15 Things Every Black Girl Did Growing Up

August 7, 2013  |  
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Remember getting your hair braided before school? Or your first perm? What about running home before the street lights came on? We’ve got a list of things we remember from growing up as black girls. Add your favorite memory to the comments section.

Got Your Hair Braided

Most of us remember sitting between our mother’s/sister’s/cousin’s/auntie’s knees to get about a dozen braids before school. Reach your hand back there to count though and you might get popped.

Danced in The Living Room

Some people think black folks are born knowing how to dance. But the truth is we’ve just been getting down since we were pint sized. “Show mama how you get down!”

Grew Up Living S#!t Black Moms Say

Say ’em with me now: “Don’t you see I’m on the phone?” “Don’t make me come up there” “Do you have McDonald’s Money”? Every black mother circulated the same few sayings to get us to be quiet, behave, and stop running in and out of the house and letting the cool air out. Check the video above for more black mom sayings…just not at work your boy curses more than my mama ever did.

Caught Shade for “Talking White”

Word play is a big part of black culture and if you put too much emphasis on the “-er” in “proper,” you might be called an Oreo. So a lot of us just learned to talk one way on the playground and another when we got home.

Got No Allowance

Remember when you found out other kids got allowance and you asked your mama for and she laughed in your face? Chores were just pay back for keeping the lights on, food on the table and school clothes on your back. But that’s OK. There’s nothing like a few broke childhood years to encourage you to get out there and make something of yourself.

Dreamed of Going to a Historically Black College

Between “A Different World” and “School Daze” they looked like the place to be. Did anyone else practice the dance moves to “Be Alone Tonight?” I always got to be Tisha Campbell ‘cuz it was my tape.

Spent Hours in a Salon

It’s where we graduated from the ear-burning hot comb to the chemical burn of a perm. And on a busy day, you could be there forever. But it was worth it to swish your hair all the way home.


All kids can be mean, but black kids do it with flair. Remember yo mama jokes? Nothing was off limits. And we knew more than one round that ended in tears: “You just wait ’til I get home and tell my mama.”

Joined Jack and Jill of America

Jack and Jill is the social club where we learned about black culture, had sleepovers, went on field trips and made a whole new circle of friends. After the debutante ball you graduated…and maybe joined The Links, Inc..


Pretended a Sheet Was Your Hair

Didn’t have hair flowing down your back? No worries, a pillow case gave us the same effect — when we were in the house of course. And don’t trip. If it was laundry day, a bath towel would do.

Thought They Could Be The First Black President

Our parents may have miscalculated on that one. But whatever we did, we were going to be the first black CEO, billionaire or Olympic gold medalist in the sport. Whatever it was, we’d be breaking down barriers for the rest of us when we did it.

Cut a Switch

Some of us still can’t walk by a bush without feeling some sort of way. And you better not get one too small. You’ll have to go back, get another one and take more licks for trying to get away with that mess. Now stop crying before I give you something to cry about.

Got Pinched at Church

The bench was hard, the service was long. But cut up and you’ll get the evil eye. Miss it and you’d get a pinch on the back of the arm. That is unless you were lucky enough to be part of a congregation with children’s church.

Learned That Other Kids Got Away with Murder

You saw them in the grocery store or at a slumber party, acting a fool and getting away with it. All you could do was stare and think “if I talked to my mama that way…” or “what in the world is a ‘time out’?”


Whether it was at school, at church or at home, someone gave “black Hannukah” a shot because it just sounded like something you should do. There was a lot of red, black and green; some talk about umoja and being grateful for things. But for some reason it just never caught on ..

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