Hello, Black friends! I love being Black! I said I LOOVVEEE being Black! I love the texture of my hair, the skin that I’m in! What an anthem ALWAYS (I switched up the lyrics a bit, but you get the point)! I first heard this chant when I was in college. Being surrounded by the beautiful gathering of Black college students expressing their Blackness in a multitude of shades, hairstyles, clothing, and many other expressions has always been some of my favorite memories of a cohesive celebration of pure Black joy.
I can rave on and on about why I love being Black. Yes, being Black has its struggles. Let me emphasize – being Black in America IS a continuous struggle. I always have to think twice about my appearance, the words that come out of my mouth, and the way I move in my environment. However, it is also with these struggles that I have learned that my Blackness is glorious and pretty dang powerful.
To me, being Black is a gift. It is an honor that I hold dear to my heart and that I wear with pride consistently. Being Black has allowed me to see the multifaceted injustices in my community and what my role is as a Black woman to change them. My Blackness is also so diverse. I am a Congolese-American, so I get to intertwine these two identities and witness them co-exist with each other simultaneously. Being Black, I have learned that there is no one true way to BE Black. I can define my Blackness to mean anything that I want it to mean! I am not going to lie; when I was younger, I lacked a lot of representation of Black folks in my life and, thus, had a very warped perception of how Blackness manifests. Because I didn’t watch the movie Friday, didn’t eat soul food (actually didn’t even know what soul food was until my late teens), or failed miserably at the game Black Card Revoked, I didn’t think that I was “Black enough” to fit in with the Black communities around me. I struggled to wholeheartedly love my Blackness for many more reasons besides the seemingly trivial ones listed above. BUT I learned a GREAT LESSON later on in my personal development as I began to unlearn my preconceived notions about Blackness. Being Black is not a monolith, so don’t ever let anyone convince you that it is! That is a dangerous way to think that completely invalidates the diverse experiences of Black people (example – myself!). Remember, you CAN fail miserably at Black Card Revoked and still be Black! I speak for myself though, lol!
I will forever be unapologetically Black as I navigate the world around me. All of my identities come with “Black” attached to them first, for I could never see the world without this melanin covering my body. To all my Black folks out there – Happy Black History Month! We are BOMB! We are light, joy, and excellence. Remember, the celebration of Blackness is not just limited to the month of February. Let’s continue to radiate our Blackness in honoring and celebrating our ancestors, our history, our accomplishments, and our triumphs yet to come.
Peace and love,