Published on Academy of American Poets (

"I’m Rooting for Everybody Black"

—Issa Rae

Everybody Black is my hometown team. Everybody Black dropped the hottest album of the year, easy. Everybody Black is in this show, so I’m watching. Everybody Black is in this movie, so I’m watching. Everybody Black wore it better, tell the truth. Everybody Black’s new book was beautiful. How you don’t know about Everybody Black?! Everybody Black mad underrated. Everybody Black remind me of someone I know. I love seeing Everybody Black succeed. I hope Everybody Black get elected. Everybody Black deserves the promotion more than anybody. I want Everybody Black to find somebody special. Everybody Black is good peoples. Everybody Black been through some things. Everybody Black don’t get the credit they’re due. I met Everybody Black once and they were super chill and down-to-earth. I believe in Everybody Black. There’s something about Everybody Black.


Copyright © 2018 by Cortney Lamar Charleston. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 15, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“When director, producer, screenwriter, and actress Issa Rae strolled down the red carpet at the Emmy Awards and told the world she was “rooting for everybody Black” to win that night, I hollered from the rooftops before subsequently entering a very anxious space, worrying about how those deeply honest words, not entirely comedic but spoken in a comedic tone, would be received by the White mainstream. Systemic racial oppression produces a very particular affiliation between members of the oppressed. What looks like unabashed racial pride to others is exactly that, but it’s also a reaction to how unabashed racial pride in others has ravaged Black communities, and yet here we are, every single day, still living, somehow defying even our own expectations just as we defy absolute death and collective (spiritual) destitution. This is what the poem celebrates, what it roots for and is rooted in.”

—Cortney Lamar Charleston


Cortney Lamar Charleston

Cortney Lamar Charleston is the author of Telepathologies (Saturnalia Books, 2017).

Date Published: 2018-01-15

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