There is power and beauty in words when they are chosen with intention. Poetry is an art form that allows us to visualize something from a different perspective. Poetry that explores the beauty and grace of a Black woman can be deeply moving for such an underrepresented group. “Black representation is so very important. When I see representation, it makes me feel a sense of pride, a sense of achievement, and a sense of hope that representation will one day be common placed,” commented PR expert Moneé Cottman Luckey.
Shawntineal Hughes Edwards of SHE Inspirations is an Atlanta-based author who highlights and inspires Black women with her words. Edwards has been writing for as long as she can remember. The poem that sparked her passion for writing is one she wrote while traveling to Germany with her family in the 1980s. Her pen never left her hand the entire 13-hour flight as her inspiration flowed. Seeing how much the flight captain, crew, and her parents brimmed with so much pride and happiness after hearing her poem motivated Edwards to continue writing.
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Edwards draws inspiration from the powerful Black women around her. She writes with the strength of her mother-in-law who lost three children in a house fire. She writes with the courage of her grandmother whose son was killed by her husband and continues to raise her other children without excuses. These Black women in Edwards's life prevailed through whatever life threw at them with grace, inspiring Edwards to showcase the power of the Black woman.
She hopes her work as a poet will uplift and encourage Black women. She wants to remind the world that Black women are the backbone of the family and yet credit isn’t given where it is due.
Edwards wants to depict the beauty, contributions, and struggle of Black women in her writing. “A Woman's Truth poem highlights the challenges most Black women endure ... but that's also what's beautiful about us. We can handle anything! Works on this topic must be published to instill positive ideals in young Black women,” smiled Luckey. Her choice and placement of each phrase in her poems exemplify the glory of melanin. She creates an aura of positivity and light for Black women to hold onto.
This type of representation can allow the Black women of today to discover newfound self-love and establish a basis in which future generations will view the skin they’re in. “As a new mom reading her poems it certainly changed how I view myself and how I want my daughter to view herself. I think other races are looking for ways to connect and understand Black people, culture, history more than ever ... so perhaps these words will have some sort of impact on their perspective, particularly on the struggles that Black women face,” Luckey remarked.
Poets like Edwards help the rest of the world see the true light and beauty of Black women that she sees and feels every day.
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