Being A Black Disabled Poet (Listen to my poem, Infectious Beat)

Leroy - Posted on 09 April 2013

Lateef McLeod

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To be a black poet with a severe disability is to speak from the margins of the dominant culture. You have the responsibility to be your own griot and sing your history and life experiences because no one else are going to do it for you. No one else will have your perspective of how to see the world and will have the words to make people see what you see. With out your poetic art people will be led by their own assumptions and will try to define your blackness and disability in ways that you will not want them to.

You are often a stalwart against the mainstream media who tries to ignore you or represent you as a helpless invalid who may or may not deserve government benefits or as a heroic figure who overcame your disability against tremendous odds to accomplish phenomenal feats. You give the more realistic model of a person who is vulnerable enough to share his flaws, but is strong enough to have many triumphs. This makes you an artist that adds vital information to the culture tapestry that surrounds you. You then can call yourself a poet who represent the best of all your identities and the communities that you belong to.


By Lateef McLeod


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