Ponytail: A Poem for Gabby Douglas
Ponytail: A Poem for Gabby Douglas
by Jasmine Waiters
This self-hatred has knocked us out.
Us as a black community, we’re unconscious, it’s time to wake up and to.
Do ya’ll even realize the adversity that she had to fight through?
Her mom is facing bankruptcy for her daughter’s dreams to come true, and ya’ll talking about,
ya’ll talking about her hair ain’t up to par.
It ain’t up to par for who?
She took uneven bars and she raised the bar for you, so what more can we ask for?
She ran through barriers, broke barricades, took the Olympic flame and lit a path for little black girls.
She did back flips that landed her in history books.
Put on a performance that no one could compare to, it was hard enough to trail.
She became somethin’ out of nothin’
and yet the topic of discussion has become her ponytail.
Not the fact that she’s the first African-American standing with gold on that podium.
We’re giving her grief when she deserves pandemonium.
We ought to be the number one source of where her love and support is coming from.
Because flips and falls they can break her bones, but the words out of our mouth can leave her undone.
That’s why I can’t fathom how we as a people could be so belligerent.
She’s 16 doin’ big things, yet we choose to belittle her with our ignorance.
Trying to own our insecurities, by robbing her of her innocence.
Who are we to be so arrogant?
She’s 16 and an Olympian not 16 and pregnant.
Being on MTV don’t compare to NBC.
She’s balancing more than a beam.
when I look at her, I see me.
I see the possibilities, I see the opportunities she provides me.
I got a niece that might do a floor routine because she saw Gabby Douglas do the same then and that inspires me.
She brought nothing but success to our culture,
and in return, we scavenged for something insignificant and ate it up like vultures.
She was born into a situation where statistics said that she would fail,
yet she found a way to overcome it,
so I find it repugnant to sit here and talk about her ponytail.
I don’t care about her hair, she’s on a big stage, she’s under bright lights.
She’s the product of our ancestors, the reason why Martin Luther King died for our rights.
So my only question is, What is Gabby Douglas if this ignorance is bliss?
And what do we have to be proud of if we can’t be proud of this?
Ask yourself, because I’m proud. I know I’m proud.
I’m proud because my President is black and my favorite gymnast is too.
So rock that ponytail Gabby, I’ll even rock it with you.
College Basketball Player, Jasmine Waiters’ Powerful Poem about the Gabby Douglas Hair Furor
College basketball player, Jasmine Waiters, could not, and did not, sit back after reading about all the tweets, posts and stories from people (some of whom were African-American) complaining about Olympic double Gold Medalist gymnast Gabby Douglas’ hair.
Powerful Poem and Recitation
Waiters responded with a strong message in a powerful poem, which she personally recites. Waiters points out, in powerful fashion, that Gabby is only 16 and has “only” accomplished an amazing feat and is therefore deserving of support for her record setting performance, not such negative commentary on such a trivial aspect.
Dual Impact – Sports and Poetry
Waiters, and her speedy guard play, are expected to have an impact on the basketball team at Notre Dame de Namur. As an English major, Waiters is already having an impact on the culture with her powerful poem and recitation.
Information About the Poet
Waiters is originally from Stockton, California, where she attended Edison High School. Her proud parents are John and Edith Waiters. Jasmine Waiters, is a standout college basketball player, who transferred from Reedley College, and now plays basketball for the Argonauts of Notre Dame de Namur College in California, which is coached by Mike Rudder. Last season, at Reedly College, Weiters was selected to the First Team All-CVC (Central Valley Conference). She averaged 10 points and 7 assists as a sophomore at Reedly. She is an English major.