All Articles Tagged "black women"
Jesse Williams has been one of our Woke Baes for a while now. He speaks the truth when it comes to the oppression of Black folks. And during his acceptance speech at the BET Awards he made sure to speak to the issues of women as well.
So, people found a couple of his tweets from yesterday very interesting.
They don’t want you to see The Birth of a Nation though….
— jesseWilliams. (@iJesseWilliams) September 22, 2016
One woman had a couple of questions.
Williams issued this response.
— jesseWilliams. (@iJesseWilliams) September 23, 2016
After all of Williams’ contributions, we won’t be too quick to give him a full side eye. But we are watchful. After all, this is a story we’ve heard too many times before. Love, support and uplift the Black man even when the Black man degrades, disrespects and ignores you.
And based on Williams’ BET speech, where he told Black women that Black men can and would be better for us, this is not exactly looking like it.
Veronica Wells is the culture editor at MadameNoire.com. She is also the author of “Bettah Days.”
It seems silly to have to ask people to trust you when it comes to your own body. Trust that I know where and how I want to raise my kids. Trust me to decide whether I want to birth at home or in a hospital or trust that I can choose whether or not to have an abortion. Sadly, for Black women, these choices aren’t always given, and having control over our reproduction has had to come with a fight.
Thankfully, there’s Trust Black Women, a coalition of Black female lead organizations from across the country who have banded together to fight attacks against our reproductive rights.
But if you’re like me, you’ve probably never heard of Trust Black Women.
Well, not to worry. I recently sat down with Monica Simpson, executive director of Sister Song, a reproductive justice organization based in Atlanta that started Trust Black Women, and she broke down everything we need to know.
The organization was started in 2010 when anti-abortion attacks turned racial. Billboards went up in major cities like New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta stating, “The Most Dangerous Place For An African American Is In The Womb.” They looked at the record number of abortions being conducted by black women, and the fact that a majority of abortion clinics are in the black community, and likened it to genocide. So influential were their claims that lawmakers in Kansas passed a law outlawing abortions based on race.
That’s when Sister Song stepped in.
“They were coming for us, trying to shame us about abortions, but they weren’t looking at the full picture,” says Monica Simpson. “They weren’t talking about the fact that we make .60 cents on the dollar, domestic violence, rape culture, lack of quality healthcare, over policing of black and brown people, the fact that we’re getting gunned down in the streets.”
Sister Song partnered with some other black female lead organizations from across the country and created a grassroots campaign called Trust Black Women, which means to trust that we know how to make the best decisions for our families, our communities, and our lives.
The campaign was so successful in igniting black women to stand up for our bodies that they were able to get the billboards taken down, as well as change and push back on some of the anti-abortion legislation that was coming down the pike.
Now that they’re six years in, they recently re-launched with an expanded agenda. “We realize that our work is no longer just about attacks on abortion. And now that we understand our political power we want to build on that. Maternal immortality is on the rise, babies are being taken away, we want to parent in safe environments, and we need to address police brutality and our prison system,” says Monica.
More people are being brought into the fold. Doctors, lawyers, politicians, and analyzers are joining the movement. Everybody is welcome. They also created a solidarity statement with Black Lives Matter, which was powerful because history has shown that one of the most effective ways to divide the strength of black people has been through abortion. By joining together the two groups have been able to form a united front.
“We want to reach more states and educate more women about their reproductive rights, and also let them know that Trust Black Women isn’t confined to birthing children. Some women can’t for various reasons and some don’t want to. It’s about reproducing our ideas, and we need to live in a world where we are safe and have access to the full range of healthcare,” explains Monica.
Now is definitely the time.
This country may have its first female President so it’s imperative that we step up to the plate and hold our politicians, and community, accountable. Hillary Clinton recently sat down with Essence magazine’s editor-in-chief Vanessa K. De Luca and said:
“There’s a very clear set of issues that are particularly important to African-American women. I will continue to reach out to say, “Look, we’ve got to build on the progress. I can’t do it without you. I want to know what you need, and I want you to know that I’m going to do everything I can to respond to those needs.”
Trust that we will hold you to that, Hillary.
