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The Formation of the Blk Girl Soldier

for·ma·tion

[fôrˈmāSH(ə)n]

NOUN

  1. the action of forming or process of being formed
  2. a structure or arrangement of something

As Queen Bey has slayed our lives yet once again, we (black people) see an anthem that screams complete blackness. In our world of the blatant dismissal of blackness from Katrina, cultural appropriation, historical neglect, and the voices of innocent black lives (male, female, queer, trans), the word ‘formation’ is a distinct parallel to black lives.

The African diaspora is made up of a continual forming and re-forming of safe spaces for those within it. When those safe spaces are threatened or basic rights are withheld from us, we resist. Resistance is such an integral part of blackness; a consistent arrangement from African resistance before and on the slave ships, slave resistances, Civil Rights Movement, Black Lives Matter, and so much more. Oprah’s infamous line in The Color Purple has little comedic placement here but yet tells an underlying truth about the ever present state of black lives: “All my life I had to fight!”

As Beyoncé chants, “Okay ladies now let’s get in formation!”, black women are immediately thrust to the forefront. Black women, the foundation of blackness itself, have been and still remain as the beginners for various social movements for the advancement of black people such as the Civil Rights and Black Lives Matter Movements. We are highlighted for our roots in activism and encouraged to do it again and again to “prove to them we’ve got coordination” (unity, oneness, a collective fight).

Jamila Woods, an upcoming singer, chants in her new single “Blk Girl Soldier”, “Rosa…Assata…Angela…Sojourner was a freedom fighter and she taught us how to fight.” The “White Privilege II” vocalist wrote her song as an anthem for black women who are resisting while standing on the shoulders of resistance. She pays homage to the black women who have paved the way for other black women to create the greatest change. As black women now, this is our present moment, our present situation, our present fight. Both Jamila and Beyoncé call on our legends of resistance, such as Assata and the Black Panthers, as examples of our new formation of contemporary resistance.

Spelman is dedicated to cultivating the new generation of young, black women as scholar activists and leaders in their respective fields. Since colonial times, blackness has been stripped down and remade by those who did/do not have our best interests at heart. The implications are still seen today as our people are suffering here. Our beauty is commodified, our trends are taken and renamed (as if we weren’t already doing twistouts), our skin is seen as lesser than, and our men, women, and children are being aimlessly shot down in the street. If there is one thing I know about black people, is that we are strong. Our time here in America has been a continuous fight since slave times. Our work is our protest, our presence is our formation, and our voices are our songs for justice. There is a new revolution coming…and I’m ready for it.

Are you?

Endia Hayes is a junior, Sociology and Anthropology major at the illustrious Spelman College. An aspiring college professor with hopes on earning her PH.D. in Sociology, Endia is a scholar activist and UNCF Mellon Mays Fellow who believes that through education anyone can change the world. If you see or know of an issue, take a stand because the world will continue to turn with or without your impact. She loves all types of music, however, she is convinced Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong are the best duo of all time. Les Miserables is the absolute BEST musical and no one can convince her otherwise.I am not longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept ~ Angela Davis
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