Black Girl Magic Defined (Pt.1): Do You Put Race Before Womanhood?

November 9, 2015  |  

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“Serena Williams wins fourth consecutive Grand Slam title at Wimbledon 2015!”

“Oprah makes $70 million in one day.”

“Congratulations Misty Copeland for becoming the first African American principal dancer at The American Ballet Theatre Company.”

“Viola Davis becomes the first African American women to win an Emmy as a leading actress in a television drama!”

“Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles dominate the 2015 World Gymnastics Championship.”

These 2015 headlines and many more can be found circulating Twitter accompanied by the hash tag #BlackGirlMagic! Originally posted as #BlackGirlsaremagic in 2013 by Twitter user CaShawn Thompson, @thepbg, the slogan speaks to the capacity of Black girls to dream big, put forth effort, and win with little resources and/or encouragement from society at large.

In a September 2015 article with the LA Times, Thompson referred to the hashtag as “a movement.”

The hashtag is a great symbolic effort to inspire and celebrate black women, but it also raises questions.

Why is the ability to excel as a black woman magical, and how does this translate to the day-to-day reality of being black and female?

This is “#BlackGirlMagic Defined,” a three-part series on the state of being a Black woman in America.

What comes first, melanin or estrogen? Are you Black before you are female? Does the color of your skin matter more than the ovaries in your lower abdomen? By genetics, the race of our parents predisposes us to our ethnic makeup. On the contrary, our parents do not dictate our sex. Have we as Black women overshadowed our femininity with our Blackness?

Growing up, I knew what it meant to be a little Black girl before I understood the power of my vagina. We sang Negro spirituals in 1st and 2nd grade, but it was not until 4th grade that someone taught me about my menstrual cycle.

To profile my Blackness one must describe my skin color and/or my elected culture. To acknowledge me as a woman, I can be described by my functionality in the world. Women make babies. There is no other way to bring forth a human being into this world without a woman. 

Now before my pan-African sisters get their Afros kinked up, I am not suggesting that being Black is not important, however, it should be noted that the world does not functionally need different races like it does persons of the opposite sex. In that regard, how do we assess the weight of femininity in the equation that is #BlackGirlmagic?

This is extremely important in regards to the preservation of Black people. One of the essential powers of #BlackGirlMagic is the Black woman’s willingness to procreate under extreme scrutiny and devaluation of her stock as a human being. Our vagina’s, more than the color of our skin, have tremendous power and influence. And again, to be clear, I am not talking about our cultural equity as Black people and what that unity has birthed into the world. We have allowed persons to group us by race, but there is no getting around the functioning power of the vagina.

To this end, I have to question why we run from being women so much? If studied, most of the #BlackGirlMagic hash tags speak about every accomplishment except our power to birth humans, create communities, and establish healthy environments for the development of our people, inside our bodies and in our homes. Why is that?

Why are we afraid to talk about what it feels like to be a woman? Why don’t we own our power and energy as the most creative forces on the planet? Instead we let society pin our worthiness to the desires of men. The Black race, would be no more should Black women decide to stop incubating babies.

We have been enslaved, abandoned, raped, called ugly, and demeaned in every way possible yet, we still love, make love, carry babies, birth them, and lift them up in a world that hunts them for blood.

What do you think is Black Girl Magic defined?

Next up #BlackGirlMagic Defined Part Two: The Strength of the Black Women

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