Black Superman


I use to look up to Superman
I really looked up to Superman
The thing that use to get me
Is how he fly around the city
Close my eyes at night
Wondering if a little black boy could reach
Those same heights
Look back on my life’s thesis
Grandma prayed to a white Jesus
Black preachers telling white lie for the
Right reasons
Uncle doing drugs til he OD not breathing
Told my mother all I want for Christmas
Was a Superman action figure that’s fact
But she gave me steel
I was like ill
I don’t want that
Everybody know superheroes can’t be black
I use to look up to Superman
I really looked up to Superman
The thing that use to get me
Is how he fly around the City
Close my eyes at night
Wondering if a little black boy could reach
Those same heights


  1. Caroline on March 15, 2023 at 3:57 PM

    Amazing, amazing job here. You really gave a deep understanding in just a few sentences that showed how hard it can be for someone of color to feel as though they belong. Talking about your grandma and the way you were raised tugged at my heartstrings and I just want to give you a hug haha. You should feel very proud of yourself, this poem should be published, truly. Just in case no one has told you lately, you can be whatever you want, whether it be superman, spider man or peter parker. You are capable of whatever you set your mind to. I hope you read this and it makes you smile because everyone deserves to smile at least once a day. Great job and keep doing what you’re doing and I’ll make sure to show this poem to all of my friends!

  2. Kai C on March 18, 2023 at 11:28 PM

    This poem was fantastic! You are very talented.

  3. Kay on March 19, 2023 at 10:30 PM

    This is a really great poem. I like the use of superman as symbolism for the way you felt disconnected to a popular character deemed a hero to many. Also the overarching theme of racism brings a strong message to the poems. Great work!

  4. Oshane on March 21, 2023 at 1:19 AM

    Hi RL,
    impressive poem that explores the significance of identity and how it is reflected in the world. I like how you address the challenges of being a minority in a white society. Lines like “Grandma prayed to a white Jesus” and “Black preachers telling white lie for the right reason” both address the possibility that religious and community leaders, despite their best intentions, may contribute to the maintenance of racist ideologies and norms.

    I’d like to hear more from you. Keep writing.

  5. PH on March 21, 2023 at 8:28 PM

    This is good RL. I loved and still love Superman as a hero and role model to look up today as well. It’s so cool that a human or a nonhuman could have an ability to fly. Think about being high up with birds and traveling to places for free while flying into space! Grandma prayed to a white Jesus is powerful. Black preachers telling white lie for the right reasons is telling how it is. It’s tough to live a life too with your uncle doing drugs and I feel you for you. It’s depressing that you look forward to a Superman action figure but get steel or hard work or a less luxurious item instead. Well at least we have black superheroes like Martin Luther King Jr. Jackie Robinson, etc. You are a superhero today RL; it doesn’t matter who you are or how you look as long as you have the drive to help people in need which the world so desperately craves.

  6. Mason on March 22, 2023 at 2:26 PM

    This post really hit me, thank you so much for sharing. Sending you so much love. Keep writing, you have such a way with words.

  7. Mitchell on March 23, 2023 at 12:45 PM

    RL, I really like this poem because many people see it the same way as you do and most aren’t in the position to say anything because they feel as if they will be judged, but you’re totally right, there can be a black superman or a black Jesus, yes people do say that Jesus was a white man but it’s not the white man we portray him as he did have a tan color to him and he wasn’t like a white American he was from the middle east, that means that anyone can be anything they want to be. I really liked how you expressed your feelings and childhood thoughts as it’s very tough to expose those contradictions as you might feel you will get looked down upon amongst others.

  8. TM on March 23, 2023 at 2:24 PM

    To RL- This poem first starts with us thinking about superheroes and how many people look up to them. Then we’re hit with the emotional side of this poem. The way you repeat the first few lines again at the end really helps get your point across on how you wish you didn’t have to go through what you have and essentially just fly around as superman would. We always wish we could be these fictional characters and not have to deal with the horrors of the real world. I would imagine that it is hard growing up looking at these fictional characters that were supposed to relate to or wish we were, but if they look nothing like you what’s the point? Representation is such an important aspect and needs to be implicated more especially when making characters for children. These characters can be your escape from what’s happening in your life, but how helpful is that when they don’t represent you? Thank you for sharing such an emotional poem, great work!

