Black Girls Matter (Keeping the Movement Alive and Ending Anti-Black Rhetoric)

Blackness suggests a continual fight for visibility against oppression and racism. I think often times people look to stereotypes and controlled images to designate a culture and race of people. The images of black women have consistently remained narrow. Black women are depicted in films as angry, poor, addicts, and single mothers. The constant misrepresentation of black women creates a disappearance of truth, flexibility, experience, and diversity.

Music videos will depict black women dressed a certain way, surrounding an artist to give off a certain aesthetic or vibe. Rap and hip hop videos have had their fair share of women in revealing clothing, dancing around the man in the chair, being very sexual and intentionally provocative. This becomes a common representation of black women as too sexual or too inappropriate. Their curves and figures are desired, yet unintentionally sexualized on a consistent basis. The way we look at blackness needs to deviate from these stereotypical and harmful visuals.

It is important to add the lack of dark-skinned women in the media. Young girls should be able to see themselves in ads and media, as leaders, visionaries, artists and human beings. Black women do not solely reside in urban areas. They exist everywhere around the country and world, with different households, experiences, voices, and stories. Black Lives Matter should not be shut down with All Lives Matter. All the shades of black are beautiful.

We come from a diverse group of perspectives, experiences, disciplines, crafts, skills, and abilities. Historically, black women have been written out of history and excluded from many different areas and movements of society. The feminist movement has moments of excluding black women and demanding rights for only White women’s experiences.

Unfortunately, the world continues to uphold anti-black rhetoric and ideals. Comments surrounding curls, kinks, and having “bad hair” to non-black individuals deciding “how black” someone is. Divisions start to arise based on complexions, hair texture, features, and immigration. Black women do not constitute one ethnicity, language, or thought. Being black means sticking out, being different and trying to survive in racist, judgmental, and aggressive environments.

As you exist during Black Women’s History Month, think about who is included and excluded in everything you do, as well as who is affected, and who is present or participating. Look at issues being addressed, environments, comments, and location. Think about the thoughts that run across your mind, why you are uncomfortable at times, and who you choose to associate with. What are the things you think are attractive or right? Are your ideas inclusive or more harmful to others?

Recognize the fight against racism, colorism, appropriation. See the anti-black rhetoric you will come across and support your fellow black girls.