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Everyone by now has heard of ‘Black Girl Magic’ or ‘Black Lives Matter’… It’s true, black women and girls are magic, and black lives do matter, but the very fact we have these movements shows us what? That some people think black girls aren’t magic and black lives don’t matter.
This is a serious understatement of how we feel about that, but there just isn’t a way to explain that in the written word. Basically, it makes us mad. Beyond mad.
So we’ve decided that it’s time.
It’s time to break through the stigma surrounding African-Americans and our culture. Whenever you’re feeling low and confused or you’ve been torn-down and belittled, we want you to come back to this post. Save this list to your phone. Print it off and read it as a mantra.
Because we’re about to open your mind to the endless possibilities that come with being an African-American woman, some you might not have even thought about. And we want you, more than anything, to live the message. We’re certainly going to try our hardest to.
You, my dear, are the great-great-great… (maybe another great?) grand-daughter of another very strong, resilient, tough and spirited individual.
Black women were once the leaders of tribes, black women ran kingdoms. They had key roles in leading enslaved people to freedom – just look up Nanny of the Maroons. They fought for their rights, and when? In a time where black women had no rights. Where racism and discrimination were prevalent. A time where white privilege, slavery and colonialism meant the death of blacks and people of colour in general.
Imagine what those ancestors would think, looking at us all now. We think they would be proud of the fighting for the freedoms we enjoy, and encouraging us to make even more great things happen…
To open your eyes each morning, not to hit the snooze on your alarm, but to be thankful that you’re still in this world. To know you’re the generation that’s going to make a difference and get up and do exactly that. All whilst raising children, meeting life partners, succeeding in career goals. It’s not easy, but it’s important, and we’re strong enough to do it. We’ve got this!
Scientists recently calculated the chance of you being born. Now we’re taking the literal chance of the sperm you developed from fertilizing with the perfect egg at the right time, with the right people. Taking into account wars, natural disasters, economy… That number is 400 trillion.
And yet that won’t even be your greatest struggle in life.
Something people struggle a lot with is self love. Though that’s a hot topic right now, it’s certainly not a new one. It’s been talked about throughout history, in various different ways. Loving yourself means accepting your flaws, your talents, your looks, your strengths… basically your everything, to find inner peace. It’s not about competing with anyone to be the best, and it’s not a race to see who can get there first.
To accomplish anything in life you need to first off, love you. Love your individuality. Love what makes you, YOU! That includes your race, heritage, culture and skin tone.
“No person has the right to rain on your dreams.” – Marian Wright Edelman
You are gorgeous shades of tan, chocolate, coffee, caramel. Beautiful tones of dark, bronzed, sun kissed, golden richness. So why is it black women are afraid to be proud of who we are?
It’s been over 70 years since the Landmark’s Doll Test. The test which asked school children of all ethnicities, “Which doll do you prefer?” in the presence of a black doll and a white doll. But most shockingly, when asked, “Which doll do you want to be?” African-American children pointed to the doll with the white complexion. Even when this test was re-issued more recently in 2010, the results sadly hadn’t changed. This makes us so disappointed and hurt. Why are we not celebrating ourselves, and encouraging our children to do so, too? Your hair, skin and every inch of you is beautiful.
“When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.” – African Proverb.
The time for change is now. Right now.
Think back to the likes of Rosa Parks, Cleopatra, Harriet Tubman… Do you think any of those fiery women felt the fear, anxiety and apprehension that you feel today out in this world? Of course they did! Yet they still rose above any signs of adversity and achieved greatness. Why? Because that’s just what we do here.
You’re related to all of these women in ways more than just skin-deep. You have their drive, their ambition, their robustness and so much more. And know that in 10, 50, maybe even 100 years time, people are going to think the exact same about you.
History is a core subject for a reason – you have to know where you’ve come from, to get where you’re going. And while most schools don’t home in much on African-American history, there’s nothing stopping you from learning about it elsewhere.
Consider researching more deeply into the past struggles and successes of Africans in America. Don’t let this world trivialize the struggles of our ancestors, because they were many and they were great. But it’s not all doom and gloom. Go further back and research the prosperous and thriving kingdoms throughout Africa. Check out the ancient Kingdom of Ghana, and the rock temples of Lalibela, the Axum Empire, or the Mossi Kingdoms, just to get started.
We know that so many stereotypes of black women are downright inaccurate.
But if you do fit into some stereotypes about black women, that doesn’t mean you’re less than.
We all know that people of all races will try to use these stereotypes to keep us down and put us in a box.
But you know what? If those are the worst things a person can come up with to use to slander you… if that’s their only point to make whilst trying to drag you down… then we’d all agree you’re doing a pretty great job of being the best-possible, wonderful, kind, passionate, loving YOU that there could ever be. If they’re resorting to flinging insults of stereotypes at you, just hold your head high and know your worth, Queen.
“Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another steppingstone to greatness.” – Oprah Winfrey.
There were so many more points we wanted to include in this post. There’s just so much to say when it comes to being a black woman in America.
But luckily we can stand together and learn to celebrate and appreciate ourselves. We certainly hope that the messages we pass to our daughters, nieces, cousins, little sisters and students will be so packed full of self-love and empowerment that they’ll know their worth and power, even when others try to tear them down.
photo credit: createherstock.com