You know her, you love her.

You know her, you love her. Shaa is a beautiful artist, poet and woman with an equally beautiful story. Check it out.

My childhood. I was born in Montreal Canada and was raised  by my mother and grandmother. My mother got married & had my sister and I at a fairly young age. My father left when I began to learn how to walk. It is only now that I realize the significance of that sentence. Ever since then, my grandmother has taken the role of my father. My grandmother was raised is Bridgetown, Barbados and being raised by Caribbean women has both its perks and disadvantages. The home was very disciplined and dependent on God. My sister and I were always taught to “be powerful” and to “remain in God’s love” and to continue to “listen, observe and learn.” I carry it all with me every waking day.

I’m always asked what “inspires” me to write and every time I’m asked, I remember. I have a memory of being very young, living with my grandmother. She and I were going through some old photos and I remembered listening to her as she reminisced and got lost in the past. I remember as she spoke I continued to rummage through her dated suit case. I came across a black and white photograph of a ship; behind the picture was a poem, hand written about “Saint Mary,” my grandfather's ship. See, my Grandfather was a seaman and was out at sea roughly 8 months out of the year. The poem spoke of his dire love for “her” (Saint Mary) and the internal war he was battling being away from home, referring to it like an affair of infidelity. It was incredible. At the end of the poem it was signed “Whitfield Hunte.”

I never knew that my grandfather was a poet, but when I asked my grandmother she told me when he was away from home for months at a time, he would write to her and I promise to God ever since that day I never let a pen go untouched. Since then, everything evokes a stanza from me. Emotions, trees, skin, laughter & color. Everything. Some days the sentences sit so heavy in my gut that I have to force my pen down my throat to get it on paper. Other days, the words seep out like running water. It's just that simple. Either black or white. I understand & have accepted that I am not in control of what lures me in, I’m just the one with the pen.

My future with Ms. Poetry is still very uncertain. I know that I do want to leave a legacy behind; a book. But, I understand that that kind of art takes time. I am being very patient with myself and very dependent on this pen. One thing I know for sure is that my legacy (my book) will be free. At the end of the day, my goal is to make the people feel. Take something from what I write, nurture it and feel. Whether it be good or bad as long as I evoke emotion, I am content. People shouldn’t have to pay to experience feeling.

I write because I have something to say, plenty to say. I am a black woman with the Power of Words, I really have no choice but to let my voice be heard.

If you want to check out more of her work, visit her on Instagram, @iamnoshakespeare.

Bri'Ann Stephenspoet, poetry, artist