Dear Black Girls,
There are times when you can get into such a dark place, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that you’ve been planted, not buried. If I know anything from my life’s experiences, it’s the fact that I always grow and eventually face the sun.
As a black girl, people will expect you to set yourself on fire to warm them. It isn’t your job. Don’t take up the role of martyr because you feel you have to or are expected to.
You Define Beauty
As a young black girl, I realized early on all you have to be to be qualified as ugly was to be a dark girl. This is wrong. But none of my peers reassured me of anything different. Your brown skin and dark skin is beautiful. Beauty is not defined by mainstream standards. Hold your head high and wear your sun-kissed skin proudly.
For the tomboys: There’s no need to compensate for your perceived lack of femininity by wearing dresses or the color pink. No need to continue censoring your actions to appear more lady-like. You define beauty.
I made the mistake of keeping myself calm inside when politeness dictates that I say “thank you” to a person who is bewildered that I am objectively beautiful; as if dark skin, coiled hair detract from, rather than enhance beauty.
Never feel like you need to apologize for or excuse your appearance.
THE RAINBOW IS ENOUGH
Remember you are enough.
Your light shines just as bright as everyone else’s.
YOU are just as worthy of happiness, success and fairy tales.
Don’t argue yourself into frustration. Empathy and a desire to be informed are not as common as they should be.
When your sitting in a room surrounded by a plethora of predominately white women practicing back pativism, it’s not worth it to argue. While attending predominately white institutions (high school or college) you will see, back pativisim is learned early on. Action without acting is just another word.
Angry Black Woman Stereotype
We are emotional creatures, although our pride may not make it seem like we aren’t at times. We break and sometimes the pieces can’t get back together again the way it was before. But its okay because in the end, we rebuild into a greater masterpiece…not perfect but beautiful. We should all help each other with our broken pieces.
As a black woman, my intelligence is questioned or dismissed. My (righteous) anger is seen as a character flaw instead of a legitimate response to being wronged. Don’t ever apologize for your feelings.
Walk against the tide, despite what others may say. In order to be extraordinary, you have to step out and do things that ordinary people wouldn’t fathom. Take your opportunity to gain, while others see nothing but work and pain.
What you can do to be a part of change
Let’s talk about “sisterhood.” Sisterhood doesn’t mean yelling “RAH RAH RAH GO YOU” at everything the women and girls we know do. Sisterhood is being able to cheer you on when you’ve done well, challenge you when you can do better, and admonish you when you drop the ball.
Our young black girls are in needs of heroes. Strong women with strong ideals.
When it comes to defining black feminist thought, I want my daughter to know being Black and female may expose African-American women to certain common experiences, which in turn may predispose us to a distinctive group consciousness.
Books for Young Black Feminist
This list below is meant to inspire, encourage and reaffirm to young black girls everywhere that YOU ARE ENOUGH. Your hopes, dreams, and ideas matter just as much as the next. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. YOU HAVE A VOICE.
Purple Hibiscus: A Novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble
Assata: An Autobiography by Assata Shakur Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble
Legacies: A Guide for Young Women in Planning Their Future
by Constance Gipson and Hazel Mahone, Ed.D Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble
Bloom by Brittane Traveste Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble
Bone by Yrsa Daley-Ward Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble
Picture Books for Little Black Feminist
Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble
Dancing in the Wings by Debbie Allen Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold Amazon | Barnes & Noble
The Gutsy Girl by Caroline Paul Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Spilling yourself and overindulge if necessary, but never come across as pretentious, obnoxious and intolerable. Manners are important. But don’t tolerate bullshit.
Painted images: Debra Cartwright
Photograph: Nicole Caudle
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