"No matter who you are, no matter where you come from, you are beautiful. You are powerful. You are brilliant. You are funny. Let me tell you, I am so proud of you. My husband, your President, is so proud of you. We have such hopes and dreams for every single one of you. Now, I know that this isn't always the message you get from the world. I know there are voices that tell you, you're not good enough. That you have to look a certain way, act a certain way... that if you speak up, you're too loud. If you step up to lead, you're being bossy . . ." —First Lady Michelle Obama
Seeing beautiful images of ourselves matter.
Hearing meaningful messages of affirmation also matters.
Black Girls Rock! awards show is the most inspiring show for Black women and girls airing today in my opinion. Unapologetically, it shows the beauty and sisterhood shared among Black women.
However over the years and since it's received more publicity, the show receives criticism for the title, "Black Girls Rock," mainly from White people. Judging from the all too common and repetitive comments, these critics wouldn't understand diversity and inclusion if it sat in their face, crossed its legs and stared them in their eyes. I'm certain you have noticed the same comments on social media as well. You know those who act as the teacher's pet receiving most of the attention, yet will throw a tantrum when that teacher finally calls on another student??? ..crying out, "White Girls Rock too!" Or those who leave their message a little more subtle and appeasing (as if they really care about "all women and girls") --inserting "All Girls Rock!" into the conversation OR those who take more extreme measures misconstruing what racism is in the first place, "if there was an award show called White Girls Rock, it would be considered racist". . . conveniently forgetting how the images of White girls continue to dominate media and popular award shows. Where's the "All Girls Rock!" mantra then?
Why criticize the title of the show without attempting to understand its relevancy and history. Some of these same individuals will entertain or idly sit by when degrading comments are publicly made in the media or from their social media friends about the First Lady (or any Black woman.) Yet, they will call the First Lady 'racist' for uplifting women who share her story. How can anyone question the First Lady's appearance and words encouraging a room full of women and girls who look like her without questioning why is she the first First Lady who share their features or understand the impact her presence must have on them in the first place? Are we so lazy to think that opting to call the first Black First Lady of the United States racist for her appearance and encouragement without looking to our nation's past and even the disparities related to Black women currently?
Thanks to studies conducted and information gathered by organizations like The African American Policy Forum and National Women's Law Center, we see more data involving matters concerning Black women and girls. In fact, studies show that majority Black girls have a strong desire to lead. However, statistics also show Black girls are the most punished group in schools and are increasingly becoming the largest group in the juvenile (and criminal) justice systems. And, as discussed during this week's webinar and Twitter chat: #HerDreamDeferred hosted by @AAPF, Black women are the leading group enrolled in colleges, yet collectively the median net worth of Black women is $5.00 (the lowest of all groups.) From education to justice systems to health and wealth, there are many more disparities that may be linked to systemic issues that should have everybody concerned more than the title of the show. And, need I detail the biases in media when it comes to acknowledging the beauty of Black women with our classically beautiful selves?
But, I digress.
I'm learning to stop defending the obvious. When we continue responding to negativity on something great and positive, it depletes our energy and distracts from the greater purpose. Misery loves company. Therefore, to all Black women and those who sincerely care about our well being of all races and genders, please save your energy. Continue to celebrate, encourage, uplift and advocate for us and block out the noise.
Black Girls Rock! airs Sunday, April 5th 7pm|6pm CST
For more information about the non-profit organization, Black Girls Rock! Inc. click here.
We're often resilient because we have no other choice.
We encourage one another when others tear us down.
We give when we're the last to receive.
We worship together.
We build together.
We are quickly becoming the largest group of entrepreneurs in the U.S.
Against many odds, we are doing it for ourselves while making a difference.
Yes, Black Girls Rock!