SAL/ON

A Blog of Seattle Arts & Lectures

“Yes, My Skin,” by Hinari Denebo

Yes, My Skin

Don’t like this poem because I’m telling you to
But let me tell you a story about this girl
Named Hinari
Just ’cause I want to
Came from Ethiopia when she was seven
Was considered black
As a girl she chose her way
But as a Christian it was hard to say
Wake up every day thinking it’s going to be brighter
But is that really for a Habashan girl to say?

Grew up with her family
Came to America, really needed her daddy
Baby girl baby girl it’s ok
Isn’t that what they all say?

But is it ok for girls like me
To hate the body they’re in
Or for their true colors to stand out?

But I’m not sorry
Yes, I’m Habasha, Oromo, Ethiopian, Black
Just call me what you want
Does it really matter
What color I’m in or where I come from
Yes, my skin is black
Do I have to be white to fit in?

Yes I care but daddy said
You will be hated by everyone because of me,
But the one who stands firm to the end will be saved
It’s ok daddy, I will cry now
But at the end I will be happy


Hinari Denebo wrote this poem while in 9th Grade at West Seattle High School with WITS Writer Daemond Arrindell. Performed at Seattle Arts & Lectures’ 2017/18 SAL Presents event with Jenny Han and Nicola Yoon on May 4, 2018, at Benaroya Hall.

Posted in 2017/18 SeasonPoetrySAL PresentsWriters in the Schools