It’s really amazing when you consider that we have a powerful network of socially conscious Black women working together on our behalf. And just like our predecessors of the Civil Rights movement, Black women are at the forefront of change. We’re organizing our communities, influencing elections and getting court justice. Just look at how Black female protesters in Oklahoma were instrumental in getting a life sentence for police officer David Holtzclaw who was convicted of raping multiple Black women. And there’s so much more that we can do.
Trust Black Women have got this! So where do we sign up?
Go to trustblackwomen.org and subscribe to their newsletter, follow them on social media, and share the information with your friends. Let’s make #TrustBlackWomen the hashtag of empowerment and not the latest sign of powerlessness. RIP #ClarenceCrutcher #KeithLamont #KorrynGaines
Are you in?
The narrative of the Black man choosing not to date Black women is not a new one. We hear it, we see it. It’s a thing. Whether the numbers are staggering or not—and they aren’t; the fact that this sentiment exists among our own people is troubling. And y’all know Iyanla is out here trying to heal the community. So, it only makes sense that she and the good people at OWN found some of these men and asked them why?
They found three men, on in his 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s.
Twenty-eight-year-old Bo, a business owner, said his reason for avoiding Black women is that he doesn’t want to deal with their strong personalities. He said, and I quote Black women need to, “You know, stay in a woman’s place.”
But Bo mentioned that his issue with Black women stems from watching his own mother struggle with anger. Still, he commended his mother for making sure she didn’t pass it on to him.
Iyanla said that she took a different approach in raising her son. And intentionally exposed him to the anger so that he could understand and be an asset to a Black woman.
Then 33-year-old Koro said that Black women don’t want him because he’s a God-fearing man, practicing celibacy. He also said that in the church, if you don’t have a collar, the women don’t want to talk to him. That story was so odd, all I could wonder was what church he goes to. Because I know good and well how many church women are also on a celibacy journey trying to achieve their spiritual goals. If Koro had any type of decency, Black women would be about that life.
Then there was Michael, a 46-year-old musician who traveled a lot during his childhood. When he came back to his hometown, he said that the Black women around him said he was different, talked and dressed funny and listened to weird music. He also mentioned that his cousins made fun of him.
That’s quite a few of our life stories. But Michael said that because of these experiences, he enters most interactions with Black women believing that they will find him strange.
Iyanla asked him what it had to do with the man he is today? She told him about her own experiences being bused to a predominately White high school, with people spitting on her and calling her the n-word. She said it doesn’t influence the person she is today.
Watch the conversation between the four of them.
After that the show organized a mixer between these men and some of the Black women Iyanla has been working with and a couple of White women too. See what happened.
Veronica Wells is the culture editor at MadameNoire.com. She is also the author of “Bettah Days.”
In a really great interview with Fusion recently, Cree Summer, the voice of our beloved characters Susie Carmichael and Freddie Brooks, was asked about being considered one of the original carefree Black girls represented in the mainstream, leading the way for others like Willow Smith, Amandla Stenberg and her goddaughter, Zoe Kravitz (whom all cite her as an influence). The carefree Black girl, otherwise known as the second cousin to the quirky Black girl, is viewed as one who marches to the beat of her own drum. She is the alternative representation most of us love to see, and at times, crave to be. But if you ask Summer, seen as the poster child (make that woman) of all things easygoing and unique, she’s not really feeling the label because she says the carefree Black girl is somewhat of a myth. She does, however, believe that there is a rise in the conscious Black girl, self-aware and liberated, which should be celebrated.
“I don’t know a single black girl who’s carefree because it ain’t easy being a girl of color, period,” Summer said. “God, I wish we were carefree. A lot of political things would have to dramatically change in this planet for a woman of color to be carefree. But I think what they mean by that is more of an aware black girl, a conscious black girl. The more conscious you are, maybe the less cares you have and maybe the more cares you have as well—it kind of goes hand in hand. Self-awareness and more self-love and also the ability to care for other black women. It has something to do with being politically aware of where you stand on this planet and I think it has to do with not accepting the definition that’s been given to you by designing yourself. I’ve always been a loud mouth that way. I’ve always been proud to be different, I’ve always stood out like a sore thumb and I always have not given a damn.”