  9. eleni on March 25, 2023 at 7:00 PM

    I find this poem to be really creative. Using Superman and his powers as a metaphor for this author’s aspirations and goals but being unsure if they as a person of color can “reach those same heights” is something I believe would resonate with a lot of people. This poem showcases what it is like to live in a world where those in positions of power are not the same race as you. The lines, “Grandma prayed to a white Jesus,” and “Everybody know superheroes can’t be black,” are the lines that stood out to me the most. These lines remind me of why representation is so important in the media for little children. Time and time again, I see videos of children finding dolls or tv show characters that look like them and being so excited, and it always reminds me how important this must be for them. This poem was very moving and thought provoking.

  10. Dulce on March 25, 2023 at 11:22 PM

    Hey RL, this is an excellent poem, I think you present a unique perspective on racism and struggle. I like that you used a common likable character/hero to get a message across. I commend you for being vulnerable and writing about your feelings. Keep up the good writing!

  11. Matthew Handley on March 26, 2023 at 5:50 PM

    I really love this poem. It’s true that black representation in the media is still lacking. And while strides have been made, work can still be done. A lost of prominent figures in stories and books that I grew up with only featured white characters. I’m glad that the world is working on its diversification with figures like the black panther. I really enjoyed your poem and the messages you bring. Wishing you all the best and hoping to read more from you in the future.

  12. Rohan on March 27, 2023 at 12:35 AM

    “Black Superman” by RL is a poignant and thought-provoking poem that touches on themes of representation, identity, and systemic oppression. The speaker expresses their childhood admiration for Superman and the desire to reach his heights, but also acknowledges the societal limitations placed upon them as a little black boy. The reference to the grandmother’s prayer to a white Jesus and the black preachers telling white lies highlights the pervasive influence of systemic racism in their community. The line “everybody knows superheroes can’t be black” captures the harsh reality of the lack of representation of black people in mainstream media and popular culture. Overall, “Black Superman” is a powerful and insightful piece of poetry that sheds light on the challenges faced by black individuals in a society that often marginalizes and undermines their aspirations.

  13. maggie on March 27, 2023 at 9:15 AM

    This is a very relatable poem for many young boys and girls around the world. Unfortunately, this is still something that we are dealing with and seeing. I hope for the future that there will be a broader range of superheroes and figures for kids that others can relate to. Regarding the poem, I really like how you use the same line to connect different parts of the poem. “I use to look up to Superman. I really looked up to Superman.” this is a powerful line and brings it to life.

  14. Jocelyn Patterson on March 27, 2023 at 1:07 PM

    I really like your poem and all of the points you were able to convey. Racism is huge in our society and I understand that can be a struggle growing up. I remember watching movies and having people I looked up to as well, I think that all children can relate to that aspect. Growing up is also hard and though I am still going through it I am still learning new things everyday.

  15. FO on March 29, 2023 at 9:15 PM

    Hello RL, thanks for sharing this amazing poem. I really liked how your starting and ending lines were similar. The repetition of “wondering if a little black boy could reach those same heights” really shows your curiosity as a child as to why you were not given the same opportunities as others. This poem was written beautifully.

  16. Owen on March 30, 2023 at 9:57 AM

    I really liked superman as a kid and I feel your pain not getting that action figure I hope this puts a spark in your day


  17. Mason on March 30, 2023 at 10:00 AM

    Hello Rl, this is a very good poem your writing style is good this poem also has a good topic.

  18. Courtney D on March 31, 2023 at 1:43 PM

    Hey RL!

    I can relate to growing up and having a Superhero that I idolized and having the realization that I could never be them. Now that I’m older though, I chose to be my own hero. I can’t fly but I can skydive. I pray that one day you get to skydive and feel like you are a black superhero flying through the sky. Also, superheroes and dolls come in all different colors/shapes and sizes nowadays. Be your own Superhero!


  19. Megara Sanderson on March 31, 2023 at 11:46 PM

    Hi RL!

    I am moved by your poetry. When I close my eyes, I can imagine a Black Superman. I cannot imagine how you felt when you asked your mother for a Superman action figure and she responded, saying “Everybody know superheroes can’t be black.”

    Superheroes are almost always portrayed as white, but they are cartoons that inspire us. Superheroes can be black!

