Featured Poet: Jo’Nella Queen Ellerbe

Jo’Nella Queen Ellerbe, standing at just under 6ft tall is hard to miss, but her voice is what compels people to listen whether it be poetry, song or words of encouragement. Jo’Nella is known for her ability to get to know people and incomparably contagious laughter. She is always trying new things and she is from El Barrio (Spanish Harlem) in New York. She went to an all girls school from 7-12 grade where her passion for feminism began and is a junior at Brown University majoring in Ethnic Studies and another soon to be determined major. You may recognize the Queen from the widespread Target Acceptance Commercial which features a clip from her early acceptance to the Brown class of 2015. She is an aspiring writer and is constantly learning from her involvements whether it be with Christian communities on Campus, the Women’s Rugby Team or her home at the Third World Center.

Click here for a video of Jo’Nella performing an original piece called #youshouldknowthisaboutme.

Below are three more original pieces.

Massacre of Omission

She had a choice and that choice led to a massacre

A massacre I still feel in my heart although

The blood is cleaned and

Sounds of cries

Fleet

Sometimes people are selfish

They are selfish when they ought to be selfless

And selfless when they ought to be conscious of their self

Choices lead to massacres and revolution

Joy at funerals and unhappy weddings

When will a new choice be made?

For my future husband

When you look into my eyes, I hope you see the mother of your children,

Realize immediately that I am not an indulgence;

That I am not something you can confidently live without

I hope you see time. All the time with and without me and everything in between

I hope it makes you hold me closer and tighter

Know that I’ve been praying for you

I’ll be your best friend, lover, sister in Him

I’d happily be your mother and your future childrens’ mother simultaneously.

You, husband, father, daddy, friend

When look into your eyes, I hope I see the complete ever-growing essence of you,

Realize immediately that we are meant to be forever

That you love me

I want you to see a future with me. Our home, with everything in it.

I want the thought of this to make you smile and laugh

I know you’ve been praying for me too

This Country is Unkind to Me

This country is unkind to me

They call me a terrorist, but I am a refugee

Unfree

I do not smile because they do not want to see me enjoy my blessings

They want no joy

Just control

Like the control I’ve taught my daughters to have religiously,

Even while their hijabs are pulled off their heads in public school–

This country is unkind to me

Ridicule my native tongue

They see it as primitive

A tool for mass terror

They do not know what it

Feels like

telling their tradition

Amidst occupation in their home or

Noticing that cloak of Disgust that envelopes a stranger when they read your family name aloud

This country is unkind to me

But they cannot make me leave

they cannot make me leave

This country is unkind to me

But it leaves the secret in the anthem my son sings perfectly;

It is the land of the free

land of the free

But some of us who make a home here have to be

braver than the wealthy

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