Poetry by guest author Nana Ohemaa Asante

Nana Ohemaa Asante is a first year Honors student and author of several poems that will appear on the blog this year.

A Girl By Any Other Name Is Not The Same

by: Nana Ohemaa Asante

My last name means “thank you” in Swahili.
“Thank you” as in:
“Thank you God there is jollof rice in the house.”
“Thank you God that this black is beautiful somewhere.”
“Thank you for being the only black kid in this class.”
In the way the class tries not to make eye contact with me when we discuss slavery, segregation and racism.
“Thank you for making this campus look more diverse.”
“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to win $20,000 so I don’t drown in the same debt that attempted to choke my father until he learned to swim and tread water, then began to teach his family how to do so too. ”
“Thank you” as in:
“Thank you Mummy and Daddy for bringing me here
to a place I fondly called ‘My America’ when I was three.”
Asante means Ghanaian pride and Ghanaian hope and Ghanaian love
“Thank you” in the way we African students do a slight nod of the head when we come across someone else who is black on our way to class.
My name means “Sit down. Be grateful.”
Grateful for my ancestors who molded me into who I am today
with clay of the dark earth sculpted by sunkissed hands, worn palms and bloodied fingernails.
Formed with the determination and the inspiration of broken bodies
And broken spirits.
What does Asante mean to me?
Asante means never forgetting where I came from, what I am, and who I will forever be.

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