Our Excellence Is More Than Black Girl Magic

February 28, 2018  |  

Black girl magic

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Now, before you leap to take my Black card away, hear me out! As much as I love a moment to praise and celebrate the Black woman, and as much as I overused the hashtag #BlackGirlMagic for a short time, these days, I find myself a tad bit confused at why everything we do is thought to be fueled by such sorcery. It’s almost as if we just became magic overnight or something. Like fairy dust was slightly sprinkled across our beautiful, well-moisturized, melanated skin, providing an explanation for our excellence and making what we do suddenly worthy of acknowledgment. After all of this time and so many achievements, we’ve finally figured it out, right?

Wrong.

Contrary to the views of folks on social media, when it comes to the excellence of Black women, there is nothing current or trendy about it. It’s who we are and who we’ve always been. Our excellence exceeds generations and is more impactful than any trending hashtag could ever be.

As history has shown us, no matter the age, decade or circumstance, Black women are fearless. We’ve witnessed black women excel in life no matter the unfair adversities handed to us. The Black woman is excellence personified. So why this sudden realization from society under the umbrella of magic? But more importantly, is this realization genuine appreciation or is it just another social media phase?

It must be, because that’s the only logical reasoning for the delayed appreciation. If we look back on our history, there is nothing new about what the heights Black women can reach; we’ve been this way for quite some time.

We’ve all had history lessons on the greats, such as Harriet Tubman and her underground railroad journey to freeing over 300 slaves. We’ve all seen a picture of the fearless Rosa Parks refusing to abide by segregation laws. And if it wasn’t for Shirley Chisholm’s shattering of the glass ceiling and being a voice in Congress back in 1968, we may never have gotten the victory of our first Black president decades later.

But all these iconic women lived in an era before the craze of social media and the overuse of hashtags. So, does that mean their efforts went unnoticed? Does it mean they don’t quite fit the criteria of “Black girl magic”? Does it make them any less magical? 

And what about the many women of color changing the world in the modern day, from all walks of life, who don’t get the public’s attention?

For example, Laura Weidman Powers, the co-founder and CEO of Code2040, a non-profit organization aimed to educate people of color in the tech industry. Or perhaps we can speak on California documentarian Brittany Sensabaugh, who with her work, aims to bring light to the forgotten and neglected communities of color throughout the U.S. Or even our Black girls as young as 13-year-old Marley Dias, founder of #1000BlackGirlBooks, inspiring young girls to read more while allowing them to see representation in their book choices.

The greatness, excellence, or in modern terms, “magic” of Black women has nothing to do with recognition from society. Black women automatically exude these things, everyday and in every way. It’s important that we don’t get caught up in the accolades and sometimes convenient recognition, but more importantly, stay focused on the stories, lives and accomplishments of these incredible women.

As stated, I love what the phrase “Black girl magic” represents, but my only concern is that we have trivialized all our brilliance into a mere hashtag that will fade, or probably already has faded out. I want us to continue to acknowledge the excellence we all possess and have genuine appreciation and respect for our people. (A respect and appreciation that goes way beyond an Instagram post.)

We as Black women have blazed trails and paved ways, with or without the recognition of society or a trendy answer for it, and we will continue to do so. “Black girl magic” might be a cute description to many, but it’s not a fun phase — it’s a lifestyle. Our excellence is much more than any catchy phrase. It’s who we are, it’s who we’ve been and it’s who we will continue to be.

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