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Root Work Journal - Convening in the Ark - Volume 1, Issue 1

Million Dollar Slaves

Abas Idris




A reflective poetry piece that critiques the intersectional relationship of black success and capitalism.



Black Lego pieces of peace shatter, as the play doe is molded with scars medicated with poison. 


This poison produces poised faces of young talented black children who dream of making it big. 


Be it sports, music or movies, our young hope to shine in chains and whips, forgetting the history of chains and whips. 


The desire to wear European threads embeds self-hate in black bodies that tear the fabric of the black family. 


When success comes, they fail to see the racist white sheets tucked inside the shirts of sports agents and coaches. 


Mix tapes mix minds and blend pipe dreams with penthouse prisons for black talent. 


While some children are safe like coddled babies, our babies are sold like property to the highest bidder. 


Record labels label them assets. Contracts written in their blood are used to write off their parents.


Lawyers hold their souls, spinning black artists 360 degrees, until the ink dries.


Refusing to read the fine print, a sentence becomes a lifetime of trope tunes and internet beefs.


Black stars play games with rules that regulate how much their skin can win. 


They’re given money and big houses that resemble the plantation palaces of their oppressors. 


Leaving the old neighborhood behind, they embrace the bosoms of white women who whip up mixed kids who can’t remember what it tastes like to be black. 


Their offspring only see their fathers during the offseason.  Even the summer is a time when the sun comes out, but the sons are left to see their fathers on TV


Million dollar dead beats who promised they’d never be the failed fathers they had. 


Back home, their pale brides choke on Ambien to create ambience, as they raise mixed kids as white chocolate. 


On off days, when brunch beckons, babysitters who don’t sit, stand in for parents. 


Strangers watch children as children watch shows where black families eat dinner together. 


In the end, the black baby became a black star who burned bright until his light was lost. 


But not before he inspired another generation to reach for the same chains he wore. 

Anchor 1
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