This op-ed was submitted from a member of our enthusiastic community of readers. If you’re interested in sharing your opinion on any cultural, political or personal topic, create an account here and check out our how-to post to learn more.

I wrote this piece, "LOVE STORY?," in 2016. Trump had yet to be elected as President, but at the time, he was the Republican nominee. I observed time and time again that people had no problem supporting a man who ran his campaign off of hate.

However, these same people could look you in the eye and tell you that they were not racist. I felt like his nomination forced a lot of us to reflect on the reality of this country. I thought to myself, “This your home, but what does that even mean when it is clear that, so many people don’t want you here.”

I reflected on the history of this nation and the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to write something that depicted the relationship America has with people of color; it is one that is rooted in abuse. However, I knew I wanted it to have a twist. If you listen to the piece, it can be about any unhealthy/abusive relationship. It isn’t until the end that it is revealed that I am talking about the country I have called home my entire life.

For years, I have wanted to make a visual for this piece, but it wasn’t until a few months ago that a concept came to me and stuck. The scenes between the other actor and I represent the romanticized version that America likes to portray; it is the mask. The scene with myself in the black is the core. It shows the feelings and aftermath that we as people of color are still enduring at the hands of this country. It combines everything that I do as an artist: singing, writing, acting, dancing, among other things.

So many aspects of me are in this piece. Everybody’s experience is their own, but I wanted to make a piece that represented the Black experience — told with grace, but the anguish and sadness can still be felt.

LOVE STORY? was written, directed, edited, choreographed and performed by me, Crystal Coreen.