And Summer is raising her daughters, Brave and Hero, whom she calls her “savages” on Instagram, to embody that same way of free thinking and living.
“Listen, if you had dinner with them you’d say, these girls are savages. Or just went to the grocery store, you’d say, oh dear god they are savages,” she said. “They are so blazingly individual and they teach me so much everyday [sic]. My job now is to maintain their fearlessness. When Hero falls down or Brave blurts something out and everybody stares, we crack up. I don’t want them to get to that point where they are embarrassed or scared of everything. That’s the danger of growing up, you just get so f–king afraid of everything. And what you’re usually most afraid of is the judgment of a bunch of people you wouldn’t even hang out with on purpose. Who gives a shit? I’d rather be afraid of oh my god, I’m in shark-infested waters. Now there is a legitimate fear. Or Trump is going to run this country. There’s a legitimate fear.”
The actress and voice-over juggernaut also emphasized the importance of surrounding yourself with people who embrace you for that ingenuity, like her BFF Lisa Bonet, rather than stifle it. And if anyone can do that, according to Summer, it’s Black women.
“Girls that make you feel good about yourself, that’s the most important thing,” she said. “Listen, I hit the jackpot, I really did. I can’t complain about a lot of things because I have such a deep piracy and sisterhood and girl gang that is just so powerful. To have girlfriends in your life, they reflect back to you how strong you are, how funny you are, how fine you are, how powerful you are. That’s one of the awful things that has happened in this world is there is a conspiracy against women and so much propaganda that we don’t know how to be friends.
She continued: “That’s bullsh-t. If anybody knows how to be friends, it’s black women. We have been enslaved and had to care for each other and each other’s babies and pick each other up in so many powerful ways. We know to take care of each other, we know how to be friends. Don’t buy the lies. That’s why I say Support Your Local Girl Gang because when I fall down and my world is in shambles, the ones that take care of me and pick me up and put me back together are my sisters, my friends. I can’t stress enough the importance of having women friends. It will change your life.”
Summer sure is preaching! Check out her full Fusion interview here, and let us know where you stand on the idea of the “carefree Black girl.”
Are you a professional Black girl? The renowned Dr. Yaba Blay says she is proudly, and she celebrates this fact with her new visual series, “Professional Black Girl.” Blay is using the videos to explore the Black women’s empowerment movement and experience and celebrate the “everyday excellence” of Black women and girls.
“When I say I’m a professional Black girl, I’m not identifying as someone who’s well-accomplished in her job, her career or her profession—though I am, be clear. I’m announcing myself as someone who takes being a Black girl very seriously,” Blay said in the trailer for Professional Black Girl, which premieres Friday, September 9, and features interviews from 17 Black women and girls of various generations “sharing what being a Professional Black Girl means to them,” reported Colorlines, which added “The trailer touches on some of those definitions, which reflect an assertion of identity in a world that too often tries to silence Black women’s voices.” The series will run until December 23 and can be viewed every Friday on YouTube.com/YabaBlayTV and Yabablay.com.
As Blay pointed out, Black women have to wear many hats — or faces — in their lives. “The terminology that is often used to describe and define Black girls—such as bad, grown, fast, ghetto and ratchet—are non-affirming and are words that are intended to kill the joy and magic within all Black girls,” Blay wrote about her latest visual project. “We are professional code-switchers, hair-flippers, hip-shakers and go-getters. We hold Ph.Ds and listen to trap music; we twerk and we work. We hold it down while lifting each other up, and we don’t have to justify or explain our reason for being. This is us.”
Grammy Award-winning recording artist Rapsody, Joan Morgan, author “When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost,” and 13-year-old world traveler Nahimana Machen, are just some of the professional Black girls Blay speaks with for this series. Check out the trailer below.
It was just two months ago that we reported about a campaign on a mission to celebrate the beauty of black women of every size, shape and skin tone — the “Colored Girl” campaign (TCG).
“I wanted to highlight and celebrate our unique beauty: our eyes, our lips, our cheekbones. I wanted women from different social and cultural background,” said TCG founder Tori Elizabeth in an interview with Essence a few months ago. “I wanted women with angular eyes, women with freckles and fair skin, and women with really rich, ebony skin. It’s so important to be proud of who we are and showcase the beauty of blackness.”
