Black Queer Hoe. Britteney Black Rose Kapri. Haymarket Books. Chicago, Illinois. 2018.
Today's book of poetry put India Arie on the box this morning. We had her singing Saint Pharoah of Saunders sublime "The Creator Has A Master Plan." Why? Because Britteney Black Rose Kapri is in the house and we needed some grace.
Black Queer Hoe explodes as soon as you open the cover. Kapri turns it all upside down and laughs while she does it. She does not give two fucks. Kapri owns everything, her Blackness, her Queerness and her Holy screaming Hoeness. These poems are an indictment against a society of racist, homophobic puritans at the same time as it is a joyful shout to a future blue sky where tolerance is a forgotten world and acceptance is the norm.
allow me to reintroduce myself, my name is Britteney
Black Rose Kapri aka Bee aka Besus Fights aka Go Go
Gadget Hoe aka That Bitch Your Mother wishes you'd
marry. of House Slytherin. first of her name. Queen of the
Clapback. Patron Saint of Fat Bitches with too much mouth
and even more tiddy. Duchess of Depression. Right
Honorable of Cellulite and Twerk. Professor Pop Off. Elder
Petty. Admiral of Hoe Tendencies and Anxiety. Captain
Can't Save Em, but i keep trying. Siren to last-cause niggas
and light-skin rappers. Master of Self-Deprecation. High
Priestess of the Pen and Mic. Countess of Shut a Nigga
Down. Server of Shade and These Hands. Chairman of the
Curve. Emperor of Don't Come for Me. Lord of I Didn't
Send for You. Don of the fuck your mixtape, papa john's,
indiana, j. cole, and your misogyny facebook statuses.
Mother of Draggings.
all these poets is my sons. i create space for marginalized
youth to counter the narrative being forced upon them.
i also punt toddlers for crying on airplanes. i drink like a
sailor and fuck like my mother. i ain't got time for your
shit, so come correct boy or don't come at all. i chef like
your southern granny and bougie northern auntie that ran
and never looked back. spent the past twenty-nine years
working on being the best version of myself, which means
loving the worst versions of myself. ain't no shrew to be
tamed, ain't no horse to be broke, ain't no Hoe to be
housewived. i be all this and i ain't gone stop. i got my own
house, my own car, work two jobs, imma bad Bitch. But if
you call me Bitch i'll skin you.
Today's book of poetry isn't sure Britteney Black Rose Kapri wants a sixty-two, almost sixty-three, year-old white man, straight, married and monogamous, to even read Black Queer Hoe much less write about it. But we should all read Black Queer Hoe. It is illuminating.
Kapri makes it clear that she doesn't approve of the "fearless" moniker being applied to her or her poetry so Today's book of poetry can't use that. So, we went back in time and contacted the only woman we know who might rival Kapri for her honest, blunt and omnivorous sexual appetite. We contacted THE Luba. THE Luba was fearless.
No one gets more love and respect from Today's book of poetry than THE Luba. THE Luba said that Kapri sounded like her sort of gal but hadn't read Black Queer Hoe so she could only hold her tongue. She also insisted we send her a copy immediately.
Britteney Black Rose Kapri does so much Today's book of poetry admires in Black Queer Hoe, she was even kind enough to give us another "list" poem. All my Today's book of poetry poetry babies know how much we enjoy a good "list" poem. Kapri nails it to the page — during the morning read our newest intern Maggie got a full standing ovation when she read "to every nigga told me their dick belonged to me."
to every nigga that told me
their dick belonged to me
for kush thompson
i am building a fort with these dicks.
washing em off and regifting these dicks.
i've run out of shelves for these dicks.
got a crown made of the best dicks.
stack three together
and it's a lightsaber dick.
I even recycle the dicks.
reduce, reuse, resuck these dicks.
fortifying a wall around my bed of these dicks.
put on a puppet show starring these dicks.
if i leave one behind got a whole arsenal of these dicks.
i go on antiques roadshow with these dicks.
most time i don't even want these dicks.
Britteney Black Rose Kapri is up front with everything including telling us about her fight with hidradenitis suppurativa and her girth. No shame taken or given because Today's book of poetry is always going to champion poetry this honest. That's another phrase Kapri will most likely disapprove of. But Today's book of poetry does recognize genuine, strong, fearless and true when we see it. Kapri won't be found in any kitchen soon but her own but this woman can burn.
