I didn’t get the job
The Black Woman that Could
My hair brown, My hair curly , my hair big.
My hair Afrocentric, my hair long , my hair shines.
My hair thick, my hair natural.
My hair talks, it makes statements.
My hair is who I am.
But to them.
My hair is unprofessional to the profession
I’m seeking. So, they seek others to fill the position.
They said I could get the job, but under certain conditions
That I change my hair , that I make it more flat, less dense, You know?
They said, be more like their lead seller Sarah.
Her hair blond, her hair straight, her hair thin.
Her hair dry, her hair shapeless.
and to them her hair perfect.
Her resume say Yale.
She a Daddy’s girl, she come from money .
Never had to work for nothing.
But me I come from something. Something like
no daddy and a single mother home. Something like poverty,
something like reading books with missing pages and Cheeto stains.
something like traveling on the bus for 2hrs to get to the best school ,
because the ones in my hood were made to make sure I never leave.
something like I’m making history, mastering the system, beating the odds
something like I worked so hard , something like I came this far
something like a HBCU grad.
Something like I can’t ever be no damn Sarah.
They said I needed to talk less , that a man should speak first
when it comes business.
They said I had potential, despite my credentials.
It all went left when Mr.Dick told me something confidential.
He said I was only brought in because I look good on paper,
and that I sounded white on the phone.
And since my name was Brittany, they thought I was Spears
because I was playing tricks on their ears.
No way she’s black woman, no way she’s this educated,
But with all due respect Mr.Dick, My diction doesn’t dictate my race
or intellectual ability.
I am honestly perplexed at your perpetual pejorative remarks.
Your ignorance is repulsive.
I will not conform to your conformity office full of Sarah’s.
You don’t even have to withdraw your offer,
because I decline.
I won’t be defined by you, or any other white man in this office.
I’m fine being a BLACK Brittany.
The Black Woman that Could
Artist Statement: Jonathan Diggs
My art piece was inspired by the poem “I didn’t get the Job” by Marianna Pritchett. Her poem talks about the struggle of a black woman named Brittany who did not get the job because of her appearance and traits that Afrocentric women have. Initially, she was looked at as a potential candidate because of her white sounding name, however once they realized she was not white she was beat out by a white candidate. My art piece focuses on the African American woman, who is proud of her skin color and her “nappy” hair, as there is nothing wrong with it. I wanted to make sure her lips were full, a rounded nose and chocolate colored skin. This is because in the workplace, an African American woman can succeed if she is of lighter complexion. But I wanted someone the poem talked about, someone not as focused on in media in the spotlight of my art. Next, I made her natural hair wide because there is a stereotype of Afrocentric women having short, natural hair. In the workplace it is not uncommon for them to have it straightened to look more “professional”. But since when was natural hair of any race deemed unprofessional other than ours. In her hair I put professional jobs that African American women have held despite all the adversity they face. Her face is calm, confident and poised. I base her attire off Michelle Obama, a woman whose impact on women is amazing. Her attire is blue, which to me means serenity and eloquence, attributes not given to African American women today. In the background are words used by society to describe African American women, however they are not true. They are poisonous lies meant to belittle them. However, the woman in my piece does not let this affect her, she has put it all behind her and stares straight ahead, looking forward to the progression of her career and the careers of all Afrocentric women.
Marianna Pritchett a senior majoring in Criminal Justice with a Minor in Business Administration. She hopes to become a defense attorney. She hails from Chicago, Ill. Her anticipated graduation date is May 2021.