Growing up, Roya Marsh was considered “tomboy passing.” With an affinity for baggy clothes, cornrows, and bandannas, she came of age in an era when the wide spectrum of gender and sexuality was rarely acknowledged or discussed. She knew she was “different,” her family knew she was “different,” but anything outside of heteronorm was either disregarded or disparaged. In this stunning debut, written to protest an absence of representation, Marsh recalls her early life and the attendant torments of a queer Black woman coming of age in America:
I’ve been baptized twice / Washed over / Still gay / No choice / No Christian / No cure / Girl / No daddy / Daughter / No dresses / Jamaican / No accent / Girlfriend / No boyfriend / Won’t tell a lie / But I’m always swallowing truth
— From “in broad daylight black bipolar girls look grimey”
In lush, powerful, and vulnerable verses, dayliGht unpacks traumas to unearth truths, revealing a deep well of resilience, a cutting sense of irony, and an astonishing fresh talent. A dazzling debut from a necessary new voice, Marsh’s dayliGht is at once a clarion call for Black femme voices and a corrective to broken notions of sexuality and race.