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Gabby: All Around Gold

at fourteen she left known love
for another love of flying, pole-walking
and dancing on white floors.
not just a leap from virginia beach to des moines
it was climate change and evolution,
tidal waves, volcanoes and prayers
to embrace an extended family of
iowans and a coach from china.
this took heart, soul, silent music and strength
as she conquered a sport
not taught on the playgrounds & gyms of
natural headed black people: she exploded a dagger
into the doubts of experienced coordinators and
self-hating negroes who questioned her
“confidence and focus” and the naturalness of her hair.

she, in rejecting self-hatred, self-doubt & can’t do-ness
flew as a champion into the world’s living rooms
confirming talent, smiles & hair that
captured a first, gold, a sport & our hearts.

For Gabby Douglas and her all-around win in the
Olympic gymnastics competition of 2012.

Haki R. Madhubuti
Founder and Publisher of Third World Press, Former University Distinguished Professor and Founding Director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Chicago State University and Ida B. Wells-Barnett University Professor Emeritus at DePaul University.


IBW21 (The Institute of the Black World 21st Century) is committed to enhancing the capacity of Black communities in the U.S. and globally to achieve cultural, social, economic and political equality and an enhanced quality of life for all marginalized people.