#rp @stylebytori … We stand before you in nothing but our hair. The hair that we were once taught to hate. We wear our hair as CROWNS… && intricately intertwined as garments to protect our thrones!! 👑✨👑 How can you not love the part of you that grows towards the universe!? ✨❤️💫 Photographer: @islandboiphotography Hair stylist & Hairkini designer: @jayhairbigga Models: @stylebytori @jayhairbigga @srvj MUA: @25thandjane
A photo posted by The “C” Girl™ (@thecgirlinc) on
In their latest TCG campaign, in-house photographer Joey Rosado serves up yet another beautifully striking photo series featuring gorgeous ladies of all different flavors with their own unique look. The focus of the campaign this time around? Hair.
“We stand before you in nothing but our hair. The hair that we were once taught to hate. We wear our hair as CROWNS… && intricately intertwined as garments to protect our thrones!! How can you not love the part of you that grows towards the universe!?” one of the photos is captioned of a trio of ladies rocking varying lengths of kinky, curly, coily tresses.
“OUR skin absorbs the sun’s rays and OUR hair defies gravity. You can’t tell US WE’RE not magical.” It shocks US that the beauty industry has still not fully embraced US. Daily as black women we’re faced with subpar choices/treatment due to the ignorance of others. To bring us to the table isn’t enough…when we’re fed left overs. If you are going to call yourself an expert in any field, you should be well informed and readily equipped to deal with the full spectrum of ALL women. We want to be INCLUDED, ACCEPTED & CELEBRATED…not just RELEGATED to the “ethnic” section!! 👑✨👑 ✨ Photographer: @islandboiphotography Hair Stylist (both crown & body): @jayhairbigga Models: @stylebytori @jayhairbigga @srvj #TCG MUA @25thandjane
We see you, TCG.
Earlier this week, I saw the sign that a group of Black women painted a message to Black men.
Dear Black Men,* [Cisgender and Straight]
-While you’re busy Not fighting for us, Remember that You’re killing us too!
The hung this portion of it from an overpass on a highway. But there was more.
For Korryn Gaines.
For Skye Mockabee.
For Joyce Quaweay.
For Dee Whigham.
For all Black women and femmes.”
We hung this over the highway today to remind Black cisgender-straight men of the truth. You don’t shut shit down for us when we’re murdered by the police, by this system, or by our community. While you spend all this time justifying our deaths, don’t forget that you’re on the list of things we fear the most. The biggest threat to black women and femmes safety is not just white and non-Black people, it’s you.
We are the revolution. And you can’t silence us anymore.
This is just the beginning. This will no longer be a conversation we “keep in the house” because you can’t be trusted to hear us, protect us, humanize us, or love us. We’re dedicated to airing out all of our intra-community violence laundry until shit changes. Fuck white people hearing our problems, this isn’t about their voyeurism! This about our lives and our safety!
We ain’t fighting for y’all no more until you stop killing us and until you start centering the violence, trauma, and pain we suffer by antiblack misogynistic violence. This is a new Black future.
Shackelford wrote this letter after she noticed the lack of response from Black men during the recent killing of mother Korryn Gaines. As you know, Gaines was killed in her home during a standoff with police. Her son was somewhere in the home with her when the shooting took place and was wounded. Many dismissed Gaines as crazy or deserving of her death, even though it was a few ticket violations that led the police to her house in the first place.
Perhaps, Shackelford wasn’t just speaking about Black men as a group, perhaps she was even addressing the Black man who was in Gaines’ home when the police initially showed up. He fled the scene with her youngest child.
We don’t have to discuss the truth behind Shackelford’s words. I’ve seen and heard of countless marches dedicated to the Black men who have been killed at the hands of police. They’re widely publicized, the talking heads come out. The hashtag pops. And Black men defend the victim publicly and privately. But Korryn didn’t get that same treatment. Rekia didn’t get that same treatment. And even marches for Sandra Bland, perhaps the most well-known and well publicized death of a Black woman at the hands of police, had poor turnout.
