I am a black woman; a dark skin one at that. I am a black girl. What that means, is that from an early stage in life, society forced me into a category known as ‘other’. It truly upsets me when the ‘normal’ continually attempt to discount this fact. In a perfect world everyone is equal. In this imperfect one, there are boxes and dark corners reserved for the ‘others’. But what happens when the ‘others’ rise up and fight back, smash boundaries and own their existence and worth? What happens when by just being themselves they exist in a space so free and powerful that otherness becomes the new normal? What do you call this? Its name is #BlackGirlMagic, and I happen to be one of its members.
On Wednesday, Dr. Linda Chavers article ‘Here’s My Problem With Black Girl Magic’ was published on Elle.com. Immediately the article began to make its rounds and multiple debates began. Dr Chavers, who is a black woman herself, felt that the #BlackGirlMagic while filled with good intention actually reiterated black women’s ‘othernesses which she deemed problematic. She attacked the February special issue of Essence ‘#BlackGirlMagic Class of 2016 for seemingly celebrating an elitist characterization of black womanhood. This is what she said;
“The “strong, black woman” archetype, which also includes the mourning black woman who suffers in silence, is the idea that we can survive it all, that we can withstand it. That we are, in fact, superhuman. Black girl magic sounds to me like just another way of saying the same thing, and it is smothering and stunting. It is, above all, constricting rather than freeing. Black girl magic suggests we are, again, something other than human.”
To Dr. Chavers and the countless others that struggle to understand the term #BlackGirlMagic, what you are seeing is a sisterhood connected by a powerful force. And yeah, it is fine if you don’t get it. You don’t have to. We don’t need you to. We do however require that you allow us the space to define who we are without the constant objections. It is as if you are trying to force us to stay in line. Occupy a room that can no longer house us. Black girls of the school of #BlackGirlMagic are here to connect and create platforms and outlets for others like them to thrive and grow. It isn’t about being superhuman, it is about owning and defining our human, not by society’s restrictive standards, but by ones that allow us to embrace and uplift while being there to consul each other. ……. (read full article here)