One of the earliest memories I have of friendship with other brown little girls is being pushed down a flight of steps by two of my so-called "friends" when I was in the 5th grade.
From there, I was bullied by other black girls and boys throughout grade school and middle school. And since then, despite longing for those connections, my friendships with other WOC have felt like they're cursed.
As an adult, I've faced dealing with toxic girl relationships for as long as I can remember.
Whether being physically attacked by two random black girls at a bar in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, being recently ditched by my "best friend" during my greatest time of need, or having a vindictive and spiteful fellow WOC do her absolute best to unwarrantedly plunder my entire flourishing spiritual healing business, I can't seem to catch a break when it comes to maintaining healthy black female relationships.
It makes me take a step back and wonder why I even bother centering my core beliefs around solidarity amongst WOC. The mission of my recently besmerced company, Brown Girl Inc is, "to uplift and empower marginalized women of color whilst emphasizing the importance of self love, self expression, and spirituality to all people. We live in trying times and all we need is Unity and Love, which can only be achieved by healing ourselves from the inside out."
The very thing I seek to foster has been robbed of me by my closest girlfriends and absolute strangers alike. The last line of my mission statement, however, is where I find my resolution. Healing the wounds of feeling victimized and hated by the people I call "sis," is why I continue to stand by my mission.
Until I am able to overcome my blockage of victimization, judgement, or being outcast, I will only attract other people who will mirror that pain.
There is nothing like a healthy, loving relationship with someone who reflects your likeness, history, spiritually, and marginalization. There is comfort in finding solidarity with someone who exists in a similar body and can relate to the same things as you.
In a cultural climate of "shade throwing," "comment creeping," and "colorism," it's easy to miss the important lesson of supporting and praising one another. Instead, so many of us succumb to nasty drama, gossip, being fake, and tearing one another down. I'm so sick of the nasty, catty behavior I see between women and WOC in my own life, and on every other social media post and comment in my feed.
Enough is enough.
Today, I take a stand to forgive the toxic melanated women, I've had karmic relationships with in the past, and vow to not let my wounds of victimization stop me from cultivating healthy relationships with other WOC in the future. I call on everyone to do the same.
With the outpouring of support I've received from my multicultural audience from my lifestyle brand, and collective healing resource Melanade Stand, I'd like to say thank you for keeping the faith in me alive. Your unwavering support, encouragement, and love has helped me continue to heal my lifelong struggle of finding friendship and support among my global family of sisters.
Our melanin is not mutually exclusive to one individual or brand, and neither should our love, kindness, and support for one another be. Here are a few ways that I believe we can usher an environment of more kindness, love, and support among our sisters:
Compliment Your Fellow Sister
Though this may sound a bit elementary, sending love and light to another woman can be just the thing that builds a vibration of solidarity within your heart, and in the heart of those you bless with praise. If you like what sis is wearing, or you notice that her highlight is on point, don't just think it... say it! That positive vibration is infectious!
Support WOC-Owned Businesses
We can all go out and spend a ton on makeup from Sephora, including our sis, Rihanna Fenty, but we should remember that even a little purchase at a small business goes such a long way too, reversing the disenfranchisement of marginalized people in our communities. If you have friends who are artisans or entrepreneurs, be just as excited to give them your coins as you would any regular retailer.
Do you have a passion for something in particular? Why not find like-minded individuals who share your same interests and plan something amazing together? Maybe start a business, create a meetup, go half on a new blog, or just go to brunch! There is power in numbers, so let's start adding up! Do you run a business in the same niche? Why not become affiliated sister companies! That doubles the size of the bag. Think Smart, Not Apart.
Get Involved in Activism
There are a number of social causes in the WOC/POC/LGBT/QPOC and Marginalized Youth communities across our country. Reach out to your political activists and movers and shakers in your city council to fight against any injustices that affect the unity of our people. Start your own cause! Just get involved in systemically fostering solidarity.
Through cultivating personal spirituality, we recognize the oneness of all people. Getting grounded, and aligning with truth, transforms your personality to one of consistently choosing unconditional love. When you become centered within your being, the last thing that your spirit entertains is dissension and hate. There is no room for "fake love" when you are working towards inner peace and enlightenment.
Forgiveness is Key
This is a painful topic for me. As I mentioned, I have dealt with feeling victimized by other WOC most of my life. It takes a dissolution of your ego to be able to forgive any past transgressions of people in your life. This does not mean that you have to invite them back in, it only heals the wound, and allows you to attract non-toxic, positive people in your future.
Talk To Me Nice
In the words of DreamDoll, "Talk to Me Nice," not only applies to men. We live in an era where we always have the clap back, and everyone is Petty Betty. The next time someone tries you, try your best to transmute the negativity into light. By sending back positivity to the person attempting to bring your energy down, you automatically deescalate the situation energetically, and set a precedent for not giving attention to anything that divides us as women. One of the phrases I used to hate growing up, was "Kill them with Kindness." My mama was right though, it works.
Photo Credit: Melanade Stand's Tarot @melanade_stand "6 of Cups"
Photographer: Brad Ogbonna
Looking to join a loving community of WOC Tribe?
Below is a list short of other Brown and Black Women-led organizations and platforms that share the same Mission as I do! There is space for all of us!