Black Women Matter
Let me first say that women of all races and backgrounds are awesome in their own right. So please know that this post, by no means, is a put down to women of other races. Nor is it to portray black women as superior. If you take a look at our past and even present day, black women haven’t really been fully embraced by society. So in honor of black history month, I wanted to highlight why black women matter. Also, being a black woman myself, I wanted to celebrate everything about us.
In the words of Malcolm X, “The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America is the black woman.”
Why is that?
Black women in general are typically misunderstood. We’re labeled angry, aggressive, rude, hard to get along with, not pretty enough, and even “ghetto”.
Michelle Obama, the country’s first Black First Lady was labeled as “angry”. Here she is with style, dignity, class, and received a top-notch education, yet people described her as “an angry black woman”. The media would catch her in a moment where she wasn’t smiling or had a serious look on her face then BOOM….she’s “angry”.
In the workplace, black women must work extra hard not to be stereotyped. First, some of us wonder if we will get a call for an interview just based on our name. Next, a lot of thought has to go into whether or not we should wear our hair naturally when going on interviews. It is so easy for us to be judged as unprofessional if our hair is not straight or slicked back in a bun.
Now that we’re on the job, sometimes there is pressure to be extra friendly so that we are not placed in the “angry” category. We even tend to over excel just to prove that we are capable, if not more, than our counterparts.
My Black Is Beautiful
When you look at the cover of major fashion or beauty magazines, the face on the cover, the majority of the time, is that of a Caucasian woman. Even as a blogger, when trying to find photos based on general topics, you will find that there is a major lack of pictures of women of color in comparison to others. In spite of the progress that has been made throughout the years, black women as a whole are still highly underrepresented in society.
Unfortunately, even some black men look at us as not good enough. For example, there was an interview that took place between two rappers, Lil Wayne and 50 Cent last summer that briefly discussed their views on women. In particular, 50 Cent stated that his preference was “exotic women”, women who were from a different ethnicity. He proceeded to say that they look different from what he sees every day and that black women are angry and mad. Lil Wayne somehow thought the comments were funny.
Now don’t get me wrong, this is not the view of every black man but it stings a little different when it comes from your own community. There is no issue with someone being attracted to another ethnicity or race, but to put your own down in the process is where the problem lies.
Black Women Matter
The fact is, we as black women are passionate, especially when it comes to black men. A part of what makes us is our fervor for greatness. The world notices the color of their skin first but we see beyond it. We understand the trials which they face each day and see the King that lives within them. That is why we challenge them to live up to who they were created to be in life. For the most part, this is accepted and cherished by men but it is frowned upon by those who don’t like to be stretched.
So this is why you see us celebrating ourselves the way we do whether in speaking or song. “Beautiful Black Queen”, “Black Women Matter”, “Brown Skin Girl”, “Black Girl Magic”, or “Black Girls Rock”. These are all just ways we express encouragement to one another. A way of letting each other know that even if no one else sees our beauty, we see it.
Unfortunately, we have one strike against us for being a woman and another because of the color of our skin. The darker our skin, the less we seem to be acknowledged and appreciated in the world.
It Goes Back to Slavery
I’m not a historian of any kind but going all the way back to slavery, black women were consistently violated and disrespected. “Master” would abuse and rape us as he pleased. We were treated like trash. I would imagine that being the wife of the “Master” it was easy to grow a disdain for black women knowing what was happening. This contempt could have purposely or unknowingly been passed down throughout generations.
Slavery even caused us to have friction against each other within our own race. The darker women were left to work out in the fields while the lighter skin women were allowed to work inside the house. So even in the worst situations, preferential treatment was based on how much melanin was in our skin.
In spite of these atrocities, we had no choice but to grow strong. As slavery ended and when civil rights emerged, black women began to take their place. Not only were we the nurturer of our families but we were the backbone for our black men who were being treated less than humans. Walking side by side, we fought for the rights of our people. The more we were oppressed, the stronger we became.
Celebrate Each Other
Fortunately, we are in a different era, one where we have better opportunities and fewer struggles. Now what others use to consider unattractive, is being embraced. From our full lips, big hips, plump backside, and naturally melanated skin, others outside our culture are turning to different avenues to have the same.
I love our style and how we set trends! We can go from the corporate boardroom to the “round the way girl” in two seconds flat. Whether we rock an afro, lace front, braids, silk press, or locs, we make sure it’s all on point. There’s a strength that exudes in the way we move, the look in our eyes, and how we speak. We can be edgy yet still keep our femininity intact. When we enter a room, people notice. Don’t believe me, this picture proves it.
She didn’t say a word. Half of her face was even covered. But when she entered through those doors, the world took notice.
You are dope!
We are trendsetters, from the way we dance to how we dress and use our words. The way we can speak one word that could have several different meanings with different emotions attached to it. What’s so dope is that we don’t have to explain it to each other, we just know. From “Chiillle”, “Listeennn”, “ I See You!”, “Yaass!”, and even “Okaaayy!”, we know what we mean by the context and passion in which we use them. We can communicate with just a look or hand gesture and know exactly what it means.
We are a sisterhood. It doesn’t matter if you’re a part of the Divine 9, Eastern Stars, military wives, single mothers, boss babes, or any other category or group, it’s our culture that bonds us.
Whether we’re cooking with our heart and soul, laying across the counter getting our hair washed, or having “grown folk” conversations at the table, we can make any kitchen feel like a special place.
Black Women Matter
No matter the circumstance we may face, somehow we gain strength and make things happen. When faced with adversity, our faith sustains us and pushes us to fight even while we’re crying.
So black woman, if no one has ever told you, you matter. You inspire me to be the best I can be. You’re worthy to be celebrated and loved. Keep shining your light, continue to grow and never shrink back to be accepted. You are amazing just the way God made you. Thank you for shaping me to be the woman I am today and the woman I have yet to become.
In Relentless Pursuit,
Rest in peace to all the black women who unjustly lost their life to police brutality. Your life mattered.