Furthermore, when Black women try to present an issue that directly affects us in our daily lives, often at the hands of Black men, i.e. domestic violence, rape and sexual assault, we are demonized and dismissed. Much the same way the media and racists dismiss the victims of police brutality.
Like I said, I saw this story yesterday and I nodded my head. “Yup, true.” But I didn’t think to write about it until I saw it posted on a male Facebook friend’s wall.
Along with the picture, he included this caption:
“I agree with the message but the timing is bad. It wasn’t black boys matter it’s black lives matter. This is going to cause a divide during a time we need to be united. Deja Vu all over again.”
His caption immediately brought to mind Martin Luther King Jr.’s response in the Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963. If you’ll remember it was Dr. King’s peers, members of the clergy like himself who called his efforts and marches, his movement and purpose “unwise and untimely.” You’ll remember that he said the word “wait” almost always meant “never.”
And the same is true for Black women.
The relationship between America and Black folk and the relationship between Black men and Black women are strikingly similar. In the same way that Black folks birthed the American economy and built the nation, Black women have birthed and built up Black men. And the same ways in which Black folk have been seen as less than in the eyes of America; we, Black women, are seen as second class and inferior by our own people. In the same ways that Black people are questioned and even accused of being racist for expressing pride in our identity and calling for equal rights, is the same way Black women are accused of being anti-men and even anti-community for identifying themselves as feminists.
It’s preposterous to think that a group of people could be responsible for your success as a nation only to turn around and legally classify them as 3/5 human. And it’s absurd to think that the same women who have been fighting on the frontlines for Black men, from Ida B. Wells to Fannie Lou Hamer to Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi and Patrisse Cullors, would be dismissed and told to wait for a resolution to the issues that matter to us.
How dare the people who are responsible for America’s economy, infrastructure and innovation be told to wait? How dare the very demographic who formed the movement that is fighting for Black men, be told to wait by those same Black men? It’s a slap in the face to both the public and private sacrifices Black women have made and continue to make for Black men.
And the same is true for the LGBT community. The women who founded Black Lives Matter are queer. DeRay McKesson, one of the most visible faces of the movement is openly gay. And while he has literally sacrificed his time, money and even freedom for the cause of Black Lives, straight, Black men who haven’t even done an eighth as much can’t appreciate his efforts because he’s gay. And as much as some people like to act like being gay is some type of new fad, Bayard Rustin, James Baldwin and Langston Hughes, most likely, were all gay and some of the strongest advocates for our people.
It’s unbelievable. And Black women are tired of it. In the same ways people have asked America where it would be without Black folk, Black men need to ask themselves where they would be without Black women and the LGBTQ community.
Veronica Wells is the culture editor for MadameNoire.com. She is also the author of the recently released book “Bettah Days.”
On Gabby Douglas And Why Black Women Can’t Catch A Break — Even When We’re Competing For Our Country
It takes nothing to get on people’s bad side these days. This is especially true when you’re a gifted and successful Black man or woman.
I was reminded of this after hearing about the alleged uproar Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas caused yesterday. The Olympian didn’t put her hand on her heart during the playing of the National Anthem as the Fab Five took part in their medal ceremony. While her teammates stood with their hands on their hearts, Douglas just stood at attention. And if the missing hand wasn’t enough, people on Twitter felt like the girl could have at least sung the song as it played to show some patriotism.
Of course, Douglas was in the dark about the controversy, seeing as she had just won another gold medal alongside her friends and teammates. But after being alerted to the faux outrage, she apologized for causing any offense.
— Gabrielle Douglas (@gabrielledoug) August 10, 2016
But as some people pointed out, Douglas is not the first person to opt out of putting their hand on their heart while their colleagues choose to do so during the playing of the national anthem at the Olympics.
— Fairy Jane Paul (@writelikeryan) August 10, 2016
And as Cindy Boren of the Washington Post put it, again, this was the national anthem, not the Pledge of Allegiance:
The national anthem is not the Pledge of Allegiance, but the U.S. Code for conduct during the playing of it stipulates that “all present except those in uniform stand at attention facing the flat [sic] with the right hand over the heart.” However, anyone who has been to, say, a Major League Baseball game, will tell you that that isn’t always followed.
