The HUB: Akil McKenzie


Image courtesy of Akil McKenzie

2nd year Bachelor of Film and Television student Akil McKenzie organized the SSU “Making Noise with No Voice” poetry event held on Feb. 23, 2016. He reflects on the event below, and includes a poem he presented at the event, along with posters developed for the event in classes by Profs. Christian Knudsen and Anna Boshnakova.

The point of the poetry night was to bring an acknowledgement to Black History Month and the appreciation of culture, diversity, history, and the future of Black culture. There was not much (event wise) happening within the school that was giving the same message other than the How She Moves film screening. So, I organized this event to bring awareness toward the month and tried to do something in which Black History Month could be appreciated. In order to involve students, I opened a submission for all students to submit posters about Black History Month to be displayed around the school. The main idea was to post as many posters as possible around the school so that it could become one large art exhibit for Black History Month. During the event these same art pieces were displayed around the room to give the vibe of a poetry slam around the theme of freedom and equality. I was very pleased with the night. It went extremely well and there were a lot of people who showed up as well. I hope for next year to be as successful as this one.


Image courtesy of Akil McKenzie

The following spoken-word poem contains strong language.


By Akil McKenzie

Ok so um….originally….I was going to write something else to present. Because as it being the first performance….I thought it’d be important to open it up with a poem about black history. And I was working on it for weeks….but then I gave up. So now I don’t give a f**k.

I…I know. I’m being a dick right?
No I’m actually being the same.
The typical negroes saying they want change,
Trying to throw blame,
Angry as Django Unchained,
But ain’t willing to do a goddamn thing.

I realize that we idealized,
Criticize and analyze,
But to my surprise, we sit back on our fat ass thighs,
Let our minds compartmentalized,
And then tell ourselves the lies that we actually tried.

It’s like going to war with ten men,
While the other 500 cheer you on from the background.
Yeah that’s gonna work.

Stop picking the white people to hate on,
Cause it’s not their fault…it’s OUR fault we lost Trayvon.
When I raise my fist, I want you to say I’m sorry.
To the life of Trayvon Martin. *fist*
(Put two more people)

See, we were all just talking and what did that really do?
Are they here right now? Did they spirits come back to life?
Are they all holding hands dancing around us singing Kumbayah around a fire as we connect with our African roots like that scene out of Star Wars when the spirits of Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Mace Windu are all just there chillin by the ewok cause we’re connected by the force.
Nothing happened.
Cause as nice as words are,
They don’t mean a thing without actions.
We may have said sorry, but we still on our lazy asses.
Maybe if we had more black cops,
Oscar Grant would have less bullet shots.
Maybe if we tried to start our own television channel for the nation,
The Oprah Winfrey Network wouldn’t be the only black owned television station.
I don’t understand, how we can go from persevering,
To doing it all wrong.
We are the same race of people,
That have endured more whips than ghetto dancing to a trap song.
We invented the street light,
Potato chips, the toaster, the automatic gear shift, the pencil sharpener, the dust pan, the automatic elevator, the fountain pen.
Throughout the years, we have done a lot.
And let me tell you…
Martin Luther King didn’t get shot,
So 50 years later we’d twerking out to Fetty Wap.

But I get it.
It’s hard.
Listening to the feeling that a stereotype makes,
I wear this coffee stained mask that society calls race.
This almost biblical knowledge of understanding that the first thing people see…
Is the colour emanating from my skin,
Like a walking LED.
I’ve been looking forward to the future so much my eyes have began aging.
I’ve spent so much time praying for equality that my knees began biodegrading.
I’ve worn racist eyes upon the back of my neck while they look at me as more alien than a flying saucer.
I’ve had the blood of my ancestors transcend as tears as I’ve had parents say because I’m Black I have to stay away from their daughter.

I get it…it’s hard.
When the ones that take action also take bullets.
I get it…it’s hard.
That growing up you’re told it takes 200% to be half the man that any white man could be.
But we’re not fighting alone anymore.
Look around you…we don’t have to fight this by ourselves.
We have Black, Caucasian, Brown, Asian…
All in this little fight for what I like to call equality.
I need all of you to help me!

I am sick and tired of having to hear the statement…
Black lives matter,
For that shouldn’t matter,
Cause all lives matter,
So Black should already be a factor.

Excuse my language and pardon the heritage,
But look where we started.
From Africa departed,
But our ancestors were stone hearted.
They fought for our freedom,
We fight for what colour our new car is.
Everybody tryna be in basketball and nobody aiming for Congress.
As a people…all we do is talk shit.
We lay down our own milestones over the lava which came fresh out of our pocket,
But once we have a path across it there ain’t nobody with the balls to walk it.
Where the hell is that logic?

Lately I’ve been calling myself apparel cause…
Ima make like a hat and snapback,
Cause I’m under attack,
Not by white, but by my own Black!

As this smart girl actually told me…
It’s not about the leader that decided to stand up,
But the amount of people that decided to stand behind them.
So this is my last cry to all these Black women and guys.
I’m on the T standing right here for all of you to see.
I decided to stand up.
So who’s standing behind me?