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No. 9: Courage

DIMENSIONS, 23" x 15".


Assata Shakur is a beautiful woman whose story has greatly helped to reshape my thinking. Right about when I decided to create a project of my drawings, I had just recently finished “The Autobiography of Assata Shakur”. Her poem, “Rhinoceros Woman”, brought forth the name and inspiration of this series.

"Rhinocerous woman 
who nobody wants
and everybody used.
They say you're crazy
cause you not crazy enough
to kneel when told to kneel.

Hey, big woman -
with scars on the head
and scars on the heart
that never seem to heal -
I saw your light
and it was shining.

You gave them love.
They gave you shit.
You gave them you.
they gave you hollywood.
They purr at you
cause you know how to roar 
and back it up with realness.

Rhinocerous woman, 
big momma in a little world.
You closed your eyes 
and neon spun inside your head
cause it was dark outside. 

You read your bible
but god never came.
Your daddy woulda loved you
but what would the neighbors say.

They hate you momma 
cause you expose their madness.
And their cruelty. 

They can see in your eyes 
a thousand nightmares
that they have made come true.

Black woman. Baad woman.
Wear your bigness on your chest like a badge
cause you done earned it.

Strong woman. Amazon.
Wear your scars like jewelry
cause they were bought with blood.

They call you mad.
And almost had you
believing that shit.

They called you ugly.
And you hid yourself
behind yourself 
and wallowed in their shame.

Rhinocerous woman -
this world is blind 
and slight of mind
and cannot see 
how beautiful you are.

I saw your light.
And it was shining."

['Rhinoceros Woman', by Assata Shakur]

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