Do those men get the same criticism? I didn’t think so. So, as always, much ado about nothing.
But this whole situation left quite the bad taste in my mouth. For one, I feel like despite the fact that these talented people have worked their asses off to go for gold, an incredibly difficult feat, too many people like to come up with a whole host of distractions to take the attention away from their success. Whether it’s the alleged drug habits of parents, focusing on husbands/coaches as the root of a female Olympian’s success and just looking for the rose that grew out of concrete story in order to relate and celebrate, some individuals love to focus on the wrong things.
But I’m most bothered by the fact that folks have been telling Douglas how she needs to look and act ever since she stepped into the spotlight. When she was 16, at her first Olympics, people were telling her that her hair was a mess, focused more so on beauty standards than her incomparable talent. They went in on her dance moves. And even as an adult, people have criticized her face for not appearing happy enough to have obtained a coveted position on the U.S. gymnastics team. They say she should smile more like her teammates, ecstatic to have received a “second chance” from coach Martha Karolyi. She was questioned about her disappointment at missing out on the chance to compete in the individual all-around competition to defend her title; asked how she felt about her friends Aly Raisman and Simone Biles getting to do so, expected to crack on camera. She’s been compared to Biles and treated like the Black Joan Crawford to Biles’s Bette Davis.
I even saw criticisms of her decision to do reality TV before the Olympics with her Oxygen show Douglas Family Gold. There have also been random claims that she’s only still doing gymnastics to support her family, who have been characterized as money-hungry people by complete strangers. And now this bull about not putting her hand on her heart. This, despite the fact that she’s standing there wearing the colors of the U.S.A. flag, smiling as probably a bevy of thoughts run through her head. And considering that a vast majority of us will never get to stand on a podium and be celebrated with a gold medal at the Olympics, such criticism should stop. We can’t say what should have run through her head during that moment or what she should have done with her hand during the ceremony because we likely wouldn’t have lived up to our own expectations.
And yet, the girl can’t catch a break. Regardless of all the bullsh-t, Douglas is asked to apologize, to keep smiling, to grin and bear the criticism. It’s the same thing we, as Black women, are often told to do. Keep up a smile through the stress in school, at work, in the home, and even just walking down the street in order to succeed and not be harmed. It’s always been tired, but it’s especially irksome to watch a person who should be applauded for their feats have to go through this when they should only be focusing on sticking their landings.
To think, this is the thanks a young woman gets for setting aside years of her life to train to compete for our country. So much for patriotism.
I recently came across a quote that read “Everybody wants an ambitious woman until they realize they have to step their own s–t up.” I believe I liked it, screenshot it, and shared it on all my social media platforms because I could relate to it so much. I’ve often been told that I am a “too much” woman. I used to feel so offended by such a label. I couldn’t understand how I was being too much by simply demanding exactly what I want out of life or by expecting better for the person interested in me, but then I came across an article by sexuality doula Ev’yan Whitney titled “I Am a Too Much Woman”:
There she is. . . the “too much” woman. The one who loves too hard, feels too deeply, asks too often, desires too much.
There she is taking up too much space, with her laughter, her curves, her honesty, her sexuality. Her presence is as tall as a tree, as wide as a mountain. Her energy occupies every crevice of the room. Too much space she takes.
There she is causing a ruckus with her persistent wanting, too much wanting. She desires a lot, wants everything—too much happiness, too much alone time, too much pleasure. She’ll go through brimstone, murky river, and hellfire to get it. She’ll risk all to quell the longings of her heart and body. This makes her dangerous…Forget everything you’ve heard—your too much-ness is a gift; oh yes, one that can heal, incite, liberate, and cut straight to the heart of things.
Do not be afraid of this gift, and let no one shy you away from it. Your too much-ness is magic, is medicine. It can change the world.
