Tell me about yourself, Ivette
I’m originally from Yonkers, NY but now attend school at the College of Mount Saint Vincent in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, majoring in Childhood Education. I have always loved writing but I began doing it constantly at the age of 15 and have taken poetry more seriously for about a year now. Writing was always an outlet to express my feelings and my thoughts about my circumstances and situations going on around me. The inspiration behind the three pieces I submitted is the common artist’s “struggle”. As an artist and a writer, I struggled with writing something important, something impactful. I wanted to write something that had meaning and would resonate with people. So I pulled from my experiences of heartbreak, self-identity/ discovery and struggle of self-worth to produce these poems. In hopes that the rawness would come through. In this day and age, I feel like I have a responsibility to create art that matters.
Natural Hair Please Forgive Me
By Ivette Peralta
Me and my hair have this complex love affair.
It has taken me a lifetime to love her.
I did not defend her when people judged her.
But, now I no longer hold her in contempt.
I embrace her to every extent.
Young brown girl, take it from someone who knows
Your natural hair is a jeweled crown, it is your best attribute hands down.
In 1501 our enslavement began
Spain brought my black ancestors to Hispaniola
343 years later our independence was won
But our enslavement wasn’t done
Now 174 years later from the day we claimed to be free
Afro Latinos are slaves to a westernized standard of beauty
They try to deny us our roots but it is our duty to embrace our black beauty
So I have painted on canvas my complex Dominican identity
It is of sancocho, a favorable stew with variations of skin tones, hair textures, and eye colors
Where our black ancestry lives on in a legacy of multicolored
a rainy Sunday afternoon,
fresh brewed coffee,
the bittersweet end of a good book,
the captivating scenery of a sunset,
my heartbreak, heartache, and my first love intake.