectable
not just the ones who conform to a gender binary
not just the ones who love each other in a specific way
But that your wingspan,
is big enough
for all of us--
that your wingspan
is big enough to save us all
to love us all
What is it about the way you cradle us
Even when no one cradles you?
“Rock-a-bye baby on the tree top
When the wind blows the cradle will rock
When the bough breaks...”
The black woman falls.
What's in it for you, huh?
What’s in it for you?
Written and performed by Mia Michelle McClain
for the Womanist Proclamation and the Arts course
at Union Theological Seminary in New York City.