DEAR BLACK GIRL...
The image of a six-year old Ruby Bridges bring escorted by burly U.S. Marshals as she descends the steps of Frantz Elementary school in Louisiana, the first black child to do so, is one that always makes me well up with emotion. With her book bag in hand and a ribbon affixed to her afro, there is something incredibly powerful about that small girl defying a system built to keep her in ‘her place’. And like many before her, and many since, black girls across the globe are defying history and expectation and not just waiting for our moment...we’re taking it. And rightfully so.
While most people dream of having superpowers, such is your birthright. How else could you have survived the middle passage? The brutalities of the plantation? The loss of your children and your men? The oppression of your joy? The theft of your humanity? No, not by chance. It is the indomitable spirit of our foremothers before us that, today, still, bears you up in the face of bending adversity. You have been downtrodden and victimized. Over sexualized and ostracized, but still...you rise. To heights unimaginable.
Like Harriet Tubman before you, you are astute. And like Nefertiti before her, you are regal. You stand on the shoulders of giants so history will remember your names: Oprah and Michelle. Misty and Lupita. Beyonce and Serena.
You are calm as a summer sea, but you’re not afraid to fight for what’s yours. And you’ve fought. Like Sanite Belair, you’ve fought. And like Nanny of the Maroons, you’ve fought. And you’ll continue to fight until your voices are heard. Until your rights...and your lives are respected and honoured.
Your beauty is a mystery; inexplicable and multi-faceted . Your hair defies gravity and your smile outshines a million stars. And that skin – deep, rich cocoa and smooth caramel and every shade between - don’t you ever be ashamed of that skin. For it is your heritage and your wealth; your beauty and your power. It is the very essence of your magic.
Angry Black Woman? No, that isn’t you. Your joy is contagious. And your laughter is like the sound of music. You have inspired in the midst of desolation. And heartened the hopeless.
You’re misunderstood and it’s frustrating. Some days you feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. Especially when it seems like everyone is trying to duplicate and customize your identity and your culture, yet... your full lips aren’t beautiful. Your ample derriere is caricaturized. But let them try you on. Because like a pauper in regalia, your originality will hang loosely about them, ill-fitting and conspicious.
The beautiful thing about you is that you need no validation. Because how can you validate greatness? It is your inheritance; your heiress loom. Your strength has been tested, but you’ve never buckled under pressure. Your heart has been broken and tattered but you’ve still got love to give. You will not be told where you can or can’t sit in the bus. You will not be told what you can or can’t achieve. You will defy odds and shatter expectations. Because, like your great ancestors before you, it is in your blood. And try as they might, your soaring spirit can’t be suppressed, oppressed or repressed. You are powerful beyond measure and your essence cannot be defined or contained. You are a pixie; a fairy of folklore and legend.
Dear Black Girl, you’re Magic.
Alicia is a full-time writer/blogger and aspiring multi-hyphenate. Born in Toronto and raised in Jamaica, she now calls Montreal home. With a background in Broadcast-Journalism and a passion for inspiring through her writing, Alicia enjoys writing and creating content for the millennial woman. You can read more of her work at www.aluestory.com.