Friday, June 24, 2011

A Brotha's Perspective on Real Beauty

By Christopher D. Sims, Edited By Dee Thompson

"My current female friends are very instrumental in the way I look at & treat women. Those connections are sacred."

I have given a lot of thought to what makes a person beautiful, and through my poetry and my writing, I try to transmit my thoughts about real beauty. Through my work as a Writer, Poet, Activist, Open Mic host, and traveler, I continually seek to deepen my understanding of beauty, and how to nurture an appreciation of real beauty in children and young people.

I am single and I have no children, but I have had significant relationships that helped me grow as a man and taught me a lot about love and how to treat women. My current female friends and associates are very instrumental in the way I look at and treat women. Those connections are sacred.

However, when I truly think about beauty from a brotha's perspective, I must first recognize the three beautiful black women that raised me. I grew up on the west side of Rockford, Illinois. The three women who were instrumental in the person I am today are my mother and my two sisters, Della Sims, Marquetta Alexander, and Kimberly Sims.

Their presence instilled in me a light that will always glow and attract positive energy. Their warm smiles and affection helped me harness the real beauty that I possess as a man and as a human being. I took their love and held it and nurtured it inside me until I beamed just the same on the outside. It takes a conscious man to understand this, and to be able to share it with others in a positive and productive way.

When I was nine, I began to really find myself. I became a lot smarter, more social, and dug into my creative energy. I could feel real beauty from the inside. I know it made me stand out amongst my peers. This light, this internal beauty, became my guide through my life. Real beauty is internal beauty. It starts inside. I had an early start, so I shine brightly because of this. I've never recognized external beauty as the real beauty in my life.

As someone who “dresses nice”, I tell others my clothing is an extension of how I feel internally. I hope the people I share this with understand it. Materialism has never been the core of my being. It has never pushed me to compete with others or to enhance my status amongst my peers or other groups of people. Even in the era of Michael Jordan tennis shoes and jump suits, I held on to my internal beauty and let my real light shine.

I still believe real beauty is not a man's shoes, a man's wardrobe, a man's haircut, or a man's nice car. These things are not long lasting and they add no real value to one's life.

I've focused on knowledge, wisdom, education, friendships, and family to strengthen the beauty I possess. I've made many friends and have had countless enriching conversations. These experiences have empowered me and kept me focus on what is real, wholesome, and worth cherishing. I am beautiful because knowledge, wisdom, education, my friends, and my family are beautiful. This is real and can never be taken away from me.

We are pressured in a society that encourages us and pushes us to focus on external beauty. We are taught and brainwashed to believe we must show beauty from the outside and not focus on our true selves, our true beauty.

In my poetry, I am asking us to take a look at ourselves, especially when it comes to black women and men. I am asking us to remember where we came from, who we are, and what we have to offer the world. This can only be accomplished through remembering we are moons and stars. We are born to beam internally first. We are universal people who possess so much culturally. This culture is another form of light.

This  quote from one of my poems, is a constant mantra that reminds me of who we really are: "...we are forward peoples from nation after nation of achievers, believers, gold breathers, and deep thinkers..."

As a black man, as a brotha, I have a duty to shine, to be truly beautiful. I want (black) children to see their light within and use it to be the best they can be. They will rise to be powerful and beautiful adults if we help them realize real beauty starts within. The fights at school, the competition, the arguments they have with peers, these are often a result of the being taught to be very critical of others’ clothing, shoes, or hairstyles. They forget that we are beautiful inside first, and that physical appearances can separate and wreck our friendships and connections.

If young people are reading my poetry and listening to my hip-hop music, they are not hearing me speak about how I look or what I possess. They are reading and hearing about the stories I have to tell, the way I use words to elevate others, and the attention I give to simply being an artist. I won’t waste my time speaking about things I may or may not own. My inner light and beauty won’t allow me to do so. I am using my gifts, just like Maxwell, to show where real beauty can take us.

I want us to pause and consider our true light and real beauty. As a child, I did a lot of this. That knowing child has grown into a man who is respected because he is beautiful internally and it shows externally. Someone once told me “The best thing you can give someone is just being yourself.” Knowing this is a testament to real beauty.

Be you and be beautiful. ~

Christopher D. Sims is an internationally known poet, spoken word artist, collaborator, and educator. He is also a community organizer and activist. He is a leader in the spoken word and open mic circuit. He educates youth on the art of writing and performing poetry. He has a growing Facebook presence where he is actively involved in bringing artists together. He travels as a performer and is always willing to perform or speak at coffeehouses, cafes, and the like. For more info on his work visit:

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  1. Wow! Christopher this is a very moving and deeply positive article. It really reflects all that you are -beautiful to the core! I need to print this out and share with others but especially with my son. :-) BTW This is a lovely website as well... love it!

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  4. Glad you're going to share it with your son Climiell. That is significant and very inspiring.

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