ebony by Lanaire Aderemi (verse writer)



associate the word ebony with the tree ebony 

notice how the tree has a smooth finish when polished 

imagine a world where black women weren’t punished 

so for a few seconds just shut up and listen 

i remember when asked ‘ what’s next?’ 

replied with ‘ masters , phd? 

this man replied when ‘ when will you settle down , you career woman’ 

the thing about black women is 

we are always told to click pause 

always told to wait our turn 

told we’re extra, loud, aggressive, angry 

as though we are angry for nothing 

i remember when i said I was not chasing my last name 

was told ‘i will never marry ‘ 

to which I sighed , replied, smiled and said 

‘ marriage is not my identity 



associate the word ebony with the tree ebony 

notice how it is vital for commerce 

notice how black women are as well 

except we are commodified and vilified and exoticized 

and like the tree we are at risk of extinction 

from being cut down by patriarchal chainsaws 

which then tells the forest full of other ebony trees to be silent 

-lanaire aderemi (verse writer) 

Lanaire Aderemi(verse writer) is a playwright, poet, performer, theatre maker and workshop facilitator. Her work mainly explores the politics of memory whilst challenging the marginalisation of Black women’s voices, histories and stories.  She is the author of a poetry anthology called ‘of ivory and ink’ and poet in a collaborative EP , ‘ Ancient History’ with rapper, King Solomon. Lanaire was one of 30 artists in Coventry selected by the Coventry City of Culture Trust to produce a commissioned poem for #HumansofCov . Her show ‘an evening with verse writer’ intricately weaves poems from childhood to her present day and incorporates live music, audience interaction and storytelling. The play has been shown in theatres such as the Tristan Bates, Coventry Shop Front Theatre as part of the Shoot Festival and Warwick Arts Centre. Lanaire’s play ‘ you did not break us’ – a play based on the Egba market women protest in Nigeria was presented at the Birmingham Rep Theatre during her residency in the poetic theatre makers programme. In collaboration with Africa Writes and African Women Playwrights Network , she facilitated theatre workshops at Stoke Newington School as part of the Africa Writes Festival Programme. An art enthusiast, Lanaire has also worked with the Tate. 

To read the other pieces Lanaire has written for us, please click here, here and here.

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