My role models are a bit different. They aren’t your typical everyday mainstream media household names. While I do appreciate me some Dangerously in Love, Bey Hive has never quite given me the profound inspiration to do much more than dance around my living room in my boy shorts while I Swiffer. No shade to those that have found a soul mate in her, but I am just not that one. While I commend many of our most celebrated and popular celebrities for their success and community contributions, I sit and enviously gaze at a higher plateau of divine being. I’m talking about the Assata Shakur, Angela Davis, Erykah Badu, Nikki Giovanni, Nina Simone, Folorunsho Alakija, Toni Morrison, Iyanla Vanzant, Fannie Lou Hamer, Gwendolyn Brooks type of woman! There is one common entity that make these women noteworthy to me. They all come from a different breed of Black woman. The Black woman who is strong and intense. The Black woman who is passionately opinionated. The Black woman who is educated. The Black woman who is cultured. The Black woman who knows her rights. The Black woman with a story to tell. The Black woman who will make you know and respect her struggle. The Black woman who speaks her mind and fiercely collides with injustice. The Black woman who goes against the grain. The Black woman whose aura lets you know that she’s not the one to mess with…The Black woman who is totally Unapologetic for it all.
All too often our Black women are placed into quite unattractive categories because of our strength. If we talk too loud, disagree too often, curse more than twice in one sentence, are overly confident, or willing to put someone in their place, we are given that dreaded title as the “Angry Black Woman.” I am not here for that load of crap, nor will I ever be! Society has its very strategically oppressive way of diminishing the Black woman’s power, and we continue to let this fly. Each time you hide in the shadows and allow that Queen to fight alone, or worse, judge her because you don’t think her behavior is “lady like” or “appropriate,” you have further encouraged the propagation of our sisterhood decline.
So what’s your real issue with the women who aren’t afraid to possibly ruffle some feathers? Could it be perhaps that she says all of the magically brilliant notions already floating in your little taboo brain? Or maybe you can’t understand how she’s able to get away with such a defiantly honest temperament. I know what it is. It eats you Up inside that this woman is still able to gracefully coexist in a World that constantly tells her she needs to keep her mouth shut and just go along to get along!! Here’s the thing though: You aren’t getting very far traveling in the same rush hour traffic that everybody else is driving in as well. Get it yet?? Shakur’s publication, Assata: An Autobiography, is a literary masterpiece and pretty much changed my life! Her courage, calculated persistence, and lethal tongue lashings gave me a firm sense of super Black girl self-empowerment! They don’t make women like this anymore, and if they do, we don’t celebrate them as cultural icons. We shun them for stepping out of their place.
Of course I can’t address the issue of the feared and resilient Strong black woman without mentioning her said role in her romantic relationships. Again, the types of women I’m talking about are scarce. The backbone is detached and has been replaced by the pseudo Perfect Patty, love-starved weakling who is simply happy to have a man. You all know who I’m referring to. The girlfriend of yours that you want to back hand because she can’t seem to find her own brain functioning in between his cerebral cogitation. She’s lost without his “insight” and has no clue as to the contents of her own identity. She’s the sister friend that won’t remove her weave or wear her hair in its natural state because her man says he doesn’t like ‘nappy’ hair. She doesn’t drink more than one glass of wine while at dinner because he thinks she’s had enough. She narrows her list of those she is allowed to befriend because he doesn’t want her hanging around, and being influenced by, us strong ones with a big mouth. 😉 You get where I’m going with this — Just as no life is worth living when you relinquish the innate potential to be yourself, neither is any relationship worth participating in where someone is dangling your puppet strings! Just my opinion, but what do I know?
Last but certainly not least, a huge reason why you won’t catch me buying into society’s Euro-saturated version of what I should be is because of the future! Specifically, the futures of the two little Kings that are from my womb. I owe them, at minimum, that regard of being an image of the formidably grounded, audacious Black woman that they will need to have by their sides one day! With all of the struggles facing our Black men these days, there is nothing more important than the strength and awareness of the woman watching his back!
So remain secure in your impression, purposeful in your efforts, and forthright in your delivery. You never know when you’re being that voice and energy that someone needs. As my Granny always used to say…“Those that mind don’t matter, and those that matter don’t mind!”