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Watch Logan’s Full Performance

Watch Logan Green, a Mississippi high school student, perform her spoken-word poem about adultification bias, which won her first place in the 2021 National Speech and Debate Association Tournament. In Logan’s words, the idea for her poem came from connecting with our report on adultification bias:

“I’ve always been told that I looked too grown and that I should be careful not to send the ‘wrong message.’ When I discovered ‘Girlhood Interrupted’, I knew this study described exactly what I was going through; what many Black girls go through. I had to tell this story. This poem is a love letter to Black girls like me who were forced to grow up too fast.

Read the Interview

Toella Pliakas sat down with Logan Green for a Q&A. (Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length.)

What was your reaction to our report, Girlhood Interrupted?

Initially, me and my coaches were brainstorming about ideas for the poem for my competition and we were going through a list of things I thought would be a good idea.

I knew the feeling [I wanted to write about] but I couldn’t put a name to it. So I started researching and I came across [the Center’s] report and I thought “Oh! This is what I’ve been going through: the adultification of Black girls. This is exactly what I’ve been experiencing.” And that’s how I decided to write about it.

What was your immediate reaction to the report?

When I read the report my immediate reaction was, “Finally I can put my feelings into words.” Because for a long time I wasn’t able to describe what I was going through, but I knew there were people out there who were going through the same thing. To put words to what I felt like [was] a relief. It was very therapeutic to me.

Why do you describe your poem as “a love letter to Black girls”?

Because it was a love letter to myself, to be able to embrace my inner child; [and] I knew other Black girls were feeling the same way, so it’s a love letter to them so they know they are loved. They matter. Their lives matter and their childhood should be respected.

And while it is a love letter to Black girls, it’s also meant to bring education to this topic about how people perceive Black girls in this world.

What do you want people to know about Black girls’ childhoods?

Black girls deserve to grow up too. Our childhood should be preserved. Our lives should be respected, they shouldn’t be disregarded. We deserve to be seen in the same light as other races. We deserve to be loved. We deserve to be nurtured. We deserve to be cherished. We just deserve the basic rights that come with being a human being.

If you could change anything about how adults perceive Black girls, what would it be?

That’s a hard question. It’s so ingrained in our history to see Black girls and Black people as less than human beings. That’s why we have to write poems and protest just to tell people that our lives matter.

So what I would change? People’s perspective. I want people to see Black people as humans, not objects they can disregard and disrespect. Everyone deserves to be treated equally.

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