Here Is The Amazing Poem About Missy Elliott That Blood Orange Samples On Freetown Sound

“For Colored Girls (The Missy Elliott Poem)” is the work of Atlanta writer Ashlee Haze.

Blood Orange’s just-released Freetown Sound pulses with a beautiful melange of voices, from established artists such as Carly Rae Jepsen and Empress Of, to samples from De La Soul and Paris Is Burning star Venus Xtravaganza. On the album’s atmsopheric opening track “By Ourselves," the first sampled voice that you hear is from Ashlee Haze, who delivers an impassioned reading of her piece "For Colored Girls (The Missy Elliot Poem).” In this text, Haze speaks about being inspired by Elliott’s work and image: feminism wears a throwback jersey, bamboo earrings, and a face beat for the gods/ feminism is Da Brat, Missy Elliott, Lil Kim, and Angie Martinez, on the “Not Tonight” track.

Haze is a poet from Atlanta whose work, as the bio on her website notes, is "intended to enlighten as well as entertain,” and is known by the nickname “Big 30" because of her consistency in getting a perfect score in poetry slam contests. After a reading of her poem "For Colored Girls (The Missy Elliott Poem)” went viral in 2015, Elliott reached out to Haze directly, and went on pay her a surprise house visit in January 2016. Haze told Atlanta INtown shortly after: “[Elliott] was humbled by the poem and said I could be the same kind of inspiration for someone else.”

Watch Haze read her piece in the embed above, or read the full text below. The section sampled on Freetown Sound starts about two-thirds of the way down, from I will show you a 26 year old woman...

"For Colored Girls (The Missy Elliot Poem)"


a brief history of womanhood in hip hop
or
your favorite could never
or
for colored girls who don’t need Katy Perry when Missy Elliott is enough

3rd grade. I’m in the hallway, when I’m sure I shouldn’t have been and Cory White comes up to me and asks “Yo! Have you heard that new Missy Elliot track?”
I reply “Who is Missy Elliot!?!”
at the time my parents only let me listen to the gospel and the smooth jazz station
but that day… i went home, ran upstairs to my room
and closed the door (a cardinal sin in a black mother’s house)
and waited on TRL to come on
then it happened. metallics and a black trash bag fill my TV screen
and I hear the coolest thing I’d ever heard in 8 years of living
*beep beep, who got the keys to my jeep… Vrooooommm!*
at that moment I had my life figured out
I was going to grow up to be Missy Elliott
I spent the next decade of my life recording and rewinding videos to learn dance moved
passing that dutch
getting my freak on
and trying to figure out what the hell she was saying in work it
there were so many artists I could have idolized at the time
but Missy was the only one who looked like me
It is because of Melissa Elliott
that I believed that a fat black girl from Chicago
could dance until she felt pretty
could be sexy and cool
could be a woman playing a man’s game
and be unapologetically fly
if you ask me why representation in the media is important
I will show you the tweet of a black teenager
asking who this “new” artist is that Katy Perry brought out on stage at the Super Bowl
I will show you my velour adidas sweat suit and white fur kangol I begged my parents for
I will show you a 26 year old woman who learned to dance until she felt pretty
feminism wears a throwback jersey, bamboo earrings, and a face beat for the gods
feminism is Da Brat, Missy Elliott, Lil Kim, and Angie Martinez, on the “Not Tonight” track
feminism says as a woman in my arena you are not my competition
as a woman in my arena your light doesn’t make mine any dimmer

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Dear Missy,
I did not grow up to be you
but I did grow up to be me
and to be in love with who this woman is
to be a woman playing a man’s game
and not be apologetic about any of it
If you ask me why representation is important
I will tell you that on the days I don’t feel pretty
I hear the sweet voice of Missy singing to me
pop that pop that, jiggle that fat
don’t stop, get it til your clothes get wet
I will tell you that right now there are a million
black girls just waiting to see someone who looks like them

Here Is The Amazing Poem About Missy Elliott That Blood Orange Samples On Freetown Sound