Black History Month Tribute


Blessed with the opportunity to perform a spoken word I wrote for Rutgers University’s Black History Month Kickoff

It is a well known fact that the month of February has been named Black History Month. (Not to mention that February is the shortest month in the year…conversation for another time 😉 I was asked by the Assistant Director-Diversity & Community Programming, Jamaal Brown, at Rutgers University to recite a poem. As soon as Brother Jamaal asked me I immediately began to brainstorm. But after a few days of Organic Chemistry and Mammalian Physiology stress I had writer’s block. Yes, a BIG brain fart and I wasn’t pleased. Nevertheless, everyday I woke up I continued searching for some form of inspiration. Sadly I didn’t find any until a few hours before the day I had to perform. (Typical for Halima’s mind to be inspired by a huge amount of last minute pressure and anxiety added on top…like a perfect ice cream sundae) About three hours before the event I completed my poem, practiced out loud to myself, and prayed for God to strengthen me while I was on stage (thank God I didn’t croak). I wanted to share my poem with you all.


When was the last time you looked in the mirror? I mean really looked in the mirror. I’m not referring to this morning when you checked your nice haircut, or a second ago when you were at war with the stubborn pimple on the right side of your cheek; that just refuses to retreat.

I mean when was the last time you looked at yourself? That look that has the intention to criticize, to question, to prescribe, to change.

Well you see I was attempting to be superwoman and although I wasn’t sure what I would see….I looked into the mirror.

I looked in the mirror and I saw it was cracked…slightly. I didn’t understand. But as time passed, like a mosaic, tiny pieces of broken glass slowly engulfed my mirror. What was once my mirror, what once my image.

What started off as indifference, consumed my image in the mirror. Like the plague it felt no mercy, it felt no sadness, it felt no shame. It was a dictatorship and I became its servant. It only continued to consume, it continued to scar my image until what was once beautiful had been conditioned to evolve into something twisted, tainted, and trapped.

Coup d’etat. 

Why is it that we live in a society where good is bad and bad is good? Why do we live in a society where Niki’s latest album brings more analysis than the many homeless lying hopelessly at Penn station, waiting for the unknown?

Why is it that we, the so called creme de la crop refuse to think outside the box? We refuse to question. We refuse to disagree. We refuse to change. We’re so good at asking why but not so good at asking how, when, and what can we do?

Mathematics, Economics, Physics, English, History..the knowledge has been placed in front of of us but unfortunately many of us hope for the dollar, the wealth, but when it comes to changing the things that matter…we turn away, we lower eyes, we falter

We have become twisted, tainted, and trapped because his struggle is not mine. I wish to not be bothered by what she may be going through because now I only live for myself.

But why? Nothing in this world runs by itself. Life itself is a cycle. Our environment is a web of different beings, different forms. All working simultaneously to attain the ultimate goal. 

A baby goes through a trimester broken up to 3 months. The mother, her environment, her thoughts, all play a role on the condition of what and will eventually become one of us. So you see we are a puzzle, each fitting into a bigger picture, a bigger plan.

Sadly I realized that I only saw myself in the mirror. The mirror only had the power to consume me because I no longer loved myself, I no longer understood myself, and I no longer cared. And because I no longer cared, my image became distorted, what I saw wasn’t myself but an illusion.

An illusion I slowly began to accept.

See, but one day I woke up and I realized that I was alive, my heart was beating, in fact it was pounding, asking me to break free.

I knew what I had to do. The Mirror. Both a curse and a blessing. At first I struggled. I feared my image but I reminded myself that I gave the mirror power. Power it did not have a right to, power it did not deserve.

So I struggled, I fought, I used all my strength and broke the mirror. As I watched it shatter I realized I was free. I realized that I became dependent on the mirror, I became dependent for it to reflect me an image; something I wanted to see….The mirror knew I had no confidence in myself and so it began to consume my distorted being. 

I became selfish.

But I broke free, and I realized that a mirror will reflect what it sees but first I must accept what I see. And if I didn’t accept what I did see then I had the duty to change what I saw.

For the mirror has no power unless I allowed it to.

And so, I replaced the shattered mirror on my wall.


Hope I touched a nerve. Much love to you all for spending your time to read my thoughts. Please feel free to leave your comments below. 🙂


That Black Muslim Girl 



2 responses to “Black History Month Tribute

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