Black Excellence

Be fearless.

Love the skin you’re in.

Be seen. Be Heard.


Below is a poem written and delivered as a commencement speech at Harvard by a young black man by the name of Donovan Livingston. A figure who I’d like to believe is one of MANY representations of black excellence. His words, compelling and demanding of  action.

This spoken word is a reminder of the very words of President Obama: “Yes we can. Yes we did” and as I’d like to add, Yes we will. The night of President Obama’s farewell address was a bittersweet moment for me. I was saddened but more so afraid for the future of this nation, the youth in particular. In the same moment, I was reminded of what the past eight years symbolized.  Obama is black excellence, an exemplification of how to rise above, how to conquer, how to be the difference you hope to see in the world. The two terms that he served were symbolic of hope. Hope for America. Hope for you, and for me.

There has always been an ideal perception of  excellence noninclusive of people of darker shades, but truth be told, blacks have always been excellent. From Lewis Latimer, the true creator of the light bulb, to Dr. Patricia E. Bath, the first African-American to complete a residency in ophthalmology. She was also the first African-American female doctor to receive a medical patent, and the inventor of the Laserphaco Probe used for cataract treatment in 1986.

There is nothing stopping us from being greater than these individuals. They have set the tone, we now have the torch, but what are we doing? Please be aware and never forget that you are a manifestation of love and pain. Through your veins pump revolution. You are a strange fruit that grew too ripe for the poplar tree, a DREAM act, a dream deferred, incarnate. You are a movement, an amalgam of memories America would care to forget. Those are the words of Donovan, and these are mine to you: Give America something to Remember YOU for.

Lift Off by Donovan Livingston

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