Side note: It seems like not one day goes by when I don't see something hurtful or unfortunate that a Black man has said about a Black woman, or Black women, in general. And so, I sat down today, to pen a letter to those individuals in hopes that, at the very least, it will reaffirm the women who may be affected and, also cause the men who make those disparaging statements, whether in jest or not, to take a moment—or two or 10—to reassess.
To Whom It May Concern,
Do not think that it has evaded me. "It" being all of the overt and super slick statements that are made about me and my sistahs—because when you offend one, you offend us all; that is what sistahhood is all about—seemingly on a regular basis, at this point. Me, them, a Black woman. The insults that are covertly disguised as jokes, the social media jabs that are presented as random thoughts of the day, the lyrics that try and devalue my worth and relevance. As someone who reads, researches and engages, I see it. And, I must say that, although at times, it irritates, disgusts and sometimes angers me, more than anything, what it does most of all, is leave me dumbfounded and perplexed.
As a Black woman, I am a lover of all things Black—including and, in some ways especially, Black men. And so, in a climate that is reportedly at an all-time high when it comes to racial tension, for the life of me, I can't understand why so many of the ones who are supposed to serve as my leaders and protectors would not choose to celebrate the gift that the Most High has given them—the love, support and yet-to-be-rivaled beauty that is oh so intricately packaged in the multi-dimensional hues of a Black woman.
How can any Black man mock what should be so reverently awed?
Take a Black woman's hair, for example. To be natural is to be real, instinctive, genuine. Natural means universal. Our hair, in its natural state, has a powerful divinity to it. We are made in the image of the Most High. Even the Good Book describes that Son of Man's hair as being the texture of wool (Revelation 1:14). Therefore, when you are in the presence of a full and curly 'fro or, better yet, you are privileged even to be able to touch one, that is sacred ground. It is an honor that not all are made privy to.
King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, once upon a time wrote countless verses about the love of his life. She? She was a woman who had dark skin (Song of Solomon 1:6). Deep, sensual, mysterious, rich, beautiful dark skin. Individuals who are in touch with their spirituality understand that everything shines brighter in the dark—and that? That is something this Universe so desperately needs at this time.
By definition, they are a special attraction. Whether our nose is wide or keen, or our lips are full or thin, they are something to be revered and praised. Our parents, our ancestors as a whole, they helped to design what makes each of our faces to be, not only unique and distinctive, but a physical manifestation of strength, survival and resilience.
When you cast a gaze upon us, you see the courage of your Blackness's past and the fortitude of that same Blackness's future.
Whatever the size or type, we're bangin', automatically so. Our bodies hold the kind of heart that loves with a type of loyalty that is supernatural; breasts that feed your young as well as nurture you; a womb that manifests miracles, both in the physical and the spiritual, and the extraordinary kind of treasure that, throughout history, have caused empires to make extreme sacrifices. Indeed, our bodies are the vessels that many of the women you pursue both quietly envy and try desperately to duplicate. Although they fail. Miserably so.
Queen of Sheba. Nefertiti. Cleopatra. Candace. Nandi—a queen of Zulu which means "from the heavens"—all of these women proudly and unapologetically decorated themselves with wigs, elaborate hairstyles and face paint that was as bright and colorful as the rainbow. For them, adornment wasn't about self-hatred; it was a celebration of just how majestic they truly were.
As Black women, we are drawn to many of these same enhancements because, it's in our blood to drape ourselves too, in many ways, as an act of royalty. Whether consciously or subconsciously.
And so yes—whether it's due to ignorance, fear or the brainwashing of certain cultures that either do not seek to understand our vastness or quietly resent us because they are not us, as a Black woman, I am truly perplexed whenever a Black man would choose to tease us, berate us or dismiss us, rather than honor, defend and praise us.
Yet in still, a queen is no less of one, just because someone chooses not to acknowledge it. My Blackness—in all of its hues, textures and sizes—is no less powerful, brilliant or necessary just because you may not decide to acknowledge it as so.
And, my energy will no longer be expended on people who do not comprehend enough of their own value or the purpose of my presence, both in and around their lives, to esteem me. Unapologetically and consistently so.
I see me. I see my sistahs too. And, what I see is so amazing, that I will exert my power of choice to not personalize nor be internally threatened by your ignorance. At the same time, because I also see you, Black man, there is a passion within me for you to see yourself. In the meantime, for every song, every tweet, every commentary that you offer that mocks, attacks or contradicts all of what I just said, just know that I know that it has everything to do with you and absolutely nothing to do with me.
And, that I send prayers, light and love in your direction, so that you can truly learn how to embrace, delight in and affirm what God has given to abundantly bless you. ME. A BLACK WOMAN.
Feature image by Giphy