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Black is Beautiful
13. June 2018 at 14:53
"Papa, the white kids in my school always laugh at me. They keep calling me blackie" She couldn't harbor the itch any longer. Her puppy eyes held at Papa with tears rolling down her cheek gutters. Her school bag, dangling lazily over her right shoulder as if it never cared- but it too was black.
"Ajorkor" Mama whispered, holding her, fragile within her elbows. She had just delivered in about minus fifteen minutes. "And so will you be called" Papa ordered as if to instruct his kinsmen. Her name uttered a promise of black- not the color- but of an indigenous culture whose roots tell of stories of brave souls; warriors, they were called, but ancestors they are named now.

Papa worked for the local advertising agency across town. AKPE was the first advertising agency to be established in Brooklyn and was only a few blocks away from home. "AKPE is the most Ghanaian word in the whole of white America." Papa would proudly say, as 'akpe' means 'hundred' in his native tongue. But actually, AKPE was an acronym of the names of its founders, Atkinson and Pearson.

I wildly wonder how Papa got employed when he can't even tell this most fundamental truth! Maybe his vintage clothes favored him. Papa was a lover of the hues. He always looked colorful. Orange Polo shirt, neatly tucked into his lined-with-iron green Lacoste trousers, a pair of blue cannabis-leafed socks, a shimmering pair of black and white long-winged brogue shoes summarised with his newsboy cap. Always a glamour.

Mama was a babysitter for the McCoys, a rich-friendly couple who lived downstreet opposite the laundry shop- Mama always said it belonged only to lazy people who do not know the worth of their hands. The McCoys were a family of four just like us: Mr. and Mrs. McCoy, Ronny and Jasmine. Ronny was fourteen- have no idea why he is still being babysitted though. Jasmine was a humble nine. A year older than Ajorkor and had braced teeth. "How did Mama handle us all?" You'd ask. Only a stare from Mama can put things to and in order automatically. Even the big-headed television religiously maintains the signal at Mama's watch. Maybe her heavy body weight is all the signal it needs for the reception.

Two feet tall, puppy eyes, she is now staring into nothingness. Papa's eyes were too far for her to see her self in, unlike the white kids who were about her height. Then Papa laughed. So loud that horns echoed across the streets into thinness- I bet I saw someone dial 911. Ajorkor also replied with a wail, causing hairs to spike up their pores as though she had just been shocked. Now the streets are confused.

Papa consoled her with a lollipop. He always had one pocketed for the neighborhood kids, but never for me. "You are too old, boy." He would rebuke. "My dear, all the seven beautiful colors of the rainbow: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet are all given out by the white light. Not because white is colorful and perfect, but because it cannot hold such beautiful hues of fine colors" We all listened.

Yes, Mama and I hurdled across the hallway to witness the then drama. "Only black can absorb all these beautiful colors into itself, becoming beautiful all by itself without any struggle. For so long as the sun shines on this skin, our beauty is unconquerable. Soaked every day into this melanin of black. We have these hues streaming through us like a fountain pen. In our blood, cascading from our head to our feet. We are beautiful all by ourselves." Papa hugged her. "Black is beautiful Mama". She smiled.
Cite This Article As: Christopher Tawiah-mensah. "Black is Beautiful." International Youth Journal, 13. June 2018.

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