I Am A Loud Black Girl

At least that is what I’m trying to be. Loud and unashamed. Vocal and flamboyant, if and when I need to be. What you see as “too much,” I’m learning to recognize as making my mark, being embodied by Life, by Feeling, by Power.

I’ve been a Loud Black Girl afraid to get Loud. Afraid to get judged. Afraid that my Black, to you, is a weapon of mass distraction, and therefore walking gingerly, complying woefully, dulling the light inside to fit a mold less critical to the fragility of this establishment.

This establishment assumes my Loud is brash, and uncouth, and illiterate, and poor, and broken, and criminal.

And, I’m done. Trying to quiet down. Simmer my step — dull my Blackness. I’m done deriding my sistas who never thought being Loud was inherently wrong, never thought being Loud meant they deserved less Love and more shame.

I am done trying to contend with ideologies that paint us girls as bitches when we say, no. Hoes, when we wear our skirts short. Out of pocket, when we rock colored wigs or Afros. I am done trying to contend with pictures of Jesus and talk about pork, as if either have made us less susceptible to domestic violence, school suspension, police brutality, inner city violence, pay inequality, and the sting of mass incarceration. I am done trying to pretend white supremacy will be uprooted through complacency and over time.

I am reminding myself to be Loud and Black is synonymous with being Black and Proud. Being Loud is also synonymous with being American, and African. And human. And alive and full of life.

And even in the presence of those who’d rather deny me respect, I have every right to be vocal. I have every right to disengage from their hate; I have every right to call them out; I have every right to walk away; I have every right to assert that their hate cannot dim my Promise — their hate does not give them permission to hurt or murder me or my children.

And while the demonization of Blackness assaults the Loud, it also assaults those who choose to whisper. Whose unassuming Loud(ness) gives just as much life as the trees in the Amazon.

So, I made a decision this morning. To be Loud. To make noise.

I won’t camouflage my Loud with “good behavior” or unnatural displays of morality. My Loud will be at ease. My Loud will be as Loud as it needs to be. My Loud cannot be made invisible. My Loud is walking tall, and raising consciousness through Visibility. My Loud is raising my daughter to be a Loud Black Girl, too. Undeterred by judgments, willfully rising to her own defense, in and outside of the classroom, boardroom, bedroom, lounge. Because heaven forbid her Loud become silenced by some dude or some attitude that undermines her life-long cultivation of self-love and self-determination.

Heaven forbid we raise our girls to be silenced. Heaven forbid we are silenced in front of our girls. Belittled in front our girls, chastised into disappearing, removed from our intentions, disallowed ease, disallowed the right to our voices making a sound.

Have you raised your girl(s) to be silent?

Afraid of the repercussions when not performing for respectability or assimilation? Afraid of embarrassing her people, who turn away or look down in anguish and fear because they can’t be Loud no mo’ or they never found their Loud (and Black) selves allowing themselves to be freed.

And when I think about how this all ties in with our daughters, and nieces, and sisters, and mothers, I think about our schools. I think about sexism, sure, but Black girls contend with sexism and racism. Black girls are more disproportionately disciplined than their white counterparts and not because they behave more poorly.

How they silence our girls. How they sully the Black with insults. How they caution their womanhood through physical and psychological assaults, claiming they deserve it. Claiming they were too Loud, too Black, but not with those words, of course. Certainly not on paper.

And what do we do? Do we get Loud? Do we nurture our Loud Girls? Do we stand by our Loud Black Girls when they fight back? Or make demands? Or do we suggest that they have the “right” to remain silent — To protect them, to force their souls outside their bodies, do we remind them of their tone or their English or their timing?

Last week I read a powerful ethnographic research article by Dr. Signithia Fordham called, “Those Loud Black Girls”: (Black) Women, Silence, and Gender “Passing” in the Academy.” It’s a great read for anyone who is a Loud Black Girl, raising a Loud Black Girl, or wants to be a Loud Black Girl. It’s time we stop villainizing our womanhood and our Blackness. Let’s take our girls’ state of being to the farthest stretches of humanity and let it reverberate, Loudly.

Let our Loud Black Girls speak, unafraid. Let our Loud Black Girls yell, inquire, and defy. Let our Girls be Loud in jeans, Loud in dresses, Loud undressed, and Loud un-gendered by this culture that fosters the belief that difference equates deficit. It’s simply untrue. Difference is beautiful. Just like our Loud Black Girls. Let that Loud Black Girl, for once, be as Loud as the boys, as privileged as their white friends, and as Black as the universe.