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A digital illustration of a nude, young woman with brown skin sitting cross legged against a dark gray background with four gray squares behind her. The woman has curly brown hair and is smiling. Each of her hands are covered in black and white paint, which she has used to paint hand prints onto her face and body. The paint also extends beyond the woman and resembles a rorschach inkblot or butterfly wings. The paint is in shades of black, white, primary blue, fuschia, mint green, pumpkin orange, and yellow-green.
Identity by Alexcis Ausanio-Moses, 2020, Digital Illustration, W:1080 H:1350

Prism on Brown

By Maru Colbert

A mosaic of female
I am the brown woman, she
The depth of me do not assail
A prism on brown, let me be
If I explode in the dark of night
Try to blend it all grey, at my back
Push me further, out of sight
But I recover from your attack
Yes, I’ve got blues
All the day long
Walk in all of my shoes
And you’ll tread on every sad song
Can’t do the hue of pink
Get misunderstood
Need the hard, the angry, the stink
What you expect from the hood
High yellow more respected
Not brown skin, hair or form
Hate speak and deeds protected
Not mattering is the norm
Green with envy if I exceed
Overcome your low expectation
By grace I succeed
Holler back, “We built this nation”
When you see me on penthouse floors
All of you of that entitled sect
Think, white privilege makes it all yours
I guess you forgot to remember, my intellect
My ancestors came from courts of gold
Brought here for years of tortured hurt
The new Jim Crow is getting old
Get woke, we all end up in the same dirt
Black and white across
Like legs in a fixed pose
The color of my albatross
Is your spite of my brown nose
Sitting on the ground of my ancestors’ blood
Knowing soon there’ll be another
Reckoning, clearing of evil, a great multi-year flood
That began as wavelengths of what I wear….color.

About the Poet

Maru Colbert is an engineering professor and performance artist. She runs a cultural arts company and contributes to both technical and dramatic projects worldwide. Her spoken, written and choreographed works have been featured in performances in cities nationwide including Denver, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Detroit and Boston. When asked about her motivation she responded “she writes what her soul releases…lately, it has been crying out”!

About the Artist

Alexcis is an animator that creates character designs for culturally diverse minorities, background designs with vibrant color palettes, and animations that portray her vast skill set. Her goal is to create work that relates to the diverse world we live in today, and spread the idea that no matter what we look like, everyone deserves a chance to pursue their own happiness.