While most high school seniors live for the last few weeks of school that include prom, bittersweet goodbyes, and graduation, there’s one student who will never be able to walk down memory lane.
Taiylar Ball, 18, was banned Saturday from her prom and graduation over a poem titled “Dear Black Girls,” which she recited at Homewood Flossmoor High School’s annual talent show. The school is located in Homewood, Illinois, a suburb outside of Chicago.
“Prom is like a Cinderella thing,” Ball told JET Magazine. “You think about it when you’re young, you wait for it and for it to be taken away from you, it’s very hurtful, especially from your school who you love so much.”
School officials say she did not receive permission to perform the poem and disregarded the rules, according to WGN. The principal also took issue with the poem’s language, which includes the n-word.
A snippet from the poem reads:
“Dear Black girls your mind is filled with self hate, and emotion but let me tell you brown girl, you are one of a kind…love yourself cus they don’t…there is power in your melanin…Dear Black man, brothers, n***a? Kim K wearing you like an accessory, be conscious black man…”
Officials said a stipulation to participate in the talent show is that your performance must be pre-approved by a student and teacher committee. But Ball says she followed correct protocol.
“I told the teacher I don’t have it all done,” she said to WGN. “She said that was fine I auditioned with what I had.”
Though she was accepted to 11 schools, received over $1 million in scholarships, and is a National Honor Society member, Ball wanted what most 18-year-olds want: a chance to experience her sacred rite of passage.
So, in an act of defiance, she bought a prom dress, took pictures with family and friends, and began her journey to prom. At the door, she was denied access by the school’s principal on Saturday evening.
Ball will attend Florida A&M University on a full ride in the fall as a biology/pre-med student. She hopes the principal will soften his heart.
“I’m hoping to walk for graduation,” she said in an interview with WGN.
The honor student told JET she was happy to play dress up for one night and she has no regrets.
Do you think the principal is justified, or was Ball out of line for reciting the n-word in her poem? Let us know in the comments.