9-Year-Old Activist Shares Powerful Poem: 'When Do I Go From Cute To Dangerous?'

by Christina Marfice
Black Girl's Powerful Poem Goes Viral: 'When Do I Go From Cute To Dangerous?'
Vivien Killilea/Getty

“When do I go from cute to dangerous?” 9-year-old Havana Chapman-Edwards pens a powerful poem about racism around the globe

She may be just nine years old, but Havana Chapman-Edwards is already a seasoned and powerful activist. The daughter of U.S. diplomats who currently live in Germany, she said her travels to more than 30 countries have allowed her to see that racism is a global issue. And after watching the last few weeks’ events unfold in the U.S. — the death of George Floyd and the protests and unrest that followed — she knew she needed to speak out.

So Chapman-Edwards and her father wrote a poem together. She shared it on Twitter, where it’s gaining traction, because it’s incredibly powerful.

“My ancestors were kings and queens, you know what I mean. Then others sacrificed and died, to allow us to have better lives,” her poem begins. “No matter how hard the world tries to leave people like me behind, we still rise.”

In her poem, Chapman-Edwards puts forth five questions, saying, “We, the kids, need answers.”

These are questions like, “Why do our teachers read books about enslavement, but not about black inventors, astronauts, scientists, dancers, pilots, diplomats and judges?” “When do I go from cute to dangerous?” and “Why do I have to live with the fear that my brother and my dad might not make it home?”

They’re powerful questions, and they’re valid, and we owe Chapman-Edwards answers. We owe her a future where she doesn’t even need to ask questions like these. We owe it to all kids.

This is far from Chapman-Edwards’ first time making headlines for her activism. She’s been making positive change in the world since she was just 7, when she was the only student at her Virginia elementary school to participate in the national school walkout to protest against gun violence.

The photo of her alone outside her school, in an orange astronaut costume, went viral. Since then, Chapman-Edwards has participated in numerous other protest events against gun violence, and even started her own fundraising efforts to buy books and supplies for girls all over the world who don’t have ready access to education.

“I wanted to help them (because) I want to them to grow up and reach their goals and dreams like I want to,” she told the Today show late last year.

She later added, “Even if you’re tiny, your voice is not. The world leaders need to listen to the little girls trying to make change.”

We couldn’t agree with that more.