Thursday, September 02, 2010 | 05:11 AM
Commentary: I Am a Fierce Black Woman
For ESSENCE's Fierce and Fabulous package, I had the honor of interviewing three beautiful and amazing women; supermodel and entrepreneur Iman, so popular that she doesn't need a surname; WNBA superstar and media darling Candace Parker; and DJ and Founder of Black Girls Rock, Beverly Bond. All three women, each from different generations, were extraordinarily humble and humbled to be included in ESSENCE's landmark issue. They were also forthcoming about the keys to their success, and its accompanying fierceness and fabulosity (yes, like Kimora). They had mothers who (like mine) told them they could be anything they wanted and they gained an unrelenting determination to do their best. And they did. That alone makes them (and their mamas) worthy of ESSENCE accolades... Unlike the forty amazing Black women ESSENCE celebrated in its spectacular fortieth Anniversary issue, you probably don't know my name. I'm not a billionaire businesswoman, my name isn't in marquee lights, and I don't have a shelf full of awards crowing my achievements. But name brand recognition isn't the only reason why any of the 40 boldface names landed our best of the best list. What every one of our phenomenal women -- from author/poet Maya Angelou to First Lady Michelle Obama to DJ and actress. HIV activist Sheryl Lee Ralph -- has in common (other than beautiful brown skin) is the audacity to believe in her dreams: against the odds, against the haters, and sometimes against their own better judgment. Like the ladies listed in our anniversary issue, I too am fierce and I too am fabulous... if for no other reason than I have the audacity to dream big just like them and like Diana Ross in "Mahogany." Here are some of the other reasons I think I make the cut: My complexion is the perfect canvas for gold and precious jewels. The soundtrack in my head is on shuffle between Chaka Khan, Karen White, Whitney Houston and Erykah Badu. I am every woman, superwoman, and all the woman you need... On Mondays. The rest of the week, I'm just me. I have flaws and am not to scared to show them. I have knowledge and I am not too afraid to share it. I wear white and spill on it. I know that everything that I'm not makes me everything I am. I break down, yes, but I do not stay down. I am humble enough to ask for help and pay homage to the women who have paved the way so my walk will be easier. My alarm clock plays Donny Hathaway to wake me up. I can wear a fifty-dollar dress and make it look like five hundred by stepping into it. I know my worth is between my ears, not my thighs. I'm a little pale but have enough melanin that my Black won't crack. I can still dance to Baltimore house music. On beat. And dip it low. (But only at home.) I enjoy my own company and think nothing of spending quality time with me. I can blow my man's back out for breakfast and still be perfectly coiffed and composed when I meet his mother for lunch. My lips are thick and I will never need collagen. I had a dream one day to write for ESSENCE and also write a book. Both came true. ESSENCE ladies, what makes you fierce and fabulous?