When people used to ask me what I am, I used to say simply, but proudly that I was a beautiful black woman. Of course depending on my mood or the situation the adjective preceding black might have changed, but I was always black. One day I had an epiphany – I could no longer be black. Black is just a colour and as a colour it is a strong and powerful symbol for my people, but I wanted to be more than just a person defined by a symbol, I wanted to be a person defined by a heritage, by a culture and by a history. If today someone asks me what I am two things happen: firstly, I modify the question so that it becomes not "what am I?", but "who am I?", and secondly, I now answer with, "I am a beautiful Afrikan woman." Again the same rules apply with respect to the adjective preceding Afrikan, but I am Afrikan first anything else comes after that. Black is a colour and a colour is a "what". Afrikan is peoples, and I will rather be referenced with a peoples than with a "what". I am Bajan by birth and nationality, but I am Afrikan by history and heritage. My skin and my peoples' skin is black and it is our symbol, but I am Afrikan, an Afrikan-Bajan woman. This is who I am. This is who I am. I am a strong Afrikan woman, ancient and timeless. I have birthed the world; history is awed by my prowess. I have lived in glory, and I have suffered as the down-pressed. Queen or slave I held my head high, because through it all I am Jah-blessed. I am a beautiful Afrikan woman; you can look at me and see. From my richest tone of mahogany to the deepest and darkest ebony, and all shades in between. In the castle of my skin I am queen. I set the standards of beauty, from Allison Hinds to Nefertiti. Forever, now and through antiquity I will, I am and I have been doing this naturally. I am a wise Afrikan woman. You can call me Makeda. I knew Solomon, and birthed royal Ethiopia. I am a resilient Afrikan woman. You can call me N’zingha; sister of the N’gola, military planner; battle field surveyor, anti-Portuguese fighter; the army commander. I am a leading, Bajan-Afrikan woman. Nita Barrow is my name; my title; Dame. Fighting social injustice was my game. My leadership brought prestige and fame So that when to South Afrika the UN delegation came, I was the lone female in the frame. I am a cunning, Bajan-Afrikan woman; Sarah Ann Gill, the embodiment of spiritual fortitude and will. They thought spirits would die when they blazed my church’s wood. They were wrong’ And now they know the, “indomitable spirit of Bajan womanhood.” I am the nameless Afrikan woman, continental and diasporic, called many names, and treated many ways from in times historic. Men have looked upon my face, and thought they should hit it. Companies say, “you are woman,” they take my wage and they cut it. “Here is equality; you can’t reach it.” But like Maya Angelou, I will rise. I will rise and stop it. I am rising to stop it! Why? Because… I am a bold Afrikan woman. I am the slavery revolter, freedom fighter, slave liberator, plantation burner. I was in the struggle; civil rights figure, a July twenty-sixther, 1937 rioter, 1951 female voter. I am a bold Afrikan woman. Call me sister. Call me daughter. Call me mother. I raised man. I raised brothers. I am strong, beautiful, wise, resilient, leading, cunning, nameless and bold. And I am an Afrikan woman! A Bajan-Afrikan woman! *A Bajan is a person from Barbados. **This was written for a friend of mine to perform at an open imc one night and then it was modified to the state it is in now so that it could be performed in NIFCA (National Independence FEstival of the Creative Arts) here in Barbados.