    When I was in fourth grade (around age 9, I think), my parents urged me to tell my grandparents what I wanted to be when I grew up. I said, “I want to be a biblical archaeologist and also a genetic engineer.” I wanted to be a genetic engineer only because I saw someone had cross-bred a zebra and a donkey. Imagine a donkey’s body and ears, but with the black and white stripes of a zebra. Anyway, after I told my grandparents, my grandpa laughed at me and said, “Good luck with that.”

    We, humans, need to allow children to be themselves and allow them to pursue their interests. What would you have said if, instead of dismissing you, she asked you, “What is it about Superman that makes you like him so much?” or “What do you love most about Superman?” She could have had a conversation with you. You and your mother could have figured out what your kryptonite is.

    Maybe you could write a second poem where you change the narrative. You could write about what draws you to Superman, what your personal kryptonite is, and who or what would Superman save today?

    You are a poet; a poet who knows how to craft words in a powerful way that is heartbreaking or writing in a way that your audience can feel that raw emotion.

    As a poet can write about whatever you want. You can change the narrative. You can write a poem where you are Superman. After self-reflection, you could even write about what your kryptonite is: what makes you feel completely drained of your lifeblood? If I remember correctly, Superman does die by kryptonite. So, after you think about your kryptonite, then ask yourself, “What do I need to do to prevent coming into contact with that?”

    I hope you continue to write, RL.
    Thank you for sharing your poetry with me and making yourself emotionally vulnerable in your poem.

    Warm regards,


  20. Colleen on April 3, 2023 at 9:08 AM

    It is unfortunate that we still have problems like this in todays society. Adding more black superheroes like Black Panther, Falcon, and War Machine were great additions to the MCU if you’re into marvel as much as DC. You noticed all this when you were super young, along with your grandmother praying to white Jesus. It seems things are beginning to take a turn for the better, but there’s a long way ahead of us.

  21. Denise on April 3, 2023 at 10:21 AM

    Oh, RL, this is poignant and beautiful. The repetition of the first and last stanza brings it around to a full circle. I wish there was better news, and not just a black Superman figurine your mother could have bought you. Racism. I’m sorry.

  22. KC on April 6, 2023 at 9:37 PM

    Such a powerful message and something still so difficult to deal with today too. Really powerful words and statements too, praying to a white Jesus and telling a white lie. Such a great play on words and so cool how you used them in your poem to get your message across. Really great read, keep writing!

  23. Shannon on April 8, 2023 at 4:25 PM

    I think this poem truly speaks to the oppression and limited opportunities people of color feel they have in America. You did an amazing job with keeping a smooth flow throughout the poem using rhyming. A lot of times, rhyming in poems feels very forced and doesn’t always work well, but the use of rhyming here definitely improves the impact of the point you are trying to make, rather than hinder it.

  24. Hannah on April 9, 2023 at 11:44 AM

    This is beautiful. I genuinely dont understand why the world today would make someone feel less than just because of their skin color. like, people are just people and we are all trying to live the same lives. It is a shame that you feel you cannot reach your goals and that it looks like accomplishments are far out of reach.

    this poem lets the reader into your mind. its like a window into your soul

  25. Krista on April 11, 2023 at 8:59 AM

    I used to always want to be like the cool people on TV, but I never thought I could. It’s really nice to see a story that I’m sure most everybody relates to.

  26. Annika on April 12, 2023 at 2:47 PM

    Wow. This piece is very beautiful. It touches upon the topic of systematic racism ever so subtly in a noncontroversial way which I can appreciate. It is something that the younger population can read and relate to. Even adults can read this and think back to when they were younger and reminisce about the common feelings of confusion, questioning their identity, and what’s there for them in the future.

  27. Ethan Reyes on April 15, 2023 at 7:10 PM

    I really love this poem. I feel as though this poem explores themes of heroism, race, religion, addiction, and childhood dreams. It utilizes the Superman symbol as a metaphor for heroism and emphasizes the speaker’s admiration for the character, while also highlighting the challenges and struggles they have faced. The poem effectively conveys its message through personal anecdotes and experiences and encourages readers to think critically about what it means to be a hero and to strive for greatness. Overall, it is well-written, thought-provoking, and emotional poem.

  28. Safwan on April 16, 2023 at 4:21 PM

    I’m with you on so much of this. It always felt unrealistic that superman could have so much and be so good. Having different representation in super heroes matters so much to kids. That’s why I love seeing Ms. Marvel or Miles Morales become more mainstream today. They show the struggles of dealing with race and reaching the same heights of other superheroes. I hope you can find a new motivation, maybe its not superman, but the world needs more than just him.

