Race, Gender, and Sexuality Symposium

Document Type

Healing and Empowerment

Publication Date



The following is a cento poem/spoken word poem created by Jones, titled “Cento for Black Boys”. If you’re unfamiliar, the cento (or collage poem) is a poetic form composed entirely of lines from poems by other poets. Specifically, Jones chose poems and written pieces that were from a range of POC authors to form this piece, with the express intention of challenging myself to combine these more disparate voices telling similar stories into one voice and message. The focus of the poem is the vilification and perceived criminality of black males in society, even when they’re often the victims of crimes and brutality. It is also about the trivialization of the black experience, where people who are considerably more privileged often downplay our struggles and suffering. Within the document, there is also a link to a video of him performing the piece, as the spoken word component is vital to its message.