je suis noir is a book of poetry focusing on being black in America.
I want to recognize the great tragedy that is the loss of black lives in America and the resulting debate about whether or not people of colour matter. This chapbook is a direct response to these feelings. Saying black lives matter is not to say ONLY black lives matter or ONLY black tragedies matter. But rather, it is a response to a culture that diminishes the attacks on people of colour, discredits their innocence, and disparages our race as a whole. je suis noir is a work that stands in support with Black communities suffering the effects of racial violence.
je suis noir is not meant to minimize French tragedies. je suis noir is a cry that says “our tragedies are valid as well.”
My name is Christopher S. Lilley. I am a Christian, an opera singer, a youth music minister, a teacher, and an older brother. I am also a black poet who will not remain silent while this nation murders black people. I have a right to be angry.
Christopher Lilley, a New York native, is a poet, spoken word artist, a singer and multi-instrumentalist, and a teaching artist. Chris has had the privilege of collaborating with Jasmine Mans and Rudy Fransisco, and has performed in several famed spaces such as the Nuyorican Poets Cafe and the Bowery Poetry Club, as well as in venues across the country. He seeks to begin community dialogues on topics that have been labeled as taboo or shameful, with a focus on bringing mental health awareness to black, Christian, and otherwise marginalized communities.
His writing most often reflects his love for God, his love for blackness, and his love for the hurting. He says that his writing seeks to encompass everything that he is in its entirety. When he is not writing, he teaches music and voice lessons in inner city schools. Chris is also part of True Voices, a spoken word poetry collective originating in New York City, that now spans the Eastern Seaboard. He is a member of the New York Chapter.
Chris is the author of The Quiet Way, as well as one chapbook entitled je suis noir [i am black], available now.