Our 1st Place Winner of the Summer Poetry Contest was Aiyanna Da'Briel also known as Shaa.niel.
Get to know her!
Aiyana Sha’niel is a poet from Los Angeles, California. She has been writing for the past three years on her high school’s poetry team, “HamLit”. Sha’niel has performed at countless open mics and poetry slams including Da Poetry Lounge, The Backyart Show, and Get Lit Poetry. She is currently working on being a lyricist and is writing a poetry book of her own.
*Dedicated to the white teacher who thought my bandana hair tie was gang affiliation*
Do I bang...?
Of course I “bang” see
I wear this bandana not only to represent my colors
But also to protect my mind from more subconscious brainwashing
See, we all hide under these zip up hoods to distract you
From the broken one you suspect we live in
And notice when you watch me walking across the basketball court
I’m always with the homies
Because when I am by myself im as weak as my lungs when you begin to attack
“I. Can’t. Breathe”
I bang because my daddy did
Or at least that’s what I had heard
He was handcuffed and arrested before he could say a word
And you know what’s ridiculous- What’s really absurd
Was that he was actually innocent but that’s not what cops averred
And last night pinned down on that floor you know those words were slurred
You thug, you coon, callin him a monkey and a nigg
Petrified I can’t deny, I wish that I was white
Because maybe that’s the right way
To cross the street
To sell a damn mixtape
To sit in a church
So yes I wear red and blue at the same time
to neutralize the statements being made
Because if I’m caught wearing only one
I get too afraid
About the same damn colors flashing behind me...
So yeah I bang
My music through my earbuds to silence the sounding sirens swerving behind me
I bang books
because the rest of my family is locked up for “crip” creeping a little too far across the street
my fists in the face of fury
Instead of pulling a trigger
Ending up just another nigga behind bars
So yeah... I bang