Corinne Bailey Rae knows a thing or two about Black Girl Magic.
The British-born singer who has given us hits like “Put Your Records On” and “Green Aphrodisiac” boasts a Grammy award and has worked with musical legends like Herbie Hancock. But what does Black Girl Magic mean when you’re an example of it yourself?
“Black girl magic is seeing a representation of us in the media that’s empowering and makes you feel better about yourself, like seeing somebody who looks like in the media doing something other than struggling or being a nurse in a period drama” she said. “It’s about being fun and sparkly and fully experiencing life and not having your life defined by your Blackness and representation of what Blackness is.”
Rae pointed to the stereotypical images of Black girls that are all too often shown in media—“being tough, with a cap on, with graffiti behind them”—but she said that it’s important to note that that shouldn’t be our only representation. What about, she said, the Black girls who love horseback riding, painting, and baking?
“To me, Black girl magic is about expanding the representation of Black women in the world,” Rae told ESSENCE exclusively. “I want to see images of Black girls being carefree because I feel like there’s so much for Black girls and Black women to not be carefree about…It’s an effort to not allow yourself to become hardened. I know some people are hardened, but if you can, win yourself some space where you can be free and we can play.”
With additional reporting by Nykia Spradley.