Word Wednesday: Crystal Valentine- Little Known Fact

One little known fact about me (Lady Mprez), is that I love poetry…

I grew up doing poetry. I can show you poems I wrote back in elementary school when I was bored in class (yes I have some of them until this day). I use to win poetry contest when I was younger as well. So poetry is an art that resonates with me on a whole nother level. I appreciate the art of poetry. You would be surprised how poetry can touch someone’s soul. How it can give you insight into a person’s life without you even really knowing them.

I came across this poem presented by Button Poetry. When I listened to Crystal Valentine recite this poem, at first I thought that she had a rather unique New York accent. As I continued to listen, more was revealed as to why her accent sounded the way it did. I felt her words an energy. I felt the hurt when she expressed how people looked down upon her simply because she had a lisp. Simply because she doesn’t speak like a stereotypical white American. I can relate…
My whole life, the way I spoke was always up for discussion. Some say Ispoke beautifully for a black girl”, others said I needed to learn “proper English“. What I never understood was, why does America have a problem with people speaking “differently” when America prides itself on being “different”? I was always in a world of confusion growing up because I came from a multicultural background. I never spoke one language or dialect, so everyone had something to say about the way I talked. I would use the word “ain’t”, and my white friends would say things like “I can’t believe you said ain’t, it’s not a word. You don’t speak black.” Then the black kids would tell me that I was “acting white” because I spoke what they considered “proper English.” I came up in a Caribbean household, where Patois was my primary dialect, so the kids would laugh when I would say certain words because the pronunciation was slightly different. I just could NEVER understand the American language. I didn’t even know there was ONE set standard of language in America due to the country being so diverse. Which arises the question, “How can you say we live in a country that is accepting of everyone, when you continually bash others for coming from a different culture and speaking differently?” Who decided that American English is based off of an Eurocentric culture? Weren’t my people on this land LONG before Europeans even credited themselves for discovering this land? Why is their version of English the only acceptable form of English here in the States (United States)?

Yes Crystal Valentine, I feel you on this. Even though I may not have a lisp, the way you feel is relatable. There shouldn’t be a set standard on how someone talks. We’re all from different backgrounds and shouldn’t be judged for speaking differently.

Check out Crystal Valentine on Poetry Button reciting her poem Little Known Fact.