Categories
Blackness Coming-of-Age Poetry

Playground Elegy

The first time I slid down a slide my mother told me to hold my hands towards the sky. Something about gravity, weight distribution, & feeling the air ripple through your fingers. I remember reaching the bottom, smile consuming half of my face, hands still in the air because I didn’t want it to stop. […]

Categories
Coming-of-Age Identity Multiracialism Whiteness

How to Be Beige

I was wearing my best polo shirt, baggy jeans, and gold hoops on the first day of high school. It was the perfect outfit for a ninth grader at the large New Jersey school I should have been attending, surrounded by all of my childhood friends, but a terrible choice for the suburban New England […]

Categories
Coming-of-Age Identity

What’s in a Name?

I am Aniefre Essien, a man born and raised in the South L.A. neighborhood of Harbor City. Essien is somewhat known in sports circles after the rise of Ghanaian soccer superstar Michael Essien (which also happens to be my oldest brother’s name). The name Essien is found commonly among Nigerians from the southeast part of […]

Categories
Coming-of-Age Identity

Black in Alabama

Mine is the story of a boy who spent his childhood summers becoming black in Alabama, wrestling dirt in the whispering winds of Wetumpka out back of a one-room shack in which his great grandmother raised 15 children. It is the story of a boy who spent time with an old man, fishing the broken […]

Categories
Awareness Coming-of-Age Identity Segregation

Together, We Are Better

My mother and father grew up in segregation. Mickey and Miami have fooled people into thinking otherwise, but Florida is and always was a Southern state. My father was born during the Baby Boom and lived in a shotgun house on the brother side of Jacksonville, the youngest of four siblings. His older brother, Julian, made […]