A Black Man & A White Woman Trade Voices In This Moving Poem

Photo via YouTube.
Allies rule. However, there’s a fine line between lending support and effectively yanking the microphone from someone in order to talk about an experience you have not gone through — and never will. Darius Simpson and Scout Bostley — a black man and white woman, respectively — bring that difference into crisp focus when they perform their original poem, “Lost Voices,” live.

The two recently performed it at the 2015 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational in Virginia, and won third place.


The poem reflects the individual struggles of growing up African-American as well as growing up female. It’s a blunt and cutting portrayal that effectively illuminates ugly facets of each experience, especially those of the childhood years. The performance, with the two speakers jumping back and forth, robbing each other of their voices, is jarring — but intentionally so. After all, when allies go too far and take ownership of a narrative that isn’t theirs, they cease to be helpful.

Correction: An earlier version of this post misstated the author of the poem. It was written by Simpson and Bostley.

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