Black women and girls will always be too loud for a world that has decided it will neither here them or see them. We will always be seen as the other whom the whole, wide world flees from. The killer part is when the same world has the complete audacity to ask this: “Why are Black women so mad?”
My retort is this: “Wouldn’t you be?”
Imagine being born and being told from the time you can walk and talk what you are not, nor can ever be. Imagine being told you are too dark to be pretty; to light to even be considered Black; your name doesn’t sound Black enough; how you choose to spend your time ‘isn’t what Black girls’ do.
Think about this! Having your body policed, the timber and tone of your voice dictating just how ‘Black’ you are! Think about being less than 10 and being called ‘fast’ without even being told what that really means! Once out the world and building, succeeding and shouting victories–the world will still tell you what you have lacked, never achieved, and who is so much better than you. And there is always someone to tell you, ask you, to smile and say, “It ain’t that bad, is it?”
Ooh. Whee. Dear. God.
The world really is not ready to have a Black woman, whom had once been a Black girl, truly tell why she is mad. It is not ready to hear the tears set in sorry and rage which when given the meeting of chance and power? Explode. We explode. From that igniting of such dynamite? We are the ones whom are asked to swallow the bitter, embrace what makes us bleed, and to see straight when the world around us spins!
In my best Jane McKeene voice, “It ain’t fair! It ain’t fair!”
From this space, it is to the righteous work of other Black women to remind us of our own magic. The Black Girl Space as I call it, is where we can scream. Cry. Wail. Curse. Where we can be, and not have to be. These things are needed, these places are necessary!
Black women need other Black women to free us molds the world pushes us into! We need each other.
The writer and activist, Ashley Yates, says it this way: “Black women take care of Black women.” It’s true. With this in mind, with this social awareness powered by love, it liberates. It gives strength and freedom to do what needs to be done in the lives of those who need it! This includes being bold enough to tell the Black women and girls in your life they are safe with you. Black women and girls deserve to know that the world around them will not totally consume them because they are not alone.
Black women, Black girls are entitled to softness as well; this bitterness the world thinks we have as rite of passage is not meant to be a weight–but a warning. We are allowed to live, and love, and be mad sometimes, dammit! But in that space, we should also have the space to tell another woman who looks like us, been where we are trying to go, that we have permission to do so–and will succeed once we get there!
Sometimes in order to get your freedom, someone has to give you a key. For Black women and girls, we hold the keys to another’s freedom–even it it just to say, “Keep going, girl! You got this!”
You would be amazing how free and sweet those keys are.
*Jane McKeene is one of my favorite characters written by Justina Ireland in the book Dread Nation and Deathless Divide.