Watch: Daniel Beaty’s Chilling ‘A Black Boy Speaks’ Spoken Word on ‘Arsenio’

Daniel Beaty performs "A Black Boy Speaks" on 'Arsenio'

Daniel Beaty performs “A Black Boy Speaks” on ‘Arsenio’

Award-winning actor, poet, author and playwright Daniel Beaty recently stopped by the Arsenio Hall Show to deliver a moving spoken word performance of his original poem, titled “A Black Boy Speaks.”

The Adjunct Professor at Columbia University opened the performance singing a remix of “Motherless Child,” crooning “Sometimes I feel like a fatherless child / A long ways from home…”

Every verse that follows stings, expressing the pain of troubled black boys and respectability politics within their communities:

“You tell me to pull up my pants, pull down my hoodie and watch the words I speak / The roots of this system are poisoned but you focusing on a leaf…”

Challenging adults to fix the mess we’ve either caused or continue to watch happen Daniel asks, “Why don’t you Harriet Tubman us to freedom / Instead of shaming us for our pain?” Watch below.