A long, long time ago, on a blog far, far away I once wrote about what Black Girl Magic means to me. I talked about how its majesty was born in the mind of a poor little Black Girl from D.C. who saw nothing but brilliance spring forth from the women in her family. That little girl was me and those women were my mother, her sisters, her mother and her friends. And as I grew up and got out into the world, it became me and my sister and our cousins and our women friends. I watched with amazement as children were raised, a lot of the time alone, as businesses were built from the ground up and livelihoods acquired and maintained with sometimes just the bare minimum. To me, it was magic. It is still magic. My god, yes it is.
Once I shared what I consider the Life Force that brought me into being with the rest of the world by calling a thing a thing…Black Girl Magic…I had no idea it would resonate so deeply with so many people in so many ways. I wasn’t sure anyone would “get it” because it literally came from the mind of a child. I just didn’t know, nor did I really care because I knew what it was I was talking about. It was Love. An all-inclusive, everlasting Love. Love for women and girls who so often don’t get shine and will never reap the benefits of public declarations of importance. No shout-outs to the positive things they accomplish both for themselves and for others. So many Others. Black women hold the whole world up, but that’s a story for a whole ‘nother day. This is about Love.
I came up with Black Girls Are Magic, put it on a t-shirt and before I knew what was happening, it had gotten away from me. It’s been all over the Internet, on TV and in movies. Which of course is a good thing. I wanted every Black woman on this planet to feel what I meant for us. Every Black woman…let’s be perfectly clear. I feel the need to clarify because Black Girl Magic’s inadvertent celebrity has alienated some of the same women whose being inspired it. That makes me incredibly sad and even a little mad. Let me see if I can make it plain:
Hood Black Girls got magic too!
So do Black girls that do hair in their kitchen, disabled Black girls, lesbian Black girls, fat Black girls, poor Black girls, Black girls with relaxers and weave, Black girls that are single moms, Black girls that haven’t figured out how to blend their make-up, Black girls that are incarcerated, trans Black girls, teenage Black girls, uneducated/under-educated Black girls, Black girls that work low paying jobs, Black girls that present as masculine, etc.
I want it understood that there would be no “hashtag Black Girl Magic” without those women. Those women are the Black Girl Magic rule, not the exception. Women like me, because Black Girl Magic was NEVER about the respectability that we sometimes use to oppress ourselves in order to feel special. We are all that kind of special JUST BECAUSE. If you’re really about the divine work of bringing your sisters along and holding them up, they don’t necessarily have to be your line sisters or your brunch bunch, because all of us can’t make it. Hell, all of us don’t even want to. It absolutely breaks my heart when women like me feel excluded from the Love of Black Girl Magic because of the compartmentalization that SOME folks want to put on it. I’m not about that and I hope that you aren’t either. I hope that you can see all of our struggles and our successes as valid and empowering, be they from Tracee Ellis Ross winning an Emmy or Tracee Jenkins winning Employee of the Month on her job at CVS.