Senior Chi Chi Ukeje Selected to Share Original Poem with First Lady of Maryland Yumi Hogan

By Peyton Frisby ’22
Over spring break, Indian Creek senior Chinyere (Chi Chi) Ukeje ’19, was hand-selected to read her original poem Beauty of a Black Woman for the First Lady of Maryland, Yumi Hogan. “This piece is about how I think a black women’s beauty is underestimated by both society and by themselves,” she shared. Chi Chi’s intention in writing this piece was to encourage women of color see their own beauty.
When Chi Chi put her poem in the running for this honor, she did not think her chances of getting selected were very high because it is a very competitive event. But, when she heard that Mrs. Hogan chose her piece, it was a very exciting and uplifting moment for her. “I didn’t actually know - it was my mom that called me, and she was screaming, you got in, I told you!” Chi Chi said. With this honor came a larger stage than Chi Chi had ever taken in her life. But while this would be intimidating for some high school students, it would not be a challenge for her. Chi Chi absolutely loves public speaking and never gets nervous or scared. She shares that the experience “makes her feel free.” Chi Chi relies on her emotions and recites the poem.
While Beauty of a Black Woman has earned this great honor, Chi Chi does not want this poem to be her last - Far from it! She plans to continue to use this medium to share her view that black women have a standard that they have to meet in society that is not always realistic. To Chi Chi, what matters is really on the inside. Congratulations to Chi Chi for using her talents to share this important message with the world.