Poem For Black Boys

Nikki Giovanni (1943-)


Similar to the message of Our Deepest Fear, Poem For Boys emphasizes change within. For centuries, African Americans fought bravely for their rights as human beings. Many of today’s African American youth fail to acknowledge that. This poem not only puts the youth of society in perspective to Black History, but it also attempts to reminds them that they are all inclined to be as dignified and respectable as they can be.

Where are your heroes, my little Black ones
You are the Indian you so disdainfully shoot
Not the big bad sheriff on his faggoty white horse

You should play run-away-slave
Or Mau Mau
These are more in line with your history

Ask your mothers for a Rap Brown gun
Santa just may comply if you wish hard enough
Ask for CULLURD instead of Monopoly
DO NOT SIT IN DO NOT FOLLOW KING
GO DIRECTLY TO STREETS
This is a game you can win

As you sit there with your all understanding eyes
You know the truth of what I’m saying
Play Back-to-Black
Grow a natural and practice vandalism
These are useful games (some say a skill is even
Learned)

There is a new game I must tell you of
It’s called Catch the Leader Lying
(and knowing your sense of absurd
you will enjoy this)

Also a company called Revolution has just issued
A special kit for little boys
Called Burn Baby
I’m told it has full instructions on how to siphon gas
And fill a bottle

Then our old friend Hide and Seek becomes valid
Because we have much to seek and ourselves to hide
From a lecherous dog

And this poem I give is worth much more
Than any nickel bag
Or ten-cent toy
And you will understand all too soon
That you, my children of battle, are your heroes
You must invent your own games and teach us old
Ones how to play.

Poem For Black Boys- Similar to the message of Our Deepest Fear, Poem For Boys emphasizes change within. For centuries, African Americans fought bravely for their rights as human beings. Many of today’s African American youth fail to acknowledge that. This poem not only puts the youth of society in perspective to Black History, but it also attempts to reminds them that they are all inclined to be as dignified and respectable as they can be.