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A Crystal Stair

A Crystal Stair image

After Langston Hughes, Mother to Son

Listen to Poem Part 1 & Part 2

I. Mother to Daughter

Well, daughter, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been a life at all.
It’s had bullets in it,
And bullies,
And haters,
And places with no carpet on the floor –
And all the time
I’m breathing
And cursing the sky
And wondering why women like
Us don’t get saved.
There ain’t no light.
Just black girls gettin’ snatched
In the dark
Ain’t nobody savin’ us.
So girl, save yourself first.
Don’t you turn back.
I’m telling you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
Life for me ain’t been a life at all.
But I’m still goin’, honey.

II. Daughter to Mother

Well, mother, I don’t know where I exist in this life.
I’ve learned that life is what we make it,
Plus black skin.
It’s had it’s tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And I don’t think I’ve ever seen a
Finished home, or floors with carpet.
You taught me to always keep going.
My mother, of honey and hue
And magic that men
Don’t seem to understand.
Life for us will never be a crystal stair.
But we’ll build our own houses.

I remember as a child having to learn poems of famous African-American writers, such as Langston Hughes, James Weldon Johnson, and Maya Angelou. I rehearsed the words of their poems until they became a part of who I am today. “Mother to Son” written by Langston Hughes, inspired the reimagine project, A Crystal Stair, and puts a twists on things through dialogue between a mother and daughter. The poem highlights some of the challenges that mothers have had to endure and addresses the concerns and fears of the new generation of black woman that is evolving.

Photography – Allen B. Photography, STL
Makeup – Chamecia Liddell, STL
Wardrobe Designers – Morgan Williams & Rosie Williams
Artistic Director – Tielere Cheatem
Host Location – Rob Shot Me Studios

Danielle P. Williams
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