Warrior Woman: An open letter to Chantay Legacy Leonard

February 20, 2015






















Warrior Woman

An open letter to Chantay Legacy Leonard

By Billione


Dear Legacy:


Forgive me, for intruding on your moment

Before you step into the light

There is something I need you to know


You are a warrior

You are a woman whose blackness is her amour

Whose pen is her sword

Whose boldness competes with her beauty

Your locks, wrapped around your skull

Are the enduring crown the ancestors will use

To recognize you


You step onto the battle ground

As if fear is yet to be invented

Changing everything you encounter

With fire red lipstick

A feather dangling from your ear

A radiant smile and

A pair of killer thigh high boots

Taller than any enemy you ever encountered


You are a woman

Whose scars are not hidden

Every word you write

Tells a story about life

Even your anger is healing

Your voice rings in my ear

Paying tribute to everything I am


I am a man whose journey

Is less turbulent because of you

You loved me

You never judged me

You nurtured me like my mother

You loved me like my sister

You encouraged me like a cousin

You comforted me like a friend

Even when I felt I had never been



I heard another Warrior Woman say

Warriors walk alone

So, I followed you

Tried not to interrupt

When you saw me

You embraced me

When I didn’t flee

You pushed me further than

I thought I could ever go

You knew, even when I did not

That I would one-day be more strong

Because one-day you would need me to

I didn’t know the day would come so soon

That I would have to walk part of the way

On my own


So, I am not sure how we got here

With bowed heads and forced smiles

Tears waiting for permission

When not long ago we stood together

Talking about poetry as our weapons of choice

How Hip Hop was our medicine and

When Detroit rises again

We would be the ushers of a new renaissance


Now that we know that our

Warrior Woman won’t be beside us

Where will we go when we need to be reminded

That we are not, nor have we ever been inferior

Where will we go to let go of the hurt

With whom shall we find comfort

When the sky does finally break


I am not ready


I am not ready to know what it will be like

To live without you

Even now I refuse to refer to you in past tense

If you could, you would probably tell me

I’m about to exceed 3 minutes and 10 seconds

To pull myself together

Because the battle ensues


I am not ready


As each day brings me closer

To my own transition

When I too shall come forth by day

I will carry part of you with me


Chantay, as the ancestors welcome you

I need you to know that my body

Will remain a tomb that houses the

Love you gave me

Though my heart is heavy now

Know that I understand

Sometimes, Warrior Women

Do die young


I also know that their Legacies

Undoubtedly and truly

Last forever


Love always,



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