3rd Annual Poetry Contest Spotlight 2019: Returning 2018 Champion Jahkazia Richardson

Jahkazia (Jah-kay-asia which translates to Goddess of the land) is not just a returning poet but she’s our 2018 Champion! She shocked us all by submitting her poem minutes before the deadline and winning it all with “What if I Knew My Worth,” which you can read by clicking here and picking up a copy of the 1st Edition 2018 Lit Mag Magazine.

Richardson is an actor and poet. She is currently studying Social Work at North Carolina Central University. She appreciates going to live shows in the area as well as trying different recipes from all over the world. Currently, she is a preschool teacher where she teaches them how to play unapologically. Her poem “Aya,” is a powerful piece about wrongful convictions which we know is at the heart of the Black Lives Matter movement to date in the Black community.

“Police sirens rang in the distance like freedom,
The smell of privilege and oppression filled the air,
I – somehow confused the chain-linked fences
With chains and handcuffs.

They say “I am under arrest,”
I say, “I am innocent!”
But somehow I still fit the description”

Excerpt from “Aya”

Jahkazia, your work is beautiful. Please tell us, what inspired your poem?

“I was wrongfully arrested for a crime I did not commit. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced, so I wanted to shed light on this experience.”

We asked Jahkazia to dig deeper into the experience behind her poem.

Considering the police brutality plaguing the Black community, why do you think it is important for Black writers specifically to talk about their experiences in poetry?

Black writers have to talk about their experience first hand in order to make it real. Black death has been dramatized over and over. To make it more digestible society disconnects themselves from the soul attached to the victim/survivor. Writing about our experiences makes it impossible to disconnect. This is my story. These are my words. You can not, you will not erase me.

How has writing about your own experience with a wrongful arrest helped you to heal from the experience?

Believe it or not, this was the first time I have written about it since it happened (almost 3 years ago). I would speak about it briefly, and I even did an interview with a collective of Black Femmes who wanted to know about the experience of our dealings with the police. This wound being reopened has been hard, but rewarding in the sense that it has given me an increased momentum. Since I am now a social worker, my duty is to educate, protect, and inspire – that is healing in itself.

 

It is indeed. I love how poetry can heal by bringing out our most deep self. Thank you for sharing this with us!

Be Sure to Follow Jahkazia Online!

 

IG: @chamelaninaire 

Facebook: Jahkazia Richardson


Our first and second place winners are up on 12/2 and 12/4! They have a FULL interview coming and trust, you DON’T want to miss it.

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Peace and hair grease!