Sophomore performs poetry for Congressional Art Competition


Photo courtesy of Alana Kabaka

Creative writing teacher Ms. Preus and English teacher Ms. Koshiol joined sophomore Alana Kabaka for her reading of her poetry at the Congressional Art Reception.

Claudia Scherer and Margot Carlson, Staff Writer

Last week, sophomore Alana Kabaka attended the Congressional Art Competition for visual art, sculptures, and spoken word at the University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center.

The Congressional Art Competition acknowledges young artists around the United States in each congressional district. The winners of each district are recognized after they submit their work to their own representative’s office. The visual art winners get a chance to show their work in their district as well as Washington D.C.

At the competition, Kabaka performed her spoken word, “African Queens” in front of a group of other award winning artists and the congresswoman Ilhan Omar. Her poem was focused on the glorification of African women. “My mom inspired me, but also people who don’t give props to African women and downplay them when they should be celebrated,” Kabaka said.

Kabaka has been writing poetry for about two years, but she has grown into a very strong writer with new opportunities to be able to perform her work in front of important leaders such as Ilhan Omar. “I love to push myself out of my comfort zone. I have been writing for a long time, but poetry is new for me, and I have truly grown to love it,” Kabaka said.

Although “African Queens” is long and in depth, Kabaka admits that it only took her thirty minutes to write with a few days of editing involved. “I love how someone can write a poem with a different intention than what the writer intended,” Kabaka said.

to all my African queens
you are beautiful
you were the people not taken
but the ones who stayed to save a nation
gave your bodies to make doctors and scientists
who raised them
fed them
loved them
you are the women that run the economy
who plant the seeds
then sell the plants
African women who run a nation
who make queens and kings
with beautiful dark skin babies
who have beautiful parents who live in
villages that hold children as like their own
make sure they know mistakes are ok
it’s ok not to feel ok
African queens who open their homes to
loud conversation
that is never loud enough
shouts of disapproval  bounce and crawl
on every wall
and jollof rice and meat sambusas
Mixing  with the smell of cigars
and kids running in and out
that smell like the sun
letting their brown skin bake
like cookies
African queens who feed masses of people
and don’t stop till they
refuse to get up
and whose home becomes their home for the night
you are born in Nigeria
a trail mix of Ugandan
a magic baby born on a continent
of rich history of
Hutus killing Tutsi bushmen
child soldiers
civil unrest
African queens who grow up with this history
in their veins
African queens
who are strong
who give their bodies for babies
who become kings and queen
you run a nation
you are  strong
a force to be reckoned with
you are  

African queens