“I am dripping melanin and honey, I am black without apology” – Upile Chisala
We live in a society where societal standards greatly define the way we view ourselves. Although in 2018, these standards are not clear-cut, some things are not easy to change. Not to play the race card, but this is true for women of colour, especially black girls.
As much as I’d like to address this to all women, I want to hit on something that I’m more familiar with: being a black girl. Black females have a whole package to deal with when it comes to beauty standards. The past oppression our ancestors went through years ago can still be felt in our views of beauty. It is rare to see young black girls be taught that their afro and nappy hair is beautiful. Instead, we are put under flat irons and dangerous chemicals that change our hair texture as soon as our hair becomes to “complicated” to deal with. The girls with darker skin are not praised, but rather lowered in comparison to their pairs with fairer skin. A lot of the conditioning happens at a young age; at the age of 8 already you can feel like you’re in the wrong skin.
As we grow up, there are more expectations that come here and there, a lot very stereotypical and diminishing. “You’re a black girl, you should know how to dance”. “Black girls don’t have flat butts”. “Black girls know how to cook”. “You must have an attitude since you’re black”. I’m sure you get the idea. Let me say this: “black girls”, as they all like to say, are not manufactured with pre-sets. Stop looking for the same things in all of us. Black girls come in all size, shapes, colour, and talents. I understand that a lot of these come from cultural backgrounds, but you cannot bash a black girl because she does not fit the “ideal” description.
And there is more.
The guys that say: “I don’t do black girls, they too ratchet/ they got an attitude”. Excuse me. Have you been with/ spoken to all the black girls on this planet? Is this a category that you throw all ill-mouthed girls? Why such prejudice, especially coming from black men. Or they will chant that they interact with girls that are light-skinned; that is their conditioned self-speaking. The fact that these men have dark skin sisters and mothers and yet don’t want to associate with girls that look the same confuses me. And, who even asked you? There are a hundred other ethnicities and races in the world, and we are the one you decide to spit on? Did we ever do something to you?
Black girls already have society looking at them sideways 1. For being women and 2. For being black, and black males add to this by rejecting and disrespecting us.
But we still we rise above it all.
Black girls of our generation are starting to realise the power that we hold, especially as we work hand in hand. Women like Oprah Winfrey, Lupita Nyong’o, Chinua Achebe, Michelle Obama (the list is too long) are changing the narrative of the “black girl” the World knows. The angry black woman has been replaced with the beautiful, educated, and successful melanin-filled, woman.
Girls, embrace your hair, body, skin tone, don’t let boys or society dictate what is acceptable or beautiful. This Black Girl Magic is real, and it’s coming at them strong ✨