University Writing Center Blog

Posted on November 14th, 2019 in Consultant Spotlight, Creative Writing, Difficult Conversations, Language, Thematics, Writing Strategies by University Writing Center

Written by: Jasmine Simpson

Reading and writing are considered to be some of the greatest assets that any human being can have. In the black community we consider this to be one of the greatest forms of expression, from writing poetry about our hair and nails, to writing songs exposing the dangers of being a black individual in America. As a community we experience so much: brutality, slurs, and discouragement, but some how we remain “unbothered” because it’s always been our norm. Black Americans are twice as likely to be diagnosed with mental illnesses than any other minority in America. So with having nearly 6.8 million melanin-blessed individuals and counting, how do we overcome the pressure?

We write.
We write books, poems, Hip-Hop, R&B, Gospel, formulas, recipes, and more.
Give us a pen and watch us turn our pain into words to inspire the next generation.

Writing in the black community has always been one of the many ways that we have expressed ourselves and had our voices be heard since the beginning of time. Poets such as Phillis Wheatley, Langston Hughes, and Maya Angelou are a few of the many individuals in the black community that have broken barriers by expressing their oppression and their point of view as a black individual in America. Now their poems are being placed on walls, recited in classrooms, and—most of all—being used to educate future generations. The same goes for song writing—rappers like Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole have albums that have went platinum because their lyrics expressed explicitly the hardships of living in the ghettos, and how they wanted share their pain through music, rather than being caught up in the system. Gospel music and hymns got their debut during the 17th century; slaves created and sang hymns to get together and have hope that better days would come, not only for them but for generations to come.

So with all the history that has been laid before us, we need to keep the tradition alive. We need to preserve the tradition of taking the pain from our oppression and turning it into something positive, not for the money or for the fame, but for genuinely wanting provide a safe place for others to feel welcomed to express themselves. Expressing your emotions helps creates room where your dreams, motives, and morals can rest. It helps release fear, anger, and unwanted tension from your mind. With being willingly expressive we find freedom, joy, and faith that next generation can go beyond our wildest dreams. In a world filled with so much hate, we have no more room for violence, negativity, or fear. However, we do have plenty of room for kindness, hope, positivity and love. In a world where you can be anything, be kind and don’t forget to express yourself.

Listen to this song: Express Yourself- Charles Wright and The Rhythm Band