  29. Kyra on April 16, 2023 at 9:30 PM


    This is truly a fantastic poem. It evokes so much emotion from the reader and that is what art is intended to do, to make you feel differently after experiencing it. I really admire the way you were able to portray your perspective, and the repetition of the beginning and the end really helped to drive the point home. I sincerely hope you will continue writing!

  30. IK on April 16, 2023 at 9:51 PM

    Amazing usage of of Superman as a symbol for disconnection of a popular character being deemed a hero to many. I hope you reach those heights you sought as a child and hope you continue writing!

  31. Jatan on April 16, 2023 at 10:32 PM

    Hi RL!
    Your poem is incredibly moving and speaks to the experiences of many black children who have felt excluded and marginalized by mainstream media and society. I really liked your use of vivid imagery and repetition to convey the sense of limitation felt by the speaker. We need more representation and diverse perspectives in media.

  32. A. on April 16, 2023 at 11:23 PM

    HI RL, I love this poem. The way you tie in cultural and racial influence affecting both child and adult life through simple words is amazing. It’s disappointing the lack of progress we’ve made in representation compared to every other aspect of life and I applaud you for the way you express it. Even if there is not representation enough, that does not stop you or others from being a superman to the youth of today.

  33. Nick on April 23, 2023 at 5:45 PM

    Man, this poem was incredible. The style of your writing is excellent. I loved the way you expressed the childlike longing to be a superhero. This hit home with me, constantly questioning if you can genuinely become what you want to be as you face the systematic effects of racism in our country. Stay positive and at peace! Excited to see your work in the future!

  34. a friend on April 27, 2023 at 11:32 AM

    This poem highlights how difficult it is growing up without seeing a role model that is similar to you. Like the author outlined, how are you to believe growing up that you can do something that hasn’t been done as far as you know. It brings a sense of discouragement that is difficult to overcome because it is as real to you as a unicorn is. Especially when the societal norm has shown us that it is white people who have the spotlight, as it says in the poem “Grandma prayed to a white Jesus”. Who is to say he was white? Based on the geographic area he was said to live in he probably was not white. But because our society, especially in early history weren’t accepting of non-white people, they needed to make his figure appeal to the population especially those who had power.

  35. Kimora on May 5, 2023 at 7:16 AM

    This poetry is outstanding. I loved how you used Superman as a symbol for how you felt distant from a popular figure that is revered by many. Also, the poems’ central issue of racism conveys a powerful message. Great stuff!

  36. Bella L on May 9, 2023 at 6:00 PM

    I loved this poem, the use of repetition in the beginning and end was really powerful and tied the whole poem together. I also think the use of rhyme adds an element that almost brings the reader back to an inner child state and leaves us right there with you as far as wondering if you can achieve the things you idolize.

  37. YM on May 9, 2023 at 10:09 PM

    Hi RL,
    This poem really stuck to me, it has a sense of innocence and aspirations where you describe superman and how you’d wish you could be like him. However, it also explains the hardships in your life where you have lost and struggled with those around you. I find it very sad the doubt of trying to be like that superhero but limiting yourself because of the racism you faced. It’s such a beautiful poem about life and your experiences. Keep up the good work!

  38. LP on May 10, 2023 at 10:57 AM

    Growing up I’ve heard the saying ” if it ain’t white, it ain’t right.” For as long as I can remember the ones who controlled the media are white people. It’s very rare that we will get a black superhero like Black panther, or an different version of Spiderman . Why? Because black and latinos are portrayed as the villains. And i believe this will never change unless we have Black and brown people in the directors seat and on the big screen. If we had the proper representation, if for once we played the superheroes then we wouldn’t have to play the villain.

  39. Peter Dang on May 16, 2023 at 5:18 PM

    I like how you use “superman” to help you reflect on the significance of identity and the ongoing issue of racism. It is also interesting how you mentioned your childhood being raised by your grandma and things that she taught you, which really gave the poem a deeper emotional level.

  40. Micky Shorr on June 10, 2023 at 9:19 PM

    Hi. This is a wonderful poem. I really like the way you used simple words that gave such a clear picture of a child feeling excluded or not as good as some others because of their skin color. Very powerful writing, and I hope you do more of it.

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