The power of black women is undeniable, and we stay killing it in whatever we choose to pursue. When we unite to advocate for one another, we build communities that not only thrive but forge strong and successful futures for generations. Here's where black feminism comes in. Its impact can be seen in the legacies of so many powerful women who have positively affected legislation, shifted the perception of what a black woman is, and made room for all of us to expand, flourish, and blossom into our own.
Many have impacted us all with their art, work, and push for women's equality and freedom. Be inspired by 14 black feminist quotes from the legends, on career advancement, entrepreneurship, leadership and much more:
Florynce Kennedy, Lawyer, Activist and Lecturer: On Self-Confidence
"I focus on myself. I'm the most important person in my life. I love me better than anybody loves me. I take such good care of me. I don't need any other person. ... I really really think I'm great. I cannot walk, I cannot stand up, I wobble, I fall down, I do everything, but I'd still rather be me than just about anybody."—1985 Diane Abrams interview
Shirley Chisholm, Educator and Politician: On Taking Initiative
"You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas."
—"UnBought and Unbossed" presidential campaign speech
Alice Walker, Author and Lecturer: On Conscious Planning
"Keep in mind always the present you are constructing. It should be the future you want."
—The Temple of My Familiar
Kathryn Finney, Tech Entrepreneur and Speaker: On Paving Your Own Lane
"You can only punch a wall for so long before you either break your hand or the wall. At digitalundivided, we decided to stop punching the wall, buy a chainsaw, and make our own door."
—2016Model View Culture interview.
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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Author and Speaker: On People-Pleasing
"Please do not twist yourself into shapes to please. Don't do it. If someone likes that version of you, that version of you that is false and holds back, then they actually just like that twisted shape, and not you. And the world is such a gloriously multifaceted, diverse place that there are people in the world who will like you, the real you, as you are."
—2015 Wellesley College commencement speech
Bell Hooks, Author and Activist: On Self-Awareness
"If any female feels she need anything beyond herself to legitimate and validate her existence, she is already giving away her power to be self-defining, her agency."
—Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics
Audre Lorde, Author: On Self-Care
"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare."
—A Burst of Light
Angela Davis, Lecturer and Activist: On Optimism
"I don't think we have any alternative other than remaining optimistic. Optimism is an absolute necessity, even if it's only optimism of the will, as Gramsci said, and pessimism of the intellect."
—Freedom Is a Constant Struggle
Roxane Gay, Author and Speaker: On Service
"We must stop pointing to the exceptions—these bright shining stars who transcend circumstance. We must look to how we can best support the least among us, not spend all our time blindly revering and trying to mimic the greatest without demanding systemic change."
Dorothy Pitman Hughes, Activist and Author: On Doing What You Love
"You have to get to a point where you do what you enjoy. And also, it helps you to understand that you have talents that you came here with and you can build on all of them and you don't have to be hooked into one skill because of an education system that doesn't understand education."
—1973 WNED's "Woman" interview
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Janelle Monae, Actress, Musician and Activist: On Pushing Past Norms
"I don't think we all have to take the same coordinates to reach the same destination. I believe in embracing what makes you unique even if it makes others uncomfortable. I have learned there is power in saying no. I have agency. I get to decide."
—2017 Marie Claire interview
Toni Morrison, Author and Lecturer: On the Importance of Sponsorship
"I tell my students, 'When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game.' "
—2003 O Magazine Interview
Brittney Copper, Author: On the True Source of Power
"Power is not attained from books and seminars. Not alone, anyway. Power is conferred by social systems. Empowerment and power are not the same thing. We must quit mistaking the two. Better yet, we must quit settling for one when what we really need is the other."
—Eloquent Rage: A Black Woman Discovers Her Superpower
Ntozake Shange, Poet, Author, and Playwright: On the Power of Reading
"Read as much as you can, as many different kinds of books on different subjects as you can. Read everything you can get in your hands. Keep feeding your soul with words of other people so you can see all the different kinds of things that can be done with words and experience it yourself."
—2013 Black Enterprise interview
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This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
There’s nothing quite as humbling as navigating adulthood with no instruction manual. Since the turn of the decade, it seems like everything in our society that could go wrong has, inevitably, gone wrong. From the global pandemic, our crippling student debt problem, the loneliness crisis, layoffs, global warming, recession, and not to mention figuring out what to eat for dinner every night. This constant state of uncertainty has many of us wondering, when are the grown-ups coming to fix all of this?
But the catch is, we are the new grown-ups.
As if it happened without our permission, we became the new adults. We are the members of society who are paying taxes, having children, getting married, and keeping our communities afloat, one iced latte at a time. Still, there’s something about doing all these grown-up duties that feel unnaturally grown-up. Enter the #teenagegirlinher20s.
If there’s one hashtag to give you the state of the next cohort of adults, it’s this one. Of the videos that have garnered over 3.9M views, you’ll find a collection of users who are overwhelmed by life’s pressing existential responsibilities, clung to nostalgia, and reminiscent of the days when their mom and dad took care of their insurance plans.
no like i cant explain to her why i had to buy multiple tank air dupes from aritzia #teenagegirlinher20s #fyp
The concept of being a 20-something or 30-something teenager is linked to the sentiment of not feeling “grown up enough” to do grown-up things while feeling underprepared and even nihilistic about whether that preparation even matters.
It’s our generation’s version of when we ask our grandmothers how old they are and they simply reply with, “I still feel 45,” all while being every bit of 76 years old. In this, we share a warped concept of time while clinging to a desire for infantilization.
Granted, the pandemic did a number on our concept of time. Many of us who started the pandemic in our early or mid-20s missed out on three fundamental years of socialization, career development, and personal milestones that traditionally help to mark our growth.
Our time to figure out and plan our next steps through fumbling yet active participation was put on pause indefinitely and then resumed provisionally. This in turn has left many of us hanging in the balance of uncertainty as we try to make sense of the disconnect between our minds and bodies in this missing gap of time.
Because we’re all still figuring out what the ramifications of being locked away and frozen in time by a global pandemic will have on us as a society, there really is no “right” way of making up for lost time. Feeling unprepared for any new chapter of life is a natural rite of passage, pandemic or not. However, it’s important to not stay stuck in the last age or period of life that made sense to us because self-growth is the truest evidence of personal progress.
So whether you’re leaning on your inner child, teenager, or 20-something for guidance as you fill the gap between your real age and pandemic age, know that it’s okay to grieve the person you thought you would be and the milestones you thought you’d hit before you ever knew what a pandemic was. If there’s anything that the pandemic taught us, it’s that we have the power to reimagine a better world and life for ourselves. And if we tap into our inner teenager as a compass, we can piece together our next chapter with a fresh outlook.
Sure, we’ve lost a couple of years, but there are still some really amazing ones ahead.
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