More Than Skin-Deep: The Candaces, Autumn in New York, A Jury of Her Peers, Ebb Tide/Autumn Rain, Candace/1, Candace 2/A Profile.

Author:Toure, Askia M.
Position:Poem
 
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In 1967, Toure joined the staff of Nathan Hare at San Francisco State University and taught African history in the first Africana Studies Program. Toure organized the 1984 Nile Valley Conference in Atlanta and co-founded the Atlanta chapter of the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations (ASCAC) in 1986. Toure authored multiple books and received the 1989 American Book Award for Literature (From the Pyramids to the Projects) and the 2000 Stephen E. Henderson Poetry Award (Dawnsong); other works include films and plays. In 1996, Toure was honored with the Gwendolyn Brooks Lifetime Achievement Award from the Gwendolyn Brooks Institute in Chicago, Illinois.

More Than Skin-Deep: The Candaces (for Venus & Serena and the Sistas) Beauty is sensitive, poetic, symbolic, metaphorical, necessary to any culture. In the symbolic Landscape of American Media, a pale goddess appears: tossing ash-blond hair, she pleads, "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful," with apparent innocence. And millions of dark women are "wiped out," scarred for life; for on American altars, blond is Goddess, Metaphor, Symbol, Archetype. Dark women so "Unfair" in a World of Anglo-Germanic standards. Millions scarred for life, labeled pariahs; Black in all Its implications, in a World where pale blonds plead, with apparent innocence, that we not "hate" them for being "beautiful." In T.V.-dominated America, millions of Africans: tall, willowy ebony women, curvaceous, full-bodied brown or sepia women--African Venuses--despised by a racist aesthetic. However, Venus & Serena Williams, Nubian queens of World Tennis, are not blonds, are not celebrated as beauties by America; are Black in all its implications: voluptuous, full-bodied, broad-nosed, full-lipped, wooly-haired, sexy Nubians, primordial and sublime. Candaces ruling the Court, leaping like regal panthers; slamming, serving, demolishing demoralized "Barbies"; flashy white beads clicking against Cornrows, as blond rivals are crushed. Venus & Serena are Black and uncompromising in all its implications; are not Tiya and Temira: they are Reality, not sanitized T.V. images; and millions of little girls, Black, in all Its implications--not "beautiful" as visualized by America and Its blondes & wannabes--feel lovely, graceful, precious, empowered, inspired by the Courtly deeds of these Nubian goddesses! And I, wiping suddenly welling eyes, am delighted as Black Isis rises from Her glorious Egyptian shrine, smiles and...

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