top of page

You Don't Get to Be Racist!

Irish singer Imelda May is a walking, talking, singing embodiment of the 1950s. She wears leopard-print sweaters, tight bad-girl jeans and often her hair is in a ponytail. Her bangs are curled into a tight roll, known in England as a "quiff." Although May has won numerous awards in 2009, her music harks back to a style that was popular in the '50s: rockabilly.

She was born Imelda Mary Higham on July 10, 1974 in Dublin's south inner city. She was the youngest of five siblings. She began her musical career at the age of 16 performing with a number of local bands. In 2002 she formed her own band and released her debut album, No Turning back.

I loved her spirit and her words. Powerful.

This is her recent poem.

You don’t get to be racist and Irish

You don’t get to be proud of your heritage, plights and fights for freedom while kneeling on the neck of another!

You’re not entitled to sing songs of heroes and martyrs mothers and fathers who cried as they starved in a famine

Or of brave hearted soft spoken poets and artists lined up in a yard blindfolded and bound

Waiting for Godot and point blank to sound

We emigrated

We immigrated

We took refuge

So cannot refuse

When it’s our time

To return the favour

Land stolen

Spirits broken

Bodies crushed and swollen unholy tokens of Christ,

Nailed to a tree (That) You hang around your neck Like a noose of the free

Our colour pasty

Our accents thick

Hands like shovels from mortar and bricklaying foundations of cities you now stand upon

Our suffering seeps from every stone your opportunities arise from

Outstanding on the shoulders of our forefathers and foremother’s who bore your mother’s mother

Our music is for the righteous

Our joys have been earned Well deserved and serve to remind us to remember

More Blacks More Dogs More Irish.

Still labelled leprechauns, Micks, Paddy’s, louts we’re shouting to tell you our land, our laws are progressively out there

We’re in a chrysalis state of emerging into a new and more beautiful Eire/era 40 Shades Better

Unanimous in our rainbow vote we’ve found our stereotypical pot of gold and my God it’s good.

So join us.. ‘cause You Don’t Get To Be Racist And Irish.

bottom of page