Subira Wahogo: Coffee & Cream Live Performance

Video & Transcript

2018 Green Curtain Award winner Subira Wahogo performed their poem Coffee & Cream live at ONCA gallery.



This man said we look like coffee and cream
This man makes me wanna snatch up his eyes because he’s using them wrong
This man speaks with the confidence of someone who can never really see another person, only what he wants to see
This man thinks he’s giving us a compliment
This man is wrong

I’m not coffee, but
If I was coffee, I’d be scalding hot, causing welts, decimate your tastebuds, you tried too quick, you regret it but it’s too late coffee
If I was coffee, I’d be bitter, leaving a taste in the back in your throat for too long, you’re embarrassed to admit but it makes you feel sick coffee
If I was coffee, I’d be stronger than you expected, gives you the shakes, realise you can’t handle it, makes you shit yourself coffee

But I’m not coffee
I’m me
I’m a carnival of multiplicities within this skin that I love so much
I’m a dancefloor for dualities twisting and writhing, twerking and grinding beneath my surface
I’m a festival of complexities and contradictions, identities and experiences barely contained by this beautiful brown body
And this man had the audacity to tell me I look like coffee

It’s not the first, nor the last time I’ll be compared to something you’d like on your dinner table
Weak and childish racists who struggle to see people of colour as real and whole
You like to fetishize and fantasize to try to make us sweet and palatable
And I’m here to remind you that we’re not

We’re not coffee: mocha, mochachino, babychino, latte, one of coffee two of cream, milky coffee, coffee bean
You can’t buy us from your local Starbucks
We’re not caramel: caramel wafers, caramel delight
You have no right
We’re not chocolate: hot chocolate, chocolate milk, oreo, nutella, bounty
We won’t be sweet for you
We’re not brown sugar, cinnamon, walnut, whisky
We’re not here for your whimsy
We’re not coconut, curry, little chili, hot sauce, sweet n sour sauce
We will not spice up your life
We’re not… mixed salad, olives and tahini, nandos fucking chicken,
Fuck you thought, dickhead?!

We are more than you could ever consume
So don’t you even think to presume
That this is anything more than
trashy garbage

(and no, it’s not a fucking compliment)