by Danielle Milton

This is a letter to my future daughter, but more so words I wish I would have heard as a child.

A letter to my future daughter.

Don’t lose yourself, little black girl.
As you walk through the halls of your elementary school,
As you swing on the swings of the playground,
Even as you skin your knees during recess mastering double dutch and hopscotch,
Be bold.
Don’t lose yourself, little black girl.
White walls, white faces, white noise.
It’s easy to get lost in it all.
But you are beautiful.
Your black is beautiful.
The wind sings through your natural, nappy hair
Making music only God himself can delight in.
Your smile speaks life to the lifeless and love to the unloved.
Your full, plump lips are reminiscent
Of your eldest ancestors
They are more than your family tree, they are your Dynasty.
And though they toiled in ships and chains,
We are reminded of a vivacious heritage of life, culture and vibrancy.
You are royalty, my dove.
You blossom in the dead of winter
As if seasons are just formalities.
You flicker and shine
As if it was your soul purpose for existence.
You are sunshine
As if light is intertwined in your very DNA.
Don’t lose yourself, little black girl.
As you walk through the halls of your high school,
As you look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Am I beautiful?”
Even as you take your standardized tests for college admission,
Be phenomenal.
Because you are anything but standard.
Your soft, mocha skin dares to be kissed by the sun
As the sparrows serenade your praises because
You are beautiful and you are life and you are black.
And as far as I am concerned those are synonymous.
So don’t lose yourself, little black girl
As you walk through your college campus,
As you watch music videos, and television, and listen to the radio
As you join organizations and meet boys and go to parties,
Be fearless.
Your glorious essence cannot be captured
By Instagram likes or retweets.
In fact, you find no value in Instagram, asking yourself,
“Why filter what is already flawless?”
Not because the Queen of Pop says so,
But because the King of Kings and Lord of Lords decreed so.
You are an old soul.
Your cheekbones sit high like the ancient Egyptian Goddesses
Your laughter harmonizes with the pulses of the universe
And in that moment you are more than any adjective can ever describe.
You are not “bad”.
You are not “fine”.
You are not “hot”.
You are radiance, You are brilliance, You are divinity.
Because your blackness was knit together by God himself.
Your kinky roots were wound together by the Creator of universe.
And your full, dark chocolate eyes and lips were sculpted and crafted by the Master Craftsman.
God could not dream a sweeter dream than you.
So don’t let them tell you otherwise.
They will try to make you ashamed, little black girl.
They will try to make your blackness a burden,
But don’t pay them any mind because
Your heartbeat is the melody of the mockingbird.
Your roots to the Motherland make you the daughter of Kings, my princess.
And your mind is sharp like the thorns of a rosebush at dusk.
You are a rose, my love.
Wilt for no one, little black girl.
Love furiously, live ferociously, and laugh infectiously.
Because you are black and you are mine and you are life.
So just promise me you won’t lose yourself, little black girl.

*2014 Colorism Poetry Contest Division 3 Winner

rebecca jimenez 2014 Colorism Poetry ContestAbout the Poet: My name is Danielle Milton. I am a student at Baylor University, although I have received my minor in African American Studies at the University of Texas. I love writing, reading, blogging and playing sports. I also really enjoy traveling and discovering new culture around me. I wrote “For my Little Black Girl” for girls all over the world who have trouble loving the skin they’re in.


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  • Janet Walker

    I have a student that wants to do this poem for our UIL poetry contest for Crockett High School except the poem has to have been published. I can’t find this in a publication. Can you help us? Is this a published poem and do you have documentation for this?
    Thank you!

    • Dear Janet,

      I’m happy your student wants to choose this poem! As far as I know, this poem has only been published here on this site. It was published as a winner of the 2014 Colorism Poetry Contest. Of course this counts as an online publication, so if the contest requires poems published in *print* then this would not be eligible. Unfortunately we did not do a print book in 2014, though we are doing one for this year’s contest. If you’d like, I can try to contact the author just to make sure the poem hasn’t also been published in print since the contest.

  • F

    My daughter plans to use this poem for a oratory competition. Do you know of anyone else who has presented this oratorically? I’d like her to hear an oral interpretation of it.

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