she looks in the mirror, turns to her mother, and frowns.

“mommy, why was i born like this? with skin that sings like copper and hair that screams like revolution?”

you are magic, black girl.

“magic, like harry potter, mama?”

no, black girl. when i say that you are magic, i mean to say that God adores you. when he made the heavens and the earth, the ocean and the stars, when he made love and light, he made you,

and then he said ‘it was good’.

“ohh… so God made me special, then?”

yes, black girl. when God made you, he deemed you the one who could never be replaced, the one who would never die on his watch—

he made you the sun.

told everyone else that they had to spin, had to rotate, had to circle around the greatness and blessing of everything you are,

God made you the city lights and the alley's shadows,

he made you the cliff’s edge and the mountain upon which the holy commandments were found,

he made you black, girl,

soon to be black woman in a world that sweats bullets in your general direction every time they find you breathing.

he made you black, girl,

shaped the glory upon your head to be resilient to the hot comb terrors they told made you “proper”,

commanded every ounce of gravity to bow before the defiance each and every one of your 3A and 4C curls exudes.

he made you black, girl,

crowned you in ten times the strength that Samson never had,

draped you in the grace that diamonds could never embody and the poise that pearls have always held,

he made you black,

so, when they tell you otherwise — and they will tell you otherwise — know that you are too bright, too beautiful, too you to be anything but black.

this is the way my mother taught me to love myself — unapologetically and persistently.

this is the way i want you to love yourself — unapologetically and persistently.

and the next time someone tries to tells you who you are,

remind them that they can never define you within the tongue of one word — you are legend and folktale,

you are history.

and the next time someone tries to tell you who you are,

remind them that every black woman who has sustained the very earth that you allow them to tread upon lives within you — you are eternal and long-lasting,

you are generational.


the next time and last time someone tries to tell you who you are,

look at your reflection, take a deep breath, and rest in the moonlit eyes that still find beauty in everything and everyone that has cast you aside,

remember that you are black girl,

that you are black woman,

and that, although, yes, you are magic,

being black girl will always be enough.

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