This work was featured in Issue 17:4, Fall 2016 — Slam Issue

Cedric Harper

Ode to Urban Dictionary

Volume 17:4, Fall 2016
Slam Issue 

 

 

Kill Moe: a term in which to agree
Synonyms: coincide, concur
Ji Like: sort of, kinda
Synonyms: slightly, vaguely
This is an ode to Urban Dictionary
For not trying to gentrify my language but for praising it
Holding it high
Putting Ebonics on a mantle and
Emphasizing the sway in our mouths
The cool in our tongues
Letting us urban kids know the slurs in our English mean something good
That this language be a subtle morse code for them white folks
For showing them our black, knowing that they wouldn’t understand it
For creating Something not even Google translator could conform to
Thank you for teaching the kids who judge my speech
My speech
Telling them,
They can’t dictate my diction
This in an homage to hood bible
For saying fuck you to everyone who told me to enunciate
To be the only thing in America not stripped from its roots
To be the only black thing not bleached
I love you
Because of the people you’re created for
You’re unapologetic
Black
And the only thing white folks have yet to get their hands on
Hell,
This is ode to Urban Dictionary
The offspring of English
Raised between our lips
Code switching from literary to vernacular
Thank you Urban Dictionary
For telling us urban youth
Us urban people
That our language
Our speech
Our urban
Is just as proper as any other way of speaking
This is regard to you
For showing regard to us
To be the only dictionary to define Deez Nutz
Why because it’s funny
To be the only dictionary of the ghetto
And for the ghetto
To be the only history book
Truly about black history
To be the foundation of a language we built
For us
By us
Thank you

Cedric "Remedy" Harper is a Washington, DC native. Harper has performed in South Africa and throughout DC, including at the U.S. Department of Education, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and a White House teach-in. Harper was a member of the 2014 Cesar Chavez Contraverse team that competed in Louder Than A Bomb- DMV and a 2014 Hyperbole Champion.