Rigorous
Volume Five, Issue 3



For The Culture

Jillian Hanesworth


This one's for the girls with the protective styles
Button nose, nose ring, and the bright white smiles
For the fist that never grows tired of flying in the air
And for the “well, I bought it all so yeah, It’s my hair”
For extreme edge control holding baby hairs down
And the babies on the book with the snapchat crowns
For the loud hearty laughs to cover up the cries
And for the educators that refuse to spread white lies
The fine lines between blood and family and knowing who is who
So your mommas best friend’s cousin is one of your aunties too
This one's for making kool aid without using a measuring cup
And for working hard and working and working smart and refusing to give up
For all the nights spent with friends sipping on sweet wine
And for the cash money records taking over for the 99s
For the music we claim, made for us by us
And the “don’t cry. Walk it off.” cause we’re built Ford tough
For the spades games and loud claims that somebody reneged
And for the long summer days filled with kids actually being kids
For the “inside or outside, y’all better choose one!”
And for the hot combs hissing grease about as hot as the sun
For February 1st through 28th AKA Black History Crunch
And for the face we make when they say “Why is there no White History Month?”
For the fears and white tears and for the car doors locking
And for the panic they felt when they realized we ain’t stopping
Can’t stop won’t stop, this one right here’s for Diddy
And for Biggy, Nas, and Pac, Jay-Z, left eye, and Remy
This one’s for the Breakfast Club and for the “Donkey of the Day”
And not always knowing who we are but being sure of who we ain’t
For protecting our values from those who’ll destroy then like vultures
And for the freedom writers and freedom fighters who do it for the culture



Jillian Hanesworth: “I am the Director of Leadership Development at Open Buffalo - a non profit organization focusing on racial, economic, and ecological justice, and a teaching artist with the Dunbar Project at Ujima Theater. I am the recipient of the 2020 Alt-imate Activist award presented by the WNY Peace Center, as well as a 2021 Buffalo Business First 30 under 30 awardee. This year I became the first ever Poet Laureate in the history of Buffalo after I spent two years advocating for the existence of the role. I love and live for the community and try to exemplify that in all that I do.”




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