As I read, I let those words resonate with me and I thought about how even as an outgoing yet also introverted woman, being a so-called too much woman has affected my life, specifically, my love life. I wondered why men always seemed to be attracted to the successes that appeared in my life, but were immediately intimidated or fearful of committing to the woman attached to them. It was almost as if I looked good on paper, but was too much to actually be with in real life because it required them to do something that they weren’t ready for: grow. So I’d beat myself up for being a too much woman; for loving too hard and for pushing too hard for them to be better, certainly not for my sake, but for their own. I even simmered down a bit to be more accommodating, but that often left me feeling like I was settling. In retrospect, I realized that all of the times I believed that being too much was frowned upon was because it was usually being spewed from the mouth of a man who had nothing going for himself. So today, at this very moment, I’ve made peace with my too muchness. I wear it on my sleeve as a disclaimer to those interested: “If you can’t step up, it’s better to step off.” I’ve embraced being too much because I’ve learned that when you expect little and demand little, you get much less than you deserve.
You end up dating and convincing yourself that you’re okay with the fact that he doesn’t know what he wants yet. Okay with the fact that he hasn’t even given you a blueprint for his intentions because you believe that eventually he’ll flow into things. Okay with the fact that the separated man has baggage from his unresolved marriage because he seems to have everything else together. Okay with not getting the quality time you desire because “you need a new hobby anyway.” You’ll even convince yourself that it shows dedication and loyalty to be paying his bills because you know one day he’s going to pay you back or hold you down when you’re in trouble – despite the fact that he hasn’t even committed to you yet.
Relationships and love aside, you’ll display those same types of behaviors in all other aspects of your life. But Whitney charges us to embrace those magical moments in our lives where we finally decide to be brave enough to go for ours. She says, “Us Too Much Women have been facing extermination for centuries—we are so afraid of her, terrified of her big presence, of the way she commands respect and wields the truth of her feelings. We’ve been trying to stifle the Too Much Woman for ions—in our sisters, in our wives, in our daughters. And even now, even today, we shame the Too Much Woman for her bigness, for her wanting, for her passionate nature.
And still. . . she thrives.”
So thrive on my sisters with your too much selves.
Women are multifaceted gems and we wear several hats, each one becoming more and more decorated as we get older. We are mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, wives, career women, and most importantly, the nurturers and providers for the next generation we usher in. However, as we get older, we go through several transitions that can sometimes be very uncomfortable and difficult to manage. We are faced with many cultural and political dilemmas that we are often unprepared to deal with. Having someone there to walk with us and guide us through these changes can make all the difference.
It’s not a secret that Black girls face quite a few disparities due to race and gender. Overall, Black girls have become overpoliced and underprotected and most certainly forgotten in several different movements and intervention plans. Although we excel at greater rates than any other subgroup, we still have a hard time carving out our own careers paths, which is why it is important for Black women to take on mentorship roles for the Black girls coming up behind us.
A mentoring relationship between Black women and Black girls encourages them to break through stereotypes and helps to create a pathway for them to be leaders in the future. Mentoring allows young women the chance to spend time with a caring and supportive woman invested in their success. There is even more of a need for this in urban communities. The statistics for teenage pregnancy (despite declining), high school dropout rates, and early sexual activity is high. Providing these young women with the support and education they need to prevent these hurdles from halting their goals gives them a better chance at reaching and finishing college as well as venturing into a career. As it’s not just our Black boys who fall victim to the school-to-prison pipeline, but our Black girls as well, mentoring is a great way to intervene to combat such roadblocks.
Young women, especially those in our urban communities, need positive female role models. Women who have overcome obstacles to become successful in their own lives and can share their testimony and support. It is imperative for these girls to have examples of women who have gained strength by coming together to network, and for them to learn the importance of giving back to their neighborhoods (even if they don’t feel that they’ve obtained much from them).
According to The Office of Juvenile Justice Programs, showed that 87 percent of young women who attended mentoring programs went to college within two years of high school graduation; 52 percent were less likely to become pregnant during their teenage years; and 46 percent were less likely to use illegal drugs and alcohol.
With the lack of positive representation of Black women on television, it is important for positive role models, in real life, to step up and teach our young girls. Women are tasked with the responsibility of ushering in new generations and nurturing, shaping and molding the minds of children. But if the women are not being nurtured, shaped and molded into responsible, compassionate and successful adults while in their younger years when there are plenty people who stand by and watch them struggle, who do we then blame for a wayward, lost and crime-filled generation to come? This is why we can’t forget our young women. Mentorship matters.