Black girl magic? We hear it all the time but what does that really mean?
Well, we learned that it’s better shown than explained at the first Black Girl Magic Dinner.
The dinner, held on Oct. 24 2016, was geared towards empowering black women in the Mankato community. It was hosted by the Women’s Center and the Multicultural Center at Minnesota State University, Mankato. The evening included three panelist who discussed what it means to be a black woman in the community. They shared their struggles and accomplishments in both their professional and personal lives. The panelists included Ayan Musse, Erin Roberts and Tonya Butler.
Musse is the program director with the YWCA in Mankato, owns Kato Trucking with her husband, and is a mother of five as well.
“I have four beautiful girls, I try to be a model for them,” said Musse.
As a little girl, Musse wanted to be a pilot. She was told it wasn’t possible because not only was she a girl, but she was a black girl. Although she did follow the path of motherhood, she didn’t let that stop her from having a professional dream as well.
“People will say to you, ‘no you can’t do that.” Never give up, if you have the passion you’ll get there,” said Musse.
Musse still dreams of getting that pilot license someday.
Roberts also works at the YWCA with Musse as the community engagement manager. She is from Mankato, and graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato. She is also a mother of three and highlighted the importance of finding the balance between your personal and professional life.
Butler is from Los Angeles, California and is the director of music industry studies at MNSU. Growing up she wanted to be an actress, lawyer or politician; and she had the opportunity to be all of that and more.
“Don’t ever let anybody tell you you can’t be everything you want to be,” said Butler.
Butler said it is possible to do everything you want, but you can’t do it alone. Networking is important, which is why events like Monday’s Black Girl Magic Dinner are beneficial to blackwomen in the MNSU community.
Dealing with Racism
The panelists also discussed how to deal with the racism black women face in the workplace and in the community. They are often expected to be exceptional in the workplace while still fitting into the role of mother and wife at home, according to Butler.
“I think I carry that double minority status,” said Roberts. “It’s always there. I always felt like I had to go above and beyond.”
A lot of the time racism isn’t blatant or direct, but can be expressed in micro-agressions.
“People tell me I’m so articulate, I speak so well,” said Musse. “I’m black, I’m a Muslim and I have an accent, you go figure the rest.”
The evening concluded with a ukalhi performance from Marie Cato, a student at MNSU. Rosalin Cobb was also awarded the Black Girl Magic Outstanding Student Award and $500 scholarship. Proof that black girl magic can be found right in our campus community.
All of these strong black women were brought together with one purpose in mind, to pave the way for the younger generation. These women prove that you can be the lawyer, pilot and/or politician, and that we were made to be so much more than wives and mothers. That is what we call Black Girl Magic.
Roberts, Cobb, Butler and Musse at the 2016 Black Girl Magic Dinner.