“You are fine/You’re filthy cute/ and baby, you know it”
Prince once claimed he wrote those lyrics (from the song ‘Cream’) while looking in the mirror, and I think that is beautifully narcissistic. Some may call it vanity; I’m going to call it convinced. It’s the perfect embodiment of self-love. More than that, it’s a case of self-awareness–knowing you are the shit and being unafraid to proclaim that.
Last week, when I stated that I was the entire table, did you roll your eyes? Did your mind automatically start listing things to detract from me? Did you allow your insecurity to manifest as jealousy?
Then you missed my point. Do you not understand the magic you are? Are you not aware of the power coursing throughout your body every day, even in your lowest moments? Can you not see the magnificence in your reflection? Well, let me tell you this…
Darling, you are a marvel.
I’ve said it before, but black women, your continued existence is nothing less than supernatural. You were stolen from your country, beaten and overworked, had your men snatched and hanged, crowded into subpar housing where your men were prohibited from living. A significant percentage of your men are incarcerated with another significant percentage of your men dating every nationality but you. You’re the least liked demographic in online dating. And for your men who are around and choose to date you, there’s yet another significant percentage who diminish you, tell you to lower your standards, and accept the bare minimum.
Yet you are still here, Black Woman. You are here, and you slay! You are the most educated group in the United States. Your looks, which society has attempted to label as unattractive for centuries, are the inspiration for a billion-dollar beauty industry. You encounter racism and sexism as you attempt to climb the corporate ladder yet you are CEOs and Board Directors out cheap! You own 15% of small-owned businesses even though banks continually deny you a loan. Your men tell you that you’re reaching too high and that your financial independence is to blame for the downfall of the black family. YET those men who criticize you and/or do not choose you only have such a right because you created them. You gave birth to this world. So know that without you, this world ceases to exist.
When you were slaves and given table scraps to sustain yourself, you created a meal to keep everyone fed and strong enough to survive the next day.
They took away your name and broke the links to your ancestors. You combined the names of your ancestors to call your children so your heritage wouldn’t be forgotten.
You couldn’t vote. They disenfranchised you at every election. You put a black man in the White House.
When the media shows you as loud and angry or uneducated and dependent, your sister circle has executives, doctors, teachers, single moms, etc, killing it.
You were told your natural hair was unprofessional. You created hairstyles that are constantly being copied and improperly cited.
Fashion and beauty industries refused to offer products catered to you as if you were an afterthought or just shaped wrongly. You got in your kitchen and created your own; you picked up the sewing needle and created your own; you used social media until they came knocking on your door. Now every damn product on the shelves uses shea butter and coconut oil.
You were told that you were too dark and too shapely for television. You became Oprah.
You are characterized as combative and angry and unsupportive of each other. Yet you raise your family and every other child in your neighborhood.
Your men deem you unworthy and add their voices to the cacophony constantly insulting you. Your men create terms like “thot” and “jumpoff” to belittle you. Your men say your natural hair isn’t beautiful and your face isn’t perfect then turn around and shame you for using makeup to be what they want! Yet when they are under attack, you show up first.
Black women, you refuse to be broken. You have been given so little over and over again, and repeatedly, you have spun it into gold. And we have allowed that power to be both our magic and our horror. We’ve taken the scraps men give to us and tried to create a relationship. We are so accustomed to being last that we accept the minimum just for the opportunity to finally be first.
Hear me today…not anymore. You are #blackgirlmagic. So embrace the courage of that conviction. Know that the buck stops and has always stopped with you. Don’t concern yourself with the glass ceiling. It should be concerned about you. You are entitled to EVERYTHING YOU WANT – that man, that relationship, that house. Make this world work for your acceptance. It needs to please you, not the other way around.
The next employer who doubts your ability, succeed and embarrass them.
The next other who tells your hair is too kinky or skin too dark, ask them why they melt in the sun?
The next man who tells you that your standards are too high, tell that MF to “JUMP!”
Manifest the greatness within you. And cultivate the greatness in your fellow sister. We are not each other’s competition. Her shine will not diminish mine.
This world hasn’t tried to minimize you because you are unworthy. This world fears you.
For you are not just a queen. You are not simply a goddess. You are God.