Here to Stay

Spring/Summer 2021

Osman London - clothing brand
︎︎︎ @osmanlondon
Here To Stay
Poem by Osman Yousefzada & Red Medusa

Look at ME
Get used to my face
My thick and slender frames
My weird and wild ways
Observe my displays of femininity
Get use to what you see
Whether you like it
Whether you do Not,
I am here to stay

My bhindis, locs and traditional frocks
More than a fashion statement,
More then appropriated symbols of identity
More than part-time adornments of the privileged
They are symbols of MY survival
You have a history of Theft
Taking from us, putting us on ships
Shackling our Hearts and Splendor
Enslaving us
Enslaving us for your profit

Except I am free
It makes me smile to see that in your ignorance
In the wearing of my culture,
My Heritage, My History
My colours and symbols,
My gifts and my curses

You are celebrating me
So copy, reinvent, try to obliterate who I am
But the truth is, and always will be that
I am here to stay

I have survived your long famine
And now fill my belly with love
I have survived your wars
And replaced them with my peace
I have survived your poverty
And am rich in spirit
I have survived your technologies
And transformed your weapons
From the Whip, to the Gun, and into the pen
Which joins these letters to write these words
With which I will change the world

Because I was taught that
You were better than me
That God is white, that God is male
That this God was chosen to rule over ME
Except I was born of a WOMAN
I grew in her womb
Nurtured by breasts
And it was SHE who gave me Breath

I am more than Kipling’s “white mans’ burden”
I am more than the sum of my Ancestors labour
I am my language,
I am my struggle
I am the glory of my heritage
Despite the crimes of colonialism
Capitalism and its father, neoliberalism
I am still the Perfume of Arabia

I am still the Silk of the Silk Route
I am still the Comfort of cotton
I am still the kohl Black that lines the eyes of MY beauty
I am the strength in the tin pots you mock
I am the pride of your Britain
I also built this place

And now you protect your statutes, your histories
Yet these are my histories, of how I got here
And here I will Stay

Occupying spaces you said I had no right to

I will fight despite your insults
And here I will Stay
And you will insist that I get back, get back, get back to where you once belonged!

I am Here to Stay
See my face
Remember my name
Because I have and always will
Be here to stay.