Monday, May 10, 2010

Lena Horne

Last week, I found myself listening to the song, "If You Believe," as sung by Lena Horne, almost non-stop. Last night, Lena Horne left this world for the next one.

Dear Ms. Lena, thank you so very much for helping me to believe in myself. Rest in peace sweet spirit, powerful woman, child of Africa. You brought us love and lived with dignity during a time when dignity was denied to black people and most of all black women. I love you, Ms. Lena. We all do. Sleep well.


In dignity denied
during Jim Crow's time
you held your head
cocked to the side
smile curving
breasts and hips
taped up in black soldier's lockers
paraded across USO stages
staged a one woman war
to protest military segregation
marched in Birmingham
on Albany
because you believed
in your own freedom
free will to free yourself
and freed us
from head rags
and rag time
left behind minstrel shows
and showed the world
that black woman and sex symbol
are synonyms
made L.E.N.A
into an acronym: LUSCIOUS, ELEGANT, NEGRO, and ALIVE
you refused to hide
your sensuality or sexuality
the duality of living in a black/white divide
skin a passport and a barrier
harried by children that called you white
never white enough for Hollywood
you kept on
and kept us
keeping on
with song and dance and laughter
a beautiful sister
unafraid to be black
unashamed to be woman
unsurpassed as a human

Sweet mother
you've earned your peace
sleep well.

Ashe. Love. Lena.

-Brandon Lacy Campos
-New York, NY
-May 10, 2010


  1. Lovely, Brandon - thank you.

    I've always felt a "kinship" with Ms. Horne, partially because we were/are both from African descent, partially because we were/are Leos, but more that we both were born in Brooklyn, NY. I do believe her name is in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden "Walk of Fame," for all celebrities born in the borough.

    Well done, Ms. Lena, Well done.

  2. Thank you, Pat, for sharing your memories. Well done, Ms. Lena, indeed.


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