Brea Watts: Poets Corner

Welcome to MoAD Poet’s Corner, a space where our network of poets speak to their place in the African Diaspora as it exists today. The poets featured in this series are connected to MoAD through our MoAD Lit programs, which includes Poets-in-Residence, Third Thursday Open Mic, and Authors in Conversation. Here is a space where you can nourish your soul, feel inspired, and relish in the words that narrate the African Diaspora. In the words of the late, Toni Morrison at her Nobel Prize address, “We die. That may be the meaning of life.  But we do language.  That may be the measure of our lives.”


Black Lives Matter

If they’re going to college
If their names aren’t mouthfuls
If they don’t have a criminal record
If they never grew up on turf meals
If both parents were in the home
If they don’t have mental illness
If they don’t have kids out of wedlock
If they were first generation *insert accomplishment*
If they don’t get angry
If they don’t defend themselves
If they don’t steal cigars
If they don’t sell cigarettes
If they don’t drink tea or eat skittles
If they don’t roam in backyards
If they don’t come from East Oakland or Detroit
If they’ve never seen a gun let alone held one
If they still buy Shea Moisture
If they don’t see color
If they stay sleep
If chicken wasn’t so tasty
If they stop eating sugar
If their hair isn’t multicolored
If they’re uncomfortable with their sexualities
If their pants never sagged
If they were never called fast

Artist Statement:
The poem is an excerpt from a body of work titled Inher. It challenges who we show up for and who is represented when we say our lives matter. The larger work is a creative exploration of that centers how race, class, and gender overlap and affect the lives of marginalized Black women.

Through poetry and prose I write about what intersectionality looks like in real life and push back against misogyny and respectability. Part personal narrative, part history, part conversations, part imagination, but all real. This work weaves a variety of writing styles meant to reflect the many ways we show up in this world.

Brea Watts is an East Oakland native and has been writing since the age of 7. From performing on stages at Glenview Elementary School to earning a Master’s in Creative Writing and Poetry from Mills College, Watts has written poems, prose and everything else in between. She considers herself to be more of a storyteller than a poet and is passionate about telling stories that may spark another Black woman’s flame.

Categories:  MoAD Lit