Sabriaya Shipley

Beah Brought Happiness

I’ve been told that the core of the earth moves when a Black woman speaks

Especially when a Black woman like Beah starts to tell her truth

I’ve seen her beloved breath cause Black beings to stomp the earth

Black children to laugh for eternity

And my kindred soul to cry

I mean Beah once painted a Blackhole on the wall and watch white women sink down into it’s painted truth.

She placed raisins in brown soil exposed to the sun

I can still hear their prayer that the roots would grab on

And they did

Her words shook my core

With her baptizing tone

Allotting me the discernment between the theatre and the show

She then retreated into her amended corner surrounded by halo light, all a glisten

She said goodbye to me

But all I could do was long for her return.

Poet Biography

Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Sabriaya Shipley is a Philadelphia based Black Queer actress, poet, playwright, and educator. She received her BA in Acting with training in Poetry as Performance and Poetic Ethnography from Temple University. She has worked with Philadelphia Young Playwright as a Resident Playwright, The Colored Girls Museum's Performing Identities, a playwriting and archiving collective for young Black girls, as a Special Projects Fellow and lead teaching artist, and currently serves at North Philly’s Tree House Books as a Literacy Program Director. She is the co-founder of Griot Girls, a youth writing collective for young Black girls set to launch October 2020. Her devised work has been featured at the Painted Bride Art Center, Bartram’s Garden, the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, within the Call & Response Journal, and Claer Magazine. Named one of Philadelphia’s A+ Educators by Philadelphia Family Magazine, Sabriaya is a citizen artist focused on creating and holding space for Black and Brown youth.