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This is from the prelims of the Women of the World Poetry Slam. Imani Cezanne placed second overall in the tournament. This poem goes in on The Hunger Games, a fictional tale about white people who are forced to be poor and perform for the rich.
She starts by saying that the film puts a white face on poverty to make it fantasy. “A number one selling novel,” a “hit at the box office.”
But black people know poverty and we know it well. It’s not fantasy.
So, we have to ask why it is that the suffering that is very real to us is sold and marketed by big corporations are some kind of exciting life in the hood when there should be better social programs to deal with the racial inequality that has been created in America?
There’s nothing fun about “fighting to the death” while white people watch in amusement, while facing one obstacle after another. The film, “The Hunger Games” was built on such a premise, and this poem makes you wonder why there is so much black death and suffering with no one lifting a finger to help manage the situation.
In The Hunger Games, the one winner is able to live, while everyone else dies. Is this not unlike the lottery of thousands of black boys all giving up everything to try to make it to the NBA, with only one of them making it out? The others are dropped right back in the hood and left to whittle away to nothing or spend their life in a bottle.
Maybe like the Hunger Games, there are a few of us who make it out, who are then held us to the rest of the hood as examples of what you can also have in the event that you’re a good boy or girl and dodge all of the landmines. Where do the guns come from? Where do those drugs come from? Are these not the obstacles that are placed in our communities by white America as we dodge and kill over these landmines for their amusement and to fill up their prisons?
Have black people been placed in the middle of their own Hunger Games?
Watch the poem. It will amaze you.