Black Queer Hoe made Today's book of poetry laugh his ass off. Kapri is a poet Today's book of poetry would love to have a drink and a smoke and a conversation with.
Today's book of poetry hates talking about race but that is talking that still needs to be done. Kapri's poems are way past the talking stage. These poems are flat out assaulting the status quo.
a reading guide:
for white people reading my book
don't sister girl me or giiiiirl me or sis me or girlfriend me
or hey bitch me, or any other slang you think me and other
Black woman call ourselves when you're not around.
making it to the end of the book does not open some
special key to nigga vernacular. i'm not your Black friend.
not your hero. this book ain't for you. it's a celebration of
my Blackness, my Queerness, my Hoeness, none of which
exists without the other. if you want to celebrate me, buy
me a shot or tell your cousins to stop asking if my wigs are
my real hair. now i know, that you know, not to say nigga.
but sometimes y'all act like you haven't seen the same
viral videos as me. you know, the ones where one of y'all
step outside y'all body to the wrong nigga and get y'all w
hole ancestry knocked outta y'all. this book isn't a rap
song (2). something to get caught up in and accidentally
forget who you are. or where you are. if i see you reading
along mouthing the word nigga i will stop my whole ass set
to ask you why. embarrassing white folks and fuckboys is
my american past time. this book isn't an invitation. i am
not your therapist or here to validate that one time you
stood up to your grandpa by telling him colored was
outdated. don't applaud yourselves. instead show a Black
woman you appreciate them. all we want is reparations
and to be left the fuck alone.
(2) don't say nigga when you're rapping either
Even after the last line of that fine poem Today's book of poetry isn't going to leave Britteney Black Rose Kapri alone, we're hoping she won't mind. Either way we are going to say we have the temerity to like these vibrant poems. We'll go even further, Today's book of poetry would argue that Kapri's slick hits reminds us how we are all alive and beautiful in this sometimes ugly mess. But the world is alive and beautiful in each of us. She says this but wouldn't admit it to me. Black Queer Hoe kicks ass and takes names while doing it.
Black Queer Hoe is not your typical autobiographical apology or racist rage. It isn't a binary for homophobic joy seekers. Black Queer Hoe isn't for the average reader, it is in spite of the average reader. Nothing average about Britteney Black Rose Kapri.
Britteney Black Rose Kapri
ABOUT THE AUTHORBritteney Black Rose Kapri is a Chicago performance poet and playwright. Currently she is an alumna turned Teaching Artist Fellow at Young Chicago Authors. Her work has been featured in Poetry Magazine, Button Poetry, Seven Scribes, and many other outlets, and anthologized in The BreakBeat Poets and The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 2: Black Girl Magic. She is a contributor to Black Nerd Problems, a Pink Door Retreat Fellow, and a 2015 Rona Jaffe Writers Award Recipient.
BLURBS“This brazen debut is good medicine and a needed shout in the world. Black Queer Hoe makes it clear Britteney Black Rose Kapri is a poet we must pay attention to, taking up the reigns of many spoken word and literary ancestors and charging forward into poetics unafraid to be ratchet and bare.”
—Danez Smith, author of Don’t Call Us Dead
“Britteney Kapri writes with the tenacity of your favorite emcee and the gumption of your most outspoken Auntie. In her first full-length collection, Black Queer Hoe, Kapri opens the entire conversation with the (un)justification of being labeled a Hoe and the womxn reader will find themselves gasping after each line, these poems serve as a re-introduction to our reflections. As profound as Eartha Kitt, as futuristic in her feminism as Grace Jones as positively unabashed about her body as Josephine Baker and as lyrically provocative as Cardi B; Kapri's multi-genre'd poetic offering is a new home for those unafraid of this brave cruel world.”
—Mahogany L. Browne, author of Black Girl Magic and co-editor of The BreakBeatPoets Vol. 2: Black Girl Magic
“Britteney Kapri is a stunningly talented writer whose words reach out from the page and grab you around the throat one minute while pulling you into a hug in the next. This book is incredible.”
—Samantha Irby, author of Meaty
Britteney Black Rose Kapri
Poetry & Pie Night - Pink Door Edition 2017
Video: Poetry & Pie Night
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