A powerful poem by Crystal Valentine, student at NYU and activist, has been captivating watchers since it was posted on YouTube last week. Valentine performed the poem at the 2015 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational where her team won the competition.

In the poem, she gives a very raw and emotional account of Black life in America today noting how young, unarmed men like Trayvon Martin navigate  a world where they are always expected to conform to anti-Blackness. Similarly, she notes that young Black girls  face  a similar fate even though many people fail to admit it.

She says, “Black Privilege is always having to be the strong one, is having a crowbar for a spine…Black Privilege is being so unique that not even God will look like you.”

Valentine’s account is not only meaningful, it accurately depicts the conflicted nature of Black citizenship in America in the 21st  century.

Jenn M. Jackson is the Editorial Assistant for The Black Youth Project. She is also the Editor-in-Chief and co-founder of Water Cooler Convos, a politics, news, and culture webmag for bourgie Black nerds. For more about her, tweet her at @JennMJack or visit her website at jennmjackson.com.

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