Crystal Valentine


Born and raised in the Bronx, Crystal Valentine is a nationally and internationally poet. Crystal has traveled across seas performing on platforms in Paris, Brazil, Botswana, South Africa and elsewhere. She was named Glamour Magazine's 2016 College Woman of the Year, Teen Vogue's Rising Young Black Thought Leader, and was the recipient of the National Conference of College Women Student Leaders Woman’s Distinction Award. A Callaloo Fellow and former New York City Youth Poet Laureate, Crystal’s work has been featured on programming for MSNBC, Blavity, Button Poetry, BET, CNN, The New York Daily News and more. She earned her B.A in Psychology at New York University, where she is returning as a MFA candidate in Poetry. She is a coordinator for the Bronx Council on the Arts and is the current Wednesday Night host at the Nuyorican Poets Café. Source

And the News Reporter Says ‘Jesus is White’

She says it with a smile

Like it’s the most obvious thing in the world

So sure of herself

Of her privilege

Her ability to change history

Rewrite bodies to make them look like her


She says it the same way politicians say racism no longer exists

The same way police officers call dead Black boys thugs

The same way white gentrifiers call Brooklyn home


She says it with an American accent

Her voice doing that American thing

Crawling out of her throat

Reaching to clasp onto something 

That does not belong to her 


I laugh to myself


What makes a Black man a Black man?

Is it a white woman’s confirmation?

Is it her head nod?

Is it the way she’s allowed to go on national television

And auto correct the Bible and God himself,

Tell him who his son really was?


What makes a black man a black man:

The way reporters retell their deaths like fairytales

The way their skulls split across pavement

The way they cannot outrun a bullet

The way they cannot inherit privilege


How can she say Jesus was a white man 

when he died the blackest way possible?


With his hands up

With his mother watching,

Crying at his feet

Her tears nothing more than gossip 

for the news reporters or prophets to document

With his body left to sour in the sun

With his human stripped from his Black


Remember that?

How the whole world was saved by a Black man

By a man so loved by God,

He called him kin

He called him Black


Now ain’t that suspicious?

Ain’t that news worthy?

Ain't that something worth being killed over?





Literary Movements:

Spoken Word

Anthology Years:


Faith & Hope

Police Brutality

Racial Injustice

Literary Devices:


a figure of speech in which words repeat at the beginning of successive clauses, phrases, or sentences


a recurrence of the same word or phrase two or more times

Rhetorical Question

a question asked for effect, not necessarily to be answered


a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”