Black Music by Nikki Williams-Rucker (A Celebration of National Poetry Month)

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When we felt freedom

We wrapped our heads in kente

Swaddled our babies to our chests and

Loosened our hips to the rhythm of the Congo

Each beat faster than the first and each step pounding the earth

With determination in honor and admiration of our ancestors

Those that had gone before us and sent messages to and from

In the hands of the bass and the snare.

We danced and we sang until freedom came.

And when it came it brought with it hope

Hope that tipped the brims of our lips, bowed our heads

And brought forth the hymns  of a brighter tomorrow.

Encapsulated with the syncopated sounds of the tambourine

As Thomas Dorsey penned words of faith and promise

Precious Lord

Take my hand,

lead us on

and help us stand

And stand we did and watched in faithful silence

Lost in the sounds of Mahalia Jackson’s Amazing Grace

Time marched on, we moved on  and so did the music.

When we felt sadness and pain

Our bodies swayed and moved to the trombone and sax

Miles Davis, Thelonius Monk, John Coltrane

Keys and tenor and flats and sharps

We sang out the signs of the times on the backs of

Those blue notes and dark tones laid the foundation

For James to remind us that “we do have soul”


Aretha demanded that we be given our


As Ray played right into our hearts and minds with the imagery

Of Georgia being on our mind.

Funk and Soul and Rhythm and Blues

Transcended the long days and lulled us through the long nights

Satiating the fear

It was and still is always good to hear




To Make it

We felt powerful

And dard speak truth to power through the staccato

Movements of spins and turns

isolated pops and locks

Cardboard broken down on street corners

Cyphers and Adidas suits, gold chains and Kangols


Run DMC walked our way

Michael Jackson moonwalked across a lighted stage

As our bodies rocked to the planet rock--don’t stop

Sounds of truth spoken to power,

Even as Public Enemy number 1

We felt invincible

We felt colorful

We felt seen and heard and alive

All at the same time.

We wrote songs of triumph wrapped in sheets of determination

Signs of the times

Made their way to otherwise closed airways

And for the first time we exhaled.

Silence fell

But the music didn’t…

Whitney screamed from the rooftops

The Greatest love of all

And we were asked to withstand the rain

By Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky and Mike

With the rain came the pain

But for many of us it was 1 in the same

Yet we continued.

Continued to create

Continued to write

Continued to rhyme

And sing and belt out the sounds of the revolution

From 8 tracks, to records, to tapes, to CDs, to streaming

It all changed as the clock continued to tick and tock

But for LL, it was as simple as the girls from around the way

We rocked and we swayed

Hip Hop culture came  mainstream and changed the game

Although Common

Used to love H.E.R

We never traded her,

We embraced her

And became her

Waves of Beyonce

Stood strong arm in arm having the back of Kendrik Lamar

Changed communities with Chance

And rode out to the beats of Kanye

After all  Jesus does “ walk with us”.

Whatever we have felt

Whenever have felt it

Music has been the foundation

Regardless of the radio station

Or situation

The gentle snap or tap

High hat or fiff has always

Driven the beat of the revolution

From Coltrane’s jazz to the smooth sound of the blues

R&B solos, group doo ops to Cardi’s bloody shoes

Time has changed but the message has remained the same

The revolution will not be televised

It will be lived live and in color

Bold and brave and

Loud and syncopated

Or rolled up in a smooth low tone

If you’re wondering where we’ve been

Just listen for the music.

By: Nikki Williams-Rucker


Black Widow

D.Sanders, a Chicago native, is a devoted mother, blogger and writer who is passionate about her family, friends, women's rights, living authentically and telling her story.   She is also a spoken word recording artist under the name, Black Widow. She has been writing and blogging for over 15 years providing commentary and expressing thought on life, love and relationships. Her artistry can be heard on two house music singles, “Rough”, and “Gruv Me” released by Grammy Nominated Producer and CEO of T’s Box Records & T’s Crates, Terry Hunter under the production of Mike Dunn and Dee Jay Alicia. . Both singles reached #1 on Traxsource’s Afrohouse and charted top ten overall as well reaching the top ten in their year of release.  She splits her time blogging about the Chicago Dance Music Scene on and on her book’s website,  She is excited about her debut book, The Sum of Many Things, scheduled for release in June 2017.   She wears many hats but refuses to be placed in a box.  She believes that women are "The Sum of Many Things".  Embracing all of her roles as a woman, she firmly believes in breaking free of preconceived notions of womanhood.   She believes it is her mission to define her own life experience, femininity and sexuality and not have it defined by society.  She openly shares her story with hopes that women understand their worth, power and place in this world.