Beauty is a legacy.
The legacy of white men breaching black, yellow, brown shores
to scream through signs that you are not allowed to sit on the bus,
that your almond eyes and native waists can be crushed under Freedom, English, their pelvis
that the laws of our land, living word housed in the temples of mandalas can be withered into dry hard books their tax accounts dictated.
The legacy that still bleeds through the signs turned neon now – iridescent with the color of their privilege.
The authority which produces whitening cream for straightened hair from black yellow brown children in sweatshops,
still make them trace the lines of history back to the violence wrought on our people.
Lines. Knife on Maps. Straight lines cutting through whole nations, easy lines ending whole eras.
The only lines you wanted to teach us in your school were the lines about your benevolence. The only lines so many stitch today frame the logos of your factories.
And all because we were not beautiful enough.
We were not civilisation to you.
And so you force us to buy your standards, your creations, your ideologies so you can scorn us. You set our kingdoms back with violence and oppression and crushed potential, and that was not enough. When we tried to fight the disease of your colonisation, you with your politics installed puppet governments, murderers.
And still you call yourselves the beacon of development. Of humanity. Of democracy.
So no, don’t tell me about the White Man’s Burden in history books,
tell me about the burden of shame on my accent, of how I am still living history,
of how our peoples are still lumped together into a dirt hill of money grubbing poverty and our love for oppression
Of how we are still not beautiful.
We need to be saved with your arrogance and democracy.
Please, I’m begging you on the knees you’ve broken,
save us from the first time we encountered you. Save us from the slaves you shipped. From your homophobia, xenophobia, countless more fears.
Save us from the cannons you blasted so forcefully to shove spirit subjugating opium down our throats.
Finally, end this lie that you’ve delivered us humanity.
We have built empires and philosophies and centuries
So you at the infancy of your civilisation
Do not tell me that my land and my culture is not frightening, is not inspiring, is not beautiful.
Do not tell me that my women are not beautiful enough.
That we are sexualised and yet second grade conquests.
Don’t tell me that we are ugly enough to have deserved being slaughtered, exploited and played.
“Less than 25 percent of the models cast were models of color” – Runway Diversity Report. And let’s not pat ourselves on the backs when most shows had absolutely no coloured individuals.